The Truth About The Miniature Sheltie
If you are one of the people who is searching for a miniature sheltie to buy, you are going to be very disappointed. That’s because there is no such dog as a miniature sheltie. If you look on the internet or in print classified ads, you will undoubtedly find breeders who say they have miniature shelties for sale. They may even claim that this breed of dog is rare and try to charge you more money than you would be charged for a normal sheltie.
The truth is, the miniature sheltie does not exist as a breed. Check with the AKC and other dog registry organizations and you will be told the same thing. There is only one dog who is a sheltie. People who claim to breed miniature shelties are either crossing a sheltie with a smaller dog or they are simply breeding small shelties with one another to get smaller and smaller puppies.
Either way, it means they are irresponsible breeders who are bringing down the quality of the sheltie breed. The dog would not meet registry standards for showing and this type of breeding often produces dogs that have many more health problems than you would have with a normal-sized sheltie.
Let’s not forget that a sheltie is not exactly a large dog to begin with. They weigh under twenty five pounds when full-grown and can be as short as thirteen inches. Some people also think that a sheltie is a miniature collie, because they are small with similar looks. This is also a fallacy as there is no such dog as a miniature collie either.
The sheltie is officially a Shetland Sheepdog who originated as a herding dog on the Shetland Islands. Both collies and shelties originated in Scotland. Tourists brought the dogs back with them on ships to England. Some shelties were bred with collies in their early beginnings, but the Shetland Sheepdog and the Collie breeds have entirely different histories. When the Shetland Sheepdog came to America and attained AKC registration as a breed in 1911, dogs with too much collie blood were rejected for breed registration.
Temperament And Behavior
As a descendent of working sheepdogs, shelties have a tendency to want to herd any creature they can find, including people. This also makes them barkers. They have a very thick, double coat because as sheepdogs, they lived entirely outside in all types of weather. If you keep a sheltie as a pet, their coat is going to need brushing a minimum of two or three times a week.
Shelties are very loyal to their owners and often very shy around strangers. They need a lot of exercise because as working dogs, they ran back and forth all day long. This is instinctual within the breed. This quality makes them excellent competitors in obedience and agility trials. Shelties that just sit around the house all day have a tendency to become obese.
A sheltie is prone to certain health problems, just like all other dogs. For the sheltie, these include:
• Eye problems (progressive retinal atrophy)
• Patellar luxation (a knee condition where the kneecap pops out of place)
Although the miniature sheltie does not exist, it doesn’t mean that you will not be happy with a sheltie. With their herding skills, they still make great farm dogs; and if you want a dog that has a lot of energy, this is the breed for you.