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  #31  
Old 09-25-2009, 08:31 PM
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I still say oversized rescue sheltie, lol. They can be pretty big. They'd be a better intermediate step imo. Not quite as demanding as an Aussie but still more than capable.

Did you get to meet any dogs? The temperament is a bit different so that might help.
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  #32  
Old 09-25-2009, 10:57 PM
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Maybe this has just been my experience, but most of the shelties I've met, rescue or otherwise, were just neurotic messes...overly shy and, in my opinion, high-risk potential bite cases. Did I just happen to meet the handful of crap sheltie temperaments or what?
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:18 PM
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I wouldn't say shelties are more prone to be neurotic than other herders. Border collies, shelties, aussies, etc they can be messes when not bred properly or socialized well and I do think a bad herder is one of the most likely dogs to bite a human.

Shelties are a hard breed for me to generalize as mine were all vastly vastly different. My paps all have similar characteristics but my shelties really didn't. Shelties are really wary of strangers which can often translate into shyness. It is a saying that a sheltie will deem you guilty until you are proven innocent. They are fiercely loyal and many will never go up to a stranger because they just don't want anything to do with them. Shyness and timidity is common but I've met a lot of timid or just aloof herders period.

I find shelties to be very kind, intelligent, sensitive souls. They have a very adaptable energy level. They can chill or they can go go go. They are VERY quirky dogs. Imo as quirky as a border collie at least, maybe moreso. I could list the quirks of my three and it would take a page probably. They're weird dogs. They also have a sense of humor (though mine weren't as pronounced as my pap's).

It's hard for me to generalize because Trey was very neurotic and unstable but my other two weren't. Trey was by no means a bad dog once you got down to it, but he was not a dog most people would've wanted to live with. Everything terrified Trey, people, cars, anything. Nikki was exactly the opposite. She was overly confident and took everything on headfirst. She adored strangers on her own terms. She was a full blown diva on every level and was one of the best dogs. She had a short fuse at times but was imo a very stable dog. Rosie was in between. She wasn't outgoing like nikki but she wasn't afraid. Both Rosie and Nikki were great family dogs, very nannying and great with kids.

I think in general they're just owned by a lot of people that don't understand them and their tendencies. This is a breed that must must must must be socialized a LOT as a pup, more than most breeds. This is a breed that can be very herdy, driven, and nippy. This is a breed that is as quirky as they come. Even though they've been bred for pet/show/performance for a while they still have these qualities that stem from their working heritage. They were all around farmdogs hence the wariness. They have spitz and collie ancestry hence the sometimes more stubborn side they have.

I'm sure Beanie could put in some word on hers too.

The only breed I've been bitten by though has been shelties. Then again I was a stupid kid sometimes. I adore the breed but that said I know there are breeds that fit me better nowadays. That said I'll probably still end up with a rescue sheltie or two in the future. They were my best friends for over 15 years so they're a special breed to me still.
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Last edited by Laurelin; 09-25-2009 at 11:29 PM.
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  #34  
Old 09-26-2009, 12:36 AM
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I had a HUGE post typed out here and then lost all of it. I'm not typing the whole thing again so this is a summery, LOL.

I agree with Laurelin. A sheltie is a unique dog and not for everybody. I don't think anybody would disagree that a border collie is not a dog for everybody; neither, then, is a dog that has it's roots in the border collie breed. It shouldn't be surprising.

Yes, they are definitely very quirky and unique dogs. Auggie is certainly not a neurotic mess; my sister has two and one of them I would say yes, he is a real mess. There is just something not right with Happy. I love him all the same, I'm just saying. Kota, on the other hand, was a rescue that we believe was abused, and outside of his extreme fear response (he will tremble visibly and frantically offer his paw in appeasement if he even suspects anybody is unhappy) he is actually a very nice dog.

I typed up a bunch of snippets from the book Sheltie Talk but I don't want to type those up again either, LOL. The fact of the matter is that the kind of dog the book talks about and the kind of dog Auggie is, those are not the dogs that you find most today. The book even says it's difficult, at best, to find a dog with the proper old sheltie character, but that once you have found it an experienced it you will never want to settle for less. THAT is 100% true.

It comes down to what the breed has become in the hands of shoddy breeders and owners who have no idea what a sheltie should be or how to handle one as well as breeders who are only concerned with coat and are not concerned (or as concerned) with temperament and working ability. I honestly think if a lot of people on this board met Auggie, you would be surprised at how far he is from the public perception of a sheltie. I am told all the time in public things like "Oh, he's so friendly! Aren't they supposed to be shy?"

I am EXTREMELY blessed to have found Auggie's breeder. Anybody who is looking for a sheltie puppy should do their best to find a copy of Sheltie Talk (it's out of print so you'll have to buy it off ebay or something) and really read Chapter 2 to get a good handle on what a sheltie should be like... and then do everything in your power to find a breeder producing those kinds of dogs. I just described Auggie last night to a co-worker as "a very balls-to-the-wall kind of dog." He is tough, nervy, drivey, smart as a whip, and hilarious. I always have to be one step ahead of him or the results will be really, really bad, LOL.

Do I think neurotic shelties are the norm? No, but I think they are definitely increasingly common. I think it's a result of poor breeding practices and popularity of a breed that is not an "every person" kind of dog, so as Laurelin said, you get dogs that haven't been socialized properly or handled properly... people who have no clue what they're getting into with a sheltie so they end up with a neurotic dog because they unknowingly encouraged the neuroticisms.

I absolutely wouldn't say that a sheltie is a high-risk potential biter. And yeah, Happy has bitten me before. But Auggie is nearly four and has never once even bared his teeth in a snarl.


Honestly, I would say that if you adopt a sheltie you should be prepared for some neurotic behaviours. It's not a guarantee, you just need to be prepared for it and make sure you have a great resource for working through things. If you want a puppy, be prepared for a lot of hard legwork to find an excellent one.
I think herding dogs on the whole can be a challenge and the sheltie is no different in that respect, they just have their own unique qualities. I think any and all herding breed has it's own unique qualities/challenges no matter if it's an Aussie, a sheltie, a border collie, a GSD, et cetera.


ETA: LMAO and it's still a huge post either way.
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  #35  
Old 09-26-2009, 09:26 AM
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Trey by all accounts should NOT have been the mess that he was. I knew his sister, brother and mom and they were nothing like him. I'm not sure why he turned out the way he did, as Beanie said about Happy something was just off with him. He grew into a really great dog though and I really did adore him. He was a hard dog to handle at times.

I also don't think overly neurotic shelties are the norm. Trey is really the only crazy one I've known and i've been around a lot. I have quite a few friends with shelties and they're all really great. I'm really fond of my friend's sheltie Tuggles in particular, she's a really neat dog. She reminds me a lot of my Rosie. I know a couple therapy dog shelties that belong to a professor here and they're obviously very stable to do that. I'm really trying to think of another crazy one but I can't at all.

I think part of it is reputation, similar to border collies. Most people think border collies are nuts and most people think shelties are neurotic messes too. They're known for being loudmouthed and crazy- which they are in a way. But it gets exaggerated a lot.

If you adopt one be prepared to deal with a few strange behaviors and probably a dog that hasn't been socialized enough. If you buy screen breeders thoroughly, meet parents, and then be prepared to socialize a lot.
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  #36  
Old 09-26-2009, 09:33 AM
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Yeah, but Aussies can bowl.
YouTube - zakgeorge21's Channel

Maybe old news to everyone but I saw a promo last night for Animal planet, Zak George has a TV show called Superfetch, Saturday Oct3. Might be fun to watch.

I think it's important to keep a point of reference when discussing breed characteristics, Augie and Saywer are CGC dogs, a great accomplishment no doubt, however for the average rescue, we're not comparing apples to apples.

Proper selection of a dog IMO is at least two step process for me. First, I look for traits that are specifically bred into the dog. In the case of the Aussie, they are bred to be working dogs who sleep in the house, they are bred to be highly sociable, highly intelligent and low maintenance.

The second part of my personal selection process is finding a good sample within the "claimed" breed standard. This requires interviewing many candidates. It's typically not something you can do in a few minutes with each dog but instead it may take hours one on one. Knowing what to look for is as important as what breed as you begin to interview. It's difficult to generalize with any certainty because of these variations in samples.

Before my Aussie, my son wanted another dog, so we went to a breeder for a Blue Heeler pup. I let him pick the puppy. My other Blue Heeler was very smart, but the pup he picked was dumb as a box of rocks and untrainable even at age 2. He ended up passing away because he ate his pillow. Too much in breeding? Maybe, but my point is, you can't just say absolutely that one breed is necessarily one way or another, but what you can do is look carefully at the breeds characteristics in "general" and the breed characteristic "propensities", then VERY carefully select a sample within that breed standard.

This is a 10-15 year commitment after all, and IMO it should be approached that way and while you might get lucky on your snap judgment, your knowledge and your patience is the most important part of the selection process regardless of the breed.
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  #37  
Old 09-26-2009, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeLacy View Post
I think it's important to keep a point of reference when discussing breed characteristics, Augie and Saywer are CGC dogs, a great accomplishment no doubt, however for the average rescue, we're not comparing apples to apples.
Well, for one thing, that's because Auggie is not a rescue at all. And honestly, getting a CGC is not entirely hard. It can be challenging, particularly with a herding dog where reactivity is likely to be high, but there's a reason the AKC doesn't even put the CGC on a dog's official pedigree...

But yes, I am well aware that Auggie is not the average sheltie. That is 100% my point in my post and exactly why I said if you want an awesome sheltie, you really have to do the legwork to find a breeder who is producing them correctly.
The other option for a breeder in my town is a woman who just shows her dogs. She never called me back and since then I've met a dog of hers and I'm really glad she never called me back. There is nothing wrong with her dogs, but after Auggie, I would find that sort of dog very soft and, to be blunt, a little boring, LOL. Obviously if I never met Auggie's family and dogs like him, I'd be none the wiser, but now... I just will never be able to go back to that "flavour" of sheltie.

I'm not saying there aren't excellent shelties in rescue either. Happy was straight from a breeder, Kota straight from a rescue, and out of the two Kota is the "better" dog. Right now I'm looking for another working dog and have exactly the dog in mind, but I will absoutely someday in the future rescue another sheltie.


I also think that the neurotic sheltie reputation is really well compared to the crazy BC reputation, LOL.
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  #38  
Old 09-26-2009, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beanie View Post

I also think that the neurotic sheltie reputation is really well compared to the crazy BC reputation, LOL.
Yep. I spent all morning in a room full of 'crazy hyperactive' working border collies and they were all silent and laying down at their owner's feet patiently. They were all so well behaved lol.

Of my three shelties, trey was from what I consider a performance breeder. Light herding (nothing like USBCHA) and agility were her goals along with conformation. I can't really call those working lines as they're not like working lines are in other herding breeds. Rosie came from a farm. I'm pretty sure it was a byb but they actually did use her parents to help out with the farm. Nikki came from something you can't argue was a byb. Just some people that had shelties that had pups. Both Nik and Rosie I picked out because they were the most outgoing, energetic pups in their litter. Neither were amazingly bred but yet thye were both wonderful dogs and imo good examples of a proper sheltie temperament.
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