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Old 01-18-2010, 04:34 PM
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Default Saw my first Sheltie yesterday!

An older gentle man was walking him around the parking lot where I work. He/she was so beautiful. So what are they like? I know they have prey drive and grooming requirements. So what about health and temperament? Not talking about the byb ones, just the well bred ones.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:38 PM
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Well, I've had three, two from BYBs and one well bred one. Typically they are aloof with strangers but very loving towards their people. Shyness and timidity are not uncommon but are not correct. They're very soft dogs (except nikki who swear was really a spitz in disguise) and don't take well to harshness at all. I would call them medium to high energy. They were originally a working breed so that is important to remember. Very smart and easily trained. Overall they're very adaptable dogs. Oh and they bark a lot. lol

Mine actually didn't have a lot of prey drive. My female did obsess over our small mammals a lot and she couldn't be around them, but it's nowhere near as bad as Mia. They need to be brushed out a few times a week and probably daily during shedding season. The coat isn't as bad to keep up as it looks.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:42 PM
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About how hard is it to find a good one, IE:temperament and health, in TX? Also how do they do in the heat with all that fur? I have never owned anything with more than an inch of fur.
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Old 01-18-2010, 05:46 PM
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With temperament since shyness is not uncommon, I would go a meet the breeder's dogs first and make sure they're not terribly reserved. There's a lot of variation so be sure their dogs are the kind of dog you like.

I would check out the ASSA website and go from there. My breeder was from TX but she's stopped breeding. I haven't had shelties in a while so I don't know any good ones nowadays.

I had them in Texas (houston) and they were fine. They were not too keen on the humidity and just mainly stayed inside the days it was scorching, but then again so did everyone else. They do tend to prefer the cold and mine loved it when it snowed. They would have stayed out all day if they could. I would just opt to not do too much outdoors when it's too hot. They're adaptable enough that they can stay inside a day or two and not be too bad.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:07 PM
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They don't have prey drive, they have herding drive. A well bred sheltie is highly HIGHLY unlikely to demonstrate kill-bite; they can certainly be nippy and they may certainly be mouthy, but most of them are not going to have a predatory grab-bite either. If a sheltie has a grab-bite it's a concern. Can't herd sheep when you're trying to chomp a chunk out of them! I really don't think you'll find many well-bred shelties with prey drive. Even when Auggie once snagged a young bird out of midair, he did not bite strong enough to do any damage to it.

Proper temperament is a dog who is not shy. Like Laur said, a sheltie may be initially aloof towards a stranger; "reserved" is how some people describe it, because some shelties really don't care about strangers. They can become very one-person dogs where other people are not really important (not all are like this though.) But shyness is not at all acceptable though as she said, it's incredibly common. They should be sociable dogs on the whole that you can take anywhere and everywhere.
They should be incredibly smart and they should also possess a certain level of boldness. There is a very wonderful and accurate description of proper sheltie temperament in the book "Sheltie Talk" but I am at work right now and don't have it at hand to type up more of what it says. Anybody who is seriously considering a sheltie should find a copy of the book and read it. In the book she speaks about how she has no use (I believe she says precisely "no use," actually) for a dog who is soft and crumples under stress and pressure - and if you think about a sheltie working and herding, softness in the breed doesn't make any sense, which I believe is why she says she has "no use" for a soft sheltie.

Health problems include hip displaysia and to a lesser extent elbow displaysia; PRA and collie eye are both present in the breed, as is VWd. Thyroid testing is also a nice thing to see.


Auggie does all right in heat as long as he has plenty of free access to water. Their fur does protect them a little bit from overheating... I don't think they are really much worse off than a lot of breeds with the heat. Individual dogs may be more wussy with heat than others though, LOL, just like people are.

Adaptable is really the key word with the sheltie. A very young sheltie won't be happy being a couch potato but as they get older they are pretty cool with hanging out inside bumming around as long as they are with their people. Otherwise if you are the kind of person who wants a dog to go running with, a sheltie will most likely go running with you; if you really just want to go for a walk, they'll go for a walk and be fine with that too. Mental stimulation is more important than anything else and if you can provide that, you should be just fine. That said, they aren't the dog for everybody. They are herding dogs and as such they are unique and quirky dogs. Spend some quality time with several of them... you'll get a handle on "quirky" pretty quick and figure out if it's something you can deal with, LOL.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:15 PM
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Yeah Nikki was the opposite of a soft temperament lol. She also adored men too and wanted attention from all of them, but had no care to meet women. Even so she was a dog that came to strangers on her own terms and left on her own terms. She wasn't going to spend all day fawning over some random person like some dogs. AhemSummer.

she was almost spitzy in a way. Very independent and snarky, but quite a fun dog to have around.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:38 PM
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I've only known sweethearts . Many of my buyers previously owned them and many who had Goldens went to Shelties due to size .
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:38 PM
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I've only known sweethearts . Many of my buyers previously owned them and many who had Goldens went to Shelties due to size .
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:49 PM
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When I first got Auggie I was treating him like he was a soft dog, because my sister's (one of which is a puppymill dog and the other has a background of abuse) are... it took me a long time to be realize that he is not soft at all. I was even afraid of raising my voice a little because I didn't want to "break" him... LOL. Yeah I had nothing to worry about.

I took Auggie to PetSmart one day and there was an employee who thought he was the funniest thing. She stopped to admire him and because she was making eye contact with him, he turned and gave her this look... she started laughing and was like "Oh my God! What an expression! Seriously, he just gave me this look like 'What, you're staring at me, I'm cute, I know - so are you gonna pet me or somethin', you got treats, what's the deal here?'" He doesn't freak out in the presence of strangers like "OMG OMG PET ME OMG!!" but if he sees somebody making eye contact with him, he expects they will come up and pet him, just because that's usually how it goes. With the exception of when I was treating him for being calm around children and so he decided to go find a child, sit down next to her, then stare expectantly at me for a treat (*headdesk*) he doesn't really seek out strangers, but he's happy to be pet by them when it happens! I think a lot of shelties appraise strangers and try to figure out if they are worthy of their attention - or what's in it for them, LOL. Auggie would make a TERRIBLE watchdog, but I think if I had multiple shelties the barking might scare somebody away, haha. Or at least that's what I always tell myself. XD
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:06 PM
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Everyone else explained them pretty well. I have never owned a sheltie, but I travel with a sheltie breeder to shows. She's a good friend of mine. There are quite a few good breeders in TX. You can PM me if you want links, or email addresses.

They do pretty well in the heat and humidity. It's hot a good 9 months out of the year here and we practice agility and play fetch outside with my friends shelties. I will say, that I have yet to meet a sheltie who like water as much as my cattle dogs. My dogs will run for the birdbath/fountain and lay down in it when they get hot, the shelties will go drink out of it, but you won't catch them taking a dip
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