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rec.pets.dogs: Shetland Sheepdogs Breed-FAQ
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997
There are nearly 100 FAQ's available for this group. For a complete
listing of these, get the "Complete List of RPD FAQs". This article
is posted bimonthly in rec.pets.dogs, and is available via anonymous ftp
to rtfm.mit.edu under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at http://www.zmall.com/pet_talk/dog-fa.../faq-list.html, or
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in the body of the message.
This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below.
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is"
without express or implied warranty.
* Beverly Miller ] or
Originally written May 3, 1994; latest revision June 15, 1995.
Copyright (c) 1994, 1995 by Beverly Miller. All rights reserved.
Permission to make multiple copies is hereby expressly granted to
nonprofit dog clubs, humane societies, animal shelters and rescue
organizations, provided that this copyright statement and the article
This FAQ is intended as a supplement to, not a substitute for, the
general dog information found in other USENET dog FAQs.
Acknowledgements: Thanks are due the following individuals who
contributed to this FAQ: Connie Byrnes; Anita Fahrenwald; Ed Faulk;
Dee Flesher; Becky Golatzki, DVM; Ken Gravenstede; Peggy Hammond; John
De Hoog; Pam Lunsford; Cheryl May; Cindy Tittle Moore; Vicki Wilson;
and most of all, the Hearthside Shelties, past and present. There are
probably others I have forgotten to mention and to whom I humbly
apologize in advance. Any errors are, of course, mine.
* Updated overview of mailing lists, most of which had moved since
last update of this faq. Nov 1996 (CTM)
Table of Contents
* The American Sheltie Today
+ Coat Color/Markings
+ Other characteristics
+ Special considerations
* Medical Problems
+ Heartworm Medications
* Shelties in Other Countries
+ Shelties in Japan
* Information Sources
+ Books and Pamphlets
+ Sheltie periodicals (current)
+ Sheltie Gifts
+ Pedigree services specializing in Shelties
+ Sheltie medical problems bibliography
+ Sheltie Rescue Sources
+ ASSA (American Shetland Sheepdog Association)
+ Online information
As the name implies, the Shetland Sheepdog ("Sheltie") is indigenous
to the Shetland Islands, which lie in the wild seas between Scotland
and Norway. A land of brooding, barren beauty, Shetland and its
elusive natives have long figured prominently in European mythology.
This probably explains the more fanciful notions about the Sheltie's
origins: nineteenth-century Scots called them "peerie" (fairy) dogs,
and a more recent writer has attempted to link them with the
In fact, the incessant storms that sweep the North Atlantic, rather
than pixies or fairies, account for Shetland's other- worldly aura, as
well as the centuries of austerity endured by its inhabitants. With
topsoil and vegetation constantly threatened by erosion, Shetlanders
of necessity practiced economy in all things. The ponies, cattle and
sheep so essential to the local livelihood were turned out to forage,
while the few crops cultivated were sheltered in walled gardens on the
tiny "toons" (from the Norwegian tun, for "farm"). However, the two
means of subsistence often came into conflict when the nimble Shetland
animals jumped the stone walls to feast on the tender sprouts growing
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the thrifty islanders had
begun to breed small agile dogs, which they called "toonies," to keep
the ponies and sheep off the "toons" and out of the crops. Little is
known of the dogs' ancestry. An earlier, larger sheepdog of Shetland,
various British working collies, the Icelandic Yakkie, and dwarf
spaniels may all have contributed genes, but nothing is recorded of
the Shelties' history until close to the end of the century.
British fanciers' interest in the toonies apparently coincided with
the depletion of their numbers. By the late 1800's, sailors from
whaling vessels were reportedly carrying many of the little island
dogs off to serve as ships' dogs, or as gifts for loved ones back
home. Maxwell Riddle has suggested that the first Shelties may have
arrived in America this way. As they would have been pets, rather than
show or breeding stock, their genes do not survive in today's AKC
The first breeders to take on the task of "preserving and purifying"
the toonies soon developed serious differences. Some sought to
perpetuate the characteristics of the crofters' dogs, which were
described in a publication of the day as 10-11" tall, weighing 6-10
lbs, "pretty, intelligent and hardy." However, other breeders saw the
toonies as little more than mongrels, and in need of considerable
The latter group sought to strengthen what they perceived to be the
toonie's best traits by crossing them with small rough Collies (at the
turn of the century, British Collies were not nearly as large as
today's American standard Collies). This practice was accepted at the
time by the [English] Kennel Club, which required documentation for
three generations before progeny could be registered. These "declared
crosses" produced a somewhat bigger dog, which was called the Shetland
Collie. Subsequent efforts to bring the dogs' size back down by
selective crosses with toy breeds resulted in a loss of Collie type
and were soon abandoned.
The Kennel Club recognized the Shetland Collie in 1909, and a year
later, the first representative of the new breed was registered with
the American Kennel Club. In 1914, following a series of objections by
Collie fanciers, the Shetland Collie was officially renamed the
Shetland Sheepdog. A World War I breeding ban in Britain significantly
set back the Sheltie's progress, but after it was lifted, American
fanciers began to import more Shelties, and by 1929, there were enough
enthusiasts to form the American Shetland Sheepdog Association. ASSA
held its first specialty show in 1933.
Imports from England continued until the 1950's, when American and
British Shelties began to diverge greatly in type. This may be partly
attributable to American Collie crosses which remain undocumented, as
AKC has always forbidden cross-breeding. It may also result from the
fact that the English standard has long declared an ideal height for
all Shelties (14" for bitches; 14.5" for dogs), while the American
standard does not give preference to any height between 13 and 16
inches. (Prior to adoption of the present standard in the 1950's,
American Sheltie champions could be as tall as 18"). Today Shelties
from the two countries are distinctly different, and U.S.-U.K. imports
While Sheltie numbers increased steadily in the United States, for
many years they remained considerably less well known than their
Collie cousins. By 1980, however, the situation had reversed, and in
contrast to the larger breed, the Shetland Sheepdog has appeared on
AKC's list of the ten most popular dogs twelve of the past fifteen
years. By the early 1990's, however, Sheltie popularity seems to have
peaked, and as with a number of popular purebreds, Sheltie
registrations are now dropping dramatically. In 1992, they were the #9
breed with 43,449 individual registrations. In 1993, they were #10,
with 41,113 registrations. The most recent AKC statistics (published
in April 1995 for 1994) record Sheltie 36,853 registrations, putting
the breed now at #13.
The American Sheltie Today
To some degree, the debate over which characteristics shall prevail
continues in the U.S. today. This results in considerably more
variation than is suggested by the AKC Standard.
American Shelties come in a range of sizes. Pet-owners cannot take too
literally labels that tell how much to feed a Sheltie, charts that
provide ideal weights for different breeds, or even advertisements for
"Sheltie-sized" crates and other accessories. While show Shelties must
measure between 13-16" at the shoulder, the vast majority are over
14", and keeping their dogs "in size" is a constant problem for some
breeders. Pet Shelties have been known to reach 20" or more, and weigh
upwards of 40 lbs. At the same time, petite Shelties of less than 13"
are still sometimes seen. This diversity gives rise to confusing
terms. Newspaper ads regularly list "toy collies," "miniature
collies," or even "toy Shelties" for sale. No such breeds exist. A
Sheltie is a Sheltie, regardless of size.
A Sheltie's height is not an indication of its health, soundness or
temperament. Nevertheless, pet-owners may have legitimate concerns
about size. Your best resource in this matter is a knowledgeable
breeder. Both over-sized (over 16") and under-sized (below 13")
individuals can appear in the same litter. This is particularly true
when an ill-informed "breeder," lacking a working knowledge of
genetics, mistakenly believes they can "average out" size by mating a
big Sheltie with a small one. Moreover, different Sheltie lines mature
at different rates: the biggest pup at six weeks may not be biggest at
six months. A reputable breeder, who has invested years in studying
both the breed and their particular line, will provide the best
estimate regarding the size a given pup will reach at maturity.
Shelties also come in a variety of colors. Although genetically, there
are only two Sheltie coat colors (black and brown), many terms are
used to describe the different shades of Sheltie.
Sable Shelties are brown or tan, with coats ranging from pale lemon or
ginger through mahogany. The darker ones usually have black "guard"
hairs over the brown. These are called "shaded sables" or
"tri-factored sables." Some sables, both light and dark, have a red
cast to their coats, hence the term "red sables." Sables usually have
white markings, but these may vary from prominent to almost
non-existent. Regardless of the amount of white, or the amount of
black or red cast, all sables should be registered with the AKC as
Black Shelties are registered with the AKC as Tri-colors when they
have white and tan markings, or as Bi-blacks when they are marked with
white only. When black Shelties have a coppery cast to their coat,
this is called "rusting." It is a fault in the show ring, but in no
way affects their value as pets.
Blue Merles are genetically black Shelties whose coat color has been
modified by the merling gene. This makes them appear to be dappled
silver and black, usually with black patches. Blue merles also differ
from other Shelties in that they may have blue or brown eyes (or one
of each), or merle eyes, which appear to be both brown and blue. This
does not indicate any vision deficiency. Blue merles are also usually
marked with varying amounts of white, and may or may not have tan
markings. Those without tan markings are called Bi-Blues.
There are two kinds of white Shelties. One type is called the
"color-headed white." "White factor" determines the Sheltie's
so-called Dutch or Irish markings (the white collar, bib and cuffs)
which are associated with Lassie but are not required for the show
ring. Some heavily white-factored dogs have white haunches and legs, a
huge white collar, and completely white shoulders and forelegs. Such a
dog may have so much white on its body that only a "saddle" or a few
patches of color remain. Its head, however, contains no more white
than any other Sheltie's might. (This is similar to what is called
parti-color in other breeds). At present, the AKC Standard severely
penalizes any show Sheltie that is over 50% white. However,
color-headed white Collies have long been accepted in the show ring,
and many fanciers believe color-headed white Shelties should be also.
In any event, color headed whites are completely normal. They can be
shown at non-AKC shows and are entirely suitable as pets or obedience
The same cannot be said for the white "double" or homozygous merles
which result from merle-merle breedings. (Usually the parents are both
blues, but there are rare sable merles as well. Sheltie color genetics
are very complicated, and no one should attempt breeding without a
thorough understanding of all the possibilities.) The "double merle"
usually has a great deal of white on its head as well as its body.
These dogs are blind unless a black patch appears over an eye, and
deaf unless a black patch appears over an ear. They frequently have
heart and other problems as well, and are not recommended as pets.
With the exception of the "double" merle described above, Shelties of
all colors make equally satisfactory companions. There is no
connection between a Sheltie's temperament or trainability and its
coat color. Although the sables continue to be popular with the
public, many breed fanciers prefer the blue merles and tri-colors.
Pet Shelties may show similar variation in other characteristics as
well. Some have the broad back skull and heavy ears of the early farm
collies. Others possess the tiny, foxy faces and prick ears that were
common among their early island antecedents. Some Shelties are
finely-built and dainty looking, while others are heavily boned, with
long heads, necks and/or backs. While most people find the above as
endearing as any champion, it does mean that your Sheltie might look
quite different from the one down the street.
Despite their thick coats, Shelties are not suited to outdoor living.
They should always be protected from extremes of heat and cold.
Sociable animals, they hate being isolated, and Shelties who feel
abandoned can develop behavioral problems. On the other hand, Shelties
usually possess a strong denning instinct, and adapt well to crates.
If a Sheltie must be alone during the day, a crate indoors is a far
better solution than solitary confinement in the back yard or
While some Shelties are sedate and enjoy the quiet life, many modern
Shelties have relatively high exercise requirements. Some experts
recommend a two-mile daily walk as ideal. Shelties often take great
joy in such sports as obedience, fly-ball, frisbee, herding, agility,
and tracking. However, although the breed has an impressive record of
achievement in these activities, not all Shelties are built to work.
Sporting enthusiasts may need to take greater care than in some breeds
to insure getting a sound prospect for competition.
As suggested above, Sheltie temperaments also differ, and this may be
of considerable significance to the pet owner. Shelties
characteristically make affectionate and intelligent pets, bonding
strongly to their primary person(s). They are also usually excellent
household watchdogs, and those raised with children generally become
fine family dogs. Possessed of a powerful instinct to please, Shelties
are sensitive and respond best to gentle but consistent handling and
training. Around strangers, the breed is often described as reserved,
although some of today's Shelties greet strangers with enthusiasm. If
relatively few still display the timidity which was an early fault in
the breed, the type described by the older (and English) Sheltie books
as content to sit home by the hearth, grateful for only an afternoon's
leisurely stroll, is also scarcer than it once was. Many American
Shelties now have noisy "terrier-type" personalities: spirited,
sometimes stubborn, high-energy dogs, they need to be kept busy.
This makes choosing the right Sheltie a lot more difficult than one
might suspect, seeing a sweet face in the pet store window. The
perfect dog for obedience or herding might be a nightmare for a
sedentary person, while their docile darling could suffer sadly in a
family of rowdy pre-teens. When you seek out the services of a
seasoned breeder, s/he will ask many questions in order to make the
best possible match to your particular needs. Avoid dealing with
anyone who is more interested in making a sale than in facilitating an
informed selection. After all, with luck and good care, your Sheltie
should be with you for twelve or more years (some have survived to
twenty!) and it is worth investing a little extra time, effort and
money at the outset.
While Shetland Sheepdogs possess many delightful qualities that make
them rewarding companions, they also have two traits that may give
pause to potential pet-owners. They shed and they bark. Before
acquiring a Sheltie, you should consider carefully whether you are
willing to assume the special responsibilities associated with these.
The Sheltie is a double-coated breed and requires a minimum of one
thorough brushing a week to maintain cleanliness and health. During
sheds, daily attention is a must. Most adult, neutered Shelties cast
coat once a year. When youngsters "blow" their puppy coat, it seems as
if there is fur everywhere, but this only happens once. Generally,
dogs (males) have heavier coats than bitches, and of course the bigger
the adult Sheltie, the more coat there will be to deal with. However,
unspayed bitches moult the most, shedding with each seasonal cycle,
rather than annually -- one more argument for having your female fixed
as soon as possible. (Bitches also lose much of their coat after each
litter. Don't be disappointed if your pup's dam appears to be skimpily
clad. Your spayed or neutered pet Sheltie need never look that naked!)
The other challenge to owning a Sheltie is that they are notorious
barkers. To some extent, this varies with the individual, but as a
breed they are known to be vocal. And unlike some smaller breeds which
are barky but have "baby" voices, Shelties possess a penetrating bark.
Your neighbors may not appreciate the fact that your dog's ancestors
always lived within three miles of the ocean, and had to be heard over
the sound of crashing surf, the call of sea animals, the bleating of
lambs, and the howl of high winds. Train your Sheltie early to stop
barking once you have determined that there is nothing to be concerned
about. If you are unsure how to do this, ask your breeder or
veterinarian for the name of a reputable trainer. Two or more Shelties
can be next to impossible to keep quiet, which is why many
multiple-Sheltie owners have some of their dogs de- barked. You may
want to discuss this option with your breeder or veterinarian as well.
The Standard is the physical "blueprint" of the breed. It describes
the physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed
otherwise known as _type_. Some characteristics, such as size, coat
quality, and movement, are based on the original (or current) function
for the dog. Other characteristics are more cosmetic such as eye
color; but taken together they set this breed apart from all others.
The Standard describes an _ideal_ representive of the breed. No
individual dog is perfect, but the Standard provides an ideal for the
breeder to strive towards.
Because of copyright concerns over the collection of all the Standards
at any single site storing all the faqs, AKC Standards are not
typically included in the Breed faqs. The reader is referred to the
publications at the end of this document or to the National Breed Club
for a copy of the Standard.
Regrettably, the excesses of top-ten popularity have permitted a
number of congenital/hereditary problems to proliferate in this
basically healthy, long-lived breed. Fortunately, testing can identify
many of these before they are passed on. One hallmark of the
responsible breeder is that they will have tested all their breeding
1. Eye disease, which in Shelties includes Progressive Retinal
Atrophy (PRA), Central PRA (CPRA), Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) which
is also called Sheltie Eye Syndrome (SES), and Corneal Dystrophy
2. von Willebrand's Disease (vWD) and other hereditary bleeding
3. Canine Hip dysplasia (CHD), and
4. Thyroid disease, which in Shelties has been linked to several
other medical problems.
Before being bred, both bitches and studs should be registered with
CERF (the Canine Eye Registration Foundation) and cleared by the OFA
(Orthopedic Foundation for Animals). In addition, they should be
tested for both thyroid and vWD. Beware of breeders who can't be
bothered, or those who have tested one dog and so claim to know all of
their dogs are "clear."
Alas, other inherited diseases found in Shelties cannot be so readily
detected: epilepsy (canine seizure disorder); liver, kidney and
pancreas conditions; two forms of Lupus; several skin diseases, and an
occasional cancer have been reported to disproportionately affect some
lines. See the Usenet Collie FAQ and Canine Medical Information FAQs
for further discussion, as well as the Sheltie medical problems
bibliography in the Information section that follows.
Before you buy a puppy, always ask the breeder about any problems
found in their line. Breeders who deny the existence of Sheltie
medical problems are not being honest: shop elsewhere. A reputable
breeder will provide a written guarantee on the health of a puppy, and
will want to know immediately about any medical problems that arise.
Heartworm has become a national problem, and most veterinarians
recommend protecting your dog with some kind of regularly administered
preventative medication. However, some Shelties, Collies, and related
breeds have an unusual sensitivity to Ivermectin, the active
ingredient in the popular monthly heartworm preventative called
Heartguard. The monthly medication Interceptor was developed
especially for these sensitive breeds. Its active ingredient is
milbemycin, which has been demonstrated safe for Shelties and their
relatives. The daily heartworm medication Filaribits is also safe for
these dogs, although some concern has been expressed about possible
liver damage connected with extra ingredient in Filaribits Plus.
Shelties in Other Countries
Note: in an effort to make this FAQ more relevant to readers outside
the U.S., and to provide an international perspective for American
fanciers, this section is available to whomever is willing to
contribute information about Shelties in their country. Information
would be particularly welcome from fanciers in the U.K. and Canada.
Meanwhile, special thank-yous to John De Hoog, who submits this
revealing report from Japan.
Shelties in Japan
The first Sheltie to come to Japan by "official channels" was brought
here in 1955 by Kameo Kido. Before leaving the U.S., Geronimo Jackpot
had been bred to Ch. Geronimo Crown Prince. In Japan, she whelped one
female pup. Kido then imported Geronimo Prince Regent to be her male
counterpart. The Geronimo line never developed very far in Japan,
however, and no more from this line were brought to Japan after they
The Shelties coming out of the Page's Hill kennel fared much better.
They were imported by the Green Hill kennel of the Japan Shetland
Sheepdog Club (JSSC), and included Ch. Stronghold O'Page's Hill, the
first American Sheltie champion to be brought to Japan. Mr. Ohashi of
Green Hill imported this dog after careful research of the breed, and
he subsequently imported other outstanding dogs from this line, in the
process creating a strain of Japanese Shelties quite different from
those that preceded it.
Most of the other Shelties that were introduced to Japan in later
years came from American kennels. Around two-thirds of the Shelties
now in Japan are registered with the AKC. A third are registered with
the Japan Kennel Club and a mere handful (just over 3,000) with the
English Kennel Club. Meanwhile, Japanese breeders have been producing
their own strains, some quite lovely. AKC refuses to recognize any of
these, so in this case the trade imbalance is all in America's favor.
The Japanese public soon fell in love with these dogs, and in the
1980's the Shetland Sheepdog became the most popular breed in Japan.
The number of Sheltie registrations peaked in 1988 at 32,000, then
started dropping. There were 27,821 registrations in 1991 and 24,230
in 1992. At that time the Sheltie was the third most popular dog in
Japan, following the Siberian Husky (58,381 registrations) and Shih
Tzu (44,322). (Many Shibas and other Japanese breeds remain
unregistered in their native land).
The declining popularity of the Sheltie in Japan today is evident in
the large numbers here that are elderly and not very healthy. Japanese
tend to have fickle tastes when it comes to dogs. The Sheltie's looks
and gentleness with children contributed to their initial appeal.
Today there are fewer children, and the Sheltie's tendency to run
around excitedly and to be rather noisy is a definite disadvantage in
a crowded city like Tokyo. Today those who can afford the luxury of
space seem to be turning to Goldens (whose registration doubled in
1992), while the toy breeds are becoming more popular with others.
Still, the Sheltie is likely to remain as one of the top ten favorites
in Japan for some time, even if the initial fad has come and gone.
John De Hoog
Books and Pamphlets
1. _American Shetland Sheepdog Association_, c/o Mrs. Dorothy
Christiansen, 13520 Bruce Rd, Lockport IL 65441 (tel 815-485-3726
after 4 PM CST).
Send SASE for publication list, which includes the annual ASSA
HANDBOOKS, the PICTORIAL STANDARD, "The Shetland Sheepdog," a
pamphlet for new puppy-owners, etc.
2. Baker, Maurice. _Shetland Sheepdogs Today_. Ringpress Bks (UK),
distributed by Seven Hills, 1993. 160p.
Baker has had Shelties since 1954 and with wife Sheila now runs
one of the leading Shetland Sheepdog kennels in the U.K. Pam
Lunsford, a dog book collector and Sheltie fancier, reminds us
that recent British books depict a different type of Sheltie than
is produced in the U.S. today. Although they began from the same
roots, British and American Shelties have diverged greatly, so
that "our Shelties don't really look like theirs. A new Sheltie
person shouldn't expect an American Sheltie pup to grow up looking
like an English one."
3. Davis, Mary. _Pet-Owner's Guide to the Shetland Sheepdog_. Howell,
4. Davis, Mary. _Shetland Sheepdogs_. Arthur Barker (UK), 1973.
5. Haderlie, Jan and Peggy. _Color Inheritance Charts for the
Shetland Sheepdog_. Carlsbad CA: Sheltie International, 1983. 20p.
To see if they have these informative charts still available,
contact the International at its latest address (see under
6. Herbert, Berryl M. _The Shetland Sheepdog_. Arco, 1976. 92p.
Beryl and Joan Herbert of Harrowgate, U.K., a famous English
sister team of Sheltie breeders, established their Shelert line in
7. Hess, Lilo. _Life Begins for Puppies_. Scribner, 1978. 34p.
A children's book about a litter of four Sheltie pups.
8. Hostetter, Karen D. _The Shetland Sheepdog Pedigree Book_
(formerly the _Shetland Sheepdog Reference Book_), 1993.
Available from Karen Hostetter, The Shetland Sheepdog Library,
4206 Dolphin Rd, Louisville KY 40220-3502. Karen also publishes
Sheltie Kennelogs and a ROM book; write for additional
9. Johnson, Margaret Sweet. _Gay, A Shetland Sheepdog_. Morrow, 1948.
Another children's book.
10. Jones, Chris, Jean Fergus, Mona Simmons and Susan Ferroni-
Keleher. _The New Shetland Sheepdog Puppy-Owners Manual_. Reporter
Highly recommended intro to Sheltie-owning from the Sheltie
11. McKinney, Betty Jo. _Sheltie Talk_. Rev ed. Alpine Publications,
Top-rated Sheltie book. Barbara Hagen Riesenberg co- authored the
first edition of this classic, touted by Sheltie-Listers as THE
title to buy if you only get one. Betty Jo McKinney produced the
revised ed after Riesenberg's death in 1980. This is now out of
print as well. A third edition is reportedly due out in summer of
12. Moody, Jan. _Shetland Sheepdogs: The Sheltie_. Bredicot
Publications (UK), date?
13. Moore, Catherine Coleman. _The Complete Shetland Sheepdog_.
Denlingers, 1960. 127p.
Catherine Coleman (later Moore) was one of the founders of the
ASSA, and remained active in that organization into the 1970's.
She produced the first American-bred Sheltie champion, Miss
Blackie, in 1931. Coleman's Sheltieland Kennel was for many years
one of the nation's most famous (see note under Thynne). Her books
have long been considered classics, and this 1960 title is today a
rare collector's item.
14. Moore, Catherine Coleman. _The Shetland Sheepdog_. W.W. Gallagher,
Written under the author's maiden name, Catherine E. Coleman.
15. Miller, Evelyn. _How To Raise And Train A Shetland Sheepdog_. TFH
Publications, 1982. 96p.
16. Nicholas, Anna Katherine. _The Book Of The Shetland Sheepdog_. TFH
Publications, distributor. 1984. 544p.
Nicholas is a Poodle and Beagle fancier who has written for the
AKC Gazette and other dog magazines, and authored books on many
breeds. This is a large, lavish book, profusely illustrated with
many photos not found elsewhere. However, it has not been
generously received in the "Sheltie press," with reviewers
complaining that her version of American Sheltie history is
distorted and incomplete.
17. Osborne, Margaret. _The Popular Shetland Sheepdog_. 6th ed. Arco
Margaret Osborne of Shiel Shelties (England) began showing the
breed in 1925. Maxwell Riddle, in the first edition of his book
(q.v.) calls her kennels "world famous."
18. Pisano, Beverly. _Shetland Sheepdogs_. TFH Publications, 1994.
19. Puxley, W. Lavallin. _Collies & Sheepdogs_. Gordon Press, 1992.
20. Riddle, Maxwell. _The New Complete Shetland Sheepdog_. Howell
House, 1991. 210p.
Riddle is a distinguished breeder-exhibitor (but not of Shelties)
and judge who is Past President of the Dog Writer's Association
and currently President of AKC's Board of Directors. In 1972, he
travelled to Shetland to collect material for the first edition of
21. Rogers, Felicity M. _All About the Shetland Sheepdog_. 2nd rev ed.
Pelham Books (UK), 1980. 128p.
The Misses Rogers (Patience was the other sister) established
their Riverhill Shelties in England in 1932, after becoming
acquainted with the breed through an uncle, who owned a Sheltie as
early as 1914. Their dogs earned many accolades and Felicity
judged several times at Crufts and in the U.S. Like many of the
older British books, this volume, with its rare photos of early
Shelties, is a treasure trove for the breed historian.
22. Ross, Barb. _The Illustrated Guide To Sheltie Grooming_. Alpine
Barb's Happy Glen Shelties include BIS and champion show dogs, as
well as obedience, agility and herding titled dogs. She has
studied art and here combines her interest in grooming and
illustration to provide a very useful guide.
23. Schneider, Earl. _Know Your Shetland Sheepdog_. Pet Library, no
Probably published in the early 1960's.
24. Schneider, Evelyn. _The Shetland Sheepdog_. Denlingers, 1994.
25. Scott, John Paul and John L. Fuller. _Dog Behavior: The Genetic
Basis_ (originally published as _Genetics And The Social Behavior
Of The Dog_.) University of Chicago Press, 1965.
A pioneering study based on 20 years' research, its major
contribution was providing scientific evidence for heredity's
effect on canine traits, and documenting the fact that breeds
differ significantly in their emotional and motivational
characteristics. The team of scientists chose representatives from
each of the (then) five AKC groups for their study: Basenjis,
Beagles, Cockers, Wire- haired Fox Terriers, and Shetland
26. Sheltie Pacesetter (magazine). _Trade Secrets_. Write the
Pacesetter at P. O. Box 3310, Palos Verdes, CA 90274-3310.
This collection of tips won an award from the Dog Writers
27. Shiel. _The Shetland Sheepdog_. J. Bartholomew (UK), 1977. 96p.
28. Simons, Joan. _High Jumps And Dumbbells_. Alpine, 1979. 1380p.
The author of this book about an obedience Sheltie was a former
high school English teacher who wrote for Dog World and breed
magazines and trained her Shelties in obedience.
29. Sucher, Jaime J. _Shetland Sheepdogs: Everything About Purchase,
Care, Nutrition, Breeding And Diseases, With A Special Chapter On
Understanding Shetland Sheepdogs_. Barrons, 1990. 79P.
30. Taynton, Mark. _Shetland Sheepdogs: History, Training, Health
Care, Breeding, Showing, Grooming_. TFH Publications, 1973. 128p.
31. Thynne, Beryle. _The Shetland Sheepdog_. Originally published in
the U.K. in 1916; a reprint ed was issued in 1990.
Thynne was an important figure in early Sheltie history. She
registered some of the first "Shetland Collies" in England in
1913, and her Kilravock Kennels would later be one of the few to
preserve their breeding stock through the British ban during WWI.
In the early 1920's, her dogs began to be imported to the U.S, and
Maxwell Riddle has contended that one of these, Kilravock Lassie
(owned by Catherine Coleman) "should probably be given credit for
establishing the breed in America."
32. Whelen, Betty. _No Greater Love_. Alpine, 1988. 189p.
In 1931, breed pioneer W. W. Gallagher contracted a Pennsylvania
Collie breeder-handler named Betty Whelen to show his English
Sheltie Ch. Helensdale Laddie at Westminster. Laddie became the
foundation for Gallagher's famous Page's Hill Shelties, and
inspired Whelen to import Syncopating Sue, which started her
Pocono Shelties. Whelen's dogs are behind many modern lines and
she continued breeding into the 1980's. Her presence at the ASSA
National was an annual event until she died in 1995. This title
consists of her memoirs. Whelen also provided much of the
background material for Nicholas' book.
33. Widder, Robert B. _Jennie Has A Birthday_. Carolrhoda Books, 1974.
For works issued in several editions, only the latest is listed.
Titles may vary slightly from edition to edition. Some of these are
long out of print, but may be found in libraries, and occasionally for
sale by dealers specializing in OP dog books. (For addresses, see the
ads in Sheltie magazines and the _AKC Gazette_, _Dog Fancy_, and _Dog
A few of the above titles are designed for sale in pet stores. They
encourage readers to purchase puppies in such shops, and recommend
that you buy pet supplies (which they advertise by brand name) there
as well. Some also suggest that you breed your pet Sheltie. None of
these notions is endorsed by the author of this FAQ.
Sheltie periodicals (current)
1. _ASSA Handbook_. Annual. American Shetland Sheepdog Association,
c/o Mrs. Dorothy Christiansen, 13520 Bruce Rd, Lockport IL 65441.
Write for price list of in-print issues, or see ads in the Sheltie
magazines (below). Mrs. Christiansen also buys out-of-print _ASSA
Handbooks_ from those who no longer want them, and matches them
with her list of people who wish to buy these older editions as
they become available.
2. _Cassette_ (formerly Collie and Sheltie Cassette). Quarterly. Anne
Lively, editor. 2 Hemlock Cove Rd, R.R. No. 3, Falmouth ME 04105.
3. _Sheltie International_. Bi-monthly (6 issues/year). Jean Fergus,
ed. Reporter Publications, Box 6369, Los Osos, CA 93412. Phone:
(805) 528-2007, fax: (805) 528-8200. $43/year.
4. _Sheltie Pacesetter_. Bi-monthly. Nancy Lee Marshall, editor and
publisher, is moving to Tennessee in May 1995. She can be reached
at P.O. Box 158, McKenzie, TN 38201. Her California office will
remain accessible by telephone (310-791-0102) until further
Sample issues of the above are generally available; contact the
publishers for more information.
These earlier Sheltie magazines had all ceased publication by the
* _Collie And Shetland Sheepdog Review_
* _Sheltie Special_
* _Shetland Sheepdog Review_
The Mid-Florida Shetland Sheepdog Club's annual calendar is a
classic. 1995 calendars are available (while they last) from
Shelby Price, 2841 Elizabeth Place, Lakeland FL 33813. Cost:
$10.50 single copy; two for $20, three for $28.50, four for
$37, five for $44.50 or six for $52. Make checks payable (US $
only) to Keynote Specialties. Canada and Mexico add $2 postage;
Overseas add $5. Florida orders add 6% sales tax.
Dog Cookie Recipe Books
Riley County (Kansas) Sheltie Rescue publishes this
mouth-watering collection of 42 dog cookie recipes, including
several for liver, cheese, no-bake and other treats. Also
includes a recipe for cat cookies and upset-tummy remedies for
Shelties who overindulge! Send $5 (includes shipping and
handling) to Riley County Sheltie Rescue, 2005 Somerset Square,
Manhattan KS 66502-2197.
Sheltie Specialties' catalog
Offers prints, magnets, clocks mailboxes, license plates, ties,
stained glass and other products emblazoned with your favorite
breed. Write for a copy to: 6711 Shamrock Glen, Middleton WI
53562, or call (608) 836-5033.
Pedigree services specializing in Shelties
1. Shelti-Data, Ann Hedge, 1880 E Andromeda Place, Tucson AZ 85737.
2. Shetland Sheepdog Library, Karen D. Hostetter, 4206 Dolphin Rd,
Louisville, KY 40220-3502.
Sheltie medical problems bibliography
Most discussions of canine medical problems do not deal specifically
with one breed. As a result, owners often turn to specialty magazines
for this kind of information. However, articles in fanciers' magazines
frequently reflect one breeder's experience, or the second-hand
opinion of one or a few vets with whom the author consulted. Such
accounts may be interesting and suggestive, but should be supplemented
with more systematic studies when available. The following reports
from scientific sources deal specifically with the incidence of
diseases or conditions in Shetland Sheepdogs. However, they should not
be relied on as a substitute for expert advice.
Hayes, Howard M. "Canine Bladder Cancer: Epidemiological Features,"
_American Journal Of Epidemiology_ 114 (1981): 229-233.
A National Cancer Institute scientist's retrospective study
(1964-75) of 114 dogs in which diagnoses of primary bladder cancer
had been confirmed by biopsy. Of the 28 breeds represented in the
study, "four... were identified with ex- cessive risk for bladder
cancer and may serve as models for future research into genetic
determinants." The breeds (in order): Cairns, Shelties, Scotties
CANINE HIP DYSPLASIA (CHD)
Shook, Larry. _The Puppy Report_. Lyons & Burford, 1992.
Contains tabulations of OFA data for breeds with over 100
evaluations, Jan 1974-March 1979. During that period, 733 Shelties
were OFA'd, 6.1% of which were found to be dysplastic.
(Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), Sheltie Eye Syndrome (SES), etc).
"Eye Diseases of the Shetland Sheepdog in Australia." _Australian
Veterinary Practitioner_ 22 (1992): 22
Shook, Larry. _The Puppy Report_. Lyons & Burford, 1992.
Shook's tabulations of 1989 CERF data reveal that in that year,
1576 Shelties were tested by CERF ophthalmologists in the U.S. &
Canada. 24% of the males and 27% of the females were found to be
affected with some kind of eye problem. Altogether 221 conditions
were found in the males, and 309 in the females (some Shelties had
more than one condition).
Ackerman, Norman; Ronald Burk; Allen Wheeler, and Howard M Hayes Jr.
"Patent Ductus Arteriosus in the Dog: a Retrospective Study of
Radiographic, Epidemiologic, and Clinical Findings." _American Journal
Of Veterinary Research_ 39 (1978): 1805-1810.
This group reviewed epidemiologic features of 523 cases of dogs
diagnosed with PDA which had been submitted to the National Cancer
Institute's Veterinary Medical Data Program. They identified four
breeds at high risk for PDA: Miniature and Toy Poodles,
Pomeranians, and Shetland Sheepdogs.
VON WILLEBRAND'S DISEASE (vWD)
Avgeris, Sophia; Clinton D. Lothrop, Jr and T.P. McDonald. "Plasma von
Willebrand factor concentration and thyroid function in dogs." JAVMA
(_Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association_) 196 (March
15, 1990): 921.
Avgeris et al tested 30 dogs, half of which were suspected to have
low thyroid function, and found these dogs to have lower mean vW
factor:antigen than those with normal thyroid function. vWF:Ag
increased in hypothyroid dogs treated with thyroxine.
Brooks, Marjory W., W. Jean Dodds, and Sharon L. Raymond,
"Epidemiologic Features of vWD in Doberman Pinchers, Scottish
Terriers, and Shetland Sheepdogs," _JAVMA_ 200 (April, 1992): 1123-
Between 1985-88, this team tested 4,249 Shelties and found 28% had
abnormal vWF:Ag concentration (less than 50%). Moreover, during
this period, significant increases in prevalence of this problem
were observed among Shelties. Mean age for symptoms to show up in
Shelties was 1.9 years. In affected dogs, bleeding was most
commonly seen from mucosal surfaces and sites of surgery or trauma.
In Shelties, mucosal bleeding typically came from the oral or nasal
Raymond, Sharon, Douglas W. Jones, Marjory B. Brooks and W. Jean
Dodds. "Clinical and Laboratory Features of a Severe Form of von
Willebrand Disease in Shetland Sheepdogs." _JAVMA_ 197 (Nov 15, 1990):
This study focuses on 10 Shelties w/the most severe form of vWD,
but also reports that 23% (1428) of the more than 6000 Shelties
screened at their facility tested within the heterozygous carrier
range for the most common type (I) of vWD.
Fortin, Guy. "Canine Familial Dermatomyositis: Clinical Case in a
Shetland Sheepdog Puppy." _Medecin Veterinaire Du Quebec_ (Text in
French w/English summary) 21 (1991): 8-9, 11.
Describes the case history, clinical signs, diagnostic procedures
and treatment of a Sheltie pup presented for a facial dermatosis.
Hargis, Ann and Alan C. Mundell. "Familial Canine Dermatomyositis."
_Compendium On Continuing Education For The Practicing Veterinarian_
14 (July 1992): 885.
Noxon, James O. and Ronald Myers. "Pemphigus Foliaceus in Two Shetland
Sheepdog Littermates." _JAVMA_ 194 (1989): 545
See Avgeris et al above, under von Willebrand's Disease.
Marks, Thomas A; Diana Schellenberg, Carl M. Metzler; Jo Oostveen and
Mary Jane Morey. "Effect of dog food containing 460 parts- per-million
fluoride on rat reproduction." _Journal Of Toxicology And
Environmental Health_ 14 (1984): 707-714.
What, you may be wondering, does this have to do with Shelties?
Well, Shelties were the original "rats," and this report provides a
rare example of a breeder who worked with the scientific community
to solve a problem. The rat study was initiated at Moribrook
Shelties in Allegan County MI as part of an investigation launched
after 115 litters either were born deformed, or died shortly after
birth. Moribrook was an old, established kennel, and the problems
had come on suddenly. Moreover, when the sires and dams involved
were shipped to other kennels, they reproduced normally. This
suggested an environmental cause, and raised concerns about human
health as well. Because some Shelties had developed mottled teeth
and bony growths after eating food containing fluoride, the
scientists wondered if fluoride was also implicated in their
fertility problems. However, the study failed to bear this out, and
the culprit later turned out to be chemicals polluting the water
Nakahata, K; Yuji Uzuka and H. Matsumoto. "Hyperkinetic Involuntary
Movements in a Young Shetland Sheepdog." _Journal Of The American
Animal Hospital Association_ 28 (1992): 347.
Drug therapy did not improve the condition. Histologic examination
of the brain revealed no significant abnormalities.
Mauterer, J.V, Jr, R.G. Prata, C. Carberry and S. Schrader.
"Displacement of the tendon of the superficial digital flexor muscle
in dogs: 10 cases." _JAVMA_ 208 (1993): 1162-1165.
Reports on 10 cases this team saw between 1983-91, four of which
were in Shelties. Dogs did not respond satisfactorily to exercise
restriction, bandaging and anti-inflammatories, but normal function
returned following surgical reconstruction of the supporting soft
Sheltie Rescue Sources
A personal note: Between our breed's current popularity, and the
disjointed times in which we live, many older Shelties become homeless
these days, through no fault of their own. These second- hand dogs
typically make wonderful pets, and some have gone on to become
outstanding obedience and agility competitors as well. Although a
little extra time and understanding are required to adjust an older
Sheltie to their new situation, the investment is usually no more than
would be necessary to train a new pup. And the returns, in the form of
lifelong love and loyalty, are immeasurable. I know: all the
Hearthside Shelties are "second- hand Roses." Please consider taking
one of these displaced adults into your home and heart. Love IS better
the second time around.
American Shetland Sheepdog Association.
ASSA National Rescue Coordinator is Dorothy Christiansen. Call
her at (815) 485-3726 and she will put you in touch with local
Sheltie club or other contacts in your area.
Usenet's Rescue FAQ
Provides a list of Rescue contacts by breed and region. You can
obtain a copy of this file via anonymous ftp at rtfm.mit.edu
under /pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/rescue/part2 Be aware
that this info is sometimes out of date.
Contact your nearest Humane Society, ASPCA or other shelter.
They often work closely with local rescue groups.
All-breed dog clubs, as well as breed specialty clubs, often
have purebred rescue programs, or can put you in touch with the
nearest club that offers this service.
ASSA (American Shetland Sheepdog Association)
1100 Cataway Pl.
Bryans Rd. MD 20666
Note: There are currently 68 local Shetland Sheepdog clubs in the U.S.
The ASSA Corresponding Secretary can provide contact info for the
Sheltie Club nearest you.
P.O. Box 463030
Escondido CA 92046-3030
3602 112 St E
Tacoma WA 98446
410 West Road
Roebuck SC 29376
13520 Bruce Rd
Lockport IL 65441
See listing under Books & Pamphlets for more info on ASSA pubs.
Many Sheltie enthusiasts have discovered the electronic
Sheltie-List, where information on training, grooming, feeding,
medical problems and other concerns is interspersed with news
and anecdotes about our favorite breed. The list is now owned
by Farokh Irani, . Send email to
with a simple SUBSCRIBE in the
body of the message.
The latest Usenet version of this file is a hypertext document
available via the Web at
most recently posted ASCII version of this file is available
via anonymous ftp to rtfm.mit.edu in the directory
pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq breeds. Other USENET dog FAQs
are also available via these sources.
For a continually updated list of all canine-related mailing lists
(including other breed lists), use one of the following:
1. ftp to: rtfm.mit.edu
The file is pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/email-lists
2. email to: Leave subject line blank In
message body, write: send
There are many mailing lists of interest to Sheltie owners, including
a variety of obedience lists, agility, tracking, herding, etc.
Shetland Sheepdog FAQ
Beverly Miller, or
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