Search the FAQ Archives

3 - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z - Internet FAQ Archives

rec.pets.dogs: Shetland Sheepdogs Breed-FAQ

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Houses ]
Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/shelties
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
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 under pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list, via
the Web at, or 
via email by sending your message to with
send usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq/faq-list
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.

                              Shetland Sheepdogs

     * 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
   remain intact.
   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

     * History
     * The American Sheltie Today
          + Size
          + Coat Color/Markings
          + Other characteristics
          + Temperament
          + Special considerations
     * Description
     * 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
   prehistoric Picts.
   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
   are rare.
   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.
  Coat Color/Markings
   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.
  Other characteristics
   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.
  Special considerations
   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.
Medical Problems

   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
   stock for:
    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 Medications
   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
   peaked out.
   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
Information Sources

  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,
       1993. 83p.
    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
       Publications, 1992.
       Highly recommended intro to Sheltie-owning from the Sheltie
       International team.
   11. McKinney, Betty Jo. _Sheltie Talk_. Rev ed. Alpine Publications,
       1985. 307p.
       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,
       1943. 168p.
       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
       1977. 221p.
       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
       this book.
   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
       Publications, 1993.
       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
       date. 64p.
       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
       notice. $44/year.
   Sample issues of the above are generally available; contact the
   publishers for more information.
   These earlier Sheltie magazines had all ceased publication by the
   early 1980's:
     * _Collie And Shetland Sheepdog Review_
     * _Sheltie Special_
     * _Shetland Sheepdog Review_
  Sheltie Gifts
          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
     and Collies.
   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.
   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
          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.
   Dog clubs
          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)
   Corresponding Secretary:
          George Page
          1100 Cataway Pl.
          Bryans Rd. MD 20666
          (301) 283-2275
   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.
          Nancy Vollmer
          P.O. Box 463030
          Escondido CA 92046-3030
          (619) 489-1818
          Barb Gresso
          3602 112 St E
          Tacoma WA 98446
          (206) 531-2952
          Christina Stoner
          410 West Road
          Roebuck SC 29376
          (803) 576-2294
          Dorothy Christiansen
          13520 Bruce Rd
          Lockport IL 65441
          (815) 485-3726
          See listing under Books & Pamphlets for more info on ASSA pubs.
          Dorothy Christiansen
          address above
          (815) 485-3726
  Online information
          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.
   Sheltie FAQ
          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 in the directory
          pub/usenet/news.answers/dogs-faq breeds. Other USENET dog FAQs
          are also available via these sources.
   Sheltie Websites

   For a continually updated list of all canine-related mailing lists
   (including other breed lists), use one of the following:
    1. ftp to:
       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

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index ]

Send corrections/additions to the FAQ Maintainer: (Beverly Miller)

Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM