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The Miniature Loud-Mouth Herding Dog aka Sheltie

Updated on October 4, 2015
Fancy's Southern Bell. So why did she not get treated like a Bell?
Fancy's Southern Bell. So why did she not get treated like a Bell? | Source
Roxanne. Her real name is so not important. It's just a piece of paper anyway.
Roxanne. Her real name is so not important. It's just a piece of paper anyway. | Source

The probably most beloved Loud-Mouth ever!

Somebody took a giant mountain of personality and squeezed it into a tiny body. Yes, I am probably a bit blind towards my bark-machine. Considering that over 13 years ago a tiny 12lbs abused breeder-reject Sheltie named Fancy trained me to become a little dog person and lived with me until last year... Yes, I love my remaining loud-mouth as much as I loved my Fancy.

The Ex brought her home; a tiny dog so scared she wouldn't walk pass you into the house and low-crawl when you called her. At the same time she would ferociously attack any danger to her family... even a almost 70lbs male Pitbull on the lose!

I think that's why they bred them with long fur: So you can grab them and hold them over your head while screaming at the damn owner to get his arse outside to control his darn dog... Yes, I was furious and 'barking' as much as Fancy!

Despite probably hard looks of my rescue friends, I would probably raise a litter of puppies if I ever got my hands on a Mini-Sheltie again. The last rescue I talked to wanted $400 adoption fee for a puppy mill dog they had just rescued days earlier. All the pup needed was neuter and shots (he was less than 6mo). Neuter: $55. Shots: $40 for the 5-way/Bordetella plus all three boosters!
Probably the fastest $400 they would have made in a long time! I understand they have bills, but dogs are dying in shelters while they sell their 'rescues' for more than what some breeders take! Ever wondered....?!

I am a great advocate for fixing animals and refuse to buy one. So I will continue my quest for another Fancy or Roxy. They are so special! And they have so much to say about anything and everything!

In 1922 a pup named Chesnut Rainbow was born... that would eventually become the ancestor of almost every Sheltie we now have in America. And while we think we know that the Shetland Sheepdog comes from the Shetland Island in Scottland....

Their ancestors was most likely a Spitz type dog or something similar to the now known Icelandic Sheepdog (some cold place they come from!). Roxy's double-coat makes her a perfect snow rat, despite some of it always sticking to her. And this little busy-body is definitely a working dog; like her ancestors were perfect for the Scottish Islands.

The Scandinavian Spitz was imported to Scotland in the 1700s and heavily crossed with Border Collies and other mainland working collies such as the Rough Collie. Other breeds used were the Pomeranian, the King Charles Spaniel and the Greenland Yakki.

So why were they bred so much smaller than the other collies? Why not use a full-size Collie?

The Shetlands are small islands with scarce food sources. Naturally everything living on them was either born smaller or bred smaller. And when tourism evolved on the islands in the early 1800s, the travelers loved the cute and fluffy 'Toonies'; thus having farmers cross the Toonies with small breeds like the Pomeranians or even Papillons and the Corgis.

But, just a hundred years later the small working dogs started disappearing on the islands and extensive breeding back to the Collies and retracing steps brought back the working dog Sheltie we now know.
Eventually politics led to the name chance of the once 'Shetland Collie' to the now 'Shetland Sheepdog', despite their Collie ancestry.

Today the Sheltie has been once again replaced... by their large ancestors; the Border Collie!

So why would you want to get a working dog breed that 'talks' A LOT!?

It is actually quite simple: You are in for entertainment!

These dogs are like Parakeets: constant clowns. They are loyal and show their heritage by often circling their family during walks; always on the watch for 'predators'. They are fiercely protective of your home and Roxy's greatest enemy is that horrible school bus that takes her kids away almost every day!
Shelties are beautiful and come in amazing colors. But you have to have patience and stamina to keep that coat looking pretty. Roxy will tolerate only so much brushing before she starts complaining. Sitting still for a longer period of time will keep her from patrolling her territory and advising the neighbors of her intentions! She is to busy to just sit still and wait on you.
Shelties are also very smart and learn fast; if it so pleases them and you teach fast enough to keep their attention. They are very independent, but loyal enough that mine have never willfully left my home. The leash was really only to be able to pull them to safety before they start something in their mission to protect their family. And no, neither has ever backed off either.

Shelties are a ton of fun, but do require a firm will and set boundaries. And you will have to remember that they are a: working dogs and b: don't know their size!

Fancy, at 12lbs, remained the unchallenged Alpha-Female in my house full of 60lbs dogs until the day she died!


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    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 

      7 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      My daughters' first dogs were Shelties. One of the best breeds around, especially for children. We raised Shelties for about ten years - although we ended up keeping more of the puppies than we ever sold! I would probably still have them if I hadn't gone through a divorce and was forced to move and leave them behind.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Shelties do nip at ankles. That is one of their herding instincts. My dad's used to jump up and nip at his bottom when he was walking. Funny as heck. One day, she jumped up and nipped at his bottom when he was walking down the hall in his pj's. Her teeth got stuck in the fabric and when gravity took her down, his pj bottoms went with her.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I grew up with two of these, and they were fabulous little dogs. They were both boys and called 'Skippy and Pepsi' (brothers from different litters). Skippy was always the 'butch' one, and although we never saw any aggression from him, (only barking when people came to the door), we did end up with a problem for a while because our postman refused to deliver mail to our house as he said our dogs kept nipping his ankles (still not convinced as he was the only one to ever say this).

      Pepsi was always very gentle and a big 'wuss' for want of a better description. His testicles never 'dropped' and he seemed to end up quite effeminate as a result. Broke my heart when both of them died, Pepsi escaped and was killed by a car aged 9, and Skippy had to be put down at around the age of 16 when he became incontinent, blind and appeared to be suffering from a canine equivalent of Alzheimer's disease.

      I have never forgotten either of them to this day, and I am now in my 40's and they died when I was in my teens and very early 20's. Fabulous dogs :)

    • picklesandrufus profile image


      7 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Oh how I can relate to your Hub! I just lost my little sheltie(Houston) after 14 years. I called him boss man for he ruled my 78 lb. lab. You described them perfectly! Thanks for the wonderful memory.Vote Up!!

    • moonlake profile image


      7 years ago from America

      We had a sheltie when I was a kid. Beautiful dog. My dad was being transfered over seas so we had to find him a home. A man came to get him and the dog wouldn't let him in the house. The guy gave up. We packed him in the car took him to my Aunt and cousin. They lived alone out in the country and needed a dog to protect them. They loved that dog. My cousin still has his collar. That was in 1959.

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 

      7 years ago from Southern Nevada

      I remember as a young child my Dad always want a Welsh sheep dog. At that time we had a train strike. So in the end he bought Susie lab/ret. She was such a wonderful dog like Fancy.

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 

      7 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      My dad and sister both had shelties. My dad's sheltie,Lacey, would not let my brother, swat his own children. We had to put her outside if one needed a swat. She would go in the bathroom and jump, to see herself in the mirror and then bark at herself. She felt my mom felt crowded by a 5 year old, talking at her right at her knee and reached out to nip his nose. Never marked him but definitely backed him up. She herded the baby ducks and my neices. We would tell her to go get the kids and she would. She was a great dog.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I like the Shelties and also like Collies.My wife likes Siberian Huskies so that is what we got.Herding dogs do tend to herd the family if they can.


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