Shetland Sheepdog Known Health Issues
As a member of the herding group, the Shetland Sheepdog has a lifespan of 14 years when it maintains good health. Veterinarians suggest that dog owners have their Sheltie dogs DNA tested for vWD, hip dysplasia, eye problems, and thyroid issues. The only major health concern that is common for this dog breed is dermatomyositis. Minor issues to look out for include allergies, patellar luxation, CHD, PRA, CEA, hypothyroidism, trichiasis, Legg-Perthes, and cataract.
Shetland Sheepdog Grooming Needs
Because of their long, thick, fluffy coats, it may seem like grooming a Shetland Sheepdog would be a daunting task. While it does need some dedication and patience, it is not as difficult or time-consuming as one might think. Some owners choose to shave their Shelties to avoid having to groom, but this is not a good option. The Sheltie’s thick and lengthy coat helps protect the dog from extreme heat and extreme cold. Shaved dogs are also more susceptible to sunburn and frostbite.
Brushing your Sheltie’s coat and undercoat regularly is the single most important aspect of grooming for this breed. You should brush the undercoat first, as it has more difficulty shedding on its own and is most prone to matting. Part the fur of the topcoat and mist the area you plan to brush with water. (It is important to mist or dampen your Sheltie’s fur as you brush it due to the risk of breakage on course-coated dogs.) Using a pin brush, brush from head to rump, removing the dead hair as it collects in the brush. Do this all across your Sheltie’s body. This technique is referred to as “line brushing.”
After removing all the shed fur from the Shetland Sheepdog’s undercoat, you can move on to the area called the “skirt.” The skirt is the hair on your dog’s rump beneath its tail. This hair tends to be more coarse than the rest of the sheepdog’s coat and is harder to get a brush through. Gently and carefully using a fine-toothed metal comb can be a better, if the slower option for grooming the skirt fur. This comb can also double for similar hair near the ears and on the legs of the Sheltie. Always remember to mist the fur as well, as it will not tug on the dog and make it uncomfortable for them.
After grooming the undercoat and the skirt, you can move on to the topcoat. Continuing to mist the fur before brushing, you can work your way through the topcoat with the same brush as the undercoat (after cleaning out the excess dead fur, of course) to help regain the normal sheen of the Sheltie’s coat.
As the Shetland Sheepdog is energetic and playful they make ideal family pets. Remember you need to spend time grooming them and give them regular exercise. If you do this you will have a happy and loyal companion.