This is our Frequently Asked Questions page, where we cover some questions that might get asked about shelties and their care.
Are shelties good with kids?
Typically, yes. Some shelties may possess a high herding drive, and may try to herd children and other animals. Because of this, some shelties may need to be supervised around young children.
Are shelties good with other dogs?
Do shelties shed?
Yes, they do. Unfortunately, every dog sheds! However, brushing your sheltie frequently can significantly reduce the "dog hair tumbleweeds" that you will find around your house.
Shelties tend to "blow their coats" in the spring and fall, though they do shed year-round.
How often should I brush my sheltie?
As a puppy / young dog -- often. It is important to get your dog used to being brushed. You want your sheltie to understand that brushing is a part of life and is not a "bad thing." If exposed to getting brushed frequently, especially at an early age, this will make caring for your adult sheltie's coat significantly easier.
As an adult -- we like to brush our shelties once a week during shedding season (spring and fall), and every other week during the rest of the year. This keeps their coats looking good, keeps excess fur off the floor, and ensures that the dogs are not developing mats on their hindquarters or behind their ears.
How smart are shelties? How easy to train are they?
Shelties are very smart dogs. They can excel in obedience, agility, flyball, rally, other dog sports, and just about anything they put their minds to! They are very quick learners and can be taught many things. Shelties often have large vocabularies of words that they understand and can respond to. They are very quick to learn and very eager to please, which makes them such great performance dogs.
Do shelties bark a lot?
This depends on the sheltie. While you may have heard that shelties can be big barkers, I have not personally found this to be true... at least with my dogs. Shelties tend to bark at things that you would expect a dog to bark at -- someone rings the doorbell, a new person comes in the house, another dog barks at them -- but I have not found them to be excessive barkers. Even within the breed, the amount of barking varies by dog. While Kailey will bark when the doorbell rings, Misty is often quiet, and rarely barks in the house, though she barks somewhat more outside when playing (which Kailey does not do).
How big do shelties get?
For any specific sheltie, size and weight are determined by many factors, including parentage (height and weight of the parents), diet, and exercise level. In general, shelties tend to measure 12-14" at the shoulder. Their weight should be proportionate to their height, but in general, shelties tend to weigh 15-25 pounds.
How much exercise do shelties require?
Like all dogs, shelties enjoy physical activity. While the occasional sheltie may be a couch potato, the average sheltie has a bit more spunk and is a bit more lively. They will enjoy a daily walk or two, and of course, any additional time that you spend with them!
For our dogs, we train them in performance sports, which helps to exercise their mind, as well as their body. Really, it doesn't matter so much exactly what sort of exercise you choose -- whether it's daily walks, throwing a ball / playing fetch, working on tricks, etc. --as long as they do get some interaction and exercise. Keep in mind, not only do they want to be with you, they want to play with you as well.
Do shelties make good apartment dogs?
The answer to this question largely depends on the lifestyle that the sheltie will have. Up until Kailey was almost 4 years old, she lived with me in a one-bedroom apartment, and she did just fine. This said, we had daily walks, I threw the ball for her almost daily, and she went to obedience class once a week. In addition, we worked on tricks in our free time. Shelties can thrive in a variety of environments, as long as they are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.