Opinions on Shetland Sheep dogs?


9 Years
Nov 8, 2010
North Edwards
Good dogs? Bad dogs?
I think they're awesome dogs! Mom and I might get one - Depends on our friend and some other variables. I actually love herding breeds but I've never had one. Right now I have 2 mini dachshunds but in the past I've had a lab/pit mix, a big white mixed dog, a lhasa apso mix, and I've foster cared for a few chihuahuas. I'm gonna be doing some research on the breed also. If you're wondering what the dog's purpose would be... Family pet and poultry guardian. He may advance to goat guardian too one day ;] We don't actually have many predators out where we live so a big dog isn't needed... Cats are an issue, no matter how many of this one neighbor's cats we trap and haul off to the humane society the people keep getting more cats. Oh well, lol.
Herding dogs are really smart - if they don't have enough to do they will come up with stuff to do (like digging, escaping, chewing and barking). You were warned.
There are two things that would put me off....... They are usually very vocal and I wouldn't want a dog with so much coat, there are many other breeds or crosses that I would prefer, I only know one person who has had one and it was snappy, don't know if this was a trait or she was just unlucky, trouble could be I think they are often bought for their looks ( in this country) and not enough thought is put into the fact that they are a working breed! Let us know what you decide X
from my experience as a 4-H dog project leader for many years...

for trainability - they don't get much better than Shelties. They are like little computers.

grooming...VERY time consuming. but they are beautiful and if you live in colder climates, they do very well.

livestock guardians.... I don't know that I would put them IN with your flock right away...many herding breeds will kill chickens. they can be trained not to, but it takes a bit of time...however, they would probablly take right to your goats. Although they would tend to herd them for fun, so may tire the goats out!

sociability - very easy to socialize. Not normally aggressive, but they do need to BE socialized like any other breed or they can get snappy.

very family oriented dogs, I probably wouldn't put them with very small children due to hair pulling, and dogs trying to herd the small children. but again, easy to train and we have had several trained fully by youth that were exceptional dogs,.

Get one from a breeder that focuses on working lines, not showing lines. Shelties are as diverse as some other breeds, but your purposes would be better served by someone who's breeding active herding dogs.

Good luck!
I have two Shelties now, and I love them to pieces. They're incredibly intelligent and loyal, and they can definitely sense your emotions. I don't know how many times I've had a bad day and felt a little poke in my side and looked down to see two sets of puppy eyes staring up at me.

Grooming isn't that big an issue for me - I give them a good brush out once a week or so, and a bath every couple of months. They are high energy, especially when young, so be prepared to keep them entertained. I wouldn't use them as a LGD - their instinct is to herd, not protect, though they may or may not take action if their human is in danger.

In terms of barking - when I just had one, I was able to train him to stop barking when I told him to. Once I got the second, that went out the window. These are very observant dogs that want to tell you about everything that they see or hear, so barking is a challenge. Now that my second is getting older i hope to get a handle on the "that's enough" command again.

The best part of having Shelties is that they're just so freaking adorable! One is currently sleeping upside down across the room, the other is nestled down at my feet. It's not possible to look at them and not smile. If I had a dollar for every time someone stopped me on walks to comment on or pet the dogs, I would have a pretty hefty chunk of my student loans paid off!
I have been thinking about getting in to working dogs for a while an Shelties are what I am leaning to. Have not found a good breeder yet though.

My pugs try to heard the goats but they dont have the stamina for work. Sleep is a workout for them.
I don't mind barking at all! I have very vocal animals here so I'm used to noise. The ducks will quack and quack in the morning [sometimes night too] until they're fed or their water is changed. My doxies aren't that noisy but my Indy will continue barking if a guest is over and won't stop until the person is gone. Horrible habit, I know, but he was the same at the shelter when my dad adopted him. The first time Angel farted she barked at her butt too
I used to have a dog named Grizzly that shedded a lot too, he didn't have as much hair as a sheltie does but I know what it's like, I also had to groom a cocker spaniel we used to have too. Our old neighbors had a black cocker spaniel too that they had me brush, bathe, shave... They were lazy >_> I was in 6th grade at the time.
The lab/pit mix I had was trained not to hurt the chickens. Bruno was very afraid of broodies anyways. I'm looking for spot on breeders online but some of these people that seem to have good lines and what not haven't updated their website since 2008-2011. I'll try to look again on the breeder club of America or Cali, the Northern California website listed links to breeders and some of the sites were broken or down.

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