The Sheltand Sheepdog is definitely not a breed that fits into all households. Shelties have a wide range of personality traits and cannot be "lumped" under one description. However, there are certain traits that are fairly universal to the breed. Some Shelties can be very vocal - yes, they are barkers. They are reserved by nature and early socialization is needed to keep them from being shy.
Shelties are extremely loyal to either one person or one family. (Mine are loyal to roast beef and the roast beef family! )
Shelties are sound sensitive and sound reactive. This is part of their herding heritage.
Shelties will chase anything that moves, from a rabbit to the local garbage truck. This is why all Shelties should have a securely fenced yard where they can play and potty safely.
Shelties are very intelligent and need mental/physical activity to occupy their mind and their bodies...many will invent a job if you don't provide one, and in most cases it is not a job that would be of your choosing...like rearranging your prize flower bed or compacting a week's worth of garbage.
Shelties do not like to spend time away from their people. A Sheltie that is left alone all day without companionship while his people go to work is usually not a very happy little dog.
Shelties are an emotional breed. They are very sensitive to the moods of their people and do best in a home where gentleness is the way of life.
Shelties are an active breed and need exercise everyday...more than just a 10 minute walk around the block.
Shelties need regular biweekly grooming (brushing is a necessity!) and they shed extensively.
If you are looking for a very laid back, not particularly sensitive, doesn't really care whether you are leaving or coming home, low maintenance, average intelligence dog...you will find a Sheltie totally exasperating, to say the least.
Shelties demand to be an integral part of the family to which they belong. They stick their little noses into absolutely everyone's business and feel compelled to make comments on their observations. They will follow their person to the corners of the earth and ALWAYS to the bathroom. They consider your leaving them behind, for any reason whatsoever, as an aberration of proper behavior. They are selective as to which of your friends they consider worthy of their affection, and which are to be observed from a distance. They will steal FOOD right out of the mouth of mere babes and show no shame. They will give chase to any and all moving objects if not properly restrained...and most especially to your jogging neighbor who HATES all dogs. They will sense your every mood and be happy or sad along with you. They love attention and they love to learn. In short, they demand nothing less than to be a FULL member of your family...they do not consider themselves mere dogs (banish the thought!!!).
So, if you you are considering bringing a Sheltie into your family, be prepared to spend a lot of time, energy and love on this new member, for that is what they require. In return, they will give you some of the most wonderful moments of your life, and memories that you will cherish forever.
WHAT AGE SHELTIE SHOULD YOU CONSIDER?
An average Sheltie will live 12-14 years, so what age dog is best for you?
0-1 yrs -- Lots of chewing, not reliably housetrained, needs much attention and training, not good choice if you are gone all day.
1-3 yrs -- Still acts like a puppy, may or may not be housetrained, will still chew, needs lots of playtime to burn energy, will become bored easily if left alone too long…..will chew or dig from boredom. Good choice for someone who is home only part of the day.
3-5 yrs -- Able to be trusted alone in the house for short periods, needs several hours of playtime daily, will become bored easily, will chew or dig from boredom.
5+ yrs -- A perfect dog. Past the chewing stage, reliably housetrained, content to sleep while you are gone, will want to play for a few hours, but will be ready to sleep again when you do. Best choice if you are gone all day long.
Rescue dogs range in age from puppies to 13 year olds. Everyone seems to want the young dogs.....so please consider opening your heart to an older dog. They are much harder to place yet are most often the best behaved. They need homes just as much, if not more, than the younger dogs.