|By Becky Turner||Visit The Sheltie Forums|
All puppies are adorable - that's a fact! But the Shetland Sheepdog puppy knows how to be deliberately cute on demand. A most dangerous creature indeed! Sheltie pups can appear innocent after even the most foul puppy crimes - from pooping on the carpet, to destroying your new TV remote, to whining and whimpering for attention at 3.30am. Yep, Sheltie puppies know exactly how to manipulate their humans.
In this section you'll learn about the different types of Shetland Sheepdog puppies; how you can acquire one of these adorable little mites yourself; and how to care for your furry new friend.
Howard, our Shetland Sheepdog puppy
There is only one official Sheltie dog defined by the American Kennel Club standard. It stands between 13 and 16 inches tall and weigh 15 to 23 pounds. Miniature Shelties are not an official dog breed (and unfortunately due to poor breeding practices, many come with many more health complications).
If you're going to a breeder to buy a Shetland Sheepdog puppy, you're most likely to come across sable Sheltie puppies. This is a beautiful tan and white coat color, ranging from golden to mahogany, and is probably the most common coat color of Shetland Sheepdogs. Both our boys are sable Sheltie puppies.
Sable Sheltie puppies usually have lighter fur when they're young, which darkens as they age. In fact, it can take up to two years for the adult coat to grow, which is what gives this breed their distinctive look. Other Sheltie colors include: bi black, tri color, blue merle, bi blue, sable merle, and color headed white (CHW).
One of our sable Sheltie puppies
Like all dog breeds, Sheltie puppies shouldn't be separated from their mom until they're at least 7-8 weeks old. Any earlier and the puppy may be very nervous and have problems settling into its new home. Having said that, puppies should be with their new owners by 12 weeks, when they start forming strong attachments.
Shelties are very popular dogs in the US (ranked 18 out of 154 AKC registered breeds) and there are many Sheltie breeders who sell puppies as pets. Still, Shelties have litters of 4 to 6 puppies so if you have your heart set on one, put your name down with your local breeder in advance.
I also recommend checking out local rescue shelters for Shetland Sheepdogs. They often have slightly older puppies and adult dogs that need re-homing. Dogs end up at rescue shelters for all kinds of reasons - they may have been abandoned, lost and even unwanted Christmas presents (yes, it still happens. In fact, the New Year is often when animal rescue shelters are most overwhelmed). You will save money at a shelter and more importantly give a dog a second chance at life.
Please, whatever you do, DON'T buy a Sheltie from a pet store. Not only is the pet store environment a terrible place for young and scared puppies (who are nearly always taken from their mothers too soon). But people who supply pet stores are often backyard breeders or owners of illegal puppy mills. These are horrific places that keeps dogs in cramped conditions as "breeding machines" before they are killed. Expert breeders never sell their litters to pet stores, so don't support this trade.
Puppies form strong attachments from 12 weeks
The day you bring a new puppy home, your life will change. You will spend hours bonding with your new friend and at times the constant supervision may feel overwhelming. So get the whole family involved and take turns to look after him.
Everything is new to your Sheltie puppy and it will inevitably try to chew on electric cables, choke on tiny objects (puppies try to eat everything), get trapped in small spaces, make a mess on the carpet, and cause plenty more untold havoc. Those first few weeks and months of your puppy's life will be the most demanding on you.
If this is your first dog, you'll need to go to the pet store and buy some supplies in advance. It may sound obvious but I didn't realize how much stuff a new puppy needs - and once you've brought your new Sheltie home, you won't want to go out and leave them alone, so stock up beforehand.
New Shetland Sheepdog puppies will need:
Over the next few days or weeks, you'll need to buy grooming products and other necessaries, like:
Check out my article on Grooming Shelties for step-by-step instructions on grooming your new puppy's fur. This becomes more important from around six months when their adult coat begins to develop and thicken.
Register your new Shetland Sheepdog puppy with your vet and they will schedule you in for their remaining vaccinations. You can also discuss whether to neuter / spay your Sheltie pup - although don't worry about this until at least six months of age. There is evidence to show that fixing Shelties at less than five months can seriously affect their growth. We got our boys neutered at one year old.
Finally, make a habit of washing your Sheltie puppy in a warm shower once a month or so. If they have very dry skin you may want to put it off to every six weeks. The coarse hair of Shetland Sheepdogs repels mud and dirt - so they should consider themselves lucky; some breeds require weekly washing! Most Shelties hate water to begin with so the first few bath times can be a little scary. This is one such event...
Washing your Sheltie puppy is fun for no-one!
Don't worry, Howard soon dried off and got lots of treats for putting up with it! Over time, Shelties can become very well accustomed to water especially if you keep bath times calm affairs and take them swimming regularly.
Becky Turner is the creator of Sheltie Planet. She lives in New Zealand with her partner, Peter, and their son, Fox. Becky is 100% owned by Howard and Piper Woofington Moon, the Shelties who inspired this site. Visit them on Facebook or The Sheltie Planet Forums.