Sheltie Planet

The Shetland Sheepdog Puppy

Bringing home a new Shetland Sheepdog puppy is an exciting time. But are you prepared for it? Discover the basics of caring for a Sheltie puppy.

All puppies are adorable. That's a scientific fact.

But the Shetland Sheepdog puppy - with his big floppy ears, beautiful almond eyes, and silky soft fur - knows how to be deliberately cute on demand...

Our Shetland Sheepdog puppy, Howard

Our Shetland Sheepdog puppy, Howard

Types of Shetland Sheepdog Puppies

According to the American Kennel Club standard, a fully grown Shetland Sheepdog should stand 13-16 inches tall and weigh 15-23 pounds.

The most common coat color is sable. This is a mix of tan and white markings, ranging from golden to mahogany. Both our boys, Howard and Piper, were sable Sheltie puppies.

Interestingly, sable Sheltie puppies usually have lighter fur when they're young, which deepens and intensifies as they age. In fact, it can take up to two years for the full adult double coat to grow, which is what gives this breed their distinctive look.

Other Sheltie colors include tri-color, blue merle and color headed white (CHW).

Sheltie puppies are the best

Sheltie puppies are the best!

Where to Find Shetland Sheepdog 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. So 8-12 weeks is the best window of opportunity.

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. 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 your local Sheltie rescue. They often have slightly older puppies and adult dogs that need re-homing. Dogs end up at rescue shelters for all kinds of tragic reasons. They may have been abandoned, lost, or even unwanted Christmas presents. In fact, the New Year is when animal rescue shelters are most overwhelmed.

Where to Buy Sheltie Puppies

Sheltie puppies are ready to be re-homed from 8 weeks onwards

Crucially, don't buy a Sheltie from a pet store. They often come from careless backyard breeding or puppy mills do don't buy into this cruel trade. Professional breeders never sell their litters to pet stores.

Caring for Your New Sheltie Puppy

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 he 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. Be prepared!

If this is your first dog, you'll need to go to the pet store or shop online for supplies in advance. Once you've brought your new Sheltie home, you won't want to go out and leave him alone. So stock up on:

Over the next few weeks, you'll need to buy other supplies too:

For more tipson Sheltie care and maintenance, check out my article on Grooming Shelties. This becomes more important from around six months when their adult coat gets into full flourish.

Caring For Your Puppy's Health

Register your puppy with your vet and they will schedule you in for any remaining vaccinations.

It's also important to discuss whether to neuter / spay your Sheltie puppy, which should be done between 6-12 months. (There is evidence to show that fixing Shelties at less than five months can seriously affect their growth.)

Finally, only wash your Sheltie puppy when he really needs it. The coarse hair of Shetland Sheepdogs repels mud and dirt, and Shelties lick themselves to keep clean, so it's really unnecessary to wash them too often. Once a month is plenty./

Washing Your Sheltie Puppy

Most Sheltie puppies resist bathtime...

Don't worry, he soon dried off...

Fortunately, you can accustom your Sheltie to water so these events aren't such an ordeal.

About The Author

Becky Turner is the creator of Sheltie Planet where she writes about her love of Shetland Sheepdogs. Learn more about Becky and join our friendly community on Facebook, Twitter and our Sheltie forum.