Archive for July, 2014

Have you ever wondered what the well-dressed dog wears to bed? Sure, some dogs sleep au naturel in their fur, but some owners provide their dogs with fashionable night clothes. You can find pajamas, nightgowns, night shirts, robes, and a host of other bedtime clothing for your dog.



Doggy pajamas can range from styles that look like baby clothes to something a fashionista dog would wear. They can be made of flannel, fleece, and other soft materials for warmth and sometimes even come in “one-sies” or body suit styles to keep your dog warm all over his body while he sleeps. Other pajamas are made of lighter material and would be good for summer wear. Pajamas come in all colors and styles so you might like to have several pajama outfits for your dog. They may feature cute applique images or other designs. More feminine pajamas can include ruffles and lace.


Nightgowns and night shirts

Nightgowns and night shirts for dogs usually look a little more “romantic” in style than pajamas. They have an old-fashioned appearance. The nightgowns are usually for female dogs and the night shirts are for male dogs. They can be made of various materials but often include some kind of poly/cotton blend to make them easy to wash. They often feature bows, rosettes, or embroidery and they are more elaborate in appearance than pajamas.



Yes, they even make robes for dogs. They are often made of a a heavier terry material so they will soak up water after you bathe your dog, but you can also wrap your dog up in a robe on cold nights to help him stay warm. In some cases robes can even be customized so you can add your dog’s name to them. Very spiffy!



You can also put your dog in a tee or a thermal tee to keep him cozy while he sleeps. Tees come in all colors and are easy to find at most pet supply stores and online. Many of them have cute designs. Thermal tees are made to keep your doggy warm during the night and they typically come in fun colors and designs.


Other nighttime accessories

Many places that sell night clothes for dogs will also sell dog beds, towels, and even collars, leashes, and harnesses that are made to match the clothes. You can sometimes find a clothing theme or color scheme that is used for dresses, hair bows, collars, leashes, and nighttime clothes. This makes it very easy to mix and match your dog’s clothes and other accessories. Plus, you can continue to add pieces as you find them which is nice for you and your dog. In some cases, you can even find toys that match your dog’s clothes.


Most night clothes for dogs come in sizes from x-small to x-large but you may need to measure your dog. Take measurements from the base of your dog’s neck to the root of the tail; around the ribcage right behind the elbows; and across the chest at the widest points. These measurements will usually give you the information you need to figure out what size to get.


Along with the basic items most dogs need, such as collars and leashes, many dogs need other accessories such as rain gear and booties. This is particularly true if you and your dog live in the city and you have to walk your dog in inclement weather.

Rain gear

Dog rain gear can be simple and slicker-style, or it can be quite elaborate. In many cases the rain gear is made of bright colors to help your dog be easily seen on a a gray day, so colors include yellow, orange, and pink. If the gear comes in darker colors you should make sure it has reflective strips to help your dog be seen in low light. Slickers and jackets can range from sizes that barely reach down to your dog’s stomach (a soft shell style) to some that come down almost to the ground. Most gear fits over the dog’s head and then buckles around the dog’s waist.

While some gear only includes the slicker or rain jacket, other rain gear will also have available a hat for the dog. Some gear will even have available rain boots. Just remember that the more rain gear you have for your dog, the longer if will take to put it on and take it off when you go outside.

Fabrics are usually water-resistant materials, just as they are with human rain coats.

Shoes and booties

Urban dogs can also need shoes and booties for walking on pavement. This is especially true on hot summer days and when the sidewalks are icy. Booties can help protect your dog’s paws on hot pavement in the summer, especially when it’s extremely hot. In the winter time, when sidewalks are icy, the ice is one problem, but the de-icing chemicals can also hurt your dog’s paws, especially if he goes home and licks them off his paws. Ingesting these chemicals can make your dog sick. Snow and ice can also lead to chapped and cracked paws. So, booties can be a big help in the city.

As you might guess, booties come in different styles and sizes. They generally come in sizes ranging from x-small to x-large. You can find them in fashion styles and in very sturdy styles.

Even if you don’t live in the city, booties can be helpful for dogs. If you hike a lot with your dog, especially over rough ground, booties can protect your dog’s paws. If you have an elderly dog who has trouble standing and walking, a pair of booties with soles that grip well can help your dog remain mobile.


You can find bandanas many places. They don’t have to be specifically made for dogs. Your dog can wear one of your bandanas. But there are lots of bandanas made just for dogs and some of them have fun sayings on them or cute artwork that applies to dogs. You can find them at pet supply stores or online. Even some of the companies that make designer clothes for dogs make matching bandanas. They’re fun and functional at the same time. You never know when you might need to use your dog’s bandana for something practical like covering a wound or soaking up some cool water when he’s hot. It’s a good idea to keep several bandanas for your dog so he always has some that are clean and ready to use.

Costumes For Dogs

For many dogs, the only time they have the opportunity to wear doggy clothes comes when they wear costumes for a special occasion like Halloween. But you can find costumes for dogs for many occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, the 4th of July, parties, and even for weddings – whether a doggy wedding or for your own wedding. Dogs always look wonderful in costumes.


Most Halloween costumes for dogs are whimsical or humorous – perhaps because there’s something innately humorous about seeing a dog dressed up like another animal or some other object. Or maybe it’s because they just look so darn cute. Most dogs accept wearing a Halloween costume with good grace, especially if it’s something like a body suit. If the costume has wings or other appendages, you should monitor it carefully to make sure it doesn’t poke the dog or frighten him. If it crinkles or makes some kind of noise when the dog walks, be sure to stay close by so your dog doesn’t become frightened. And be sure that you don’t let your dog eat the costume!


Costumes for Christmas range from Santa and elf costumes, complete with beards and coats made of red velvet, to fancier outfits for Christmas parties. Many dog owners dress up their dogs around the holidays so they can take them to parties. If you do take your dog to a party keep in mind that your dog can only stay on his best behavior for so long. He still needs to go outside to potty and he will need water to drink during the party. He may also need a quiet place to get away from people at some point. Make sure that you don’t let your dog eat Christmas candy, chocolate or other sweets when he’s at a party. This is true for Valentine’s Day, too

4th of July

Uncle Sam costumes are popular for dogs around Independence Day. Many owners like to take their dogs to parades and outdoor events at this summer holiday. Remember that some dogs are afraid of the noise from fireworks so your dog might prefer to stay home at night with the TV on loud so the noise will be muffled.

Weddings and parties

If you are attending a wedding or formal party with your dog dressed up, try to choose your dog’s outfit ahead of time so you won’t be rushed. This will also allow you to find something else or make any changes if the outfit doesn’t fit or you change your mind. If you need to find some accessories to go with the outfit, you’ll also have plenty of time to track them down. Don’t scoff, but some owners plan weddings for their dogs. There are some gorgeous doggy wedding dresses available. You might even need some doggy bridesmaid dresses and clothes for the groom. These things take planning! So give yourself plenty of time to find the clothes and accessories your dog needs.

Dog costumes are fun for both you and your dog. You don’t have to limit costumes to Halloween. Your dog can wear a wonderful costume for lots of great occasions.

Many people think of dog fashion as frilly dresses and little coats for dogs but dogs need many functional items of apparel. Just because your dog needs to wear something everyday doesn’t mean it can’t be stylish.

Some of the most basic dog accessories include collars, leashes, and harnesses. Today all of these items come in a myriad of colors, patterns, and styles.


Whether you have a tiny Chihuahua or the biggest Mastiff, your dog will need a collar. Collars range from sturdy nylon in solid colors to fancy fabric collars with designs, jewels, glitter, and other beautiful touches. You can choose the perfect collar to suit your dog’s personality or keep a selection of collars to wear on different occasions. In many cases you can purchase collars that match specific costumes or outfits. Some collars are made with cotton or other fabric inlaid over a nylon collar so the collar is both functional and pretty. You’ll find a wide range of these collars available for moderate prices.

You can also find many collars made of fine leather. These collars are usually comfortable for a dog and they are long-lasting. They typically come with plain or squared edges or rolled edges. Better quality leather usually costs more. You can also find braided leather collars and collars that feature elaborate designs sewn into the leather or stamped on the leather.

When choosing a collar for your dog you should buy one that allows you to fit two fingers comfortably between the collar and your dog’s neck. It’s usually a good idea to buy less expensive collars for puppies because they will outgrow them quickly. Wait until your puppy is fully grown before buying expensive collars.


You can usually find leashes to match collars, if this is important to you – and if you want your dog to be fashionable, it probably is important. Like collars, leashes range from sturdy nylon in basic colors to fancier designs inlaid in fabric over the leash. They also come in various kinds of leather.

Most leashes are either 4 feet long or 6 feet long. If you intend to do any kind of obedience training then a 6 foot long leash is desirable. If you live in the city and you wish to keep your dog closer to you, a 4 foot long leash might be a good choice for walking on city streets.


The same leash that matches your dog’s collar can also match a harness. There are many harnesses that are made to match collars and leashes. Harnesses are often recommended for dogs that pull on the leash or for very small dogs whose throats might be injured by a collar.

Harnesses can be made with fabric across the dog’s chest. The leash attaches to a ring on the back of the harness, along the dog’s back. In many cases the fabric across the dog’s chest is made of a breathable mesh material so it stretches. The harness buckles around the dog’s waist to stay in place. Harnesses can range from the most basic, functional equipment to attractive items of apparel for your dog.

These are just a few pieces of dog outerwear that virtually every dog needs but there are some other kinds of outerwear for special occasions such as rain gear and doggy boots. We’ll cover those items in the next article.

Are Purebreds More Prone To Diseases?

There’s a popular belief today that mutts are healthier than purebred dogs, or that purebred dogs are more prone to diseases. It’s hard to say exactly why this belief if so popular. Perhaps Americans like to believe in the myth of the “underdog” – the hardy dog who gets a bad start in life and turns out to be better than the pampered pooch. However, in this case, the myth is not true. You can find a great pet at your local shelter but your odds of getting a healthy, long-lived dog are better if you go to a good breeder and get a purebred dog.

Do purebred dogs have diseases? Sure they do. But so do mixed breeds. Here are the facts you need to know.

Genetic Disease

Dogs, in general, are subject to about 400-500 known genetic diseases. All dogs – purebred and mixed breeds – carry some genes for some of these diseases. With all the genes a dog has, there are always a few genes that can lead to genetic diseases. A purebred breed can be more likely to have one certain disease appear in the breed. But there will also be breeders who are working to eliminate the problem by carefully choosing dogs for breeding who don’t have the disease. There are often genetic tests so breeders can find a gene and spay or neuter dogs who have the gene so they won’t be used for breeding.

By contrast, dogs that are random bred don’t usually have breeders who are working to choose the best dogs for breeding. They don’t have genetic tests to identify a gene or a health problem. Dogs simply mate because of circumstances. They can have nice puppies but this doesn’t do anything to reduce the risk of genetic diseases if the puppies reproduce later.

It’s virtually impossible to completely eliminate the risk of a genetic disease from a breed, but careful breeding can greatly reduce the chance that a purebred dog you get will have a specific disease.

What About Hybrid Vigor?

Many people think that mixed breed dogs are healthier because of something called “hybrid vigor.” Hybrid vigor refers to breeding together two things that are different enough that the resulting offspring will be healthy and hardy. It doesn’t really apply to breeding dogs since all dogs are so genetically similar. Even dogs as different as Chihuahuas and Great Danes are basically the same. For example, if you breed a Labrador and a Poodle together, expecting to get hybrid vigor, you might instead double up on some of the same genetic health problems. Both breeds are subject to canine hip dysplasia and an eye disease called progressive retinal atrophy. So, breeding a Lab and a Poodle together might produce increased health problems instead of hybrid vigor. It’s the same with many mixed breeds. Most mixed breed dogs carry a variety of genes and when they are mixed with other random genes, you can get something unexpected which could produce some very unwelcome traits.

Good Start In Life

Another important factor to consider for any dog is whether they get a good start in life. A healthy mother dog who was vaccinated before giving birth will be able to pass on a good early immunity to her puppies until they are vaccinated. Puppies that are carefully raised during their first few weeks and who receive all their shots and worming before going to their new home are at a distinct advantage from a health perspective. On the other hand, puppies that are dumped at a shelter at an early age where they can come in contact with diseases and where they may lack good socialization are at a disadvantage. There are times when a shelter has to close and euthanize all of their puppies and dogs because of an outbreak of disease. Puppies who get a good start in life will usually have better health for a long time, especially if you continue to care for your dog and make sure he gets good nutrition and regular vet care. Puppies who get a bad start in life can have a harder time with their health.

You can see that there are a lot of factors at play when it comes to what makes purebred dogs healthier than mixed breeds. Of course, these are generalities. You can always find a good, healthy dog at your local shelter. And there are purebred puppies and dogs who are not healthy. But, overall, purebred dogs tend to be healthier than mixed breeds when you consider dogs in shelters who are not adopted as well as adopted dogs.

Popular Dog Breeds: Yorkshire Terriers

Yorkshire Terriers are one of the smallest of all dog breeds but don’t let that small size fool you! Yorkies are feisty little dogs with a big dog personality. They may be a Toy breed but they began as Terriers and they still have a Terrier attitude. Brave, determined, curious, and energetic, Yorkies are dynamos!



The Yorkshire Terrier is named for the region in England where they originated. At that time Yorkies were used to hunt vermin in textile mills. As Terriers they were fierce in finding and killing rats in the mills. They were owned and bred by weavers and working class people. But the small dogs were so beautiful that they became popular as pets for people in high society in England and Europe. By the late 19th century Yorkshire Terriers were fully established as companion dogs instead of ratters.



Although they are no longer used to hunt and kill rats, Yorkies still have a Terrier personality in many ways. They are bold and fearless; they like to investigate things; and they are quite determined and energetic, especially for a small dog. In fact, if you’re not careful, a Yorkie will become the boss in your home so it’s important that you don’t let this little dog become too bossy or spoiled. They adapt well to all kinds of home environments and make excellent apartment dogs. They don’t require much exercise because of their small size. They do need to be around people a great deal and they crave human companionship. They love attention and they are very affectionate with their owners. However, Yorkies do tend to bark a lot so this is something you should take into account, especially if you live in an apartment.



The Yorkie has a long, luxurious coat that has a steel blue body and tan coat around the face and legs. The coat is glossy, fine, and silky. Yorkies are very small dogs. They weight is not supposed to exceed seven pounds for show dogs though pet dogs might weigh a little more than this. Most dogs are between four and seven pounds when they are not overweight. There are some so-called “teacup” Yorkies sold sometimes which are excessively small – as small as a couple of pounds. Dogs this small often have an increased risk of health problems and a shortened lifespan. Yorkshire Terriers have their tails docked in the U.S. and dew claws are removed when the puppies are a few days old.



Like many Toy and small dogs, Yorkies can have a very long lifespan. Their lifespan is reported to be 17 to 20 years, though the average lifespan may be somewhat shorter. However, like all breeds, Yorkies are subject to certain health issues. Issues in this breed include: bronchitis, lymphangiectasia, portosystemic shunt, cataracts, and keratitis sicca.


Genetic issues in the breed can include: distichiasis, hydrocephalus, hypoplasia of dens, Legg–Calvé–Perthes syndrome, luxating patella, portosystemic shunt, retinal dysplasia, tracheal collapse, and bladder stones.


Yorkies can also have problems with hypoglycemia, especially as puppies or juveniles. Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar and it is typically caused by going too long between meals. As a small breed Yorkshire Terriers need to eat several small meals per day, especially as puppies and young adults, to keep their blood sugar level steady. If your Yorkie shows signs of hypoglycemia it’s important to give him some Nutrical or syrup right away to get his blood sugar level up and then take him to the vet. Feeding frequent meals or adding snacks between meals usually prevents this problem.



Yorkies are very smart little dogs and they can be easy to train. Ideally you should start training your Yorkie when he is young. Try to find good ways to motivate your dog. Some Yorkies are food-motivated but some aren’t. Praise, toys, playtime – all of these things can be used as motivation.


Be careful about using certain collars when training your Yorkie. Yorkies are subject to tracheal collapse and it has been suggested that pulling too much on the leash and collar is one possible cause of this condition. You should avoid using chain collars with Yorkshire Terriers for the same reason.

Popular Dog Breeds: Beagles

Beagles are one of the most popular breeds in the United States today and they’re dogs that nearly everyone can recognize. Cute and friendly, Beagles make great pets. Beagles are happy-go-lucky and they have a short coat that’s easy to care for. They’re the perfect dog for many people.



Small hounds, like the Beagle, date back to around the 16th century, when every English gentleman had his own pack of hounds for hunting. Larger hounds were used to follow deer while the smaller hounds were used to hunt rabbit. These smaller hounds became the first Beagles. The breed was further established in the 18th century when there was breeding to produce Foxhounds as distinct from Beagles. The breed as we know it today was set in type in the 19th century.



Beagles are a friendly, cheerful breed and they make an excellent family pet. They are gentle and love children and they are especially good at getting along well with other dogs. They love to be around people. Beagles tend to be very curious and they are also clowns. They like to entertain. However, if you are thinking of getting a Beagle you should know that these dogs are natural hunters and they will follow their nose wherever it leads. They have one of the keenest noses of any dog breed. Sometimes this means a Beagle will dig under a fence or try to escape in order to follow an interesting smell. If you are out walking your Beagle, keep a firm hold on the leash because if he sees a rabbit or squirrel he could race off after them. Beagles need plenty of daily activity and a good fence.


Beagles do have a “voice” and they are not recommended as apartment dogs unless you have very tolerant neighbors. They tend to bark or “bay” at times. In fact, the name “Beagle” may come from the French “be’geule” referring to the baying of the hounds when they are after game.



Beagles come in two height varieties – up to 13 inches at the shoulder and up to 15 inches at the shoulder. They may be any “true hound color,” including tri-color, red and white and lemon. (Here is a complete list of colors and marking for these dogs: They look like foxhounds in miniature and they are sturdy little hunting dogs. They are compact dogs with a short, hard coat. The coat is dense and it does shed quite a bit, though it’s easy to care for. If you run a brush over it once or twice a week it will cut down the shedding significantly. They generally weigh 20 to 25 pounds though, as a breed, Beagles are prone to overeating and gaining too much weight. Plenty of daily exercise is important for these dogs.



Beagles typically live 10 to 13 years but, like other breeds, there are some health problems that can appear in individual dogs. Some of the issues that can crop up include epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and dwarfism. “Funny puppy” – a developmental disorder seen in young Beagles – also can occur. Hip dysplasia occurs rarely. Disc problems with the back can occur. Possible eye problems include glaucoma and corneal dystrophy, as well as “cherry eye” and distichiasis where eyelashes grow into the eye and cause irritation. Retinal atrophy can also occur.


If you are interested in getting a Beagle puppy or any Beagle, be sure to talk to the breeder about health issues in the breed.



Beagles are smart dogs but they are not the easiest dogs to train. Their strong sense of smell will often cause them to be distracted during training. They can also be a little hard-headed and focused on whatever they are doing so they can ignore your commands at time, especially if they are investigating something. If your Beagle is off chasing something, you can forget about him coming when you call him, especially if he’s after a rabbit or some other prey. Fortunately, they are food-motivated so positive reinforcement methods using food as reward will give you a chance to train your Beagle to learn some basic obedience. They often excel as hunting dogs and in field work.

Popular Dog Breeds: Poodles

Poodles are one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds. Although many people think of them as a frou-frou breed and associate them with fancy haircuts and dog shows, Poodles are actually lively, active dogs who make excellent family companions.



Poodles originated in Germany and were originally used as water retrievers. It’s said that the original Poodle clip or hair cut comes from the fact that hunters trimmed the dogs and left extra coat on their joints to help them keep warm in cold water. The Standard Poodle – the largest of the Poodles – is considered to be the oldest of the Poodle varieties. The breed was probably established by the 15th-16th century. The Miniature Poodle was later used for truffle hunting; while the Toy Poodle was popular as a performing dog in circuses. Toy Poodles were also royal favorites during the time of Louis XVI in France.



The AKC breed standard for the Poodle (all sizes) describes their temperament in the following way: “Carrying himself proudly, very active, intelligent, the Poodle has about him an air of distinction and dignity peculiar to himself.” Poodles require regular daily exercise, whether you have a Standard Poodle or one of the smaller varieties. They are very smart dogs and they enjoy learning tricks and performing. They like to be the center of attention. Poodles are also affectionate and devoted to their owners. They generally get along well with other dogs and pets. You should be aware that because they are so intelligent, Poodles tend to get bored easily, especially if they don’t have anything to do or something to keep them busy. They can become quite mischievous and get into trouble when they’re bored. Poodles do best if they receive training and participate in an activity they enjoy such as agility or obedience. Poodles can also have a strong natural hunting drive and some people still use Poodles for hunting and retrieving work.



The Standard Poodle is over 15 inches tall at the shoulder. The Miniature Poodle is between 10 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder. And the Toy Poodle is under 10 inches tall at the shoulder. Otherwise, the dogs are built the same way and come in the same colors. They have a squarely-built appearance with very dark, oval-shaped eyes. Their ears hang down long and close to their head. The Poodle’s coat is curly and naturally harsh and dense. They can be many different colors such as white, black, apricot and gray, but they are not parti-colored under American Kennel Club rules.


Unlike most breeds which have a double coat, Poodles have a single coat. They don’t have an undercoat. They also shed minimally. Instead, their hair continues to grow and curls. They have to be clipped every six to eight weeks to keep the coat trimmed for a pet trim. Some owners allow the coat to grow out into curls but if you do this you will need to brush the coat routinely so it won’t mat. Show dogs require much more extensive grooming to achieve the look you see at dog shows. A pet trim for a Poodle is very easy to care for and comfortable for the dog. Any good professional pet groomer can groom your Poodle for you.


Because they are single-coated and shed minimally, Poodles are considered to be a good choice for people with allergies. If you have an allergy to dogs, be sure to meet the individual dog to make sure that you can tolerate being around him or her. You will still need to take steps in your home such as vacuuming frequently. It will also help to bathe your dog often.



The Poodle Health Registry lists the following common serious health issues for Standard Poodles: Addison’s disease, gastric dilatation volvulus (also known as GDV or bloat, torsion), thyroid problems (both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid), tracheal collapse, epilepsy, sebaceous adenitis, juvenile renal disease, hip dysplasia, and cancer. Ear infections can also plague Poodles in general because their coat is nonshedding and the hair grows into the ear, trapping wax and dirt. This problem can largely be prevented with good ear care. You should consult your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of an ear infection.


You can find out more information about these health issues and others on the Poodle Club of America web site: If you are thinking of getting a Poodle puppy or any Poodle, be sure to talk to the breeder about health issues.


While these issues can appear in Poodles, these dogs are one of the longest-lived breeds, especially Miniature and Toy Poodles. Various surveys show that Standard Poodles usually live between 11.5 and 12 years. The leading causes of death are cancer, old age, bloat, and cardiac disease. Mini and Toy Poodles have a lifespan of 14 to 14.5 years. Leading causes of death are old age in Miniature Poodles; and old age and kidney failure in Toys. Some Toy Poodles have been known to live into their 20s.



With their superior intelligence and desire to learn, Poodles are very easy to train. They can excel at just about any activity. They are natural show-offs. They do well in conformation dog shows, obedience, agility, rally, tracking, and hunting events, as well as sports like flyball and disc dog. True to their origins, Poodles also love water and you can enjoy sports like dock dog with them. Your Poodle can learn to do just about anything.

Popular Dog Breeds: Shetland Sheepdogs

shetland sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie, is a small herding dog that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. Though they resemble the Rough-coated Collie, they are not miniature Collies. Shelties are highly intelligent, loyal, trainable dogs. They’re one of the best breeds for obedience work and they’re talented at many different jobs.


While Shelties are not miniature Collies, they do share some common ancestors. Both breeds trace back to the Border Collie of Scotland. These useful herding dogs were taken to the Shetland Islands and then bred with some of the small, intelligent, longhaired dogs already present on the islands. The resulting dogs were quite small, which made them perfect for farmers on the islands who preferred smaller dogs. There were crosses with Collies and probably other herding dogs over the years to produce the best herding dogs. Shelties were used to help on the farm and to protect the home. They watched over crofters’ cottages, flocks and herds.

Because of the isolation of the islands, the breed did not become recognized by the Kennel Club in England until 1909. They were first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1911.


Owners say that Shetland Sheepdogs have an almost human understanding. They are smart and intuitive. They are devoted, docile, alert, and extremely loyal. They make good family dogs but they can have a tendency to herd children and other animals. They can also be barky and yappy at times. They love their families but they can be reserved with strangers. These qualities can make them a good watch dog since they will bark and give a definite alarm when someone is coming.


Shelties love suburban and rural life but they are an adaptable breed and they can adapt to more urban living. However, they do require regular exercise. They are quite energetic. If they don’t get enough exercise they can become destructive or nervous in the home. With their dense double coat, they require quite a bit of brushing and coat maintenance.


Shelties stand 13 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder and they typically weigh between 16 and 20 pounds.


Their coat can be black, blue merle or sable, marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan. It is a dense double coat meaning that the outer coat consists of long, straight, harsh hair; and the undercoat has short, furry, dense hair that gives the coat a “standoff” quality. The hair on the face, tips of the ears and the paws should be smooth. Shelties also have a “mane” of hair and frill around the neck and throat.



Shetland Sheepdogs are generally considered to be healthy, sturdy little dogs. The typical lifespan for the breed, according to surverys, is 12 to 13 years. The American Shetland Sheepdog Association, the AKC parent club for the breed, is very active in health matters. According to the club, hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, eye diseases, dermatomyositis (Sheltie Skin Syndrome), von Willebrand’s
disease (vWD), and epilepsy are problems that can occur in the breed, although these problems are not common. The club recommends that breeders have dogs tested for hip and eye problems prior to breeding and two tests from among the following list of tests: von Willebrand’s Disease, Multiple drug sensitivity (MDR1) DNA test, Autoimmune thyroiditis, Collie eye anomaly DNA test, Elbow dysplasia evaluation. Optional tests for breeders include Congenital cardiac database and the American Temperament Testing Society, TT title.


Again, these issues are not common in Shelties but the club is very proactive. If you are interested in getting a Sheltie puppy or an older dog, you should talk to the breeder about health testing. Do not expect any breeder to have done all of these tests! Most breeders will do the recommended tests and probably a couple of others, depending on what potential health problems they think might be present in their bloodlines.

For more information on Sheltie health issues visit the club’s web site:


Shetland Sheepdogs are usually ranked as one of the most intelligent breeds of dog. They’re also willing to please and easy to train. They excel in just about every dog activity and sport. They’re great at obedience, agility, rally, herding, tracking, flyball, and nearly anything else you want to teach them. They make a great partner for anything you’d like to do.

Shelties do have a strong work ethic so they’re usually happier when they have an owner who wants to train them and do things with them. They’re less happy lying around the house and doing nothing. If they don’t get enough exercise and mental challenge, they can develop behavior problems. They need a job or an activity so they stay busy.