Shetland Sheepdog the perfect pet and great competitor in the conformation dog shows

Article written for the magazine: Perros pura sangre of the Federación Canófila Mexicana,

Shetland Sheepdog, July 2015. (translated from spanish)


Ximena Cavallazzi Sánchez

"My search for a dog that is a perfect companion in the family and a good competitor confirmation shows led me to own and manage a Shetland Sheepdog. After a living with this breed, I have been able to enjoy a great companion dog and an elegant and agile competitor. This experience has made me admire this breed even more, and realize that it has this valuable combination..."

    For people who are looking for the ideal pet for their home, the Sheltie as it is known, stands out as being a beautiful dog. These dogs have good character, are loyal, affectionate and attentive. They feel attached to their owners, to those who obey, but at the same time is a dog with character who knows what he wants.

   An element that highlights its beauty is its beautiful and abundant coat  This is made up of a double mantle, the superficial hair covering the thick and soft inner layer, which is repellent to the water, and the inner layer that provides relief from heat and cold. In the Shelties exist in several colors according to the standard of the race and mainly they are: Sable that refers to a golden coffee color or mahogany, Tri-color, formed by black, white and coffee, Bluebird, which is described as silver gray, white, black and some coffee and Black with white.

   This beautiful coat should be brushed and combed once or twice a week and in the moulting season should be done more often. Although they have long hair, Shetland Sheepdogs tend to be clean and their coat does not get tangled as easily as one might think, and bathing is necessary every six or eight weeks.

    The Sheltie is an excellent companion dog, cheerful and intelligent, always ready to obey. They get along very well with an owner who is sensitive but firm, they are loving with the whole family, they love spending time with their owners and they have a tendency to follow their owners everywhere in the house, besides this breed gets along very well with the kids. Some may be reserved and timid and this trait in the standard is not well seen, so this trend can be managed through appropriate socialization, it is important that it be done from an early age to reduce their shyness with strangers, as well Get along with other dogs and different pets.

   According to AKC breed standard the ideal height is between 13 and 16 inches, and although they are small dogs, the Shelties have great vitality, love to run in large open areas and need a good dose of Physical and mental exercise. A good daily walk and a game session can be very useful. They can adapt to small spaces as long as they can leave to a space where they can run and feel free.

    According to psychology professor Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, in his book, "The Fabulous Intelligence of Dogs," Shetland Shepherd ranks sixth in the ranks of the top ten dog breeds Intelligent His study focuses on the classification at the level of work and obedience. What he could prove is that these dogs understand and respond new orders with less than 5 repetitions and obey at the first call 95% of the time or more.

    As they are very intelligent dogs, they learn easily and can be trained to have a good behavior inside the house. They can also practice canine sports like obedience, canine freestyle and agility competitions

    Within their behavior they have strong herding instincts, which causes several behaviors, they bark and try to "herd" any member of the family or person who moves around them. Her herding instinct comes from her ancestors who guided and protected sheep in the Shetland Islands, situated in North Scotland, where the breed was developed as we know it today.

    When you have the desire to have a Sheltie, you should know if you want a dog as a pet or a prospect for conformation competition. It is very important to have full knowledge of the breed and look for a dog that has the potential and the breed standard to compete and become a champion. Preparing a dog for exhibitions should be practiced from a puppy, this means providing good nutrition, exercise, training and socialization from the beginning.

    Every dog ​​that is going to an show must be groom. Exhibiting a Shetland Sheepdog in optimum conditions are showing all their potential that will be valued by the judge.

    To enhance its aesthetic virtues in conformation we have several aspects that can be very useful, the first thing is its elegant figure that will be distinguished by perfect grooming, these animals must present a great coat that gives its beautiful and characteristic figure.

    It is very important to take care of the hair of the specimen to give it that great appearance, which is strictly judged in the formation tracks, for this reason it requires a hair of quality of exposure, that has a suitable texture and to achieve it is important a brushing and Regular hairstyle, adequate food and some supplements that strengthen it. The Sheltie arrangement for competitions should be aimed at highlighting the best of our dog, taking into account what the breed standard dictates.

    Generally this ritual begins several days before the competitions and has to be started with a good brushing and retouch with the scissors in certain parts of the dog's hair, a special shampoo and conditioner that has volume and strength, a good drying and brushing. Hours before entering the track should be brushed and arranged so that the coat is abundant above the chest, around the neck and the back of the head and thus achieve the great mane that characterizes them.

   Also for the competitions we can take advantage of one of the innate traits of behavior in the Shelties that will help us to comply with a good handling within the track: Obedience. Since they are very goal oriented animals, who live to heed their owners' signals and please them through obedience, it makes the task of handler easier to perform. Since it is necessary to master the pose routines, walk to the left hand side of the handler, jogging, teeth check and bite, round trip, among others. If you already have the certainty, and you have prepared the dog properly, this novice will venture into some competition, and it is very likely that we realize that there is much more in the art of handling dogs and clues than What you see with the naked eye.

    "So I remember our first experience as a novice, with the nervousness of that first competition, and there, on the track, as on the battlefield, is the moment where you learn the rules of the game. Having a good copy is not enough, it is important to really get involved in the preparation and handling of the dog looking for the way in which its virtues are enhanced. This takes time, work and commitment. "

   Whether for her character, her beautiful fur, her elegance or her joy, the Shetland Shepherd is a perfect pet and a great competitor.

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