The Shetland Sheepdog is a much beloved herding dog that often serves as a companion dog in families. Learn more about this breed's specific health needs here.
Although the appearance of the Shetland Sheepdog is that of a miniature Rough Collie, the dog’s bloodline contains a mixture of breeds, possibly including the King Charles Spaniel. Like the Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog is prone to eye conditions and hip dysplasia, which is unusual in smaller dogs. This breed is also highly vulnerable to transitional cell carcinoma, a cancer of the bladder. A healthy Shetland Sheepdog will typically live to an age of 12 to 14 years.
Primary Health Conditions of the Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is predisposed to Collie eye anomaly, an inherited disorder in which parts of the eye are malformed. The disease can be mild in nature or cause blindness. There is no cure for this condition and careful breeding is advocated. Another genetic eye problem the breed is subject to is progressive retinal atrophy, which can lead to sight problems. Again, there is no cure and dogs with the condition should not be bred. The Shetland Sheepdog is also highly prone to a bladder cancer called transitional cell carcinoma, which can be detected in early stages with urinalysis. The disease can be treated with surgery, drugs, and radiotherapy although the prognosis for a dog with the cancer is not good.
Secondary Health Conditions of the Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog is subject to hip dysplasia to a degree unusual for such a small breed. This hereditary condition results from improper fitting of the hip and rear legs at the joint, which can be painful for the dog and result in walking problems. Surgery is an option and weight management a typical treatment. This breed can also be sensitive to Ivermectin, a common medication used to treat parasites in dogs. Care should be taken not to treat the Shetland Sheepdog with this drug as serious reactions can occur.
Shetland Sheepdog Exercise and Walking Needs
Shetland Sheepdogs were, as their name implies, bred to herd sheep and as such they have a high need for physical activity. This breed therefore requires long daily walks and plenty of time to run and play. Owners of the Shetland Sheepdog will note the dog’s desire to chase and herd animals, children, and even cars if they are allowed to do so, so a careful eye should be kept on the dog. A Shetland Sheepdog that does not get enough exercise may exhibit excessive barking and nervousness.
Shetland Sheepdog Nutritional Needs
The Shetland Sheepdog has no particular dietary needs other than a high quality food composed of a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and nutrients. A highly active dog will require larger food portions than a dog that is advancing in years or has become more sedentary. Shetlands are not particularly prone to weight issues but it can become an issue. In consideration of the breed’s susceptibility to hip dysplasia, good weight management is necessary.
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.