Sheltie information all good pet owners should know. © Blessed Shelties

AKC registration:
Just because you have a puppy or dog, or just because you are going to buy a puppy with AKC registration doesn't mean it is a "quality" animal.  AKC is a registry of dogs that have a "family tree".  AKC is the oldest dog registry in the United States.  It can trace back the generations of a dog  with an AKC number multiple generations.  But that doesn't mean your pup is quality or healthy or "show quality".  I can trace my family tree too,  but that doesn't mean I am Ms. America, Bill Gates or Mother Theresa (or want  to be for that matter).  When puppies are born, a breeder or owner of a litter can mail in an application along with the appropriate fee to register the litter with AKC. The breeder will then give you (the buyer) a "blue" paper that is mailed in by the new owner with the appropriate fee and the puppy will be registered in the new owners names.  Now, some unethical breeders will lie about the parentage of a puppy, falsify litter documents and ask for more "blue" slips then there are puppies.  AKC is trying to crack down on this practice by doing DNA testing.  Not everyone has been tested, but it wouldn't hurt to ask if the parents of the puppy or dog you are considering have been DNA tested. What you are ultimately looking for is a breeder that breeds his/her dogs to the proper "STANDARD" for shelties, offers a guarantee, and is going to be available for you after the sale.

The ASSA is the organization that sponsors and has rewritten several times, the "OFFICIAL" standard for the Shetland Sheepdog.  Adherence to the standard is important in keeping the integrity and health of the Sheltie in tact. Many people mistakingly assume that a Sheltie is a "miniature collie", and  while the Sheltie does resemble a collie in miniature, careful reading of the standard will show the differences.  The climate of the Shetland Islands is exceptionally rough being very close to Greenland and Antarctica.  The properly bred Sheltie should be completely healthy and structurally sound to be able to work the job for which it was bred.  The Sheltie is a small dog (13-16" at the shoulder and averaging 15-25 pounds) which was ideal for working the small sheep and ponies that inhabit the islands.  Sheltie colors are extremely varied (ie: Sable/white, black,white,tan, black & white, blue merle, white & tan, blue merle & white, whites with colored heads, and whites) and the coat should be thick and harsh, double coated, but very moderate. Although the show coats some are getting are beautiful, they are hardly practical for the true working shelties and can be difficult to maintain for the normal pet owner.  The standard calls for a moderate dog with moderate coat.

However, even if a dogs looks like a Sheltie, if bred by a back yard breeder or puppy mill, may carry characteristics that are undesirable for the pet owner. If a dog carries any of these traits and has not been tested for the rare, but still possible, genetic defects, then it should never be bred.  A good breeder will not breed the dogs unless they are free of dibilitating genetic problems and serious faults.

Shelties are one of the healthiest breeds available.  However, there are certain problems that all sheltie owners need to be aware of.  Make sure the breeder you purchase your puppy or adult from have tested the parents for hip dysplasia and any inherited eye problems. There are also other tests that can be done such as VWD, thyroid, and Dermatomyocitis.  You can have your puppy tested for eye problems as early as 10 weeks, and hip dysplasia as early as 6 months. All puppies should arrive with at least one set of vaccines (Distemper, Parvo, Adenovirus, hepititis, coronavirus, parinfluenza). If you purchase an older puppy it may also have leptospirosis, bordatella, lyme and rabies vaccines.  Your puppy will be picked up from or arrive from your breeder and will be under a great deal of stress.  Take your puppy to the vet within a two day period to make sure intestinal parasites are not a problem. Sometimes stress can cause a parasite flareup (giardia,coccidia). Plus all pups are born with parasites and you don't want to transfer these to your yard and environment.

How to care for your new companion - Link to flyer

How to care for the new Older/Adult Sheltie you have just purchased - Link to Flyer

Voice Softening - Link to Flyer

Housebreaking: Housebreaking by Operation Kindness

How much will my puppy cost?
Expect to pay from $600-800 for a good quality pet puppy from a reputable breeder. If you expect your breeder to sell you a healthy puppy from genetically tested stock, and be there for you after the sale, then you should expect to pay for those services.  A Sheltie puppy will live 10-15+ years. The initial investment is worth a lifetime of joy.  Never expect to buy a show dog for pet price. Sadly the unscrupulous on the internet are charging more in some cases for a really bad quality Sheltie.  If you pay less, then buyer beware. If you pay more, hmmm don't really know what to tell you.  I used to be able to say "you get what you pay for". That is not true anymore with dogs. When people lie, cheat and steal to sell you a mixed breed "oodle" dog and call it designer and then you pay sometimes double what a nicely bred purebred costs, well you can expect to be cheated.

How big will my puppy get?
Predicting sheltie size is very difficult for even the most experienced of breeders.  Most show breeders would always prefer that a sheltie be an average of 15-25 pounds and 13"-16" at the withers.  There are variations below and above this range.  Never be fooled by someone that tells you they raise "toy" shelties.  There is only one sheltie, no matter the size.  A general rule of thumb is to look at the legs and feet. A puppy with very large or small feet and very large or small legs can sometimes be expected to be outside the normal size limits.

When will my sheltie have a really huge coat?
A sheltie will normally be fully mature by the time it is 3-5 yrs of age. Don't expect your puppy to have a really beautiful coat until then. Spaying/neutering will help promote coat growth as will a healthy balanced diet.  Plus, be sure to have your puppy groomed at least every other month at a professional grooming shop.  The groomer will keep the ears cleaned out, brush and bathe, and keep the nails trimmed.  The average cost for a good groomer will be $30-50 depending on the area in which you live.

How much do Shelties shed?
Most spay/neutered shelties will shed once yearly. I have seen many neutered male shelties that will shed heavily once every two years. A thorough weekly brushing is usually more than adequate.

How much do Shelties bark?
Shelties do bark more than the average pet.  That being said, if you do your job of proper training and NEVER leaving your sheltie outside alone for more than 20 minutes at a time, the barking will be kept to a minimum.  I have seen very few shelties that would bark inside for no reason at all.  Some few will bark when the phone rings, most will bark when someone drives up or the doorbell rings.  Some even bark at the vacuum cleaner, but with proper training you can teach your sheltie to bark appropriately.

The breeder says the dog is de-barked, is that bad?
Contrary to what you may have heard, De-barking or voice softening a Sheltie is not bad or cruel. Most all show breeders debark their dogs to keep peace in the neighborhood. Shelties do bark, some much more than others. When you have more than 2 Shelties in one place it can be very annoying to people that don't own Shelties. It is a surgery that an experienced vet can perform. It is very similar to having your tonsils removed. Most Shelties are confined for a few days and then completely back to normal. Yes all my adult dogs are de-barked, and after a couple days they are back to barking as normal, I just can't hear them loudly. The dog has no idea it has been de-barked, and will bark just as normal Shelties do. They still can alert you to strangers, they still bark when the doorbell rings, and it has no effect on personality. I've actually had people call me that received adult Shelties from us thanking us that the dog was de-barked. They didn't know how pleasant it would be!

What about that full white collar?
Whether your puppy has a full white collar in no way reflects upon his quality.  It may be a personal preference for your pup to have a full collar, but how does that affect his temperament and health?? It doesn't.   I can fully understand how some would want what they feel is the perfect puppy for them, but think first about health and temperament, and then worry about how much or little white the dog actually has.

Is it hard to housebreak my puppy, and how long will it take?
An average of 4 weeks is probably normal for housebreaking although with proper technique I have had owners say their pup was housebroken from 1 day to 2 weeks.  Get a plastic crate from the local pet store and keep the pup in the crate during the time when you are not at home.  Take the pup out immediately when you arrive home and praise it when it potties outdoors.  In no time, the pup will be housebroken.  Better yet, put in a doggy door.

Should we get a male or a female?
This question will be answered differently by everyone, but in my opinion, the male makes the better pet.  In general, males are easier to train, shed less often and have a more even disposition than a female. BUT, the differences are very small.  Females can be moody, even ones that are spayed, and I never recommend putting two females together unless they are spayed very early (4mths).  Two males will generally get along better than two females.  Size is a non issue as males/females are going to grow to whatever size their genetic makeup calls for.  Males can be small, females can be big.

If Shelties are so easy to train, why do we need a fence?
To keep out other peoples unvaccinated stray pets for one reason, to keep your pet from wandering off for another, and because no matter how "trained" you think your pet is, a sheltie is still a herding breed and will HERD whatever it can. This includes rabbits, squirrels, other dogs and CARS!!

Now that you have read this far what else do you need to know?
If you are considering purchasing a puppy from Beckward Kennels, here is one more thing you need to know. The harsh reality is that puppies are considered a consumer product by the government. I consider them to be a valued member of our family. NEVER, try to contact me to negotiate the price of a puppy.  I set the price and that is the price. I do not appreciate anyone trying to negotiate a price with me. WHY?? you ask?? Because these are live animals, that will love you unconditionally for the rest of their lives, at least 12 yrs or more. How in the world can anyone justify negotiating that?? The first time most breeders hear the words "Will you take less?" is the minute no more emails will be answered. So, PLEASE consider your new purchase very very carefully. This is a living creature that doesn't deserve anything less. Don't hesitate to email and ask the cost, just don't ask me to bargain.

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