Shetland Sheepdogs are bright, energetic, and cheerful dogs with a love of life and their human companions.
They are great with children, quick to learn, and eager to please. How do you find a good breeder of Shetland Sheepdogs though? How do you know what to look for to find the best pet possible? Shetland sheepdogs require activity and exercise, whether it is agility with a local team, or playing fetch with the kids in the backyard. They do have a tendency to shed, at times profusely, and even more so if not groomed properly. If you have researched the breed, you know what to expect. Now, you just need to find a good breeder.
When choosing a Sheltie breeder, you should look for a person who is genuinely concerned about the breed, and their dogs. They will want to know about you and your family life to know whether you ill make a good match. They have spent a lot of time raising the puppies and caring for the parents, and the last thing they want is to have a puppy end up at the animal shelter because of a poor match with its family. A good Shetland Sheepdog breeder, as with a person who breeds any breed, will be able to answer your questions about the breed, and will willingly answer any question you have without hesitation. They can answer questions about activity level, grooming requirements, exercise requirements, and health concerns. If they cannot answer a question, they will know where to find the answer, and will gladly get back with you.
Be sure to ask about health concerns. Shetland sheepdogs can experience a few eye diseases, including collie eye anomaly and progressive retinal atrophy. Other health problems can include epilepsy and von Willibrand's Disease. These can be rare, or very common, depending on the quality of the genetic line and the quality of the breeding program. A good breeder will not have had any dogs with these problems, and no reports of puppies that have suffered from the disorders either. If you want someone else's conformation of the fact, ask for references from other puppy buyers. Find out if any have given permission for potential puppy buyers to contact them regarding references.
Always be sure to see the parents. Some breeders use stud dogs from other kennels, so ask for pictures if you cannot see the sire in person. The female dog should be present however, and the breeder should willingly allow you to see the female. Viewing the parents, and noting size, weight, height, and even temperament toward strangers can give you some idea as to how the puppies will mature. This is not a given, but it is usually a good indication to some degree.
Good Sheltie breeders are out there. They may not necessarily have a top kennel status, but the best breeders truly care about their dogs, improving the breed, and hold themselves responsible for the lives of the puppies they allowed to be born. Good breeders are helpful, friendly, and willing to answer questions even after you have purchased a puppy. They gladly offer advice and answer questions throughout your dog's life, rather than forgetting about it after they receive your money. A good breeder wants you and the dog to have a healthy and happy life together, and wants the absolute best for the puppy from the beginning. In that, you will share a mutual interest, and together, you can insure that you and your new Sheltie will indeed have many hours of happiness together.