With it being one of the most attractive dogs on this Earth, it’s easy to see why you would want to see more of them in the world.
Shetlands are functional, friendly and one of the most nurturing breeds of dogs, which is why it is best to start breeding your new Shetland Sheepdog around the age of 2. This ensures that her body is strong enough to handle the pressure and create a litter of healthy Sheltie.
Before breeding a Shetland, there are points that should be made for this process to be successful; here’s what you should know.
Best Age to Breed a New Shetland Sheepdog (Female and Male)
For females, the best age to breed your new Shetland Sheepdog is around the age of 2.
Breeding your Sheltie around the time of their cycle is a prominent way to make sure that your Sheltie will have a successful interaction with their male suitor.
Speaking of male suitors, a male – or sire – Shetland Sheepdog can begin creating babies a little later than their female counterparts.
This is when they can produce the sperm that’s necessary in order to get the female Sheltie pregnant. It’s always best to wait until these moments arise within your Sheltie.
Attempting to breed too early will cause complications and nervousness within your Sheltie, which could hinder the breeding process when it truly is time.
Why This is the Best Age
If your female Sheltie is not physically capable, or not physically ready to have a litter, it could cause pregnancy complications in future, or potentially throw off the regularity of their cycle.
Waiting 2 years to start breeding your male Sheltie is important because they will then process the proper gametes for procreation. Any sooner than 2 years, and the breeding process may be unsuccessful due to lack of vitality and biological fluids.
Understanding the Cycle of Your Shetland Sheepdog
Signs of a Heat Cycle
Your Shetland Sheepdog will enter the estrous cycle once she begins to go into heat. There are 4 signs that this is happening: first, you’ll notice that other dogs are paying more attention to your bitch and may notice that her vulva is swollen with some discharge; this is the proestrus phase.
The second phase is the estrus, which includes behavioral changes, a slightly less swollen vulva and being more receptive to male approaching. Diestrus is next, and the biggest sign in this phase is that she’ll stop being sexually active with other male dogs.
Lastly, you’ll notice that your Sheltie’s vulva is back to normal and so is her behavior; this is the anestrus phase. This heat cycle is very evident as the behavioral changes will be your biggest signs of a heat cycle.
How Long is a Shetland Sheepdog in Heat?
This heating cycle can last from weeks to a month depending on your Sheltie’s health and age. Let’s do a little bit of math shall we?
The proestrus phase of your Shelties’ heating cycle can average between 9 and 14 days. The second phase – or estrus phase – lasts between 9 and 14 days on average as well but can last for up to 20 days.
The Diestrus phase is when things start to slow down for your Sheltie, and they stop mating; this phase is one of the longer periods of the cycle and can last for up to 2 months.
There’s also the anestrus phase where your dog returns to their old self or becomes pregnant, which could last for up to 4 months.
All in all, the average length of time for your Shetland Sheepdog to be in heat is around 3 weeks. After the deed is done, the pregnancy can last for a few months.
Choosing the Best Mating Day
Well, there isn’t a best mating day parse, however, there is a perfect time frame to begin the mating process, and that is during the estrus phase of your Sheltie’s heating cycle.
The estrus phase is the most fertile period for procreation and the ultimate time frame for your Sheltie to start choosing a partner, or multiple partners.
The estrus phase also has a biological component that allows for your dog to continue to accept male suitors for a longer period, or until they are successfully impregnated. This process is highly necessary and can take a few days and can last for several weeks to a few months.
This is also the time period where your bitch’s vulva will be soft and enlarged, which is a clear indication of being “ripe for the picking”, so it’s important that you take full advantage of this mating window in order to obtain a successful breeding process.
Things to Keep in Mind for Shetland Sheepdog Breeding/Mating
When it comes to mating or breeding your Shetland Sheepdog, there are a few considerations that you should take notice of. First, breeding a Sheltie can be an overwhelming process.
It’s important to keep track of her physical traits and reactions to determine the stage that she’s in, her health status, and to conduct any necessary maintenance before, during and after the breeding process to ensure a tip-top pregnancy and healthy Shetland Sheepdog puppies.
In addition, the breeding process can rack up a tab. When you think about bi-monthly veterinarian visits, food, medical coast, containers and shelters, medications, or any miscellaneous items that your Sheltie or her pups may need, dollar signs come to mind.
So, if you are considering breeding your Shetland Sheepdog, be sure that you have the finances, consistency, and patience to create a safe and happy experience for your Sheltie.
Oh! Let’s briefly discuss the sale of the dogs that you should know about.
If you plan on selling any of the pups that come from the litter of your Sheltie, know that sales taxes are included for the dog, and the Internal Revenue Service will want their share of your earnings in the form of taxes for dog breeders.
How to Take Care of Your Shetland Sheepdog
Weeks 1 through 3 are mainly internal processes of the egg traveling and sticking to the lining of the uterus; so, for the first three weeks, you won’t see much change.
By the end of three weeks, you will start to notice behavioral changes, and that your bitch has started to develop breast tissue.
By the end of week 4 your unborn pups will have started developing inside of your Sheltie; which means this is the best time to make sure that your Sheltie is limiting their amount of physical activity, considering that this is the most sensitive time of the pups to contract a defect.
Within weeks 5 to 7, the pups are still growing, and your dog’s eating habits may have changed. When this occurs, feed her small portions of food frequently throughout the day; this will help her digestion get back on track since her uterus has moved her internal organs around a little bit.
From here until week nine, or the end of their pregnancy, you’ll want to have lots of water around and a whelping (birthing) area set up for Sheltie. Soft pillows and blankets are also a great addition to their whelping station and will improve their comfort while they give birth.
Have Many Puppies Do Shetland Sheepdogs Usually Have?
Shetland Sheepdogs typically have between 4 and 6 pups per litter, although some have been known to go up to 8.
The number of puppies that a Sheltie can have is based on the quality of the sperm from the sire Shetland Sheepdog, the quality of the ovary from the you lady sheltie and the size of your Sheltie.
Once the lovable puppies are born, you can choose to either keep them with their mother and they all can stay with you, or you may choose to sell them to others that may want a chance to experience the lifestyle of a dog mom or dad.
How Long are Shetland Sheepdogs Pregnant For?
Your Shetland Sheepdog will be pregnant for approximately 56 to 72 days or 9 weeks. This process is to make sure that the puppies grow at a steady and healthy rate.
The 2 to 2 ½ months that your Sheltie will spend pregnant will be filled with development signs that the pups are growing.
Your Sheltie can be pregnant for as little as 56 days or for as long as the full 72, but unless there are internal complications, there’s no need to worry, as your Shetland Sheepdog will give birth within this timeframe.