Running is a core component of human exercise and keeping fit. Definitely, exercising with your dog props up the fun, even consolidating the bond between you and your dog. Healthy dogs like Sheltie are fun-loving and wouldn’t mind joining in for a run. However, not all dog breeds have the same energy levels, endurance, or ability to cover longer distances.
Shelties are great running partners. However, Shelties are not very predisposed to running longer distances. You have to be mindful of conditions like temperature. Given their lovely double coat, Shelties are more prone to overheating. When running with your Sheltie, you should keenly watch out for signs of exhaustion like drooling or if your Sheltie is panting too much. You could make things easier for your Sheltie by breaking up the run and reinvigorating it with fresh water. You could intersperse the session with intermittent runs and walks.
Many questions arise when you want to take your Sheltie for a run. How long is ideal for a running session? What are the best conditions for running with your Sheltie? You should be rightly curious about the endurance levels of your Sheltie, as well as the health risks associated with running. Wouldn’t you like us to dive deep into all these and many more?
Shetland Sheepdogs’ Running History
The Sheltie is not famed for its running history. Historically, these dogs were endearing for their herding instincts. Nonetheless, Sheltie is far from the lazy category of dogs that tire too quickly.
The Sheltie is very energetic, with fair endurance levels. A healthy Sheltie would be enthusiastic about running around with you. This is the type of dog you can trust to hop along with you for your morning run. But it is not optimized for very long distances.
How Fast Can a Shetland Sheepdog Run?
Admittedly, the Sheltie is not among the fastest dog breeds. This dog has average speed levels, in the region of 15-19 miles per hour.
It is rare to see a Sheltie clocking speed heights of 26 mph (miles per hour), unlike speedster dog breeds like the Greyhound and the Poodle who clock speeds of 45mph and 30mph respectively.
How Far Can a Shetland Sheepdog Run?
Shelties can run fairly far, but it could turn disastrous, getting the Sheltie running long stretches all in one session.
Of course, your Sheltie can run such long miles, but it must be broken into sessions with rests and water breaks within it.
The Sheltie, while energetic, is more sensitive to stress, unlike the high endurance levels that are typical of a herding dog.
How Long Can a Shetland Sheepdog Run at One Time?
The Sheltie will undoubtedly excel on shorter jogs, but not very long mileage runs at once. A healthy Sheltie can be recording up to 30 miles in a week. Far higher energy level dogs can go as much as 100 miles in a week.
Shelties ideally should not run for more than 15 minutes at a stretch. You can keep your Sheltie for longer on the road for up to 20-30 minutes exercising, but it should be broken into walking one minute and running high speed for 30 seconds.
If you are running in sunny weather, make sure to stop every 10 minutes and give your Sheltie fresh water.
Shetland Sheepdog Endurance
Adult Shelties undoubtedly will have more stamina and endurance than puppies. However, an adult Sheltie has moderate endurance levels – despite being very energetic.
No doubt, you can deliberately enhance the stamina or endurance of your Sheltie. This means slowly ramping up its exercise routine while keenly watching out for its reaction.
By the time your Sheltie is excessively panting, or desperately pulling you on the leash, getting duller by the second or trailing far behind you in the run, you would know it has gotten to its limits for that session.
If you want to push its endurance levels, you can slowly up the mileage, making sure your Sheltie acclimatizes with it. You can up the weekly mileage by around 12-15% is fine. This could simply mean running one more day in the week.
Should You Run Long Distance with Your Shetland sheepdog?
As we said, if it is going to be a full-throttle run with no breaks in between, then your Sheltie is not the proper running companion for such long-distance runs.
Things to Watch Out Before Run Long Distances
Many dog owners are absorbed by the thrill and intensity of their running exercise that they forget to watch out for the dog they are running with.
If you are running for a reasonable time with your Sheltie, you must be keen on its temperature condition. Your Sheltie is more susceptible to overheating as it has two layers of coat. Shelties don’t sweat as humans as their dense fur wouldn’t let them.
If the weather outside is running as high as 85 degrees, you shouldn’t go outdoors for a run with your Sheltie. Generally, we discourage running out with your Sheltie if the prevailing outdoor temperature is more than 70 degrees.
If you insist on running during those heightened temperatures, it is better to run in a shade. It would be terrible to run your Sheltie on the sand in such high temperatures. Also, you should shun surfaces like asphalt and blacktop when it is excessively hot.
You can even ascertain the befittingness of the temperature of the running surface by placing your bare foot (you can also use your hand) on the surface for about 10-12 seconds.
Is it too hot for you? Yes, and your Sheltie will suffer running consistently on such hot surfaces.
Keeping Your Shetland Sheepdog Safe on the Run
It is crucial to keep your Sheltie safe when you run with it. Here are some safety measures we recommend that you adopt to keep your Sheltie safer on the run.
Ensure you have put tick protection in place
If your Sheltie is running with you, it is undeniable that you are exposing it to ticks. Your dog can pick up ticks on its path. This can be dangerous to the Sheltie.
Make sure your Sheltie tick medication is not outdated. When you are through with your running session (possibly after running through long grass and woods), you can inspect your Sheltie for ticks.
If you find any, promptly get rid of them. In situations where your Sheltie has been bitten by these ticks, immediately reach out to your vet.
Keenly watch out if your Sheltie is getting tired
A running Sheltie is prone to heatstroke and exhaustion. This can be manifested on the run in vomiting, lethargy, shortness of breath from excessive panting, and drooling.
If your Sheltie is displaying these signs, chances are it is getting overexerted or suffering heatstroke. At that point, it becomes dangerous to force them on the run.
When your Sheltie shows these signs, give it some freshwater and even pour some on its body and head to reduce the body temperature.
Don’t ignore their paws
Abrasions and cuts on the paws of your Sheltie are quite normal when it runs on hard surfaces. Its paws are also vulnerable to burns if it runs on scorching surfaces.
When you are done with the running session and back home, check your Sheltie’s paws if there are such cuts, burns, and injuries. If yes, you can reach out to your vet.
Let us state here that if you are running your Sheltie in the snow, make sure to steer clear off roads that have salt treatments.
This can dangerously sting the feet of your Sheltie. Now, if your Sheltie happens to lick these salty paws when you get home, it could trigger stomach upsets in them.
How Much Exercise Should My Shetland Sheepdog Get?
We are strong proponents of breaking the exercise routine of your Sheltie, given its moderate endurance levels. Your Sheltie no doubt needs regular engagement and stimulation.
Each exercise session shouldn’t be more than 15-20 minutes. Longer exercises could make it stressed or more distracted in the session.
Health Problems Associated with Running Long Distances
There are many health complications you could expose your Sheltie to if you get it running very long distances.
It can suffer wear-and-tear on paw pads
Some dogs wouldn’t mind exercise playing on wounded paws. They can sacrificially take all that pain for the fun to continue. But for a sensitive dog like the Sheltie, torn paw pads are horrible for them.
Your Sheltie, if it runs for too long, can have terrible tears on its paws, with conspicuous flaps of skin on the pad. In other cases, the pad may appear thinner than it typically is.
There is also the possibility of infection of the paws from extreme running. Such infection is evident in pus coming from the pad or swelling.
Your Sheltie could suffer joint injury and sore muscles
When your Sheltie runs excessive distances, it becomes more prone to joint injury. This could subject its joints to sprain and strain. Typically, for the Sheltie, the front legs support 60% of its weight.
Running long distances risks the occurrence of meniscal tears and disruptions in the cranial cruciate ligament. Such excessive distance running can also cause your Sheltie to suffer sore muscles
In such cases, your Sheltie would be suffering stiffness in their muscles (or overall muscular pain). If your Sheltie is suffering from this, you will notice that your Sheltie struggles to stand up after an exercise session.
The resulting pain wouldn’t only rob them of their mobility, it could even result in a decline in appetite levels. In extreme cases, you may hear your Sheltie whimpering as it walks about.
Extreme running can cause heat sickness
Shelties are prone to heat strokes when they run too long in sunny temperatures. We have already examined the propensity of the Sheltie to overheat from its dense fur when running in hot climes.
If your Sheltie overheats from such long-distance running in torrid weathers, and its body temperature climbs north of 106 degrees, it could suffer fatal complication hyperthermia and severe dehydration.