Considering how Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as “Shelties” or “Shetties” by their fans, only freshly became an official breed after getting crossed with collies, you might have seen one breed gone an extra step, with delightful results.
The Shetland sheepdog border collie mix, also easier known as a “Border Sheepdog,” retains all the likeable, desirable traits from its two parent breeds while sporting a unique look that distinguishes itself among other dogs.
For expedience, we will refer to the Shetland Sheepdog Border Collie mix as a “Border Sheepdog” throughout this article. To uncover comprehensive information on this breed regarding physical traits, requirements and potential health problems as well as its compatibility as a family pet, read on.
Physical Characteristics (Size and Physical Look)
Border Sheepdogs retain the size of their smaller parents, that is- the Shetland sheepdog’s diminutive size over their border collie half’s larger size. Therefore we can say that the size of a Border sheepdog mix is either small to medium-sized dog.
Their height can range from 16 to 22 inches, weighing anywhere from 25 to 45 lbs at maturation.
The dominant colors of these dogs are black, blue, Merle, and sable. Their fur, especially around their face may be darker, with white or tan markings. Fur coating can either be solid but more frequently tends to be multi-colored, long or soft-coated.
May have tall ears, with eyes that are either light or dark brown, or even rarely, blue.
The Border Sheepdog mix has a reported 12 to 15 year lifespan, but it can live potentially longer. Bear in mind that mixed breeds tend to live longer than their purebred counterparts since genetic diversity tends to lend the gift of longevity and mitigation of genetic problems.
Border sheepdogs are relatively low maintenance, and shed moderately compared to their two parent breeds. However, it still sheds a lot, and for this reason isn’t too popular with people with strong allergies.
Brushing your pet’s fur at least twice a week to keep its long fur in top condition. Trim your pooch’s nails when they get too long, which may take two or three weeks to happen.
You need only bathe your dog occasionally or when it gets dirty from rolling outside. You should check their ears daily for debris or pests, especially during the summertime when the risk of ticks is imminent.
Be sure to brush your dog’s teeth daily as well, as doggy oral health matters! Nobody likes a pooch with bad breath; a vet can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth thoroughly.
Considering that both parent breeds are highly active, and are also considered some of the most intelligent dog breeds out there, it would make sense that the border sheepdog inherits the same intelligence and activity levels.
Because of the high activity level and Shetland sheepdog half, it is a very playful breed, and would prefer to go outside and chase something rather than, say- cuddle on the couch while watching television with the owner.
This is not a dog that should be cooped all day indoors or in the absence of family members, as it is emotionally sensitive to the needs and moods of other humans and craves their attention and company, as well as the bustling fun of the outdoors.
Its high intelligence enables it to learn tricks at a startling pace compared to other breeds, and also makes it very easy to train as well.
Border Sheepdogs also inherit a wariness for strangers, and are also as vocal as their parent breeds, who bark frequently.
As mentioned earlier, Border sheepdogs are highly active breeds who require daily exercise. As most dog owners may know, a good dog is a tired one, as high-energy, pent-up dogs will enact their anxiety out with destructive, undesirable behavior from chewing up shoes to aggression.
Daily walks or exercise for an hour to two should be sufficient to keep your Border sheepdog pleased and satisfied with the amount of play. Anything from jogging, hiking to games of frisbee and fetch can provide the ample amount of stimulation he needs.
As with all dog breeds, border sheepdogs have their own share of health risks, but in general do not have a relatively higher risk for problems than most breeds.
It’s vitally important that you take your Border sheepdog to occasionally check for Hips, Hearts, and X-Rays, but most often you will have to concern yourself with checking the dog’s eyes. Much of the health risks listed are hereditary, but some can be caused and exasperated by neglect.
Some major concerns for the mix’s health problems may be Von Willebrand’s disease, Patent Ductus Arteriosis, and Collie Eye Anomalies. The issue with both the parent breeds is that both are susceptible to eye problems, which the descendant would likely inherit.
Other possible problems which are of lesser concern (but should still require attention and immediate visits to the vet), which are mostly eye problems again, are: Cataracts, Pannus, Eyelid Defects, and Corneal Dystrophy.
There’s also the risk of Hip Dysplasia, which is a hereditary condition.
This hybrid dog has a tendency to gain weight if overfed, so an optimal diet would be food for high-energy medium-sized dogs. Don’t leave food out for the day, and stick to a regular feeding schedule instead.
The quantity will vary due to individual factors of the dog, it is best to ask your veterinarian on recommendation for dietary needs and requirements.
The risk of obesity increases, understandably, with lack of exercise, so please be sure not to neglect their daily walk outside.
Are Shetland Sheepdog Border Collie Mixes Protective?
Border Sheepdogs can inherit the protectiveness of their shettie parents, so the answer is a possible yes. Considering that some border sheepdogs are employed as guard dogs, the probability increases depending on the temperament of its parents.
How Much Does a Shetland Sheepdog Border Collie Mix Cost?
The average price for a border collie is 600 USD, and buying a Shetland Sheepdog as a puppy from breeders can cost anywhere from 850 to 2000 USD.
Bear in mind that you can cut back costs by adopting a puppy from a shelter instead, which can start as low as 100-300 USD. The easiest way to locate a shelter is finding one that specializes in the breed you’re interested in (in this case, Shetlanders and Collies).
Is a Shetland Sheepdog Border Collie Mix Right for Me?
If you can confidently call yourself an outdoors person, who possesses equal amounts of energy to rival a high-activity level dog, you’ve already sailed past the hard requirement.
If you want an adorable pet who is loyal, and has the smarts and athleticism to back it up, as well as boasting a unique look on the block, then a Border Sheepdog may just be the right mix for you.
Best Climate for a Shetland Sheepdog Border Collie Mix
The Border sheepdog thrives in milder climates since its long-medium fur sheds so frequently. The colder the climate, the better since its parents originate from the northern hemispheres, and definitely does not prefer warmer regions.
Because of this fact, you will have to plan accordingly depending on where you travel with your border sheepdog (for example, a heavy trim before a vacation near an equatorial region).
The Attention a Shetland Sheepdog Border Collie Mix Needs
As stated earlier, both parent breeds adore and require attention and acknowledgement from their owners, and it would make sense that the offspring inherits this trait. Therefore, it’s best not to leave your pet unsupervised for a whole day.
A neglected border sheepdog can be afflicted with depression and even aggression, lashing out at strangers and impeding (or even undoing!) the socialization process, especially while it is still growing. Never chain your dog outdoors, away from the family, for this reason.
Considering the activity level of a border sheepdog, neglecting it would cause it to display destructive behavior such as releasing its pent-up energies and frustrations on shoe or nearby furniture. Simply giving it its daily exercise requirement is enough to satisfy this aspect.
So to summarize this in one, simple sentence as to how much attention a border sheepdog requires: a lot!
Compatibility with Kids
Border sheepdogs show excellent restraint among kids, especially due to their Shetland sheepdog half, who are relaxed and patient with the poking and high frenetic prodding of children. They may, however, prefer gentler companions such as older kids and adults.
While good with children, Border Sheepdogs are known for their intense stares which they use to intimidate livestock during the herding process. It may try to attempt to do this on family members, especially younger children.
Compatibility with Other Animals
The border sheepdog doesn’t do as well with other pets in the household compared to its parent breeds, as it more often prefers to be the solo, top dog of the house. Your pet should never display hostility or even violence against the other pets in the household, however.
If that happens, you may suspect that the dog hasn’t been socialized properly, which is a process by which a young puppy is introduced to other dogs and learns the etiquette of the canine world.
If such as the case, it’s never too late to hire a trainer for your dog and have it properly socialized at any age. Remember that the high intelligence of a border sheepdog makes it one of the easier dogs to train and retain information, so in this case, you can teach an old dog new tricks!