The Shetland Sheepdog, formerly called the Shetland Collie, is a breed of dogs native to the Scottish Shetland Islands. Shetland Sheepdogs or Shelties are small dogs but they are very resistant to harsh weather conditions. Shelties were used to guard herds, homes, and people. In the early 20th century, the breed moved into the pet dog category.
This breed is considered to be healthy, but there are some inherited diseases that are common in Shetland Sheepdogs, and we will mention them on the list below. Please keep in mind that the health issues listed below are not ranked according to any special criteria, i.e., this doesn’t mean that diseases at the top of the list occur more often than diseases at the bottom of the list.
The purpose of the following list is to inform Shetland Sheepdog owners or those who are thinking about getting this dog about potential health issues that may arise. The list includes health issues that have been reported in this breed over the years, but this doesn’t mean that some or most of these diseases will develop in all Shelties.
Common Health Issues in Shetland Sheepdogs
The most common health issues that have been reported in Shetland Sheepdogs over the years:
- Orthopedic issues: hip dysplasia, patellar luxation
- Skin problems: demodectic mange, allergies, alopecia, epidermolysis bullosa, folliculitis, vitiligo, ringworm, discoid lupus
- Eye problems: progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), blindness, choroidal hypoplasia, corneal dystrophy, distichiasis, heterochromia, iris, optic nerve hypoplasia, persistent pupillary membrane (PPM), retinal dysplasia, collie eye anomaly (CEA)
- Heart problems: patent ductus arteriosus
- Blood clotting diseases: hemophilia A, hemophilia B, von Willebrand’s disease
- Vogt-Koyanagi-Harada-like syndrome (VKH)
- Chronic progressive hepatitis
- Transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) of the bladder
- Lymphocytic thyroiditis
- Hepatic lipidosis
- Sensitivity to certain drugs
Shetland Sheepdogs are very intelligent, active, hardworking, and protective. Early socialization will help them develop into obedient dogs. They need to be provided with a daily dose of training or walks that will meet their energy expenditure needs. Proper diet in accordance with the age and build will extend the life of your dog. It is advisable to keep a Shetland Sheepdog in a fenced yard; let him explore alone, and while he’s still a puppy give him as early contact with people as possible in order to acquire certain behavioral habits.
Shetland sheepdogs can have inherited disorders that do not manifest until the second year of life, so care should be taken when purchasing a puppy. The breeder from whom you intend to buy a dog must have the health clearances of the puppy’s parents, which serve as proof that the dogs have been tested for genetically inherited diseases.
This breed is particularly prone to mutations in the MDR1 gene that makes them susceptible to sensitivity to the following drugs: ivermectin, loperamide, acepromazine, butorphanol, vincristine, vinblastine, doxorubicin, milbemycin, rifampin, erythromycin, moxidectin, and selamectin.