---Shetland Sheltie Sheep Dog
FTLComm - Saskatoon - July 9, 2000
This remarkable pet was out enjoying a picnic last night in a Saskatoon park. The luxurious well maintained coat suggested that he was getting a lot of loving care and the young woman who is this fellows "petter" told me she works on that coat every day.

I remember the first time I saw one of these miniature collie dogs and at the time made the assumption that the Sheltie was just a conventional "lassie type" collie bred down in size to be a toy animal. Well it seems I am dead wrong on that one. In finding out more about this interesting little dog I came across a web site the documents the history of this breed of dog.

A short summary of the Sheltie seems in order. They are likely to have been a Norwegian breed introduced into the Shetland islands as sheep herding animals or perhaps trained and bred to protect the sheep from other predatory animals including birds. In time the sheep became larger and sheep herders moved on to using much larger collie and border collies for this work.

About the time of world war I the Sheltie breed was being defined and since then crossed with the typical collie which gives the modern animal the three distinct colours we associate with the breed, as the originals could have been any colour. What has not changed is the temperament and instincts of this small working dog useful to handle quick and darting sheep or defending them from predators

Most people who have a Sheltie as a pet discover that they are bright and frequently single minded. In Fort Qu'Applle mid June this year I talked with an elderly man sitting in the back seat of his car with a dish of soft ice cream which he was feeding with a spoon to his tiny Sheltie. He explained that she would not eat from a cone or dish but only from a spoon and only in the back seat of the car. Once again we can see the training humans are capable of when a determined dog sets to work teaching their masters new tricks.

The owner of this fine example pointed out to me that he was considerably larger than most of his breed because he is a male. She said she did not show him but he was her constant friend and companion.

While talking with her and taking these pictures a friend of my came by with her border collie who is just recovering from surgery after a football accident in the back yard. It seems the competitive nature of the animal caused her to injure her back and surgery was necessary to repair the damage. Another day we will have some pictures and stories about the border collie.