Shetland Sheepdog Exercise and Environment

Today’s topic is Shetland Sheepdog exercise and environment.


Any dog who was expected to “rough” it in the inclement conditions of the Shetland Islands must be of strong constitution. The small Sheltie derives from hardy, strong working dogs and comes to us today as a vigorous, healthy and thriving companion animal.

Would a Sheltie be more happy on a farm than in a Manhattan fifth floor walk up? Possibly, but the Sheltie’s foremost priority is you. If you live on a farm or in a big city, your Sheltie will be content beyond words and reason. The breed is perfectly able to thrive in any setting.
Shetland Sheepdog jumping in front of a white background

In a rural setting, the Sheltie will find much to do to keep him busy. He is by nature an outdoor dog, though he never wants to spend the night alone outside. If you cannot keep your Sheltie in the house with you, do not choose this breed. A Sheltie kept solely outdoors is an unhappy, barky dog. No Sheltie should ever lead such a life.

Since Shelties require so little in the way of special care and attention, it seems a crime that any dog need go without. He thrives under almost any conditions, including the city apartment scenario, although he is probably most at home in the suburbs, or country, where he can be with his family day in and day out.

A fenced-in property is ideal. Although we know the Sheltie is not a wanderer, fences are safety measures and keep stray dogs from your property. For Exercise purposes, the fenced-in yard is every Sheltie’s need.

Commonly Shetland Sheepdogs admire children and enjoy their company. Remember that the Sheltie is small, and while he is not the most fragile of companion dogs, he shouldn’t be exposed to boisterous, untrained children. Yes, he will tolerate much mishandling, but let’s not allow children to treat our Shelties unkindly.

Children view dogs as playthings and need to be taught that dogs are not inanimate objects to be yanked and tugged at. Adults must supervise children whenever they are playing with a dog, particularly a puppy. Sheltie puppies are marvelously resilient and seem to thrive on children’s attention, since children are kind of “Shetland people”, and Shelties feel perfectly sized with them.

A mistreated or teased puppy can grow up into a dog that does not like children, and this is undesirable with any dog.

a Shetland Sheepdog on a dog toy


Since the Shetland Sheepdog is small, he can get quite a lot of exercise bounding about the house, helping his master with the day’s chores and busying himself with chores of his own. Shelties don’t just live in households, they run them! Shelties are natural supervisors, as was expected of them in their shepherding days.

He will watch for the delivery man, the mail man, and the repair man; he keeps track of everyone’s schedule, knowing precisely who’s due when, and who’s late); he does the best of jobs herding the family through their daily routines. Shelties can be quite content homebodies, though they really do need a fair amount of time outdoors.

These are active dogs that thrive physically and mentally when given sufficient outlets for their energies. Running about the yard is great fun for the Sheltie. He loves to watch over the neighborhood and to keep a close eye on the property. Daily walks, however, are par for the course since it gives the Sheltie some structured time with his master.

Shetland sheepdogs should not be neglected of their walks as this is a good time for owner and dog to unwind together, to take care of business, or to just escape the normal domestic routine.

A Sheltie’s Indoor and Outdoor Needs

The Sheltie’s profuse and well-insulated coat gives him much resistance to cold weather. Although he may look dashing in a sweater, he simply doesn’t need one. Given the cold climate of the dog’s origin, few climates can make the Sheltie shiver. A dog that spends some of the day outdoors will do well with a draft-free dog house.
Shelties in the meadow

The house should be warm, with ample bedding and a covering over the entrance. As we know, no Sheltie should be warm, with ample bedding and a covering over the entrance. As we know, no Sheltie should be expected to spend the night outdoors. He wants to be inside near you.

Indoors he needs a bed or a crate to call his own. Shelties aren’t too fussy about where they snooze, so if your bed is off-limits, you better tell him so while he’s a puppy. If not, your bed will be his favorite spot, because it’s warm, clean and smells like his favorite person.

Shetland Sheepdogs like to stay dry. They are not puddle walkers and don’t like to be out in the rain. Be sure that the dog house is rain proof, or you’ll have one damp, unhappy Sheltie.


Guide To Owning A Shetland Sheepdog by Scott Credido

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2 thoughts on “Shetland Sheepdog Exercise and Environment”

  1. This is a very informative post and a great guide to owning a Shetland Sheepdog.  From your article, I know the Sheltie can get use to children that are discipline in how they treat the dog, my question is, does the Sheltie Sheepdog relate to other dogs in the same household?  Thank you.

    • Thank you for your comments.  They do get along with other dogs well, shelties have anyway, but, like any dogs, there are exceptions.  Have a great night!


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