Are Shelties Good For First-Time Dog Owners? [Vet Advise]

Are shelties good for first time dog owners

Getting your first dog is an exciting time, but there are many things to consider before bringing a new member into your family for potentially 15 years. If you’re curious about whether Shelties are good for first-time dog owners, read on!

Are Shelties good for first-time dog owners? Yes, Shelties are affectionate, smart, responsive, alert, gentle, and trainable dogs, making them well-suited for first-time owners. However, they are energetic and require a lot of attention, so they may not be suitable for busy people with strict schedules.

What are their needs, and how can you train them to behave well? How should you adjust your lifestyle? Don’t worry, I’ll guide you through my findings from my research.

The characteristics of shelties, and how do they affect first time owners?

Shetland sheepdogs, or commonly known as shelties, are herding dogs with a lot of energy. If you are a first-timer to adopt a dog, this is one of the best breeds you could choose. Given below are some of the characteristics of this type based on my research.

  1. Energetic breed
  2. Intelligent breed
  3. Very vocal, easily getting excited
  4. Sensitive
  5. Needs a lot of attention
  6. Friendly with cats
  7. Getting along with most other dog breeds
  8. Long fur coat

Let’s discuss this more in detail.

1. Energetic breed

From their natural instincts, they are very playful and love to chase anything that is on the move. As a veterinary student, I recommend the owners at least make their pets engage in exercises for about 30 minutes each day.

Make sure to take your dog on a nice long walk or maybe accompany him as your jogging partner.

Let him play with toys when indoors, or else they would develop bad behavior such as chasing the tail, barking, chewing on toys.

Recommended reading: Are Shelties good apartment dogs?

2. Intelligent breed

From the sheltie owners’ lively experiences, it is very clear that they are a very smart, intelligent breed. This is a plus point for first time owners because you can train them to do anything with patient guidance and careful supervision.

From my little research, I’ve learned that some are even capable of separately identifying their toys from a pile of toys. They will not stop until they find what’s asked for.

They are capable of potty training, crate training. They even can train them to socialize, starting from a young age to develop a sweet temperament.

3. Very vocal, easily getting excited

This breed barks at the slightest change. Be it a knock on the door, suspicious shadow, or any disturbance. They’ll start barking the minute you leave the house unexpectedly.

This is one of the drawbacks. They become easily excited. But never ever punish them for barking. Just make him obey your vocal commands and keep him in control of your loud, higher-toned “NO.”

On the other hand, this is a huge plus point and makes him suitable as a good watchdog. They are very protective of their family. 

So, If you don’t wanna own a very vocal dog as a first-time dog owner, shelties are not well suited for you. But, with good training, it can be stopped.

4. Sensitive

They pay close attention to pretty much everything around them and are known to be a very sensitive type. If they encounter a family fight, they are most likely to go and hide. Never show anger towards them. Never ever punish them. Try to make him obedient to your commands with time. 

5. Needs a lot of attention

If you’re a kind of a busy person who comes late at night after long hours at work, don’t choose a sheltie, not even as a second pet. Shelties are annoyingly attention seekers, and they will do anything to be the center of attention in the house.

If ignored for more extended periods, they become destructive and neurotic, start chewing on shoes and might as well develop separation anxiety with time. Especially if under 3 years of age, never leave your sheltie alone for many hours.

6. Friendly with cats

So, If you are a serious cat lover and want to adopt a dog for the first time, Shelties are the best breed for you. On most occasions, shelties show much friendliness towards cats and build up a very sweet relationship with each other.

It is really heartwarming to see them bonding, playing, and enjoying each other’s company.

7. Getting along with most of the other dog breeds

They will get along with most of the other breeds fine, but never I have discussed many things regarding this aspect in my previous article.

8. Long fur coat

They are highlighted for their long silky fur coat. They have a soft undercoat and a bit of a harsh outer coat. It is crucial to groom him properly or otherwise, leading to many complications you don’t want to deal with.

Being told the many things, another question that you might have would be, which is good, the male or the female?

In that case, there are no significant personality differences between them. Even the males themselves and females themselves have different characters based on how well they are raised from puppyhood and the quality and success of the training process they went through.

What type of first-time owner would be a good match for a sheltie? 

As for an energetic and a type with high social-need demands, I would say a person with a moderate-busy life is more suitable. It would be better if the dog can be raised in a family. 

Suppose that the owner is available at home 24/7 or working from home. That is a very ideal situation for adopting shelties even as first-time owners!

If you’re looking for a pet dog at desperate times like these, go for a gorgeous sheltie. Trust me, you won’t regret adopting him as he will keep your company almost all the time.

But if you are a person who works for long hours at work, you might think that this will not work for you. I have a few solutions for that too.

Studies show that shelties are more likely to follow a routine they’ve been trained for over quite some time. If you are a family guy and have a tight work schedule, you can take turns to meet your cute pet’s needs. You can take him for a refreshing walk before work and ask your wife/partner to do so at eve.

The point being shelties needs a lot of attention and patient care from their owners.

Recommended reading: Are shelties good off-leash?

Sheltie puppy or adult? Which one is perfect for first-time owners? 

There are two sides to this.

The most ideal situation is if you can adopt a puppy. Because then it will be straightforward to train him and socialize him into having a sweet temperament. You can simply go to a breeder person and start adopting one.

Suppose that you come across a cute abandoned sheltie. Will you leave him because he’s annoying and you’re not sure whether you can train him to change? No right, they are too cute to be abandoned in the first place.

Be it a puppy or an adult, if you are capable of training him to follow a routine, shelties are not much of trouble makers. They are very peaceful and less aggressive.

Pros and cons of owning a sheltie.

So, Here’s a brief summary of what we have discussed so far.

Looks cute with a long fur coat.Tick problems
IntelligentVery vocal
Easy to trainAnnoying if not socialized properly
Friendly with catsNeeds a lot of attention
Very friendly with kidsOversensitive
Love is surely augmented and returned
Very Active
Healthy breed
Good mental healers
Get along with most other dog breeds
Perfect jogging partners
Playful and energetic

Recommended reading: How high can a sheltie jump?

How to take care of shelties? 

Considering the pros and cons now you must have decided whether or not you’re going to adopt one of these amazing friends. If that’s a big yes, here’re some tips for you.

Remember, shelties are a very ideal dog breed for first-time owners. But you do need to learn loads of things to make your life easier as a dog owner. 

I’ll go into details about the below-mentioned areas.

  1. Grooming
  2. Diet
  3. Health problems
  4. Early socialization
  5. Crate training
  6. Potty training

1. Grooming

As lovely and gorgeous as they seem to be with their long silky fur coat, it’s a bit of a struggle to maintain that attractiveness.

Grooming is very important because they tend to develop tick problems as they prefer more to be in the outside world. And again, during hot weather, trim his fur and make sure to keep him hydrated.

They love to be brushed. They understand that as a way of bonding with you. An interesting fact I found was that they love snowy seasons, they love rain but don’t like water. Quite complicated creatures now, aren’t they?

 You can either take him to your nearest pet grooming center, or else you can do this on your own. Another thing is to try to maintain good dental health. Brushing their teeth every two days is advisable. 

2. Diet

As they need a lot of energy, my recommendation would be meals rich in protein and other nutrients. Unlike most other species, they love home-cooked meals. So it’s a bit less costly and convenient to maintain a sheltie as a first-time dog owner. 

You can add fish, chicken, beef as a protein source, add vegetables like carrots, peas in fewer amounts than the protein portion, and prepare their happy meals.

You can also feed him with dry foods purchased from stores, but you have to be very careful and read the label to check the ingredients and the proportions in which your pet should be fed. 

Good dry food packages to try out would be those with plant proteins. Because you can’t be sure of the animal protein that they tell to be included in their packs. But quality dry foods can be purchased from health food stores.

Dog snacks [in addition to main meals], which are healthy and of high quality, are also available in online pet supply stores and health food stores.

3. Health problems

Usually, shelties are healthy pals, but there are some situations when things can go wrong. One of these common problems is Obesity. As much as you love your pet, don’t overfeed him.

Make him engage in regular exercises, as I’ve said before, and keep him in shape. If his diet has to be cut in order to lose weight, go for that, cut all the carbs. It’s not good for him.

Another condition is that they are more prone to skin diseases. Itching, allergy reactions may occur. In such a situation, you may immediately take him to your trusted Vet.

Health includes mental wellbeing as well. They are more likely to develop separation anxiety. So make sure your sheltie doesn’t feel left alone for so long.

4. Early socialization

So, this can be done with the help of a professional trainer, or you can contribute to this as well. But in that case, make sure to follow correct techniques and allow him/her to meet with strangers very patiently and supervise him/her through the process.

This training reduces his excitability to small things and will have a tremendous impact to make him less vocal.

5. Crate training

This is really important as it will save you from a lot of trouble. Make him use to the crate from puppyhood. He will eventually identify it as his own territory and include this as part of his routine. {Being in the crate}

6. Potty training

 If you live in a small premise, how disgusting would it be if your pet started to release himself at every place he feels comfortable?

As gross as it may sound, believe me, it is really important to train him to use the bathroom or a separate corner in the backyard for his physical needs.

This training can be started from 18-24 months of age.

Things to be aware of as a first time sheltie owner.

I’ll mention some key points here.

  • Don’t ever leave him alone for long hours, Love him pet him whenever possible.
  • Make him engage in exercise daily at least 30 minutes
  • Keep him on a healthy diet
  • Grooming is essential
  • Start the training and socialization process from puppyhood and continue doing so.
  • Allocate time and watch patiently as he learns things and grows on his own
  • Don’t ever shout at him/her or punish them
  • Always follow positive reinforcements methods

Keep these in mind and adopt one love sheltie in your family.


Shelties are a loyal, obedient breed and are very intelligent and well suited for first-time dog owners. You must invest a lot of time for him, and the reason why we decided to adopt a dog initially is that we want some quality company.

In my opinion, there are so many plus points to make these adorable pals a good choice for your first canine partner.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *