5 Reasons Why Shetland Sheepdogs Make Wonderful Family Pets

Hey everyone! Welcome to my little blog about my little love, my dog Bailey.

Bailey is, of course, a Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie), so before I get into writing about her and sharing what life with my particular Sheltie is like – I thought it would be a good idea to to share why I think Shelties are such an endearing breed of dog.

Shetland Sheepdogs, or Shelties, are a popular choice for families seeking a loyal and loving pet. With their affectionate nature and intelligent demeanor, Shelties have numerous qualities that make them excellent companions for families of all sizes. In this blog post, we will explore five reasons why Shetland Sheepdogs make wonderful family pets.

Gentle and Patient Temperament

Shelties are renowned for their gentle and patient demeanor, which makes them ideal for families with children. They have a natural instinct to protect and look after their loved ones, and their patient temperament allows them to handle even the most rambunctious kids with ease. Shelties are known to develop strong bonds with their young counterparts, creating lasting memories and friendships.

High Intelligence and Trainability

Shetland Sheepdogs are highly intelligent dogs, ranking among the top ten most intelligent breeds. Their intelligence makes training them a breeze, and they eagerly learn new commands. This trait is especially beneficial for families, as it enables effective communication and proper control over their pet. Whether it’s basic obedience training or more advanced tricks, Shelties will quickly master them with their quick-thinking abilities.

Versatile and Active Lifestyle

Shelties thrive on physical activity and mental stimulation, making them a great fit for active families. These agile dogs require regular exercise to maintain their overall well-being. Whether it’s a long walk, a game of fetch, or participating in dog sports, Shelties will eagerly participate in any activity that engages their body and mind. Owning a Sheltie can encourage the entire family to lead an active and joyful lifestyle.

Excellent Family Watchdogs

While Shelties may not possess the same intimidating stature as larger breeds, they make exceptional watchdogs. With their acute senses and protective instincts, Shelties have an inherent ability to detect and alert their families to potential dangers. Their vigilant nature coupled with their natural loyalty towards their loved ones make them an excellent choice for families seeking a pet that can double as a guardian.

Adaptable and Good with Other Pets

Shelties are adaptable and typically get along well with other pets in the family. Whether you have a cat, another dog, or even smaller animals like hamsters or rabbits, Shelties can quickly form bonds and coexist harmoniously. Their friendly and sociable nature allows them to integrate seamlessly into a multi-pet household, promoting a sense of unity and companionship for the entire family.

Why I Personally Love This Breed

I grew up loving animals, dogs especially. However, I was to be a dogless dog lover for my entire childhood. My mother had a thing for cats, and of course cats are awesome and I love them too, but I just wanted a dog.

You really can’t take a cat for a walk; I know there are exceptions to this, but for the most part you just can’t. You could try to play fetch with a cat, and while they do have their own version, for me it was… meh.

I understood, mostly, why we never had a dog. We lived in apartments and cats were more conducive to apartment life. At times though I felt like my mother just didn’t want to be bothered with dealing with a dog, which was fair. She was a single parent who didn’t even have a high school education, so she had to work long, long hours. Sometimes, if we’re really going to be honest, she didn’t really have time for me.

My dad, however, had a dog. Sort of. The dog really belonged to his best friend, Richard, and my dad helped take care of the dog. So when my dad had my for the day, or a weekend, I got to help with taking care of the dog too.

The dog was a rough collie named Laddie, and I think he was on the senior side of doggie living when 7-year-old me met him because my dad was always worried that I was going to spook him by, you know just being a kid and doing kid things, and he would potentially bite me. Rumor also had it that Laddie did not dig little kids, so looking back I understand my dad’s concern.

But Laddie loved me, and the feeling was mutual. I thought he was the most beautiful dog I had ever laid eyes on.

Both my dad, and his friend Richard, were both pleasantly surprised that Laddie took to me so well.

It could be that even at the age of 7, I understood when Laddie wanted to play and when he wanted to be left alone. It could also be that rough collies and kids have the reputation of going together just like peanut butter and jelly. But, it could also be that I would sneak the occasional French fry down to Laddie during lunch.

I loved that dog, and I was devastated when he passed away. And being that I was caught up in the middle of this ugly divorce that was happening, I had learned to just keep my big feelings to myself and lock them away, deep down inside.

I know, not so smart.

Richard did get another rough collie puppy, and named that little fluff ball Patrick. I think he named him that after his sister. He did tell me he gave Laddie his name because he looked like Lassie, and Laddie is the male version of the name Lassie.

Fast forward many years later to my getting married to my husband, David, who is not a fan of big dogs. So, when I wanted my very own rough collie we compromised on a Shetland Sheepdog because, “well, he looks like a little Lassie dog.” That was in 1992, and we brought him home and I named him Laddie, after my first doggie love. And it didn’t take long at all for me to fall in love with the Sheltie breed.

Bailey, with her tufted ears, on her third day with us

Now let’s fast forward, again, to many, many more years later. It’s October 2018 and I’m trying to get some pet sitting/dog walking gigs to curb boredom and play with other peoples’ dogs for a bit. My very first pet sitting client that I booked was a 9-week-old Sheltie puppy named Maggie.

Well, it didn’t take long for my love of this breed to return, with full force, and I started wishing for a Sheltie puppy of my own.

I had to wait a couple of years, but I eventually found my Bailey Boo. She’s a quirky pup that fits right in with our family, and I look forward to many, many happy years with her.


Shetland Sheepdogs, with their calm temperament, high intelligence, and adaptability, are undoubtedly wonderful family pets. Their gentle nature makes them excellent companions for children, while their intelligence and trainability make them a joy to own and train. Additionally, their active lifestyle, watchdog capabilities, and ability to coexist with other pets further solidify their standing as ideal family pets. If you’re considering a new addition to your family, Shelties should definitely be high on your list.

Our sweet Bailey Boo with her human sister, Samantha

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