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Have sheltie temperaments changed ?

Discussion in 'Sheltie Chat' started by Daisy1015, Feb 23, 2018.

  1. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    As a generalization. I have had shelties for 45 years. It seems to me (in california at least) that the era of breeding for agility has changed shelties a bit. I do love agility but i am not seeing as many shelties with an i want to please you attitude and good at obedience. They seem more reactive/ lower threshold of arousal and it used to be a given that a well bred sheltie was good with kids and other dogs. I keep seeing dogs from big time responsible, long time show breeders with the label “extremely active”. “Best in agility home”. “No kids” “best as only dog”.”too active for pet home”. Even in young dogs. I may be a little scewed in perapective since i adopted a singleton and therefor he is more reactive and i have to keep on him in training or he will regress in certain areas. The good news is i can do that and keep him in his place and especially for a singleton he is wonderful. No trainer ever guessed he was. But it seems some of these traits are getting more common in shelties in california in general without the excuse. There is alot of overlap between breeders so that may contribute.

    If i get a second dog i need a very easy keeper and just my old fashioned good with kids, reliable, active not hyper, gentle spirited sheltie like the ones i grew up With and my last sheltie. I am not seeing enough of this in the breed to guarantee getting another sheltie in the future. I love my boy and he wasnt a mistake (he was alot of work more so than typical) but i cant do two like this at the same time! Yet it makes me sad not to have another sheltie. And if what i am seeing is the new temperament of shelties in california i dont think i will get another after he passes. I used to only want shelties partially because reliable temperament was a given. I dont get the impression that it is such a given anymore. I am fourth generation sheltie/ collie owner and having a sheltie/ collie is continuing a legacy of generations past.

    As a note i love doing agility as training and have no issue with the sport in general. My last sheltie had the most reliable temperament and was active and excelled in agility... but i had to stop due to a structural issue. He was evidence they can be both a classic sheltie temperament and agility dog.

    I just worry breeding for comformation and agility success may have taken some of the focus off temperament.

    Thoughts? Perspective?
  2. Cara Sandler

    Cara Sandler Forums Enthusiast

    Jul 11, 2015
    I can tell you that both of my shelties have really super stable temperaments (all of their trainers constantly praise them on their temperaments). They are successful in Rally, in agility, and my younger girl will be starting therapy dog training soon (she has already been accepted into the program).

    So it might take a little more looking, but there are still some wonderful shelties out there, stellar examples of what the breed should be.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
  3. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    Today’s age of computers may give me information I wouldn’t have had in years past so it could be no change in percentages, just the information is out there publicly. Breeders may be emphasizing the active part of shelties due to people wanting them for pretty and being totally unprepared for the fact they are working dogs and not an alone while we work and then want to soley lap dogs when we are home kind of dog.
  4. ghggp

    ghggp Moderator

    Aug 28, 2011
    Grosse Pointe, Michigan
    Daisy, very interesting thread you started!

    I had a collie as a child and had Shelties after that.

    Kelsey, my first female...
    got her at 6 months and the breeder had already started to show her. She was well socialized and went into the confirmation ring. This was over 20 years ago. I got a CD title on her and she was rock solid as you describe the Sheltie temperament!

    Although I have not done agility, I am big into obedience... at least up to CD titles. She had beauty and brains!

    Laddie from the same breedering male but different female, I got 14 years later and was totally different! That said, he was NOT born in the same household but by a man into genetics. I don't think he socialized him at all! I got him at three months old. He was a totally different dog. Very smart and athletic but nervous and fearful. Obedience training helped tremendously. He always won first or second. However, anytime a child would come up to ask pat him he was very scared and would hide behind me. I would just say to the child that he was shy. I would have never trusted him alone with children. He was never a biter but fearful.

    When I adopted Billy, a sweet boy who was traumatized by two of his masters passing, he was always fearful and shy.

    When I adopted Mr Chance at six he was the best of all the Shelties I ever had! Perfect in temperament and looks, albeit a bit oversized! He loved children! He was outstanding in obedience and in his beginner class his focus on me was so outstanding the trainers were shocked! They had never experienced a rescue dog that good! He always won first place!

    Little Jasmine, at five, another rescue was rock solid in temperament! She loved children and was sweet as she could be! She was used as a backyard breeding dog!

    I do believe both of them must have been raised with children before I adopted them.

    All my Shelties loved obedience! Except Logan! He was a retired show dog! He has a great temperament and ultra sweet with everyone, kids too.

    Baron, my tri that is six is horribly fearful of everything! I got him from a breeder. They tried agility with him but he did not like it! He is huge over 40 lbs and not agile at all. I have done basic obedience with him to overcome his fearful temperament.

    I have noticed as I look at other rescue sites that there seems to be a 50/50 split as to dogs required to be an only dog and others that are OK with a multi dog household.

    In closing, I have to say, all my Shelties have been wanting to please dogs!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
  5. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    Mine are all mellow. Beckon had fear reactivity, but that has faded considerably with training and age. PM me for a good breeder in CA.
  6. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    i pm. Ed you. Let me know if i did it wrong.

    Yes i started this thread nervously but hoping i would be told i was wrong!
    Cara Sandler likes this.
  7. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Forums Enthusiast

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    My California bred dogs from 2 different breeders have been rock-solid temperaments. None were raised around kids and none of the 5 really like(d) kids, shy of them mostly. All did agility except Brooke who made it absolutely positively clear from day one that it was beneath her dignity. Faith is my most active Sheltie by far, she can get kind of wound-up, likes to jump up on people when she's excited, but she's very obedient and has an "off" switch. One of my friends has what was advertised as a "high-drive" Sheltie as a pup from a breeder in San Diego area, and she was a bit nuts for the first few years, barking, spinning and even nipping her owner on the agility field. She eventually settled down. But NOT what I would want in a dog!

    So, I think there are good breeders out there still as far as temperament goes, both mine are no longer breeding so can't help you there. Best to be careful and be very, very clear about what you are looking for. Also consider adopting an adult, Faith we got at 2 because her ears wouldn't stay tipped and she was a bit oversize.
    ghggp likes this.
  8. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    I am open to an adult potentially but socialization is over then and i had no part and i have kids. But if socialized well and loves kids i would have no issue with an adult.

    I grew up with shelties and even our shy ones loved kids . I am talking 9 kids, foster kids, babies, special needs kids.

    My current goofball even loves kids.
    ghggp likes this.
  9. Daisy1015

    Daisy1015 Forums Enthusiast

    May 2, 2014
    i know there are good breeders out there i am just wondering if there is a little shift or of i just had a scewed perspective either before or now.
  10. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Western Connecticut
    Sharon is correct, and so are you. The temperament of your Sheltie, like that of most other breeds, depends on its lineage. There are some breeders who breed for agility or performance. That is to say they want that Border Collie mentality that's intense, focused and almost hyper. So if you get a Sheltie from one of those lines, even unintentionally from a breeder who has cross-bred to one of those dogs, there's certainly a chance you'll get that temperament. That's not to say there aren't agility dogs with great temperaments, but energetic trumps calm on most performance breeders' lists.

    This underscores how important it is to know your breeder! Do your research; meet the breeder; find out what their dogs do. Show or conformation breeders breed for a more mellow, easy-going but not fearful temperament because that's what you need in a good show dog -- and indeed, in a good companion dog too! Be careful of backyard breeders who breed just to sell pets. We all know they're around. Generally, they don't know where their dogs' lineage comes from, so asking for that information is a good litmus test. Ask for a copy of pedigrees.

    The best way to find a good breeder other than referrals is to go to a dog show. You can walk around, watch Shelties show, and meet the breeders. A show breeder is also a good place to find an older puppy or adult dog, since there may be older puppies who sized out of the show ring or retired adults still in their prime.
    Cara Sandler and Sharon7 like this.

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