Shetland sheepdogs


Is the breeder registered?

Ask the breeder for their KUSA (Kennel Union of Southern Africa) Membership number.
With this number, you can confirm with KUSA if the breeder is registered.

KUSA Telephone: 021 423 9027
E-mail Address:

KUSA is the ONLY registering body in South Africa for Shetland Sheepdogs!

Are the breeder's dogs registered?

By buying from a registered breeder, you are selecting from a litter that has been bred with the breed standard in mind, to have the desired traits of the breed, and that has a multiple generation documented lineage.

Please do not buy from anyone other than a registered breeder of Shetland Sheepdogs. If you do this, you are creating a market for the backyard breeder, which will open the breed up to the decline of quality and breed type.

Here is the registration document explained:
(please feel free to download it)

KUSA registration document explained

Is the breeder reputable?

A reputable breeder gives 100% to their dogs.
 Here are some questions you should be asking to make sure your breeder is reputable:

How old is the mother of the litter?
Dogs should be 18 months of age or older.

Ask the breeder for references to previous puppy buyers.
A reputable breeder will be happy to provide you with details of homed puppy owners.

How many litters has the mother had?
KUSA code of ethics states that a bitch may not whelp not more than twice in a period of eighteen months.
*Not permitting a bitch to whelp more than five times during her lifetime.
*Not mate a bitch of eight years or older, unless a veterinary certificate has been obtained testifying to the bitch being in peak breeding health.

What do the parents look like?
This is a very important question that should be asked.
If you are a first time Sheltie buyer it is important for you to know the breed colours.

The most common colours are:
Sable & white
Tri-colour (black, brown & white)
Blue merle (merle, tan & white)
sable sheltiesheltuesheltie
Other colours that can be found in South Africa:
Bi-black (black & white)
Bi-blue (merle & white)


Is the breeder breeding merle to merle parents?
Merle to merle breeding is not recommended.
Breeding merle to merle creates deviations in colour, excessive white - a double merle is produced.
 Double merles also have a very high chance of being deaf, blind, or both, and they lack pigment where it would normally be.
The most common breedings are sable to sable, sable to tri, tri to tri & merle to tri.
Sable to merle is an acceptable breeding - but this can produce a sable merle puppy, which is in essence a merle, and which is genetically so.
This needs to be kept in mind for future breeding.

Has the breeder shown his/ her dogs?
By showing their dogs, they prove their worth and their likeness to the breed standard.
By comparing their dogs to others of the same breed, they are able to keep up the standard of their breeding dogs.

What X-rays have been done?
Both parents should have certifications similar to the one below, covering both the hips and the elbows, and giving scores for them.
Shelties are prone to Hip and elbow dysplasia!
Please feel free to download the example here.

hip and elbow scoring
Explanation of hip scores:
Most breeders breed with only A & B scores.
A1 Excellent Score 0-4
A2 Good Score 5-10
B1 & B2 Fair Score 11-18
C1 Mild dysplasia Score 19-25
C2 Moderate dysplasia Score 26-35
D1 & D2 Moderate to severe dysplasia Score 36-50
E1 & E2 Severe dysplasia Score 51-106

Explanation of elbow scores:
Most breeders breed with only 0 scores.
0 Normal elbow joint Normal elbow joint
No evidence of incongruency, sclerosis or arthrosis
1 Mild arthrosis Presence of osteophytes <2mm high, sclerosis of the base of the coronoid processes - trabecular pattern still visible
2 Moderate arthrosis or suspect primary lesion Presence of osteophytes 2-5mm high, obvious sclerosis (no trabecular pattern) of the base of the coronoid processes.
Step of 3-5mm between radius & ulna (INC). Indirect signs for a primary lesion (UAP, FCP/ Coronoid disease, OCD)
3 Severe arthrosis or evident primary lesion Presence of osteophytes >5mm high, step of >5mm between radius & ulna (obvious INC).
Obvious presence of a primary lesion (UAP, FCP, OCD)

Make sure that the scrutineer exists!
The following are the scrutineers in South Africa:

Dr S L van Staden BVSc (Hons) MMedVet (Rad) DipECVDI
P O Box 3073 Randgate, 1763, Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 73 734 1635

Dr L Sweers BVSc (Hons) MMedVet (Diag Im) DipECVDI
Specialist Veterinary Diagnostic Imaging Services
P O Box 60924, Pierre van Ryneveld, Pretoria, 0045, Republic of South Africa
Tel: +27 82 410 9923
Fax: +27 86 693 9624

Dr C Le Roux BVSc (Hons) MMedVet (Diag Im) DipECVDI
PostNet Suite 653Private Bag X1, The Willows, 0041, Republic of South Africa
Tel: 079 233 8494
Fax: 086 262 1529

Prof R M Kirberger BVSc DVSc MMedVet (Rad) DipECVDI
PostNet Suite 653Private Bag X1, The Willows, 0041, Republic of South Africa
Tel: 079 233 8494
Fax: 086 262 1529

Have the parents been DNA health tested?

DNA tests for Shetland Sheepdogs include:


Here is an example of a DNA certificate:
(certificates may also be from overseas labs)
Sheltie DNA South Africa

Ask the breeder about the parent’s temperament. Remember that temperament, to some degree, can be inherited. Ii is recommended that you visit the breeder to see the parents in person. This will allow you to see what you might get in your pup. If you can’t visit, ask for videos and even do a video call. A reputable breeder will not refuse a visit from you or refuse to send you a video.
You should be able to see videos of the puppies as well, and get information on their temperaments. Ask what socialisation the breeder does.
While you may not be able to visit your puppy in the early stages, ask to meet the litter at a later stage.

Will a breeder ask questions?
Yes, all reputable breeders will ask questions! The questions depend on the breeder. What they want to know will ultimately benefit you and enable the breeder to place their puppies in the right home. The breeder may have a questionnaire for prospective owners in order to understand their lifestyle.
The breeder should also explain their contract.

Has the breeder answered your questions?
A breeder should be able to educate you on anything Sheltie!

You need to be happy with your breeder, as you will have a 15 year relationship with this person!


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