Shetland sheepdogs

sheltie moving breeders reece SHELTIE DEVELOPMENT sheltie development


A sheltie baby puppy goes through the first stages of development with the breeder holding their breath! Early signs of any size discrepancy is evident from 8 weeks of age in some cases. A breeder can start measuring their puppies from 6 weeks, and can record the heights accurately in order to form growth charts for their lines.

A typical chart for sheltie measurements

Sheltie size heights

The ideas size for a Sheltie male is 37cm, and the ideal size for a Sheltie female is 35.5cm.
However, our breed standard allows for a window of 2.5cm in either direction of that ideal size.
(So males 34.5-39.5cm and females 33-38cm)
Shelties that start their growth spurts early are more likely to go oversize.

A Sheltie will often look out of proportion (leggy) between 4 and 6 months of age, and the general rule of thumb is if the puppy had good proportions at 8 weeks, he/ she will return to that as an adult.

5 month old sheltie puppy
example of a 5-month old sheltie

A Sheltie will be fully grown at 8 months of age.
When exercising your puppy, whether you have the intention of competing in the disciplines, or if you are only wanting to have a family pet, you will need to be quite strict with the amount of exercise that you allow your puppy to do! Early exercise can be very dangerous to a growing baby, and full exercise can only be done once the growth plates have closed. By exercising your puppy sooner than that, you are potentially damaging the cartilage and joints, and this type of damage is permanent! Even running and skidding on slippery tiled or wooden floors, or running up and down stairs can injure your puppy, and you may not even know about it until a few months later - and nothing much can be done.
So, in order to avoid lifelong pain and suffering, please be vigilant about your early exercise regime!

Your breeder would have taken care to have your puppy's parents x-rayed and scored by a specialist, and then only bred with dogs whose scores make the grade.

Dog's hip scores explained:

sheltie hip scoring

Signs and symptoms of hip dysplasia:

Decreased activity
Decreased range of motion
Difficulty or reluctance rising, jumping, running, or climbing stairs
Lameness in the hind end
Looseness in the joint
Narrow stance
Swaying, “bunny hopping” gait
Grating in the joint during movement
Loss of thigh muscle mass
Noticeable enlargement of the shoulder muscles as they compensate for the hind end


Elbows can also be scored. Ratings are 0 (free of dysplasia), 1 (moderate dysplasia) and 3 (severe dysplasia).
Only dogs with a score of 0 should be bred!


Your sheltie should not be overweight, especially a puppy!
Extra weight puts added pressure on joints that are still forming, and this can cause permanent damage!

Below are some guidelines on assessing weight.

Ideal weight chart

WATCH a short video clip on how to assess your dog's weight at home


Below is a guideline to give you some idea on how to structure your puppy's exercise:

Exercising a puppy

exercising a puppy



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