Shetland sheepdogs

sable sheltie STORIES sheltie development

Dawn Crawshaw Joanie Wylie Nadine Shortland Svenja Blum
Mitzi Pilgrim  Tracey Nienaber Jenny Mitchell Cecilia Raath

The following are submissions by Sheltie enthusiasts around the country that have enjoyed time with their Shelties.
We encourage any sheltie owner in Southern Africa to submit their story to be included here

Phaelan’s Shetland Sheepdogs
Cecilia Raath
'No matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich.'
- Louis Sabin

I fell in love with collies when I was still young. After reading “Chummy” by Brenda Munitich in grade 6 and watching Lassie (sobbing uncontrollably after every episode) I knew I was sold to their nature.
I had to choose between studying physiotherapy and becoming a veterinary surgeon, but I knew my heart would daily break in a thousand little pieces if I chose the latter.
Later, I started straying further into animal physiotherapy, which mainly consisted of treating horses with very few canine treatments. I did not grow up with horses, so I felt completely out of my league. After I went to treat a horse, driving with my beetle to Onderstepoort every day for a week, the student asked me to invoice the owners. I could not. It felt like a crime claiming back my fuel expense. It was in that moment that I knew that I would never be able to survive financially, let alone make a living in animal physiotherapy.
My love for collies grew and I bought my first pedigree, Phaelan (the Gaelic word for wolf) in 2003, using every cent of my savings. Seeing how many rescue dogs there were in the Border Collie Rescue, I knew that not many people are equipped or prepared to keep such a lively breed. So, I decided to spay my female Nikita, born in 2004, and my dream of being breeder, was put on hold until both passed in mature age.
I was still set on collies, the reason being that I also have many other animals (rabbits, parrots, a chinchilla) and a hunting type breed would not work at all. So, I searched for rough collie breeders in South Africa, but to no avail. Fortune smiled on me when a friend introduced me to the Shelties. Bingo! Their temperament, activity level, coat and personalities were exactly what I was looking for.

I bought Scozzes Krypton from Carla van der Merwe in 2019 and called him Aegon (meaning I AM KING). I fell head over heels in love with him. I do not think I have ever felt so close to any animal in my life. With his soft, gentle temperament, he is my dearest companion and loyal running partner that scrambled into my heart and took up permanent residence.
Aegon has clear health records in all inherited diseases with A hips and 0 elbow classification – the perfect stud! I was still on the waiting list at Wylwind for a female. I visited Joanie Wylie in Pinelands CT, and immediately fell in love with Glamour, her bi-black female, who soon was to be on heat.
I decided to wait for her puppies, and Khaleesi (meaning queen) (WYLWIND I AM KHALEESI), the pick of the litter, became part of my life.
She is gorgeous and by far feistier than Aegon. Joanie Wylie, a dedicated and passionate breeder, helped me with advice and incredible support, through Khaleesi’s first year and whelping a litter. Six perfectly healthy pups were born on 20 November 2020 of which 5 were sable and 1 tricolour. Only one girl! Each puppy was given a gemstone name, because that was what they were to me - even more precious than gems.

Our next litter is planned for Dec2021/Jan2022. Hopefully, a tricolour puppy (Reign) and a bi-blue puppy (Skye) will join our family before the end of the year. Our dream for Phaelan’s Shetland Sheepdogs is to represent the whole spectrum of the rainbow of Sheltie coat colours one day.

sheltie puppies
A rainbow of gems

Jenny Mitchell
I was first introduced to a Sheltie when my parents purchased one, I fell in love with the breed immediately and so my Sheltie journey started shortly afterwards.

I purchased my first Sheltie, Josie, in early 1997 and then at the end of 1997, Blaze (Highgate’s Blaze ’n Star). They were such easy dogs, eager to please with wonderful temperaments. Blaze was particularly special, we attended obedience classes, but at that stage, I, unfortunately, didn’t know much about working the breed. I was determined my next Sheltie would be a working and dancing Sheltie. I’d heard about Shelties dancing, which really appealed to me.
josie sheltie blaze sheltie

In 2009 I purchased Bella (Shemaur Sophia), I was very keen to work her, but realised after a few months, that she had severe hip problems, as well as being hypothyroid. My Sheltie working plans were put on hold. Bella was a very special girl, everyone loved her gorgeous personality, she never complained in her short life, always cheerful and happy to greet everyone. I imported a ‘dog’ pram from USA and would take her out as often as I could, much to many people’s amusement and curiosity.
bella sheltie

In 2016, I purchased McKenzie (Rivenwood Prince Caspian) a shy and sensitive fellow, ever so affectionate. My first Show dog, which was all new to me, but he hated the Show ring, I took him out of it after a few months of anxious show days. With a lot of work and patience he has now become easier. Kenzie loves dog dancing and rally free, he has his first qualification at Beginner level for dancing. Due to his sensitive nature agility has been tough, but our perseverance has paid off, it took him two years to finally conquor his fear of the dog walk and A-frame and no longer hides in the tunnel!! He’s decided it’s quite fun now!
kenzie sheltie

Kenzie desperately wanted a playmate and so Raine (Akazia Summer Rain) came into our family in 2017. I was so blessed to be one of the homes chosen from this outgoing litter. Raine has so much drive with a lot to say, she loves agility, especially when she can make up her own course.... she also loves the Show ring, quite the show-off, chats a lot and engages with the Judge, sometimes a bit too confidently! She officially became a Breed Champion in Sept 2018. Raine entered her first dance competition at 6 months of age, coming 2nd in the Novice level to her sister Reeva. She catches on quickly and is eager to please. I am thoroughly enjoying working with this little girl.
raine sheltie

In early 2018, a English boy, Mika (Lavika Magical Me) a beautiful Sable and White, came to live with me, he is co-owned with a friend. He’s an affectionate, confident boy, I’ve loved watching him mature, he gets prettier by the day. We have great plans for his agility and dancing career.
I’ve learnt so much over the past few years, with lots of help from the Sheltie experts and the endless patience of dog trainers, thank you to all of you. I would love to have my house filled with Shelties, they truly are a special, intelligent breed.
mika sheltie

Tracey Nienaber

My husband and I were on our honeymoon about 4 years ago when we first spotted a sheltie. My exact words to him were “when we get our first dog it has to be a sheltie” I would hear of nothing else.

If you have ever owned a sheltie you will know all about love, loyalty, passion and loads of energy. This little sheltie of ours has crept her way into our hearts where she will stay forever.

Skyla has such a wonderful temperament, she is intelligent, has a beautiful coat and is the perfect size girl.

skyla sheltie

Skyla is 2 years old now, I started showing her about a year ago. My sister-in-law encouraged me and gave me the final push I needed. It has been a long hard road for us as I had no idea what I was doing but, I have been lucky enough to have had so much help, love and support.

Skyla was finally made a champion in August 2018 and it was a very proud moment for us all.

To us Skyla isn’t just a pet she is a huge part of the family and we are so lucky to have her in our lives.

Mitzi Pilgrim
sheltie gibsonsheltie gibsonI grew up with a Rough Collie (tri) & a x-breed but always wanted a little dog who could sleep on my bed. The Collie was my best friend & so have always wanted a Sheltie. Well after a whole load of life happening, my husband had tried a few times to find 1 for me but to no avail we were down to 1 dog & I was told they were going to be expropriating part of my front garden for the widening of the road. I panicked & decided I needed to get another dog which led me to my awesome Aussies who leg me to the world of dog shows & Agility & ultimately to breeders of Shelties. I met Joanie & her awesome girl Iris & as that was my mother's name I decided it was a sign that I get a pup from her so my hubby put my name down for a pup as my 50th birthday & my 30th wedding anniversary was coming up :) It was meant to be a surprise but he couldn't keep it & then a few things went wrong so we had to wait a little longer but this year my dream came true when Iris had my bi-blue boy: Wylwind Gibson's Dream. So now our journey is just beginning & we will hopefully be trying our hand @ all the things his crazy Aussie siblings do. He is such a confident, crazy pup & gorgeous (well in my eyes anyway) pup & just hope I can do him justice! 

Svenja Blum
diva sheltiesheltie divaI have always admired the Shelties from other people and always told myself, one day! In Namibia, it isn’t always as easy to get your hands on your chosen bred, and that is the reason why I started my journey into the herding breed with a Border collie, locally bred. Then came the Australian Shepherds into my life, two from South Africa and one locally bred. But my heart yearned for a little Shetland Sheepdog of my own. When I met my little girls breeders, she took me under her mentoring wings, and fulfilled my wish of owning my 1st own Sheltie, CH Mackland Fifth Element of Akazia CGC Gold.
It surely was love at 1st sight, and a steep learning curve as to what the Sheltie breed was all about. Diva was born as Orange Girl, the smallest girl in the Sci-Fi litter at Mackland Kennels, but surely the cutest. She always knew exactly what she wanted, and how to get it. She was Miss Bossy to the rest of my pack from the day I brought her home, and showed all that dynamite really does come in small packages.

Diva is a real all rounder, although a bit on the small side, smaller than all anticipated. But I entered her in breed Shows, locally in Windhoek and some in South Africa and also starter her training with some Obedience and also Agility. She loved every minute of training, and both of us learned together. Diva never really played with other dogs, except for a chosen few, but she loved to play with me and so our bond grew and prospered. She had gained a real following in Namibia of admirers in her short life.

epic sheltiediva sheltieNadine Shortland, breeder extraordinaire, has helped me throughout Divas life, with advice; guidance in all things Sheltie related and also helped me with Divas 1st litter. It sure was an amazing journey to have taken with my girl, and I would not want to have missed it for the world, but breeding isn’t for the faint of heart. Diva had 3 beautiful puppies of which the 2 girlies went to amazing homes in Cape Town and I kept the boy, as from Day 1 Diva seemed to single him out as a play mate. So you could say that Diva chose her son, Epic – Akazia Summer Magic, as her own personal playing companion, and oh boy do they play, all day long! Epic is a fun loving, barking little fluff ball, that loves training and me and our journey together has only just begun.

The saying is very true: you cannot just have one sheltie. Having 2 little fluffy slippers, my friends nickname for my dogs, have been an amazing journey and I am looking forward to the rest of the journey. Shelties are truly an amazing breed, but just be prepared to put in your all in their training, cuddling and grooming requirements. Looking forward to the rest of my journey with my 2 cotton balls and also my journey with the Shetland Sheepdog breed, hoping for many more years with these wonderful dogs. And who knows what the future holds, maybe another lovely girl will come my way with who I can experience all that life has to offer, maybe even breeding again someday and hoping for an amazing boy too.

Dawn Crawshaw
sheltie dollar Dollar started out her life as Purple Girl. Larger than her siblings but perfect in my eyes.
It was clear this little Girl was something special. I picked her up from the Airport she sat on the back seat of the car and barked,
This was my 1st Sheltie although not the 1st dog I've trained. And boy oh boy did she keep me busy. Always keen to learn, always watching my other dog (Amy a Springer ) and ready to try and copy her.
We seemed to fly through the Obedience levels and Dollar achieved her Champion Status at just 3 years and gaining KUSA National Obedience titles in 2017 and 2018!
I started tracking Doll when she was 10/11 weeks. All food motivated . Dollar loves her food and made sure NOTHING was left on her tiny track.
Working Trials Classic is different to Obedience where the dog has to qualify Companion Dog to be able to move up to the Tracking Stakes. 1st time out of the blocks she qualifiedCD with an Excellent Grading.
Tracker Dog 1 followed then Tracker Dog 2 and to date were busy getting ready for Tracker Dog 3 where hopefully she can gain her Tracker Dog Champion.
Within Working Trials we have Working Utility Dog (WUD). 5 qualications are needed (3 being graded Excellent) to become a WUD Champion. Dollar picked up her 2nd Championship in 2017.
She is such a super little dog yep she makes mistakes but that's what they are MISTAKES.
Dollar has achieved much more than I could have imagined. Even producing 5 beautiful pups in 2016!! She's covered such a lot in her 4 short year's and I can't wait to see the next chapter.
Love ya Doll XX

Wylwind Shetland Sheepdogs
Joanie Wylie

I had always admired the little sheltie in books about dog breeds, but my first experience of a living sheltie was in Canada, where friends of mine owned a sable & white bitch. She was the most beautiful dog I had ever seen, such a beautiful coat, a wonderful temperament, light and agile on her feet, active and obedient. She was also extremely beautifully groomed and I soon learnt that she was not only a champion “show dog” but also an agility champion. I decided there and then that this would be a breed I would love to own, for its beauty, its intelligence, its versatility and the fact that it was not a big dog, so would easily fit in a household of many people, which I had. 

Back in South Africa, I began to search for just such a sheltie. I soon realized that the sheltie I saw in Canada was somewhat different to the shelties I was seeing in South Africa. I had much to learn. There seemed to be very few breeders around and the ones with available puppies, didn’t have what I was looking for. On reading the UK and the AKC Standards, my conclusion back then was that it seemed to be a matter of how you interpreted the standard, besides the obvious size limits in the two standards. Because I couldn’t find what I was looking for here in South Africa at that time, and because I had connections with family and friends in Canada, I decided to import a bitch. I purchased my first sheltie, Kadie, from Guy Jeavons  of Grandgables kennels in Canada in 2013 and so began my Wylwind Shetland Sheepdogs journey.

sheltie kadie
CH Grandgables Most Appealing (Imp Canada)

Kadie was (and still IS) a wonderful sheltie. A beautiful sable bitch, stunning temperament and intelligent and she soon became a champion in South Africa even though she was frowned upon for not being British. I wanted to breed a litter and without many mentors around, decided that the Standard, health and temperament were naturally vital aspects to consider. Although Kadie had clear health records in all inherited diseases pertaining to shelties, and had a wonderful temperament, she didn’t have perfect hips, and I wanted to breed her to a dog with excellent hips. On a further visit to Canada, I purchased a tri colour male, also from Grandgables kennels – Roman.

sheltie roman
CH Grandgables Romance the Stone (Imp Canada)

Roman had A hips, also had clear health records and a wonderful temperament. I thought this would be the ideal breeding pair, but the results of this litter made me really start to think about where I wanted to go in shelties. I didn’t have any concrete plans prior to this, and was still very new to the breed, so began reading up and studying the breed standard. Although the Canadian or US type was not as acceptable here in the show ring as the UK type, I still felt that I wanted to work with what I had, but towards producing a sheltie that had that beauty, coat, temperament and health that I first fell in love with – but with the added aspect of that sweeter expression. In my research I also became interested in the bi blue and blue merle colours of the sheltie and in 2016 imported a beautiful bi blue bitch from the Laureate kennels in Canada, Iris.

sheltie iris
CH Laureate Iridescent of Wylwind (Imp Canada)

The results from the mating of Iris and Roman also left me with more food for thought and planning. For my next litter I mated Kadie to an Australian import who was a mix of American and UK lines, Reece (Ch Sharndah Encore Encore at Mackland). The results of this breeding produced lovely moderate size dogs with a sweeter expression and this would then be the first homebred dog I would keep at Wylwind – Indy. Indy has excelled in the show ring, becoming a Grand Champion and in 2018 was the top sheltie in the country, according to the KUSA ratings. She has a beautiful coat, a lovely expression and a wonderful temperament. My intentions were to find a pure UK dog to put her to, in order to hopefully produce a more British sheltie with wonderful coat, temperament and health records.

shelrie indy
Wylwind On Cloud Nine

In 2018 I bred Iris to Gr Ch Sharndah Encore Encore of Mackland and the result of this mating is my pretty little bi black bitch, Glamour. My plans for Glamour will unfold as I watch her grow, but in the meantime she is enjoying social puppy training, clicker training and the beginnings of agility training.

sheltie glamour
Wylwind Glamour Girl

In 2018 I also bred Kadie to Zz (Ch Mackland Fizzing Whizbee), a dog of mostly British breeding. I was very pleased with the outcome of this mating, and this again has helped me on my journey of planning. Although I didn’t keep a puppy at Wylwind, I am watching this litter grow, with great interest.

In 2017 I imported from the UK (in co-ownership with a friend) a pure British male, for the purpose of adding pure British blood into my lines. He came from Lavika kennels in the UK – Mika. He is a beautiful, sable male, with an absolutely wonderful temperament and is a year old (Sept 2018) but sadly only has one descended teste.

sheltie Mika
Lavika Magical Me

Breeding dogs is not easy. There are SO MANY aspects to consider, and my experience of breeding shelties has been sometimes heart-breaking and sometimes devastating, as one experiences shattered dreams and hopes dashed. If one has a plan in mind, plans can change as things either work out or don’t, so my sheltie story is still evolving, but what remains constant is my love for this breed and my striving to breed towards the British Standard, to maintain clear health records and to breed dogs of great beauty with great temperaments. This takes time and dedication, sometimes moving forward, sometimes having to re-think a plan or change course completely, and all the while … learning.

Mackland Shetland Sheepdogs
Nadine Shortland
A Sheltie is a very difficult dog to breed! My dogs are not perfect by any means, but I am always striving to learn more and improve my lines. I have set certain goals and criteria for the standard of my dogs, and I hope one day to achieve everything that I have set out to.

After researching the health of the Sheltie, I was horrified to find that very few breeders in South Africa did any testing. There is a fair amount of testing available to the Sheltie breeder in SA, and a whole lot more overseas. I decided to make this a priority, and try and reach my goals with healthy dogs!

My aim has always been to breed healthy Shelties, with good conformation, but that are also able to compete in the disciplines ie “do a job”.

I began with a dog from a good kennel in Germany, English type, with the idea that I would work her and find the perfect male for her, and hopefully have a litter or two. Her workability turned out to be fabulous.

sheltie Q
CH & GRCH(DJ) GRCH(AG) GRCH (NC) Excellent Choice All I Want for Mackland CGC (Imp Germany)

I could not find a tested male in SA that suited her, and the owners of any that I looked at were not keen on spending any money on testing. I took it upon myself to test a couple of other people’s males myself, in the hopes that I could catch a break, but I wasn’t that lucky. Of those that I tested, not only were there no genetic CEA Clears, there were no Carriers either! ALL were Affected for CEA. So I decided to import a male from the same kennel in Germany – one that I was advised as suitable for my girl by their breeder. He was, in fact, very similar to my girl, and going by my Border Collie knowledge in breeding type to type, I agreed.

sheltie tide
CH Excellent Choice On a Mission for Mackland CGC (Imp Germany)

The litter was born, 5 pups, but it was a difficult birth so I decided to spay my girl and keep a daughter. While the litter was healthy and well bred, I knew that I lacked something in my dogs. So I decided to research some more and learn a bit more.

sheltie G
Mackland Gummiberryjuice

I keep going back to my aims:
Health, temperament, drive, structure, trainability & conformation

Although I was excited about my first litter, and I was happy with the overall quality when it came to structure and size of the puppies, I was disappointed with the temperaments. The pups were a bit weak in temperament, being a bit more reserved than I like. Their bone was also quite fine. I came to the conclusion that I needed more substance and stronger temperaments, so I decided to take the plunge and Import a Canadian bitch with the idea that I would add her to my English line and create more of a happy medium. My English dogs are fine boned, with weaker personalities, but they also have some outstanding qualities that I wanted to keep. Expression was my number one criteria to maintain here, and also the workability, together with their cheeky and mischievous natures. Other things such as size, long arched necks, great tailsets and tail lengths were assets that I didn't want to lose either.

Breeding my English boy to my Canadian was not on the cards, I realized after numerous tries, so I had to go elsewhere and put her to another Canadian. Although the litter was nice, and also healthy, the litter showed no uniformity that I was so used to in Borders. First of all, the sizes varied from under -to over-sized, temperament and workability were all different, and the overall structures varied. I had very mixed feelings about this, as I felt that I was going nowhere.

I was also not sold on the Canadian look of the sheltie – but I was totally in awe of the stable temperament, though! What worried me most was the head and expression of the Canadians – the eyes were rounder, harder and changed the “sweet” melting sheltie expression that I had grown to love. The muzzle was also very strong, and although I do want a stronger muzzle, together with a deeper underjaw, I was not ready for the added depth of head that it gave me. This to me, was the ultimate sacrifice, and I decided to try and avoid it in future. I loved the stronger bone and sturdier structure, though, and hoped to keep some of this. But sadly none of this was possible and I ended up with the line coming to an end.

So, I decided to go the slightly milder route and import a finer American bitch. This, it seems, was the right thing to do, for me to work towards my goals. I got a lovely sized bitch, quite small, with a more moderate head, and relatively pretty expression. Her depth of head was still on the heavier side, but a huge improvement on where I have already been. I love her outgoing nature – she loves people, and is a very easy going little girl. I was planning on perhaps putting my English boy to her to see how that turned out.

journey sheltie
CH Leigh-hi's Come Fly with Me to Mackland CGC (Imp USA)

Meanwhile, the English girl that I had kept from my first litter was coming of age to be bred, and I started thinking what to try there. I knew that I wanted something a little “more” added to her, so started looking in Australia for a nice mix. I found a lovely boy, and was planning on importing semen from him. He was from a kennel that I had been looking at because the breeders had exactly the same aims as me – to breed a mixture of American and English lines, and try and keep the sweet expression and workability. They then offered me the boy’s half-brother! I had a look at him and was so impressed. I really liked what I saw and said yes. He arrived and I was overjoyed to see that he had exceeded all of my expectations – I loved him! This was the turning point for me.

reece sheltie
CH(Aus) & GRCH CH Sharndah Encore Encore at Mackland CGC (Imp Australia)

So, for my breeding program, I was left with 2 English, 1 light American and 1 mix to work with in the end. I felt that I was finally on stage 2 of my breeding learning curve!

The year 2016 was good to me, I did 2 matings – I decided to rather try the light American to the Australian mix and the English to Australian mix. By using the same male on 2 bitches, I could get an idea of what he produced to 2 different types of shelties. That gave me one litter of a more English mix, and one litter of a more American mix. I loved both litters, and feel that I am much closer to my final aim. I am still working on it. The more English litter has quite a nice look to it, but the size has crept in a bit, so I need to remember to try and keep this down in future. The light American girl produced a lovely litter, nicely sized and with good conformation – I will do a repeat of this combination! It certainly produced more of what I am aiming for, even if some of the pups were a little strong in head!

sheltie Zz
CH Mackland Fizzing Whizbee CGC

miley sheltie
CH(Aus) Mackland Wings ov Chamge (Export Australia)

2017 was the time for round 3, and by now I know that I am getting closer! I have noticed a few things that have crept in that I should keep an eye on – the first being the straight topline (not to be confused with a level back as the standard says). The sheltie topline starts at the tip of the ears to the end of the tail – it is a graceful sweep of lines and curves. My American’s have levelled out quite a bit, so I will be aiming at making sure their toplines improve. This, together with the refined head that I am sometimes getting are priorities at the moment, but my original goals remain in place – sweetness of expression, health & workability, and also the stable temperament.

2018 started off with a bang, as I raised my 2017 mix-litter over the Christmas holidays and into 2018. This litter has exceeded my expectations, and perhaps I finally have my mix girl to go forward with [Brave]. I have been wanting a daughter from my Australian import for quite a while, and it seems that I may have one!

brave sheltie
Mackland Bravo Bravo JM

2018 was an exciting year, with 1 litter born (another mix), and one new arrival at Mackland. My UK-mix boy was used by another breeder to her small Canadian bitch, and I could not resist a puppy from this. This girl has exceeded all my exprectations and she is a born Agility dog, taking after her German great granny! [Story]

I also decided to keep a daughter of the same male who was bred to my small American girl [GraVity] - these 2 girls are two peas in a pod and I am delighted with them!
Story sheltie GraVity sheltie
Wylwind Fairytale at Mackland                                      Mackland Zero GraVity

2019 included a litter which produced a first for Mackland - some bi-blacks! While these weren't the aim of the breeding, they certainly were a hit amongst the Agility folk! Unfortunately only 1 pup from this litter was suitable for breeding on, and he was sold to a breeder friend nearby. Also in 2019, I attempted a repeat of my successful UK-mix litter. Unfortunately there were only 2 pups in the litter, but I decided to keep the little girl - all UK type, with added substance, and just what I was looking for!

Seren sable sheltie
Mackland My Serendipity
At the end of 2019, Mackland’s first tri-colour sheltie arrived - a little UK type boy from Australia! He is a fine, little guy, extremely sweet and ALL UK type! I think that he may be the ticket to getting closer to my original goals - because at present I have a selection of lovely mixed girls to go forward with!

darke tri sheltie
Bluegables th Darke Side of Mackland

It’s all coming together nicely!



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