The Sheltie Undercoat

The Shetland Sheepdog has a comfortable double coat, which they need for harsh weather conditions of the Shetland Islands where they originated. It is made up of a soft, short, woolly Sheltie undercoat which keeps them warm – plus a long, straight, silky outer coat which protects them from the sun and other elements.

 Shedding  of Fur?

As a long-haired dog breed, you can expect your Sheltie to shed a reasonable amount of fur. Regular brushing will stop most of it from ending up all over your living room couch. Once they are fully grown, male Shelties usually shed once a year. Female Shelties shed in the summer and after every heat cycle (roughly every 6-8 months) although spaying a sheltie will eliminate most of this.

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Regular Grooming

It is  recommended to groom your grooming Sheltie about once a week, with a quick daily brushing. Having never owned a dog before, I was worried this would be a massive burden, but it's really nothing to worry about. Sitting down in front of the TV with a Sheltie on your lap and giving him a good brushing isn't a chore – it's bonding time!

Grooming Brushes and Tools

You can certainly pay to have your dog professionally groomed, but i highly recommend learning how to do it yourself. It's quality bonding time and actually very therapeutic for you, too! Now,this would  require a little investment in a few good dog brushes specifically designed for the long Sheltie fur:


This is an essential grooming brush for when your Sheltie is shedding. It has a single row of metal prongs to remove all the dead fur from the Sheltie undercoat. It's most effective when the undercoat is shedding in chunks

Mostly used on medium and long-haired dog breeds (it's pretty useless on short, sleek coats) and ideal for dogs with sensitive skin. This brush removes dead hair that your Sheltie would most likely shed on the furniture. They are great on wet fur too, as most other brushes can cause hair breakage when wet. –

SLICKER. They are used mostly as a finishing brush to distribute the natural oils through the coat for a silky, smooth finish.


Use this to remove extremely stubborn mats without cutting out large chunks of hair. You'll also need a regular pair of sharp scissors to trim the unwanted fur that grows in between the paw pads and makes it harder for them to walk.



To trim the toenails which will otherwise grow long and cause serious problems walking, leading to arthritis. The guillotine style featured here are the easiest to use and perfect for small to medium dog breeds. –

How to Groom a Shetland Sheepdog

Your Sheltie puppy won't require much work as their fur is short and the  undercoat has not developed yet. When they start to develop which is  around 5-6 months – that's when you need to begin a Sheltie grooming routine…

The Sheltie Undercoat

 1 – The Undercoat

Start with the undercoat: Part the fur until you can see his skin and carefully work your fine undercoat rake through the fur. Spray it with water or detangler to help ease out the mats. If it's shedding, your comb will quickly fill up with the undercoat – as you can see here! I work through the undercoat thoroughly inch by inch, getting all the loose fur I can and building up a nice big pile of it in front of him.


(I found a new way to deal with the undercoat, it's called the FURminator)


2 – The Problem Areas

 Roll them on their back to brush the soft underbelly where the hair is very thin and has very litle undercoat. Take care to get all the mats and tangles under the armpits and around the groin, as this can easily become tangled and painful for your them. The other problem area is behind the ears, where you have both a thick undercoat and long wispy outer coat to deal with.  I give this area a quick daily brushing because after a week it can become very knotted and could become one of your worst nightmares to detangle.


 3 – The Hind Legs and Tail

Take your pin brush and part the coarse, wavy fur on the hind legs to get the deep mats out. This part all depends on the dog; One of my babies has a relatively thin tail and very little dense fur to get tangled up back there. One the other hand, my other baby has masses of dense, coarse fur which gets matted if I don't stay on top of it. When it gets really thick in the winter I use the thinning shears on his hind legs and this makes life easier all round. You should be able to get the pin brush through the hind legs and tail without running into knots – otherwise, you have more work to do!

Finally, to make your Shetland Sheepdog look grand, run a slicker brush over the outer coat to distribute the natural oils and maintain the coat's natural luster. The overall process takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the time of year and how much undercoat your Sheltie is sporting.

Grooming The Feet

This aspect of grooming Shelties is often overlooked, but it's really important to their health. Every few weeks, you need to tend to your Sheltie's  paws. Grab your nail clippers (or nail file) and a pair of small, sharp scissors (or a razor).

Step 1 – Trim The Nails

Sheltie Claw - Before
Overgrown claws and fur

You must keep your Sheltie's toenails clipped or they'll arch the toes away from the ground, forcing him to walk further back on his paws. This is not only awkward but it puts extra strain on the tendons, causing limping and eventually arthritis.

Gently hold the paw up and cut the hooked part of the nail about 2mm in front of the pink quick (it's easy to see on white nails.) If you cut the quick, it causes bleeding for several minutes and can be extremely painful – so take care! When using a guillotine clipper, hold it vertically so the nail is cut straight up or down. If you hold it sideways, the nail will be clipped sideways and crushed, causing splintering. Make sure the cutting blade faces you to minimize the risk of cutting the quick.

Sheltie Claw - After Grooming
Trimmed and clipped

With black claws, you can't see the quick, so cut it in several smaller cuts, getting closer to the quick each time. When you see a gray/pink oval in the claw, you can stop cutting as this immediately precedes the blood-lined quick. Alternatively, use a nail file to wear the nail down gradually and avoid any painful experiences.

Don't forget to clip the dew claw! This is a finer, thumb-like nail on the inner surface of the paw, further back than the others. Usually the nails on the back feet are shorter and need less trimming than the front feet, and there are no dew claws on the back legs either.


Step 2 – Trim The Fur

Overgrown hair between the paw pads also makes it harder for your Sheltie to walk properly. He'll skid on polished floors and get dirt and other debris stuck in the fur.

With sharp scissors or a razor, trim the fur between his paws until it is flush with the pads. Mind the hidden webbing between his paws. Also trim the fur around the paws into a nice neat arch.

Finally, on the hind legs only, brush the fur from the back of the paw up the leg to the first joint. Slightly trim any excess fur to keep him looking neat and stop any dirt accumulating there.


Bathing Shelties

Only bathe  them when they need it – for my boys this is only every 3-4 months, or  when they get muddy.

This may sound dirty but Shetland Sheepdogs keep themselves clean by licking and grooming themselves every day. If you wash them too often yourself it will strip away the natural coat oils, causing dryness, flaking and itching.

Use warm water to shower them and get the water right against his skin – otherwise the waterproof outer coat will protect him like water off a duck's back! Be extra careful not to get any water in his big, gaping ear holes too – use cotton balls to be safe. Make sure you only use a shampoo and conditioner that is designed for dogs, as human products have different pH levels which can damage your dog's skin and coat. Wash the shampoo out thoroughly.

Afterwards, gently pat him dry  but don't rub him excessively or you'll loosen the undercoat. Allow him to dry off naturally indoors (make sure that you brush the coat as they dry,otherwise it will become matted)- don't send him outside if it's really cold. Or, if your furniture can't take a wet Sheltie rubbing himself all over it, carefully blow dry the coat on a low setting, parting the hair as you go. You can also use the DRYER

How to deal with Fleas and Ticks

It's a fact that when you have pets, you also invite fleas into your home. Fleas can live happily, forever after, in your dog's undercoat, sucking blood which causes dreadful itching and laying up to 4,000 eggs which just perpetuates the flea havoc. Besides causing discomfort, flea bites can produce skin problems, infection, anemia, and in extreme cases can transmit tapeworms to your pooch.

Finding the best way to deal with fleas and ticks comes from first hand experience and usually involves regular use of Natural & Organic Flea, Tick & Mosquito Control Spray  or Advantage. If you are suffering from repeat infestations, you can also flea bomb the house to get rid of any eggs in the carpets and furniture.

Here's a little more about these methods below. I have tried and tested a lot of flea treatments . Other flea treatments include flea collars (fine for puppies by less effective on adults), and flea shampoos (only temporary action). I often resorted  to picking them off myself! . So the important thing I've learned is that it's easier to take measures to prevent fleas, than to deal with a thriving infestation.


In my opinion is the best flea treatment because Kills full flea lifecycle! Only 5% of flea lifecycle is adult, which means 95% are in egg and larvae stages on your pet, in your home and in your yard. Evolv kills adult fleas, eggs, larvae and pupae as well as ticks, mosquitoes, mites, mange and more.

Flea BombFlea Bombs for Infestations

A flea bomb like HARTZ effectively kills fleas, ticks, flea eggs, larvae and mosquitoes in the home – and prevents reinfestation for 7 months. You'll need to set it off in the center of your home then leave for 30 minutes. Leave the dog bed, rugs, towels, and other flea-havens in the kill zone and they'll be treated at the same time.

An all natural remedy to get rid of fleas

Even if you have the cleanest home fleas are difficult to keep out. Cedar oil is derived from the leaves, wood and roots of the cedar tree, and it’s a natural flea repellent! Mix five drops of oil with a few teaspoons of water, and dip your dog’s cloth collar or a bandana into it and tie it around your dog’s neck. While the oil itself doesn’t kill fleas, they can’t stand its smell and are less likely to make a home on your pet

I hope you enjoyed this article and hope you know a little bit more now about grooming your Sheltie than you did before reading it.




Filed under: Pamper My Dog Articles

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