Finding a responsible breeder from whom to purchase your Sheltie is paramount, and not always easy. Many reputable breeders do not advertise in newspapers, and few would post public notices about litters available.
Shelties should be bred in a clean home by an experienced breeder who checks for genetic disorders, and gives the puppies all the necessary medical attention and socialization they need. Breeding Shelties should always be screened for eye problems, vWD, hip dysphasia, and thyroid function
“Backyard breeders,” who mate their pet Shelties to pick up extra cash, may be well-intentioned, but they know little of producing consistently sound purebred dogs. They do not provide written guarantees for their puppies, nor potentially be available later to act as a resource. Beware of breeders that tell you things like “Oh, that doesn’t run in my dogs,” or “That test isn’t accurate.” It is a pretty good sign that they have some problem in their dogs, or don’t want to pay the money to find out. Buying from a responsible breeder means you will have someone to turn to throughout the dog’s life who will continue to be interested in its welfare and ready to offer advice.
Also be wary of breeders that want you to take the puppy home real early, like 6 weeks old. Not only is this illegal in many states, it also can have long-term repercussions for the puppy. Even though they may be weaned, it is at this age that puppies learn to socialize and relate to other dogs by playing with their littermates. They learn bite inhibition and begin to relate to humans as well.
Your best approach to finding a responsible breeder is through your local all-breed kennel club, your area Sheltie club, or the breeder referral services of the American Shetland Sheepdog Association.
When you write out a check to such a breeder, you are not just paying for a puppy. You are also buying access to the breeder’s years of experience, the extensive pedigree research they do prior to each breeding, and the assurance that comes from submitting both sire and dam, not just to extensive medical tests and exams, but to the judgment of AKC judges and other experts in the breed. You are contracting the services of an expert, who will provide you with advice and information in the years ahead, and who on appropriate occasions can refer you to a network of knowledgeable people: other breeders, judges, trainers, veterinary specialists, etc.
Another good possibility is to rescue a Sheltie. Check the Sheltie Rescue Page for more information.
Thx to The Brady Bunch for the ultra sweet puppy photo!