How Smart are Shelties?


How Smart are Shelties? Funny Young Shetland Sheepdog Sheltie English Collie Playing With Ring Toy In Autumn Park. Tricolor

Shelties are great pets to bring home and keep with your family. They have a strong urge to herd things around them, which sometimes makes them seem like they are out of control. However, despite the strong instincts to herd and keep busy, the Sheltie is considered a smart breed of dog.

How Smart are Shelties?

Shelties are some of the smartest dog breeds available. This makes it easier to train them and to get the dog to respond to you when necessary. When it comes to working IQ and obedience, they are ranked as the 6th most intelligent breed. But what makes them smarter than some of the other breeds is their instinctive IQ. This is basically their ability to herd with very little training before they begin.

When we talk about the intelligence of a dog, we see that there are more facets to it than just recognizing an object or learning some basic commands.

However, when you own a Sheltie, you will notice that they check all of the boxes when it comes to seeing how smart they will be for you. Let’s learn a bit more about how to measure the IQ of a Sheltie so we can see why this is such a smart dog to work with.

How Smart is the Sheltie?

As we mentioned above, the Sheltie is an intelligent dog. Their intelligence can be measured between three main points including their obedience, trainability, and instincts.

This dog is intuitive and very obedient, which will assist them in doing their job well. They needed to be smart and have good instincts in order to herd the sheep or other animals for their owners in the past, and some of these features have traveled down to modern times.

The intelligence of this dog can be either hindered or improved based on the type of early training that they go through. When owners take the time to properly train their Sheltie, they will find that it is an enjoyable experience. This dog is good at listening to commands, answering back, and doing what the owner would like.

If you do own one of these dogs though, it is important to provide regular physical and mental stimulation for them. This can help optimize all of the capabilities that they have while strengthening their intelligence through time.

Why is the Sheltie So Smart?

Now that we know a little bit more about the Sheltie and how this dog learns, it is important for us to see a bit more about why the Sheltie is as smart as they are. There are a few factors that come into play to determine the intelligence of a dog.

Many believe that the Sheltie is so smart because they have an extensive history of having to work hard and keep up with the demands of herding. They also have a few human-like tendencies, including grasp, comprehension, and adaptability that help to serve them well.

There are a few places where this kind of intelligence will come into play and will show just how smart the Sheltie is. These include:

  • Instinctive intelligence: This will talk about the capability of the dog to pursue whatever they were initially bred to do. Shelties were bread to herd animals through Scotland and kept them all in line. Today, they do not do this as much, but they will really show this instinctive intelligence, especially when they are owned by a farmer.
  • Obedience intelligence; This dog breed is really good at listening and following the commands of their owners. You will see that they have a type of dedicated socialization and different interactions with their family. This will show itself best when they have an owner who is calm and patient with them. This helps to form a good connection between them and the owner.
  • Trainability: Sheltie owners will find that it is pretty easy to train their new dog. They are quick at learning things and can form connections with their new owners in no time. This makes training easy.

The Sheltie can learn new things quickly, is obedient, and can still show some of the traits that made them so popular when they were first bred. All of this comes together to make the perfect mixture for those who want a smart dog.

Are There Any Negatives to the Sheltie Being Smart?

While many dog owners love the idea of having a dog who is smart and can learn new commands quickly, there are a few negatives that come when you have a smart dog.

For example, these dogs can often get bored quickly. They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to keep them busy or they will get bored. And when the boredom is prolonged, they will start to participate in destructive behaviors.

Some smart dogs will need more attention. They want to have that frequent mental stimulation from their pet owners, meaning that you will need to provide them with a good deal of attention or they will get upset and start to misbehave.

They may be over-hypervigilant and may respond to any little visual or noise, even when it is not that important. This can result in more howling and barking in smart breeds.

Be prepared for some of the Shelties to show a little bit of rebellion. They know their limits and they like to see if they can push them and become more stubborn to their owners.

This does not happen all the time, but the smarter breed is more likely to show this because they have stronger preferences compared to some of the other breeds.

Can I Improve the Sheltie Intelligence?

The Sheltie dog is already a smart breed for you to work with. However, it is possible to improve their intelligence and help them to become even smarter.

This not only works their minds, but can help the Sheltie from causing problems and getting into things when they are bored. Keep in mind that the improvements take time and will not appear overnight.

The first thing to do to help improve the intelligence of your Sheltie is to start training them right away. The younger the puppy, the easier it is to train them and get them used to it.

Puppies are the best for creating and enhancing knowledge, just like with children. If you do not get your Sheltie until they are older though, you can still teach them some new tricks and help them learn more, just keep in mind it may take a little longer.

While many dog owners will start with the tricks and only count that towards mental stimulation, socializing is important for your dog too. In fact, socialize them as much as possible. This will help them learn how to behave with many different types of dogs while improving their trust with strangers as well.

Now it is time for you to do some work too. You need to develop a trusted connection with your dog. To help improve the intelligence of the dog, they need to both respect and rely on you. When you have a good bond with your dog, they are more likely to follow your commands without you needing to repeat it a bunch of times.

You also need to use consistency, patience, and repetition quite a bit. These are all keys to improving the intelligence of your dog. If you only do the training on occasion, then this is going to ruin the results.

And if you get frustrated with your dog when you do some of the training sessions, they will feel that and want to stop. Be consistent as much as possible, show your dog that you are in it for the long-term and will not give up, and find some ways to make it fun and see what a difference it will make.

Note: While you are working on the training, you may have to consider the past of the dog if you have not had them since birth. There may be some past trauma, past fights with some other dogs, or neglect and abuse by their previous owners. This can impact the intelligence of the dog and make them less likely to work with you. This will require more patience and time on your part.

Taking Advantage of the Sheltie’s Intelligence

If you are looking for an intelligent dog to bring home to the family, then look no further than the Sheltie dog. They are smarter than most other dogs, with a high IQ and many factors of intelligence that makes them a good dog for your family.

The Sheltie is a very intelligent breed. They know how to listen to their owners, how to work with herding in things (sometimes your children if they are bored), and they can learn new commands in no time.

With some patients and working hard to keep your Sheltie happy and busy all the time can put those mental capacities to work while preventing boredom that will cause destructive behaviors around your home.

Marryn Jenkins

Marryn is a long time pet lover. There has always been a soft spot in her heart for dogs. Although she has owned many dog breeds in her lifetime, poodles have become her favorite. Currently, she has a standard poodle, Sally, and a miniature poodle, Luna. With her experience owning poodles, she is a great resource to teach us more about the breed.

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