As you begin your search for a sheltie, you will likely find that there are a number of sources from which a sheltie can be obtained.  It is our goal to help you be an informed sheltie purchaser.  The sources that you will likely encounter are listed below.  We have endeavored to objectively assess the different sources and provide you with helpful information regarding each of them.  We have listed what we consider to be the advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a sheltie from the different sources.



The term show/hobby breeder refers to a breeder who exhibits their dogs at dog shows, in either conformation or performance classes, and who does so mainly as a hobby and not as a business. 

Advantages:  The experienced show/hobby breeder will be a breeder who has extensively studied their breed and is familiar with the breed standard for that breed.  They are aware of any health or genetic problems that might occur in the breed, and they will have done all the tests possible to ensure that their breeding stock is as free from hereditary problems as is possible.  In the sheltie, the tests that are usually done are:  hip X-rays, eye examinations, testing for carrier status for vWD, and thyroid function.  (If you are not familiar with these tests, the informed show/hobby breeder can explain them to you.)  Also, a dog purchased from a show/hobby breeder is likely to be more “typey” – that is, to look more like a sheltie should look!  In addition, a knowledgeable show/hobby breeder will be your very best source of information and education for the life of your dog! 

Disadvantages:  Many show/hobby breeders do not have a large number of litters each year and you may have to be put on a waiting list to get a puppy from your breeder of choice.


Description is much the same as above, except that a large show/breeding operation may be a hobby or it may be a business. 

Advantages:  The large show breeder will have many more litters a year from which to choose. 

Disadvantages:  Puppies purchased from a large breeder may have had somewhat less one-on-one socialization.  You will need to ask questions about the amount of socialization and “house time” that a puppy has had.


You may see an ad in the newspaper or be referred by a friend to someone who has a female as a pet and who decided to breed her. 

Advantages:  Puppies born into a single pet household will usually be very well socialized. 

Disadvantages:  Pet owners are often not aware of the tests mentioned above that should be done before breeding their dog.  In addition, the puppies may be less “typey.”


The term “backyard breeder” refers to someone who has a few dogs, usually one male and two to four females that they occasionally breed.  Sometimes the reason for breeding is to make profit.  Sometime it is because the person is fond of the breed and enjoys having puppies. 

Advantages:  Probably none.  While a puppy from a backyard breeder may cost less initially, the puppy may end up costing you more in the long run due to health problems. 

Disadvantages:  Like the single pet owner, the backyard breeder may not be aware of hereditary problems that can occur and therefore does not do the tests to monitor their breeding stock for those problems.


Puppy mills are places where dogs are raised strictly for profit and no other reason.  Such places are generally filthy.  They house huge numbers of dogs and don’t want to pay for help to keep the kennels and animals clean.  The worst places are nothing more than concentration camps for dogs!  If you answer an ad in the newspaper and go to a place where the dogs are not properly cared for, the best thing you can do is promptly leave!  If you realize that you have arrived at a puppy mill, do not even get out of your car!  You can carry away disease-causing viruses and bacteria on your clothing or shoes!  Many who have bought a puppy to “rescue” it from a puppy mill, have ended up spending huge sums of money on veterinary bills only to have the puppy die due to distemper or some other disease. 

Advantages:  Absolutely none!!!!! 

Disadvantages:  Disease, poor quality, bad temperaments, and no socialization.


Most puppies offered for sale in pet shops have come from puppy mills!  Reputable breeders do not sell their puppies to pet shops! 

Advantages:  See “Puppy Mills” above. 

Disadvantages:  See “Puppy Mills” above.

No matter where you buy your puppy, you should get a written health guarantee.  Any reputable breeder will be glad to give you one.  However, please remember that we are dealing with living creatures and things can “go wrong” in spite of a breeders’ best efforts.  There are health problems that can occur for which we do not currently have tests to predetermine a dog’s possibility of carrying that problem.  Any reputable breeder who has sold you a puppy who develops a hereditary or genetic problem should be willing to work with you to reach a solution based on their written guarantee. 

When talking to persons from whom you are considering buying a puppy, you will need to ask the following:

  • Have the puppies been vaccinated/over vaccinated?  (See our "Recommended Reading" page.)

  • Have the rear dewclaws been removed?  (Rear dewclaws typically have no phalanx bones and are attached by skin only.)

  • Have the puppies been wormed or worm checked? 

  • Have the puppies been raised in the house, in a kennel, or in an outside pen?

  • Have the puppies’ parents been checked for hip dysplasia, vonWillebrands disease, thyroid function, and eye diseases?  If these tests have not been done, you should not buy the puppy!

In your search for the perfect addition to your family, please be sure to inquire whether the puppy's sire and dam have been checked for hip dysplasia, vonWillabrand's disease, thyroid function, and eye diseases.  If they have not been tested and received proper clearances, you should not purchase the puppy from that breeder.  Don't be hesitant to ask such questions!  Reputable breeders will have tested their breeding adults and will not be offended by your questions.

We hope the above will be of help to you in your search for a sheltie!  For additional questions, you may call 636-942-3770.

You may also wish to read AKC's "Research the Right Breed for Your Lifestyle" as a guide in the purchase of a puppy.

Best wishes,

Charlotte Hulett,  Sunridge Shelties.


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