Pet Insurance for Shetland Sheepdogs

Find out all about the Shetland Sheepdog and their common health conditions, then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on October 4th, 2023       

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Price range

$200 – $800






Intelligent, alert, affectionate

Coat length

Long, double coat

Exercise needs




Life expectancy

12–14 years

Shetland Sheepdog


The Shetland Sheepdog, often referred to as the “Sheltie”, is a small, sturdy breed of dog that originated in the Shetland Islands, Scotland. They were originally bred to herd sheep and other livestock, but they are now popular companion dogs all over the world. Shetland Sheepdogs were first introduced to Australia in the late 19th century, and they have been a popular breed ever since.

Shetland Sheepdogs are known for their long, flowing coats, which can be any colour or combination of colours. They have a triangular-shaped head with a short nose and large, dark eyes. Due to their resemblance, Shelties are often confused with Rough Collies; however, the two are separate, albeit related, breeds.

Shetland Sheepdogs are intelligent, active dogs that are well-suited for a variety of activities. They are still used for herding sheep in some parts of Australia, but they are also popular pets due to their gentle and affectionate temperament and trainability.

Common diseases and conditions of Shetland Sheepdogs

  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA): a genetic condition that can affect the retina and choroid of the eye and can result in vision impairment and blindness.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA): a degenerative eye disorder that can eventually lead to blindness.
  • Von Willebrand's disease (vWD): an inherited blood clotting disorder that can cause a range of problems, from mild bleeding to severe haemorrhaging.
  • Patellar luxation: a condition where the kneecap (patella) pops out of place. This can cause pain and lameness.
  • Hip dysplasia: a condition where the hip joint does not develop properly, potentially leading to arthritis and mobility issues.

Breed-specific issues:  

Shetland Sheepdogs are intelligent and active dogs that require plenty of mental stimulation and exercise. If they are not properly challenged, they can become bored and destructive. Shetland Sheepdogs can also be barkers, so early socialisation and training are essential to teach them when and when not to bark. Additionally, Shelties may have a natural inclination to herd, so providing appropriate outlets for this behaviour and ensuring supervision around small children or animals is essential.

How much does pet insurance cost for a Shetland Sheepdog?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Shetland Sheepdog, including the following: 

  • Age: the older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because older dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.   
  • Type of insurance you choose:  there are three basic types of pet insurance for dogs available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most. 
  • The policy annual limit: each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.  
  • Sub limits: in addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub limits that apply to the policy, for example a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.  
  • Benefit percentage: pet insurance may not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies up to 90% for top-of-the-range cover. 
  • Excess amount: this is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, while others do. 
  • Any add-ons you choose: it’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.  

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about Shetland Sheepdogs

How much exercise does a Shetland Sheepdog need?

Shetland Sheepdogs are an active breed and typically require about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. This can be achieved through activities like brisk walks, interactive play sessions and even agility training. Due to their herding instincts, they enjoy activities that engage their minds and bodies. Regular exercise not only helps maintain their physical health but also fulfils their need for mental stimulation, making for a content and well-balanced Sheltie.

How often should I groom a Shetland Sheepdog?

Given their long double coat, Shetland Sheepdogs benefit from regular grooming. Ideally, they should be brushed at least two to three times a week to prevent mats and tangles. During shedding seasons, which occur twice a year, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage the increased hair shedding. Additionally, regular nail trimming, ear cleaning and dental care should be part of their grooming routine.

Are Shetland Sheepdogs good with children?

Yes – Shelties are known for being good with children. They are typically affectionate, gentle and patient, making them excellent companions for families. Their playful nature can also make them great playmates for kids. However, as with any breed, it's important to teach children how to interact with dogs respectfully and supervise their interactions, especially with younger children, to ensure a harmonious relationship between the dog and the child.

Are Shetland Sheepdogs good with other pets?

Yes – Shetland Sheepdogs can generally get along well with other pets, especially if they are properly socialised from an early age. Their herding instincts may lead them to try to “herd” other pets, but with appropriate introduction and positive reinforcement, they can form positive relationships with cats, other dogs and small animals. It's important to monitor their interactions initially and provide guidance to ensure a smooth integration into a multi-pet household.

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Shetland Sheepdog

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