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Shetland animal breeds

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Shetland ponies grazing near Papil, West Burra, Shetland Islands
Shetland ponies grazing near Papil, West Burra, Shetland Islands
Shetland sheep dog
Shetland sheep dog

The Shetland Islands of Scotland have long had their own distinct animal breeds, due to the remoteness of the archipelago. Below is a list of Shetland's domesticated animals.

Shetland Pony

The Shetland Pony is a very small, robust breed of pony. Shetlands range in size from about 710 to 1070 mm, an official maximum height at the withers (1200 mm for American Shetlands). Shetland Ponies have heavy coats and short legs, and are considered quite intelligent. They are a very strong breed, used for riding, driving, and pack purposes.[1][2]

Shetland Sheepdog

The original Shetland Sheepdog was of Spitz type, similar to the Icelandic Sheepdog and other Scandinavian dogs. However, in the course of development in England as a pet breed, it was crossbred with other dogs including the Rough Collie and the Pomeranian; and the modern Shetland or "Sheltie" now resembles a miniature Rough Collie. The original working Shetland Sheepdog does not survive. Modern Shetland Sheepdogs are used primarily as pets, but excel at canine sports such as agility and obedience. Most retain some herding instinct, to varying degrees. They are among the most loyal breeds of dogs, sometimes referred to as a "shadow," because they are generally found right by their human's side.

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Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. The original name was Shetland Collie, but this caused controversy amongst Rough Collie breeders of the time, so the breed's name was formally changed. This diligent small dog is clever, vocal, excitable and willing to please. They are incredibly trustworthy to their owners to the point where they are often referred to as "shadows" due to their attachment to family. This breed was formally recognized by The Kennel Club (UK) in 1909.

Spitz

Spitz

Spitz is a type of domestic dog characterized by long, thick, and often white fur, and pointed ears and muzzles. The tail often curls over the dog's back or droops. While all of the breeds resemble primitive dogs, smaller breeds resemble foxes, while larger breeds resemble jackals, coyotes, wolves, and even dingoes.

Icelandic Sheepdog

Icelandic Sheepdog

The Icelandic Sheepdog, Icelandic: Íslenskur Fjárhundur, is an Icelandic breed of dog of Nordic Spitz type. It derives from dogs brought to Iceland by Viking settlers in the ninth century; it is both similar and closely related to the Buhund of Norway and the Vallhund of Sweden, which derive from the same ancestral stock.

Scandinavia

Scandinavia

Scandinavia is a subregion in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties between its constituent peoples. Scandinavia most commonly refers to Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. In English usage, it can sometimes also refer more narrowly to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or more broadly to all of the Nordic countries, also including Finland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands.

England

England

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea area of the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. It is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

Pet

Pet

A pet, or companion animal, is an animal kept primarily for a person's company or entertainment rather than as a working animal, livestock, or a laboratory animal. Popular pets are often considered to have attractive/cute appearances, intelligence, and relatable personalities, but some pets may be taken in on an altruistic basis and accepted by the owner regardless of these characteristics.

Rough Collie

Rough Collie

The Rough Collie is a long-coated dog breed of medium to large size that, in its original form, was a type of collie used and bred for herding sheep in Scotland. More recent breeding has focused on the Collie as a show dog, and also companion. The breed specifications call for a distinctive long narrow tapered snout and tipped (semiprick) ears, so some dogs have their ears taped when young. Rough Collies generally come in shades of sable and white, blue merle, tri-colored, and colour-headed white.

Shetland cattle

The cattle kept in Shetland developed as a very hardy, small breed, used for both dairy and beef. Modern Shetland cattle are usually pied black and white, although other colours were common in the past and sometimes still occur. These cattle are similar in type to other European traditional cattle breeds, and are sometimes used for conservation grazing (the management of natural habitats using grazing animals).[3]

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Shetland cattle

Shetland cattle

The Shetland, known natively in the Scots language as Shetland kye is a small, hardy Scottish breed of cattle from the Shetland Islands to the north of mainland Scotland. The cattle are normally black and white in colour but there are smaller numbers in grey, red and dun.

Dairy

Dairy

A dairy is a place where milk is stored and where butter, cheese and other dairy products are made, or a place where those products are sold. It may be a room, a building or a larger establishment. In the United States, the word may also describe a dairy farm or the part of a mixed farm dedicated to milk for human consumption, whether from cows, buffaloes, goats, sheep, horses or camels.

Beef

Beef

Beef is the culinary name for meat from cattle.

Conservation grazing

Conservation grazing

Conservation grazing or targeted grazing is the use of semi-feral or domesticated grazing livestock to maintain and increase the biodiversity of natural or semi-natural grasslands, heathlands, wood pasture, wetlands and many other habitats. Conservation grazing is generally less intensive than practices such as prescribed burning, but still needs to be managed to ensure that overgrazing does not occur. The practice has proven to be beneficial in moderation in restoring and maintaining grassland and heathland ecosystems. The optimal level of grazing will depend on the goal of conservation, and different levels of grazing, alongside other conservation practices, can be used to induce the desired results.

Shetland sheep

Shetland ewes
Shetland ewes

Sheep have been kept in the Shetland Isles for at least a thousand years. They are one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group of breeds, and were regarded as a local version of the extinct Scottish Dunface, which was found throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (and which was also the ancestor of the Hebridean and North Ronaldsay sheep). Shetlands are classed as a landrace or "unimproved" breed.

Although Shetlands are small and slow-growing compared to other breeds, they are hardy, thrifty, easy lambers, adaptable and long-lived. The Shetland breed has survived for centuries in difficult conditions and on a poor diet[4][5] so they thrive in better conditions. Shetlands retain many of their primitive survival instincts so they are easier to care for than many modern breeds.

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Shetland sheep

Shetland sheep

The Shetland is a small, wool-producing breed of sheep originating in the Shetland Isles, Scotland, but is now also kept in many other parts of the world. It is part of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group, and it is closely related to the extinct Scottish Dunface. Shetlands are classified as a landrace or "unimproved" breed. This breed is kept for its very fine wool, for meat, and for conservation grazing.

Northern European short-tailed sheep

Northern European short-tailed sheep

The Northern European short-tailed sheep are a group of traditional sheep breeds or types found in Northern Europe, mainly in the British Isles, Scandinavia, Greenland and the area around the Baltic. They are thought to be derived from the first sheep brought to Europe by early farmers, and for thousands of years they were the only type of sheep kept in Northern Europe. They are hardy sheep, adapted to harsh environments, but they are small and have been replaced in most areas with later types of larger, long-tailed sheep.

Scottish Dunface

Scottish Dunface

The Scottish Dunface, Old Scottish Short-wool, Scottish Whiteface or Scottish Tanface was a type of sheep from Scotland. It was one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group, and it was probably similar to the sheep kept throughout the British Isles in the Iron Age. By the mid-nineteenth century it had mostly been displaced by the Scottish Blackface and it became extinct on the mainland of Scotland in the late nineteenth century. However, several local types of Dunface survived on islands around Scotland, giving rise to or contributing to existing breeds including the Shetland, North Ronaldsay, Hebridean and Boreray.

Highlands and Islands

Highlands and Islands

The Highlands and Islands is an area of Scotland broadly covering the Scottish Highlands, plus Orkney, Shetland, and the Outer Hebrides.

Landrace

Landrace

A landrace is a domesticated, locally adapted, often traditional variety of a species of animal or plant that has developed over time, through adaptation to its natural and cultural environment of agriculture and pastoralism, and due to isolation from other populations of the species. Landraces are distinct from cultivars and from standard breeds.

Shetland pig

Shetland was the last surviving locality for a type of domestic pig known as the "grice". Small in size yet ferocious, this domesticated breed of pig fell out of favour with crofters during the 19th century; sometime between the middle of the 19th century[6] and the 1920s, the breed became extinct.[7] In addition to the Shetland Islands, the grice had once been found throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, as well as in Ireland.[8]

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Grice

Grice

The grice was a breed of swine found in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and in Ireland. It became extinct, surviving longest in the Shetland Isles, where it disappeared sometime between the middle of the 19th century and the 1930s. It was also known as the Highland, Hebridean or Irish pig.

Pig

Pig

The pig, often called swine, hog, or domestic pig when distinguishing from other members of the genus Sus, is an omnivorous, domesticated, even-toed, hoofed mammal. It is variously considered a subspecies of Sus scrofa or a distinct species. The pig's head-plus-body length ranges from 0.9 to 1.8 m, and adult pigs typically weigh between 50 and 350 kg, with well-fed individuals even exceeding this range. The size and weight of hogs largely depends on their breed. Compared to other artiodactyls, a pig's head is relatively long and pointed. Most even-toed ungulates are herbivorous, but pigs are omnivores, like their wild relative. Pigs grunt and make snorting sounds.

Highlands and Islands

Highlands and Islands

The Highlands and Islands is an area of Scotland broadly covering the Scottish Highlands, plus Orkney, Shetland, and the Outer Hebrides.

Ireland

Ireland

Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean, in north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest in the world.

Shetland goose

The Shetland goose is a small, hardy breed of domestic goose originating in the islands. It is sexually dimorphic, with ganders being entirely white and females white with grey patches. They tend to mate for life and are extremely good foragers. A small number have been exported to North America, but are not yet recognised by the American Poultry Association.[9]

Source: "Shetland animal breeds", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, April 8th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shetland_animal_breeds.

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References
  1. ^ "Breed History" Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine Shetland Pony Studbook Society. Cit. 20.7.2009.
  2. ^ "Shetland Pony" Equine World. Cit. 20.7.2009.
  3. ^ "Home" Shetland Cattle Breeders Association. Cit. 20.7.2009.
  4. ^ Journal, Chambers's (22 August 1897). "Shetland Wool" (PDF). The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Sheep Breeds - S-St". Sheep101.info. Cit. 1.5.2009.
  6. ^ Shetland pig is not so appealing as the pony
  7. ^ Fenton, Alexander (15 November 1997). "Pigs in Fetlar". The Northern Isles: Orkney and Shetland. Tuckwell Press. p. 498. ISBN 9781862320581. Note that Fetlar is one of the North Isles of Shetland.
  8. ^ "Extinct Island Pig Spotted Again". BBC News. 17 November 2006. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  9. ^ "Shetland Goose". feathersite.com. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Shetland duck". 3 December 2011.
  11. ^ "Breeds currently recorded in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources" (PDF). FAO. 14 October 2011.

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