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Smithfield Sheepdog

 

General Description:

What colors are Smithfields?
What are some of the physical characteristics of a Smithfield?
What are the working traits of the Smithfield?
Describe the character and temperament of the Smithfield.
Is there a breed standard?
Is there a register of the dogs?
I live in an area with a warm climate, would a Smithfield suit me?
How much grooming does a Smithfield require?

 

What colors are Smithfields?
Coat color varies – black, grey, brown, cream – but often there is some white, on head/chest/feet/tail.

What are some of the physical characteristics of a Smithfield?
The Smithfield is a medium-sized, rough coated dog. Ears are usually partially erect, and turned down at the tip. The muzzle is whiskery, and there is plenty of hair down the legs and between the toes.


What are the working traits of the Smithfield?
As a working dog the Smithfield is forceful, fast, and game. They are said to be good in the highlands, in snow, and in rough bush country. They are not an ‘eye’ dog like a border collie.


Describe the character and temperament of the Smithfield.
An outgoing active dog, Smithfields seem to adapt better than other working breeds to suburban life, but like all dogs they do require ongoing mental andphysical stimulation. Their normally friendly disposition makes them a good, if sometimes boisterous, pet. They thrive on being part of family life and joining in various activities and outings, learning new things - (obedience, tricks, working stock), and in general enjoy life and try to please. They are an excellent and very loyal companion. As a 'guard' dog they will tend to bark without the bite.

Is there a breed standard?
They are a dog which conforms to a general type, but not to a precisely worded breed standard.


Is there a register of the dogs?
The breed is not recognised by the Kennel Control Council and has no register or stud book. There are no ‘official’ breed records other than any that private individuals might keep. Most of the dogs are mated either by chance or to another good dog. It seems only a small number of people are deliberately breeding pure Smithfields, and the dogs are often crossbred with other working dogs such as kelpies and border collies.


I live in an area with a warm climate, would a Smithfield suit me?
Breeds with shorter, smoother coats are preferred for heat tolerance and grass seed resistance. (Grass seeds can cause huge problems if not detected,including penetrating the skin and travelling to internal organs, or lodging between those hairy toes and causing an abcess). All dogs, especially long haired ones, must be checked regularly for grass seeds in summer, especially in the countryareas where grasses are usually longer than in town.
Some people maintain that a long coat keeps a dog cool as when they move, it ‘swishes’ around creating airflow. This may be true to some extent if the coat is kept very well groomed, clean and free of any matting or tangles. If a long haireddog gets wet, (rain, swimming), and doesn’t dry off thoroughly right down to the skin, there is a great chance of developing ‘hot spots’. These are nasty, painful, quick-spreading sores that require immediate and thorough attention – they are promoted by the moisture in the hair combined with the heat of the dog’s body.


How much grooming does a Smithfield require?
It is usual practice to clip Smithfields off each year around late Spring to early Summer. Just a body clip is enough, you can leave the head, legs and tail area if you like or just scissor them back a bit, so it is definately not a big job. It doesn't have to be a close body 'shave', even shortening with scissors or a comb on clippers is OK. Smithfields generally don't like the heat, and a short coat also helps to prevent the summer grass seeds getting stuck in it. Check between the toes regularly, this hair can be scissored out to avoid prickles and mud balls. Also don't forget to look under the dew claws. Hair can be kept scissored back to medium length all year round with just some occasional trimming if you prefer that to the long coat that develops by the time winter arrives.
Some notes when clipping - Never clip a dirty dog with electric clippers or you will soon blunt the blades. Dirt and some products such as flea powders destroy the cutting surface of your blade. Never clip a wet dog, it's too hard to get through the coat. The coat MUST be CLEAN & DRY without knots and tangles. If you clipagainst the hair growth pattern the hair will be left shorter than clipping with the hair growth.
General maintenance and grooming on any dog regardless of coat length is best carried out as an ongoing thing, a little bit at a time, and is actually an enjoyable time for both you and your dog to spend together. However, if a few knots and matts do occur, they can be carefully scissored out - check trouble spots like behind the ears, under front and back legs, chest, flanks, and between toes, regularly. When scissoring close to the skin take special care not to cut the skin which can get drawn up into the scissor blades. There are many different coat textures from coarse to fine, and some will matt more than others.
Regular brushing and a bath every month or so with a good quality dog shampoo is the best way to keep your dog's coat in great shape. Brushing and combing helps to distribute the natural oils through the coat to help maintain a healthy natural shine. Probably one of the most important things to remember when bathing all dogs is that they need to be thoroughly dried right to the skin, blowdrying is a great help for this, just don't have the drier on 'hot' as many dogs have been burnt this way.
Dogs that are accustomed to being handled and brushed as puppies learn to reallyenjoy their grooming time and give no trouble.

Breed Details

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