The Varieties of Sheltie Coat Color and Markings

Dog lovers are in the know when it comes to the importance of coat color. Breeders can relate to this issue the most; after all, who doesn’t want the colors to adhere and be consistent with the breed standards as much as possible?

Shelties’ coat colors, the topic of this article, genetically come in only two shades: black and brown. As expected many terms are used to denote the different shades of a sheltie.

Sable shelties are brown or black, with coats that can either be yellowish then darkening to mahogany. Darker ones appear so, due to black “guard” hairs dotting the brown. Some sables have a red cast to their coats, which explains the term “red sables.” White markings will vary in terms of prominence; sometimes, they are almost unnoticeable. The AKC rules that Sables are sables with a bit of white, black or red cast.

Black shelties are registered as tri-colors in case of tan and white shades, or bi-blacks in case they are marked with white alone. “Rusting” is a term for black shelties with a coppery cast to their coat.  While rusting is frowned upon in the show ring, this has no impact whatsoever on the nature of the dog as pets.

Blue merles are genetically black, but their color has been affected by the merling gene. The result is that the dog looks silver and black, with black patches too. These dogs also have blue or brown eyes (or one of each), or merle eyes, which can either be brown or blue. Fortunately, merle eyes are not the sign of any lurking vision issue.

In the case of a white sheltie, the dog can be called color-headed white. The extent of this “white factor” will decide the Irish markings, which are remembered as the colors of Lassie, but are not needed for show. The factor can be so extensive sometimes, that a dog only has color on its back, or only has a few patches of color. While the AKC currently is not in favor of any show sheltie that is more than 50% white, color-headed whites are nevertheless perfect for non-AKC shows, as pets or as obedience dogs.

Merle-merle breedings result to white “double” merles. This type has a great deal of white on its head as well as its body. They are not recommended as pets, given the risk of heart problems, and the risk of blindness (unless there is a patch over an eye) or of deafness (unless a patch covers an ear).

Aside from the double merle, shelties make excellent pets. Moreover, there does not seem to be any link with a dog’s coat color and its degree of trainability. When it comes to demand, sables are popular with enthusiasts, but breed fanciers still go for blue merles and tri-colors.

Goal Setting and Vision Casting

“You don’t get points for predicting rain. You get points for building an ark.” Louis Gerstner, former Chairman and CEO of IBM

It’s that time of year again: time to reflect back on the past year and evaluate relationships; examine areas where you spent your valuable time, money, and energy; ponder goals set last year and revise new ones accordingly; and count your many blessings.

As I spend time these next few days looking over notes from years past, I will make every effort to draft goals for the New Year that will help me move further down the path. To becoming more of the person whom I hope to become. My goal every year is to become more saint-like, and many areas in my life need to be addressed in order to help me evolve–step by step–to that end.

I will not suppose that what works for me will work for you. I
will only share what I do in the hope that it might help you as
you prepare for the coming New Year.

I rely on my Filofax, where I write all of my goals down in
colored ink on colored paper. Over the years I have called my
goals various things, but as of last year they became known as
the “6 F’s.” Here goes…

1) FAITH

How can I get myself further down the spiritual path and become
more saintlike? Specific steps I might record to get me closer to my goal would include: disciplined and consistent reading of
scripture, journaling, reading books on spirituality, plugging
into a charitable organization whose vision fits that of my
family’s, taking a mission trip, maintaining a “bloom where
planted” attitude about life, etc.

2) FAMILY

How can our family–including my husband, our four kids,
myself, and the dog–become the strongest and happiest group of
people as we share life together? And what things do I need to be pro-actively instilling into our family’s structure to ensure
happy childhoods for each of our four kids? What is my vision for each child? What gifts and talents does this child have and what do we need to do to help him develop them for other people’s benefit? Specific steps might include: planning a family summer vacation, replacing TV with a family reading night, investments in music lessons, commitment to sports teams, scheduling weekly date nights, etc.

3) FRIENDS

How can I maintain the many friendships that I have formed over
the years given the great physical distances that separate us,
and how can I form new friendships with people who cross my path? Specific steps would include scheduled trips to visit
girlfriends, frequent long-distance phone calls, celebrating
birthdays with gifts and cards, continuing Christmas gift-giving
traditions, etc.

4) FINANCIAL

How do we become more financially independent? How do we reduce
debt and increase wealth? Steps would include my making a list of a realistic number of books to sell, seminars to schedule,
articles to write, investments to make, savings goals to meet,
tithing commitments to keep, etc.

5) FITNESS

How can I maintain a health and fitness regimen that keeps me in
optimal physical and emotional health–while maintaining kids
who are too young to maintain themselves? Specific steps would
include scheduling a realistic number of trips to the gym per
week, weekly commitments to swimming and tennis, and to weight
training, etc.

6) FUN

What things would I enjoy doing personally and with my family
that would help me enjoy life to its fullest? I would include
specific trips and dates with Ernie, plans for vacations with the kids, Broadway shows, season tickets to the philharmonic, oil painting classes, etc.

Studies show that people who record their goals IN WRITING have
a much greater chance of accomplishing them. Spend quality time
thinking about specific goals that you’d like to make in your
life. Begin the process now. Let your sub-conscious absorb the
goals and let it help you figure out ways in which to make these
goals realistically attainable. Consider your life stage. A trip
to the gym might be quite realistic for me but a pipe dream for
you if you have a newborn or a couple of toddlers underfoot.
Don’t fret that your goals seem out of whack or not grand
enough. Go easy on yourself and resolve to come up with goals
that fit where you are and where you’d like to be by the end of
the year. And remember to have fun with the process. Enjoy a
glass of red wine and sit by the fire while you doodle your
thoughts. Dream. Imagine.

ONE FINAL THOUGHT: Remember to count your blessings of this past
year. Make a list. We are each coming to the dinner table New
Year’s Eve night with our individual Top Ten Lists. Consider
making this a New Year’s Eve tradition in your family, too.
Nothing makes one feel better about the world than counting all
the ways in which you have been uniquely blessed.

Please let me know if I can help you in your journey.

Have a blessed New Year. PEACE!

Black Spots in Your Vision – Does Anybody Else See This?

Have you ever had black spots in your vision & wondered what they were or if you should be concerned? Essentially, there are only a handful of things that can cause black spots in your vision. The main are “floaters”, an intermittent and temporary lack of adequate blood supply to the eye, and a retinal break. We will talk briefly about each and help you to better understand them.

Floaters. We’ve all had them at some point. For those lucky few, who perhaps haven’t yet, count your blessings! It is only a matter of time however until you too develop floaters. So what exactly are they? Floaters are a layman term for vitreal degeneration or a posterior vitreal detachment. They are the result of a natural breakdown of the vitreous gel within the posterior vitreous of our your eye. Imagine a ball of jelly that begins to liquefy over time. As it breaks apart, clumps or pieces of it float within the aqueous portion of the vitreous, casting a shadow upon the retina as it floats in front of it. They are typically translucent or partially opaque, but can be seen through. Most, though not all, move with your eye movements as they float freely in the liquid vitreous. Some may partially block your view as you look straight ahead. Typically, they are more noticeable under fluorescent lighting, when surrounded by a white or lightly colored room, or while reading. The good news, is that typically they subside with time and your brain learns to ignore them.

Breakdown of the vitreous is a normal part of aging and floaters are usually a benign (or non-worrisome) finding. If however, you notice a new floater all of a sudden in one eye, this can carry a higher risk for a problem with the retina. If we make the analogy of the eye to a camera, your retina is analogous to the film in the camera; without it functioning correctly, you will not have the necessary components to create a clear picture. When someone notices a sudden, new floater, it is called an acute posterior vitreal detachment. This carries a higher risk for a problem with your retina and you should see an eye doctor for a thorough, dilated fundus (or retinal) exam as soon as possible. As the vitreous begins to break down & liquefy, it eventually collapses in on itself & pulls away from it’s attachment to the tissues within the eye; namely, the optic nerve head, macula, and peripheral retina.

A problem arises, when the vitreous pulls so hard that when it detaches, it results in a hole, break, or tear developing in the retina of the eye. This is an eye emergency as liquid can seep underneath the retina, leading to a retinal detachment. Usually a retinal break is accompanied with similar, but very different symptoms. The most common is an acute (or sudden) onset of black spots in one eye, a curtain, veil, or part of your vision missing or distorted, or photopsia (lightening bolts or streaks of light that are persistent in one area; many patients describe this as analogous to an electrical storm). If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your eye doctor (optometrist or ophthalmologist) IMMEDIATELY. Do not eat or drink anything, just drive in to the nearest eye doctor. If you have had a retinal detachment, there is a window of time in which it can be successfully repaired and time is of the essence to ensure the best outcome.

Black spots can also be caused by a temporary and inadequate blood supply to the eye. If you suffer from low blood pressure and have ever risen quickly from a chair, you know the lightheaded feeling and black spots that often result. Similarly, if you suffer from ocular migraines, you may experience black spots or parts of your vision that are missing and then come back and blotchy patterns. If you experience these symptoms you should see your eye doctor and primary care physician to rule out serious underlying pathology.

In closing, there are several things that can cause you to see black spots in your vision. Each of these, warrant a discussion and thorough examination by an eye care professional. They should not be taken lightly. After all, the eyes you were born with are the only two you will ever have! Over seventy percent of your external stimuli comes from your vision. Your eyes are a valuable commodity you should not easily take lightly.