Now Celebrating Our 4th Bred By Champion!

By Dee Silverstein, Online Editor

The Beginning

Silver Trails Shelties is located in Loxahatchee, Palm Beach County, Florida, and has been in existence since 1994.


We grew up loving all animals and enjoyed owning many dogs throughout the years. Our first encounter with the breed was dog sitting my brother, and sister-in-law's sheltie, Sandy, while they were on vacation.  We fell in love with her and had to go right out and get one of our own.  Of course, we knew nothing of where to purchase a puppy and went straight to the local pet outlet where we purchased our first purebred breed/conformation show dog, NOT! To our surprise, he was not a show prospect at all and immediately realized that we needed help educating ourselves regarding shelties. We experienced fear biting, spinning, nervousness, neurotic behavior such as excessive barking, general aggressive and destruction. Furthermore, lack of coat prompted us to do  testing for thyroid which was practically non-existent. Oh! Did I happen to mention he was oversized with numerous faults? Some good came out of this experience however as we have virtually dedicated our lives to improving the breed.  At the turn of the century, we left the suburban life and moved to the country to follow our dream.

Our home is attached to the air conditioned indoor kennel which leads to the outdoor kennels through a doggie door. We like a home environment for all of our dogs. however we have two separate runs; a 10x25 exercise run for visiting bitches and/or bitches in season. The runs are covered and designed to reflect the Florida sun. In this way, the dogs stay happy, clean and safe. The dogs are allowed to run the acreage periodically throughout the day but only under strict supervision.

The Realization

My calling became apparent. My mission... to find breeders of top quality shelties producing sound temperament, good health, beauty, structure with great show enthusiasm.

Where Do I Start?

With our friends sponsoring us, John and Christy Clark, we joined the Shetland Sheepdog Club of Southeast Florida. We listened and learned.  We attended numerous seminars teaching us grooming, health care, structure and handling and continue to do so every chance we get. Shortly thereafter we purchased from Royl Marchwind (Cheryl Willacker and Mary MacDonald) a most regal sheltie, Royl Marchwind User Friendly "Spanky." On January 2, 1998, at 1& 1/2 years of age, Spanky finished and thereafter was campaigned racking up 42 Best of Breed wins and 12 Group wins.  He was in the top 20 four years in a row. Spanky retired in Y2K #9 in the country. 
Many thanks to:

Cheryl Willacker who presented us with our first show puppy prospects; the professional handlers of the past, Cheryl Willacker, Mary MacDonald, Nick Joines and Joel McCarthy for all their hard work and effort during the championship and specials campaign of BISS Ch Royl Marchwind User Friendly "Spanky";

Meredith Hector and Karen Salvage who sponsored us to our memberships with the ASSA;

Jimmy Efron, Dr. Cindi Bossart and Connie DuBois who campaigned our show dogs and with their expert handling skills finished Ch Alfie, Ch Darla, and Ch Bucky; Ch Rudy and Ch Annie, our Canadian import ;

The co-owners of our show dogs for without you we would be alone in these endeavors. You are the Fairy God-Fathers and God-Mothers of our kennel.

The stud owners that have cooperated and eased us through the various breedings throughout the years.

Our Priorities

1. Health - our highest priority. To breed healthy dogs you must breed healthy dogs. 

2. Temperament - if I can't live with them, neither can you. To breed good tempered dogs you must breed good tempered dogs.

3. Showmanship - strength, outgoing personalities, brave and regal.

4. Type - the quintessential sheltie with sweet expression, head detail and excellent body structure.

5. Moderation - size.

Our Goals

Continue handling and finishing our dogs to their championships and beyond.

Dee is currently accepting sweepstakes assignments at specialty shows in the pursuit of her judging license.

Continue our education and educating others.  We consider breeding an art form and although it is a very fulfilling endeavor, it can be difficult and disappointing at times. Anyone that breeds shelties can attest to that statement. There is always more to learn. 

The universal support we have received (pet and show prospect sales, product sales, creating websites and maintenance therefor, grooming and  pet sitting services) is greatly appreciated.