A Shelchon is a hybrid breed and is a mix between a purebred Shetland Sheepdog and a purebred Bichon Frise. Bred to be guard dogs for farmers in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland, these dogs also kept birds away from their tiny sheep. The Shetland Islands are also home to other small breeds of animals, such as Shetland Ponies. Shetland Sheepdogs, nicknamed Shelties, look like small Rough Collies, but they are a different breed. Some of their ancestors are believed to include the King Charles Spaniel and the Pomeranian. The early dogs were referred to as “Toonie” dogs which translated as farm dogs. Some were taken to the United Kingdom where early breeders crossed them with rough-coated Collies. They were also initially referred to as Shetland Collies but this was dropped following objections by Collie breeders. The American Kennel Club recognized the Shetland Sheepdog in 1911. The Bichon Frise was developed on the island of Malta in the Mediterranean and is related to the Coton de Tulear, the Bolognese, the Havanese and the Maltese. The Barbet, a woolly water dog is thought to be among the Bichon’s ancestors with some saying the word Bichon is from “barbichon”, the diminutive of the word barbet. Records from the 14th century suggest French sailors brought the dogs home from Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. The cute little dogs were also popular in Spain and featured in paintings by Goya. They later fell out of favor with royalty and were used as performers in circuses when their charming personalities captivated audiences. The official breed standard was adopted in France in 1933. The Bichon Frise was introduced to the United States in 1956, and the Bichon Frise Club of America was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1975.