Shetland Sheepdog

Other names/Nicknames:
  • Sheltie
Country/Date of origin:
  • Great Britain
  • 1700′s
  • 13 to 16 inches
  • 14 to 22 pounds
  • Good-natured and eager to please.
  • Intelligent and trainable.
  • On the soft side in temperament, even timid sometimes.
  • Excessive barking. Many owners have a compulsive barker’s vocal cords cut.
  • Standoffish with strangers.

Looks are deceiving.  The Shetland Sheepdog is not a miniature Collie.  The Highland Collie is a shepherding specialist.  The Sheltie, on the other hand, is a farm dog of all trades.  It herds sheep, ducks, pigs, and cattle. It keeps the barn and garden free of vermin, and warns of intruders (human or animal) on the property.  The harsh, bleak Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland are known for their miniature animals, such as the Shetland pony and the Shetland Sheepdog.  Life was hard on the islands and the animals were small, but tough, as the conditions demanded.  The breed began to come to prominence in 1908 when the Scottish Club was formed.  In 1911, the American Kennel Club (AKC) began to include this diminutive sheepdog in its registry.  By the 1950′s, the Shetland Sheepdog was close to the top on the popularity chart.

Body Type:
  • Resembles a Collie in miniature.
  • The tail is long and carried low.  It is never altered.
  • The ears are small and set close together.  The tips should fold forward.  Ears are never altered.
  • A double coat that consists of a long , straight, harsh outer coat and a dense, soft undercoat.
  • Hair stands well off the skin.
  • Water resistant.
  • Sheds heavily and requires frequent brushing.
  • Permissible colors are sable (ranging from golden to mahogany), blue merle, tricolor and bi-black.
  • Solid white is not allowed, as this color may be linked to a deafness gene.
Health and Wellness:
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Patent ductus arteriosis.
  • Collie-eye anomaly.
  • Hemophilia.
  • von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Dermatomyositis.
  • Congenital deafness.
  • Discoid lupus erythematosis.
  • Cushing’s syndrome (AT).
  • Bladder tumors.
What you should know:
  • Choose a puppy that is outgoing.  Avoid one with any sign of shyness.
  • Very popular breed.
  • Regularly in the top fifteen of the AKC registered breeds.
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