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Shetland Sheepdog  Information

Description of Shetland Sheepdogs

The Shetland Sheepdog is a smaller medium sized dog that looks very similar to a full sized rough coated Collie. They have a soft inner coat protected by a coarser, long outer coat. Shetland Sheepdogs may be tri-colored, black and tan, blue merle, sable and black and white. They have a distinct ruff around the throat and down the chest as well as a gracefully arched, feathered tail. They are sturdy without appearing stocky, rather they seem very graceful and light on their feet. The head is typically Collie with a longer taper muzzle, alert and bright eyes and pointed ears that are held erect with slightly turned over tips. The feet and legs are feathered and the legs appear to be placed at the four corners of the body, giving a sturdy stance.

Temperament of the Shetland Sheepdog 

The Shetland Sheepdog, known as the Sheltie for short, is one of the most popular family dogs. Its small size yet beautiful coat and loving personality make it ideal for families with small or older children. The dogs are very active and love to play, constantly wanting to be with people. They are extremely intelligent and easy to train, but may naturally try to herd children and other pets, especially when they are puppies. They do need socialization or they may become somewhat timid. They will bark when strangers arrive but usually will be social with everyone upon introduction although they may not wish to be petted by people they don't know. Generally Shelties are very good with other dogs and non-canine pets and seem to adjust very quickly to cats and other small or large dogs. Shelties will naturally chase and should always be kept on a leash when out of a fenced yard.

Grooming & Shedding of a Shetland Sheepdog 

The coat of the Sheltie is prone to matting and will require regular brushing three to four times per week. It is recommended that the coat be lightly misted with water to help remove tangles. Mats are often found behind the ears, legs and shoulders and will often need to be clipped with a blunt ended pair of scissors. During the spring and fall the Sheltie will completely shed their coat and will require daily brushing to prevent hair mats and hopeless tangles.

History of the Shetland Sheepdog  breed

The Sheltie was developed on the Shetland Islands of Scotland from the same Collie ancestor that the Rough Collie and the Border Collie came from. The Shetland Islands has rather rough terrain, and most of the livestock tend to be somewhat smaller, such as the Shetland Pony. The small size of the Sheltie made it ideal for herding the smaller livestock and it was also used for herding poultry on the various farms. Brought to England by sailors and military soldiers, it was originally called the Shetland Collie. Collie breeders wanted the name changed, so the breed became known as the Shetland Sheepdog.

Shetland Sheepdog Health Issues

  • Major Concerns: dermatomyositis
  • Minor Concerns: progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), collie eye anomaly (CEA), trichiasis, cataract, hip dysplasia, hemophilia, Legg – Perthes, patellar luxation
  • Occasionally seen: PDA (heart), deafness, epilepsy, von Willebrand's Disease
  • Suggested tests: DNA, heart, hip




13-16 inches (33-40.6 cm)


14-27 pounds (6.4-12.3 kg)


12-14 years







Young Children


Need exercise space

No – with regular, frequent walks

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