The Sheltie

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Please click here to view a Sheltie educational video produced by the Blue Ridge Shetland Sheepdog Club in Virginia.  Please click here to view a Shelties in the UKC video.

Shetland Sheepdogs originated in the Shetland Isles of Scotland. They were bred to endure rough climates, harsh terrain and work all day under rugged conditions. Shetland Sheepdogs (commonly called Shelties) are not Collies in miniature - though many erroneously think this. Though the two breeds bear resemblance in color, Shetland Sheepdogs are a separate breed entirely. Also erroneously called Toy Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs are far from toys! This is a hard working little dog. Do not let the size fool you.

Shetland Sheepdogs are a very willing breed. They take fast to training, though their sharpness can be a bit much for someone not used to fast thinking dogs with a drive to work. The breed requires daily exercise as well as some form of mental activity. Ten minutes of fetch in the back yard may not be enough for this active little dog. They excel in Obedience and Agility competitions. A bored Sheltie is not a good thing. Boredom can lead to fence running and excessive barking as well as other undesirable behaviors and hyperactivity. A Sheltie should be wary of strangers but never shy. Proper socialization and training when it is appropriate to bark is a must.

Shetland Sheepdogs range in size from 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder with weight being proportionate to height. Over- and undersized dogs may appear and this will not hurt their quality as a companion or performance dog though these dogs cannot be shown in Conformation and should not be bred. Colors include sable, tri-color, blue merle, bi-black, bi-blue and color headed white. (See the section on Colors).

The Sheltie has a double coat with harsher guard hairs and a soft, woolly undercoat. Ideally, they should be brushed weekly with increased brushings during sheds to remove the undercoat. They do not require shaving in the summer. Attention to teeth and nails round out grooming for a pet dog.

Shetland Sheepdogs are wonderful companion animals that will be just as happy in the suburbs or the farm as long as they get proper exercise and mental workouts. In the right environment, they are great family pets.

If you are interested in this breed, look for reputable and responsible breeders or rescue groups. This is a popular breed and popularity encourages much irresponsible breeding by uninformed people for the sake of a sale.

Written by: Karen Peak,


The Standard of Perfection (American Kennel Club)

The Standard of Perfection (United Kennel Club)



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