The Shetland Sheepdog is considered to be one of the most beautiful of all dog breeds.
Dwarf Scotch Shepherd
The Sheltie is not a dwarf, toy, or miniature dog as some names may imply.
Body: Small, well-proportioned and fine-boned with a strong, level, well-muscled, back, sloping shoulders, deep chest, and well-sprung ribs.
Coat: Long, straight, harsh topcoat with a soft, furry, insulated undercoat. A distinctive mane-like affect with long, thick, abundant, hair around the neck and chest area.
Color: Sable (golden to mahogany), tri-colored (black, white, and tan), blue merle (grey, white, black, and tan), grey and black with some white, or black and white.
Ears: Small, Flexible, semi-erect, set close and high on the skull, and folded forward.
Eyes: Medium sized, almond-shaped, dark brown, oblique (outer rims higher than inner rims); blue merle dogs have blue eyes.
Feet: Small, oval, and compact with well-arched, tight, toes, deep, hard pads, and strong nails.
Head: Long and wedge-shaped. Skull is flat at the top and tapers from the ears to his black nose.
Legs: Forelegs are straight and well-muscled with strong bones. Hindquarters have wide, muscular thighs, well let down hocks, and well-angled stifles.
Neck: Moderately long, well-muscled, and arched with proud carriage of head.
Weight: 15 – 20 pounds
Height: 13 – 16 inches
Tail: Long, low set, and tapering. Carried upward and covered abundantly with hair.
Recommended for novice dog handlers
Good with children
With the appearance of a miniature Collie the Shetland Sheepdog is considered to be one of the most beautiful and popular of dog breeds world wide. Originally developed on the Shetland Islands off of Scotland, he was first recognized by The Kennel Club (England) in 1909.
AKC Standard says, “The Shetland Sheepdog is intensely loyal, affectionate, and responsive to his owner. However, he may be reserved toward strangers but not to the point of showing fear or cringing in the ring.”
He is a kind-hearted dog who carries himself with grace and dignity. The Sheltie is highly intelligent, obedient, and learns quickly with minimal training of commands. He’s a reliable worker, trustworthy companion, exceptional show dog, and wonderful family pet.
Some say he is capable of anticipating what his owner wants even before being asked, almost as though he can read their minds. Others say he has almost human-like intelligence.
Obedience training is easy with the Sheltie. His ability to focus intently, learn quickly, and retain what he has been taught make training fun and rewarding for both dog and owner. Socialization should begin at an early age to prepare him for the outside world. Continued exposure to people, noises, and other animals will result in an all around well-developed adult dog.
The Shetland Sheepdog is eager to please and highly sensitive to harsh treatment. To develop a confident, fun-loving, and happy Sheltie use a positive and rewarding approach to training.
Small dogs often sustain broken bones from being dropped, stepped on, rolled on in bed, or mistreated. Young children should be supervised to avoid unintentional, but possibly serious, injuries.
AKC Group: Herding Group
Originally bred to guard and herd sheep but today they are more commonly used for companionship.
Care and Grooming
Exercise: Moderate exercise including daily walks and games of fetch. Shelties enjoy and excel at obedience and agility classes. This can be a great way to provide him with both physical and mental stimulation.
Grooming: Brush one to two times weekly. Brush daily during shedding season (spring and fall).
Life Expectancy: 13 – 14 Years
Dermatomyocitis (DM) – also known as “Sheltie Syndrome”*
von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) – a bleeding disorder
*According to the American Shetland Sheepdog Association a gene related to DM may have been found.
CERF – for the eyes
OFA – for the hips
Country of Origin
Great Britain – originally developed on the Shetland Islands off of Scotland but recognized for the first time in 1909 by The Kennel Club (England).