Shetland sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Size
Small
Height
13 to 16 inches at the shoulders
Weight
15 to 25 pounds
Coat
Long
Color
Black, blue, merle, or sable with varying amounts of white and/or tan
Energy
Medium
Activities
Agility, Conformation, Herding, Obedience, Rally Obedience, Tracking

Known as a devoted and docile dog with keen intelligence and understanding, the Shetland Sheepdog is a herding dog descended from the Rough Collie of Scotland. 

Temperament

Intensely loyal, affectionate and responsive, the Shetland Sheepdog is an excellent family dog. He thrives on farms but adapts to many living situations if provided adequate exercise. 

Shelties are intelligent, eager and easy to train, which is why they excel in obedience, agility and herding trials. They are terrific watchdogs who won’t hesitate to bark. 

Characteristics

The small, active and agile Shetland Sheepdog is a member of the Herding group. With his diminutive size, wedge-shaped head, erect ears and long, straight coat, the Sheltie looks like a miniature version of a rough-coated Collie. 

Lifespan

12 to 14 years

Colors

The Shetland Sheepdog coat is a combination of white and one or two other colors, such as black, tan, blue merle, sable and sable merle.  

Shedding

The Shetland Sheepdog’s double coat sheds considerably. With an outer coat of long, straight hair and a dense, short undercoat it must be brushed weekly, and more often during shedding season. 

Owners also need to check for mats that can form behind the ears, under the elbows and on the hindquarters. Shelties need a bath only occasionally and shouldn’t be shaved. 

Health

Thanks to responsible breeding, Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy. Breeders should screen for conditions such as hip dysplasia, thyroid disease, eye diseases, dermatomyositis, von Willebrand’s disease, gallbladder mucoceles and epilepsy. 

Best Dog Food for Shetland Sheepdogs& Puppies

Shetland Sheepdogs may benefit from the specialized nutrition and smaller kibble of a small breed dog food. For Shelties who need help with weight management, consider a healthy weight formula

Shetland Sheepdog puppies should eat a small breed puppy food for their first year of life to aid in their growth and development.  

History

Shetland Sheepdogs hail from the rugged Shetland Islands, where farmers used them to herd sheep, poultry and other livestock. 

Like Shetland ponies, the Sheltie’s diminutive size makes him easier to feed than his Rough Collie cousin, or other larger herding dogs—an advantage in a harsh environment where food is scarcer. 

Because there are no records from Shetland Island breeders, we don’t know exactly when Shelties were bred down to their smaller size. In fact, due to the remoteness of the Shetland Islands, this breed was virtually unknown to the rest of Britain until the early 1900s. 

In 1909 the Kennel Club in England first recognized the breed as the Shetland Collie. Collie enthusiasts pushed for a name change, and the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the breed as the Shetland Sheepdog in 1911. 

Facts

  • The Sheltie is one of the most successful obedience breeds.

FIND A SHETLAND SHEEPDOG NEAR YOU

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