All information about Shetland Sheepdog

All information about Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog or Sheltie is a small, beautiful and elegant dog, very similar to a long-haired collie, but small in size. Originally born as a shepherd, this dog is a tireless worker. But today, the Sheltie is more appreciated as a companion animal because of its beauty and small size.

If you’re considering adopting a Shetland Collie, keep reading this knowledge grip breed guide for Shetland Shepherd Characteristics, Character, and Care.

  • Europe
  • United Kingdom

FCI rating

  • Group I

Physical characteristics

  • Fine
  • provided
  • short ears


  • Toy
  • Little bit
  • Average
  • Great
  • Giant


  • 15-35
  • 35-45
  • 45-55
  • 55-70
  • 70-80
  • more than 80

adult weight

  • 1-3
  • 3-10
  • 10-25
  • 25-45
  • 45-100

Hope of life

  • 8-10
  • 10-12
  • 12-14
  • 15-20

Recommended physical activity

  • Low
  • A half
  • High


  • Shy
  • Strong
  • very faithful
  • Intelligent
  • Active
  • Affectionate

Ideal for

  • floors
  • Houses
  • Shepherd


  • To enjoy

Recommended weather

  • Cold
  • Warm
  • seasoned

hair type

  • Length
  • Soft
  • thick

Origin of Shetland Sheep Dog

Although the exact origin of the Shetland Sheepdog is uncertain, recorded data show that the Shetland Collie was first recognized on the Scottish islands of the same name. Although the breed was officially recognized in 1908, documents have been found that identify it around 1800.

The sheltie came from the breeding of several collie-type dogs. Therefore, we can say that the current collie and he have common ancestors, hence their remarkable similarity both physically and at the character level. The cold environment and sparse vegetation on the islands made it difficult for large animals to survive and favoured the small ones, so the farm animals were small and there were no large predators. Thus, sheepdogs did not need to be large and small dogs were favoured because they consumed less food. Therefore, the sheltie was more popular than the large breeds and was used to guide and protect dwarf sheep, ponies and even chickens. 

For the same reasons, the Shetland Sheepdog is a robust, strong and highly intelligent dog. However, due to its beauty, it quickly began to be adopted as a companion animal, as we know it today. So much so that most no longer serve as sheepdogs, although there is a specimen that still accompanies the shepherd to guide his flock.

Shetland Sheepdog Characteristics

The Shetland Sheep Dog is a puppy with long hair and great beauty. His body is a little longer than he is tall, although he is well proportioned and he has a deep chest. The legs are strong and muscular, as befits any sheepdog. The Shetland Sheepdog’s head, much like that of a scaled collie, is refined and elegant in the shape of a truncated wedge. The Shetland Collie‘s nose is black and the muzzle is rounded. The eyes, set obliquely, are medium, almond-shaped and dark brown. The exception is bluebird specimens, in which one or both eyes may be blue or streaked with blue. Shetland sheepdog ears are small, slightly long and moderately wide at the base.

The tail of the Shetland Sheepdog is set low and long, reaching at least to the hock. It has thick fur and the tip curves up slightly, although the dog never wears it on the back. The sheltie coat is two-layered, the outer coat is long, rough and smooth, and the inner coat soft, short and dense. The colours accepted The Shetland Sheep Dogs are as follows:

  • Sable, from light gold to dark mahogany
  • Tricolour
  • blue blackbird
  • black and white
  • black and tan

The ideal height at the withers for males is 37 centimetres while for females it is 36 centimetres. Shetland Sheepdog weight is not stated in the breed standard, but Shetland Collie generally weighs about 8 kilograms.

Shetland Sheepdog Character

Shelties are generally sweet-natured, loyal, intelligent, and affectionate with their humans. However, they tend to be quite shy around strangers and have strong herding instincts that can cause some conflict if they have not received the proper education.

Therefore, it is essential to socialize the Sheltie since puppies, both to reduce shyness with strangers and to prevent them from not knowing how to interact with other animals.

Also Read: Herbs for Dogs: What herbs are good for dogs?

Shetland Collie Care

It is necessary to brush and comb the Shetland Sheepdog coat once or twice a week. Despite having long hair, They tend to be neat and their coat does not tangle as easily as it might seem.

Despite being small dogs, shelties are sheepdogs that need good doses of physical and mental exercise. A good daily walk and a play session can help, but canine sports such as herding and canine freestyle can also be played. Agility may be a good option, as long as joint problems such as hip dysplasia have been ruled out. On the other hand, as mentioned, mental exercises are essential to stimulate the Shetland pastor and avoid a possible situation of stress or anxiety due to boredom. For this, we recommend that you consult the article “Intelligence games for dogs at home”.

If you’re considering adopting a Shetland Collie, these dogs can live well in an apartment as long as they get the necessary exercise. However, they tend to bark and this can cause conflict with neighbours. It should also take into account that Shetland Sheepdogs handle temperate to cold climates well, but it is not a good idea for them to live isolated in the garden as they need the company of their families.

Also Read: How to cut hair on dog pads?

Shetland Shepherd Education

As we said in the previous sections, shelties or Shetland Sheepdogs are very intelligent dogs and therefore learn quickly and easily. However, this does not mean that we can make use of traditional training, as it has been shown to obtain the best results. through positive training. This is because both traditional and negative training can arouse fears and insecurities in the animal that end up creating conflicts between the dog and the person, ruining the bond that may have been created between them.

Shelties often exhibit two behaviours related to their strong herding instincts. For one thing, they tend to be dogs that bark a lot. On the other hand, Shetland Sheepdogs try to “herd” any moving individual (adult, child, dog or any pet) by biting them on the ankles. It is not possible to eliminate these behaviours. Since they have very strong genetic roots. However, they can be channelled into non-intrusive activities or harmless games.

Shetland Collie can make excellent companion animals when cared for. Generally, get along well with children. But, due to their small size, they can easily injure very small creatures.

Shetland Shepherd Health

Hereditary diseases afflicting the Shetland Sheepdog include:

  • Dermatomyositis
  • Collie eye abnormality
  • progressive retinal atrophy
  • waterfalls
  • Haemophilia
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease
  • patellar dislocation
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • von Willebrand disease
  • hip dysplasia

The latter disease is more common in large dog breeds, but due to the process followed over the years to obtain the breed we know today, it is also very common in the Shetland sheepdog. To prevent the development or detect any of the above conditions in time, it is essential to visit the veterinarian periodically as well as administer the relevant vaccines and deworming sessions to the sheltie.

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