shetland sheepdog

The Sophisticated Sheltie!


If you are looking for a dog breed that could serve as your companion at the farm, at home, or simply the best playmate of your children, the Shetland Sheepdog is a good choice. This dog breed is commonly known as the Sheltie. It is a herding dog which appears to be the smaller relative of the Collie. But despite its size, this dog is highly intelligent, a hard worker, agile and flexible, gentle with children, and definitely adorable.

Behavior common of the Shetland Sheepdog

Shelties enjoy the company of humans. They are gentle, kind, and loyal especially to their human family. But similar with all other dogs, this breed’s social skills should be honed as early as puppyhood. They are very intelligent (ranked 6th in terms of dog breed intelligence) which makes training seem effortless. These dogs can learn tricks or commands in as little as five repetitions. And to maintain that mental alertness, regular exercise is a must. This breed is a natural herder; for them chasing other animals and moving things is an enjoyable game. Thus, work and exercise can be combined if you let them help in the farm.

Shelties are excellent watchdogs since they are very vocal. They bark a lot as a result of their highly alert senses. They can respond to almost any stimuli even those you couldn’t noticeably hear or see. During playtime with kids, it is advised to constantly check on them as naughty children could at times trigger their natural defensive response.

Appearance of the Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is considered the miniature version of the Rough Collie. Its long and slender body is just considered right for its height. Height usually differs dependent on the country, but Shelties usually grow between 12 to 16 inches tall. Weights usually range from 11 to 24 pounds.

Another noticeable feature of the Sheltie is its long and beautiful coat. This dog has a double coat; the long and rough hairs protecting it from the elements, and a soft undercoat used in temperature regulation. Shelties have coats colored in a combination of sable, tricolor, or bi-black. But some may have special or modified colors like blue merle, bi-blue, and sable merle.

These dogs have dark eyes, small ears with a small tip folding or bent forward. The coated tails also reach the hock.

Grooming your Shetland Sheepdog

Brushing is essential for the dog’s healthy and gorgeous hair. For your Sheltie, use a pin brush every other day or at the minimum, every week. Because the outer guard coat is rough and dry, it is recommended to moisten it up with a spray bottle. Shampooing is also a weekly requirement. Mats and tangles could form especially on the ear part, hence, due care is required while grooming. Nail trimming could be done once or twice a month. And dental care should be provided at least two to three times a week.

History of the Shetland Sheepdog

Shelties originated from the Shetland Island located in between Scotland and Norway. They share the same ancestry with Rough and Border Collies, the original herding dogs of Scotland. It is said that early farmers extensively cross-breed the original Spitz-type Shetland dog with the working collies transported into the island. Its genes also contain a percentage of Greenland Yakki, King Charles Spaniel, and Pomeranian among others.

This breed of dog gained popularity during World War I as they were brought to the main island by British soldiers. In 1906, the breed was initially named as Shetland Collie but such name was opposed by existing Collie owners and breeders. In 1911, it was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club as the Shetland Sheepdog.