Agile. The lightest of the working breeds. Needs affection. The Shetland Sheepdog is known to be very vocal. Some can dig their way out under fences. Shelties need a job. Without plenty of mental stimulation, Shelties quickly become bored and will invent their own entertainment, which may get them into trouble.
Shetland Islands, 1700s. A descendant of the Border Collie, bred by farmers on Shetland Islands to herd and protect their flocks of sheep. The Shetland Sheepdog was brought to England and Scotland in the early 1800s; where it was known as the miniature collie. So much crossbreeding took place, such that by the end of the century, the breed had almost lost its original appearance. Breeders were undecided as to how to regain the original look, some bred only the then existing Shelties that looked closest to the original, some crossbred the dogs with Collies in attempt to regain the look, and some continued the careless crossbreeding to produce smaller and prettier pets. The breed was recognised in Great Britain in 1909 (as Shetland Collies and later renamed Shetland Sheepdog after the Collie breeders in Britain protested) and the United States in 1911, yet the breed standard was not agreed and established until 1930. The Shetland Sheepdog continued to gain popularity worldwide, and interestingly, it is considered to be fairly rare today on the Shetland Islands where they originated.
Sheepherding; livestock guarding.
Kind, watchful, intensely loyal, obedient, sensitive, affectionate. Shelties will follow you from room to room in the day. Shelties retain a strong herding instinct, and will attempt to herd children. This should be discouraged early.
The Shetland Sheepdog measures between 33 to 40.5 cm, and weighs 9 to 10.5 kg; resembles a rough-coated Collie in miniature. Colours are sable, brown, black, tricolour, or blue merle with white markings.
Double coat; outercoat long, straight and harsh; undercoat thick, soft. High maintenance, shelties require brushing at least twice a week. He is a very clean dog who tries to look after himself. Fine hair behind the ears tends to tangle. Professional grooming is recommended. Shetland Sheepdogs are heavy seasonal shedders. Be sure equip yourself with a top grade vacuum cleaner.
Eye problems (PRA, Collie eye anomaly), PDA, thyroid disease, dermatomyositis, deafness, von Willebrand’s.
Moderate to high. Shetland Sheepdogs have heaps of energy that you will have to find ways to expend. They will thrive on activities which gives them mental stimulation and physical exercise.
Shelties can adapt to urban areas (if the neighbours can handle the barking) as well as the country, but needs long walks and other strenuous exercise. A fenced yard where they can play safely is highly recommended.
The Sheltie bonds to the whole family, including children. Kids need to be taught to be gentle with the Sheltie. May be shy or reserved with strangers. Shetland Sheepdogs are generally good with other pets. Like all dogs, Shelties need early socialisation which will ensure that they grow up to be a well-rounded dog.
Very high—the Sheltie excels in obedience and agility. Shelties respond best to positive reinforcement training, however, try to keep the training interesting and avoid repeated exercises if he got it right the first time.
The Shetland Sheepdog’s combination of intelligence, willingness to please, and athletic ability makes them excel at performance events. In their size group, Shelties typically dominate in agility. Other activities which the Sheltie often excel in include competitive obedience, flyball, tracking, and herding. The Sheltie also make a good therapy dog.