Shetland Sheepdog


The Scottish Shetland Sheepdog, also known as the Sheltie, has a rather uncertain history, as it is not known exactly how it arose. What we do know is that it arises from the mixture of several races of the type Collie, in fact, physically it is almost identical to a Collie in smaller version. 

Its beginnings date back to the early nineteenth century, due to the need of farmers in the Shetland Islands to have a small herding dog. In a cold environment where predators are not large, what humans most sought was to reduce costs, which is why they chose the Sheltie, since being smaller they require less investment and maintenance costs. 

Its qualities and intelligence made it one of the most efficient breeds in herding small or medium-sized animals. But its beauty and charisma were responsible for it being bred as a companion dog, in which it also managed to stand out over time. 

In 1908 it was officially recognized as a breed and today it enjoys a certain popularity, especially in Europe. It should be borne in mind that according to a study carried out, it is among the 10 most intelligent breeds in the world, which has attracted the attention of quite a public interested in the race. 

Physical characteristics


It is shaped like a Collie in a smaller version. Its body is longer than it is tall, which gives it a rectangle shape. His back is flat and the croup descends gradually.

The chest reaches to the elbows. Its ribs are well sprung, tapering slightly towards the bottom. The tail is set low and reaches the hocks. It is slightly curved upwards, but to meet the breed standard it must not exceed the line of the loin. The feet are oval, with curved and tight toes. The neck is well arched, long enough for a proud head posture.


Elongated and wedge-shaped, it has a flat skull between the ears and flat cheeks that join its rounded muzzle, which is similar in length to the skull. Viewed from the side, muzzle and skull appear to be parallel, separated by a smooth stop.

Their ears are set high, small in size and triangular in shape. It is characteristic of the breed that when they remain alert, they remain upright with their tips bent. His eyes are almond shaped and obliquely set. His teeth are scissor-shaped. 


For males, the height should be 37 cm, and for females, 35.5 cm. Variations of up to 2.5 cm are accepted, both up and down.


It has two layers: The interior is thick, soft and short. The exterior is long, rough and smooth. On the neck, chest and shoulders, the hair is longer than the rest of the body; Except for the tail and the hind legs that have the longest hair. 

On the face, the front and the lower half of their front legs, they have shorter hair.


The Shetland Sheepdog can be fawn in all shades (from gold to mahogany, with or without white parts), tricolor (black, reddish and white), blue merle (silvery blue background with the presence of white spots and even chestnuts ), black and tan or black and white. 

All of these colors, with the exception of black and tan, should have white markings on the chest, ruff, along the muzzle, legs, and at the end of the tail. For samples, white spots in other areas of the coat are not acceptable. 

The eyes are of a dark brown color, with the exception of the blue blackbird specimens, which may have 1 or both eyes of blue color, partially or totally. 

Sheltie's temperament


The Shetland Sheepdog has a practically ideal character, since among its characteristics we can highlight that they are faithful, obedient, docile, cheerful, affectionate and playful. He is very faithful to both his master and the rest of the family. He likes to be around his family most of the day.

It is a breed that has a considerable energy level so you have to keep it busy with various tasks throughout the day, as they do not like to lie down.

A large number of Sheltie´s usually bark excessively, something that can be very annoying if they live in urban areas. 


They do not usually present problems of coexistence with other dogs or other domestic animals. He also gets along well with children, as long as they don't bother him too much. 

The only but that we can find is that they are a bit suspicious of strangers, something avoidable if it is socialized correctly since childhood.

General care

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Although it does not require great care, it is highly recommended at least 1 brushing weekly. Their hair tends to tangle behind the ears, on the hind legs, and in the armpits. When it is in the molting season, they lose a lot of hair, so it is recommended to brush it daily during these days, to remove the dead hair and that it does not get stuck on all the furniture in the house.


It is a breed that is easy to train thanks to its great intelligence, its desire to learn and its obedience. Responds well to inflection of voice; orders given in a cheerful tone and variety of exercises often guarantee excellent results. 

For socializing with strangers, you usually need a lot more time and patience. It is essential to start with this practice from a young age. 

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He usually adapts to circumstances, but if he is excessively nervous it is probably due to a lack of exercise. At least 2 walks a day are recommended, if possible 3. He also loves ball games or those in which he has to look for and collect objects. Not affected by normal inclement weather.

It is not usually a hunting breed, and it is advisable to let it run around freely to relax. It does not tend to stray far from its owners.


This breed has a fast metabolism, which is why they burn energy at a very high rate. Therefore, it is best to eat little but often. It must be taken into account that to maintain a good coat and optimal health, this breed requires a quality feed, rich in protein.

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He fits perfectly in a sports family, he needs exercises that serve to promote his intelligence and energy. This breed likes to have work, it loves dog sports, in fact it excels very well in almost all of them (it excels especially in "agility" and "advanced obedience" competitions, it is also those that have to catch objects on the fly ).


Changing roles

The number of specimens began to decline on their island of origin as soon as the small farms were grouped together. Fortunately, its popularity began to increase outside the islands, both for exhibitions and for company. 

Today, it is a breed that enjoys considerable global popularity, and is not at risk of extinction. 


It usually presents eye diseases such as CEA (Collie eye abnormality). It can have some other hereditary eye diseases, so it is recommended to test it before practicing a cross. 

You can also suffer from hip dysplasia, a fairly common disease among dogs.

Shetland Sheepdog Photos

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