Shetland Sheepdog | Dog Breed Information & Facts – Pictures

Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland sheepdog or sheltie is a beautiful and elegant little dog, a bit like a Rough Collie but small. He was originally born as a shepherd, because this dog is a tireless worker, but is currently more appreciated as a pet for its beauty and its small size.

Many people call the Shetland Sheepdog a miniature collie. In fact, the Shetland Sheepdog is a separate breed. The appearance indicates the affectionate and good-natured disposition of the dog. Currently, this species is valued as companions and pets.


Shetland Sheepdog photos

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Physical characteristics

The Shetland Sheepdog is a graceful, small to medium sized dog. It has an attractive long coat with a fluffy mane around its neck and chest and profuse feathering (long hair) on its legs and tail.

The height of adult males is 35-40 cm, females – 32-37 cm. The weight of a male sheltie is 7-11 kg, and a female 6-10 kg.

Dog characteristics Shetland Sheepdog

Distinctive features

  • Head: The skull is flat in the shape of an obtuse triangle. The head is of an elegant proportional shape with a pronounced narrowing towards the nose. The line of the forehead and muzzle are parallel to each other. The stop is moderate.
  • Jaws: The jaws are well developed, even. Sharp, strong teeth in full set with a scissor bite.
  • Ears: The ears are compact in size with tips hanging close together.
  • Eyes: The eyes are of medium size, very beautiful, almond-shaped, placed a little obliquely. The color of the iris is dark brown, blue, brown with blue dots.
  • Body: The body is elongated. The neck is muscular with an elegant curve. The back is straight, beautifully curved in the lumbar region. The croup is rounded. The sternum is deep with distinctly arched ribs.
  • Limbs: The front and hind legs are straight. The paws are oval, the toes are arched, closely adjacent to each other.
  • Coat: The hairline is double. The outer hairs are long, coarse in texture. The undercoat is soft and very dense. On the neck, the wool forms a beautiful mane, and on the hips there are wide “harem pants”. Sand color, tricolor, black and white, blue merle, black and brown.

Character and behavior

The Shetland Sheepdog is an example of incredible love and a totally conflict-free character. Always affectionate, happy to keep you company for a walk or comfortably snuggled up side by side on the sofa.

The breed is characterized by a sense of dignity, very scrupulous about annoyance. If the owner is busy, the dog will calmly and patiently wait for him to be free. Incredibly devoted to the owner, perfectly feels his mood.

He is wary of strangers, a little scared, but still barks. A good caretaker, he will responsibly approach his security duties, the main thing is not to overdo it.

With the children

He loves children, is ready to voluntarily and around the clock play the role of nanny. But the owner should watch if the children are still small and do not know how to behave with pets.

With other animals

Relations with other pets are friendly, he treats them as full members of the pack – whether it’s a cat, dog or guinea pig.


To prevent health problems in time, the owner must know the diseases to which the Shetland Sheepdog is predisposed:

  • Von Willebrand’s disease is a hereditary disease, accompanied by a bleeding disorder, spontaneous bleeding.
  • Epilepsy – accompanied by seizures that occur against the background of the pathology of the brain.
  • Cryptorchitosis is an undescended testicle in the scrotum in males.
  • Hypothyroidism is a condition of the body that develops as a result of a long-term lack of thyroid hormones.
  • Dysplasia is a violation of the musculoskeletal function of the joint.
  • Elbow dislocation – in the Shetland Sheepdog it is more often congenital.
  • Dermatitis – manifested by itching, inflammation of the skin, covering all layers of the skin.
  • Cataracts – often lead to severe visual impairment.
  • Testicular tumor in males – Testicular cancer is most commonly diagnosed in cryptorchid males.
  • Entropion is an incorrect position of the upper, lower or both eyelids, which is surgically removed.
  • Congenital deafness.
  • Histiocytoma is a benign vascular-connective tissue tumor of the skin.

Life expectancy

With proper care and maintenance, the breed can live 12-14 years.


Sheltie care is simple:

  • The coat is combed every other day, during the moulting period 2 times a day.
  • The eyes are examined and cleaned daily.
  • The ears are cleaned 2-3 times a week.
  • Teeth are cleaned 1-2 times in 10 days.
  • The claws are shortened once a month.
  • A bath once every 2-3 months


Although small, the Shetland Sheepdog is a dog that needs a healthy dose of physical and mental exercise. A good daily walk and a play session can be used, but it can also practice dog sports such as grazing and canine freestyle.

Fun facts

  • Experts on the intellectual development of animals call the Shetland Sheepdog one of the smartest dogs. It ranks sixth on this list. (The list of smartest dogs according to Stanley Coren)
  • Sheltie is able to understand and execute the command he hears for the first time.
  • Representatives of the breed are talented actors, showmen. They really like to show different tricks in public and be the center of attention.
  • The Shetland Sheepdog has been bred in purebred breeds for more than 140 years.
  • The Shetland Sheepdog finds lost items very quickly thanks to her exceptional sense of smell and ingenuity.
  • Shelties are extremely touchy, one might say, rancorous. Offended by the owner, such a dog, out of a desire for revenge, may refuse to obey commands.

History of the breed

It derives its name from the Shetland Islands, located on the north-east coast of Scotland, where it developed as a breed and where it worked as a sheepdog in often very difficult conditions.

Originally, it was thought to be the result of a cross between several types of dogs, including one of the Spitz type and a Scottish shepherd, to which a resident of the area, James Loggie, added a small, long-haired collie to create what we know today as the Shetland Sheepdog – Sheltie.

Because of its beauty, he quickly began to be adopted as a pet, as we know it today. So much so that most of them no longer serve as sheepdogs, although a specimen always accompanies the shepherd to guide their flocks.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Shetland Sheepdog was first introduced at a dog show, known as the Shetland Collar, but collie fans opposed it and the name was changed to a Shetland sheepdog.


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