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Breed Profile: Shetland Sheepdog


Photo of Shetland Sheepdog Dog Breed Photo by Philip Nealey / Getty Images




The Shetland Sheepdog is closely related to the Collie, as both breeds are believed to have originated from the Border Collie of Scotland. The Sheltie was brought to the Shetland Islands and mixed with small, intelligent, longhaired breeds. Over time, the Sheltie was sometimes crossed with the Collie. Today's Sheltie bears a strong resemblance to the Rough Collie, but is not technically considered a miniature Collie.

The Sheltie has historically been a hard-working herding dog, but has also been a worthy competitor in obedience trials and steadfast companion dog. The breed was first recognized by the AKC in 1911.


13-26 pounds


Black, blue merle, or sable with white and/or tan markings

Heath Problems:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC. Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Shetland Sheepdog is a small working dog with a long, rough coat. The breed is agile, intelligent, loyal and hard-working. Though known as a herding dog, the Sheltie makes an excellent companion dog.

Due to its high intelligence level, the Sheltie is very receptive to training and learns quite quickly. This breed aims to please its owner and is extremely obedient. The Sheltie may sometimes be tentative around strangers, but proper socialization should prevent shyness or fearful behavior.

Routine exercise is essential for all dogs, including the Sheltie. Though the breed is not likely to become hyperactive, it might be prone to obesity, and exercise will help maintain the Sheltie's overall health.

The Sheltie is a rough-coated, longhaired dog, so routine basic grooming is important. Thorough brushing of the hair should be done 2-3 times per week. Some owners prefer to have their Sheltie's hair trimmed short, especially in warmer seasons. However, haircuts are not required to maintain this breed's hair coat.

Overall, the Sheltie is a gentle, loyal companion that is affectionate and connected with its owner. The breed is very sensitive and perceptive to its surroundings. The Sheltie makes an especially appropriate choice for families with children because of its gentle nature. However, the breed adapts easily to all kinds of households.

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