By Avatar photoShiloh Nevada Last updated: 18th October 2022

Shetland Sheepdog


Avatar photo Shiloh Nevada
Last updated: 18th October 2022

The noisy, zealous, obedient Shetland Sheepdog, a herding dog with long hair, small to medium body is a bicolor/tricolor/multicolored intelligent dog, resembling a miniature Collie, willing to work hard, pleasing its owner.

Shetland Sheepdog Pictures

Quick Information

Also CalledSheltie
CoatDense, long, water-resistant
Basic ColorsSable (dominant), white, black and tan, blue merle
Breed TypePurebred
Group (of Breed)Herding
Lifespan12-13 years
Weight11-25 pounds
Height (size)
Small to Medium; 13-16 inches
Ears2/3rd erect with tips folded inwards
TemperamentLoyal, intelligent, social, responsive
Good with ChildNo
Litters4-6 puppies at a time
Health ConcernsHp dysplasia, epilepsy, skin allergies, hypothyroidism
Gestation Period9 weeks
OriginShetland Islands (near Scotland)


Mostly bred for taking care of sheep (rather than cattle, and hence the name), these pastoral dogs spread through Great Britain throughout the 19th century until border collies took over, making them a popular pet, show and herding dog presently.


The friendly, well-disposed shelties, known for agility, companionship, love living with the owner in his apartment, rather than in kennels, working as a very vocal, shrill-voiced family watchdog that are reticent with visitors, although needing training to be friendly with them, like they are with their family members, even moving from room to room with them.



Vigorous daily exercise schedules, including long walks and jogging, are recommended, also because they cherish running freely, however, not to be unleashed in an unenclosed area.


It’s easy to groom the shetland sheepdog, including regular brushing the coat to avoid matting and for cleanliness, about which they are quite conscious. With two types of body hair, the dense undercoat and the lighter outer coat, the former shedding twice annually during fall and spring, for which reason dry shampooing or bathing is not frequently needed, but only when it is needed.

Health Problems

Eye diseases and malformation are common, with the latter mostly genetic like hypothyroidism, infections, allergies and patella displacement. Because some individuals carry gene MDR1 and are sensitive to drugs, get your dog genetically tested while adopting, else it might even cost their life.


Train it to socialize from puppyhood especially to go well with children and strangers and which behavior is not acceptable, as they tend to bark at them or even bite. Their herding instinct instigates them to chase running cars, moving objects or small animals, which might be risky for them running through the open streets, which can be checked by proper training. Also, pack-leader issues must be resolved while training them.


The recommended daily amount of diet for the adult sheepdog is ¾ to 2 cups of a dry, high-quality dog food divided into two meals, but making sure there are proper amounts of protein, fat and other nutrients. But note that, the Shetland sheepdog must not be overfed, since they have a tendency to gain weight. Fresh foods like meat and vegetables are good for the Shetland Sheepdogs. Avoid those that have high grain content since shelties have allergies to grain with a sensitive stomach that can tolerate only a few types of food.

Variations and Hybrids

  1. The Toy Shetland Sheepdog (Toy Sheltie) is a ‘mini’ or miniature variation of the breed, and a correct AKC Shetland Sheepdog, except that, the toy variety has not reached the minimum 13-inch height standard set by the American Kennel Club.
  2. Some individuals genetically have a comparatively shorter hair than other shelties, and the breeders commonly call this variant the Short-Haired Shetland Sheepdog.
  3. The mix breed between the Shetland sheepdog and the Border collie is also extensively kept as pet.
  4. The Sheltie Shepherd is a mix-breed between the Shetland Sheepdog and the German Shepherd.
  5. Shel-AussieAustralian Shepherd/Miniature Australian Shepherd and Shetland Sheepdog mix.
  6. ShelchonBichon Frise and Shetland Sheepdog mix.
  7. Shelestie – Shetland Sheepdog and West Highland White Terrier mix.
  8. ShelillonPapillon and Shetland Sheepdog mix.
  9. Sheltidoodle – Sheltie and Poodle mix.
  10. Sheltie Inu – Shetland Sheepdog and Shiba Inu mix.
  11. Sheltie Pin – Shetland Sheepdog and Miniature Pinscher mix.
  12. Sheltie Pug – Shetland Sheepdog and Pug mix.
  13. Sheltie Tzu – Shetland Sheepdog and Shih Tzu mix.
  14. Shetland sheepdog and Yorkie mix.

Interesting Facts

  • The Border Sheepdog is a cross breed between the Border Collie and the Shetland Sheepdog.
  • Sable is the predominantly common color of this breed of dogs.
  • In 1909, the English Kennel Club officially recognized the breed (with a bitch named Badenock Rose), whereas the year 1911 marked the first recognition of the sheltie by the American Kennel Club (with a dog named Lord Scott).
  • A real-life Shetland Sheepdog named Mickey is the leading character of ‘Mickey’s Farm’, a Canadian children’s series.

Difference: Shetland Sheepdog vs. Border Collie


Shetland Sheepdog

Border Collie

Weight7.3 – 9.1 kg12 – 20 kg
Height33 – 41 cm46 – 56 cm
OriginScotlandScotlandWalesIrelandEnglandUnited Kingdom

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