Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland is a windswept island located off the north coast of Scotland, and its cold, bleak aspect produces miniature livestock -Shetland ponies, cows and sheep – so it is natural that the dog used to control them is also small. Shetland Sheepdogs are now popular family pets as well as working dogs.


Collie-type dogs were always present on the island of Shetland, but they were subsequently crossed with dogs from visiting whalers or fishermen from Scandinavia and Holland. A visit from Queen Victoria cruising the waters probably introduced crosses with the King Charles Spaniel, producing colours unknown in Collies. The Sheltie's standard work was to assist the shepherd in all his duties, protecting its charges by keeping them from the edge of cliffs and running back to warn its owner of approaching trouble.

Alert and tireless, the Shetland Sheepdog is among the world's most popular do breeds.


The Shetland Sheepdog has a sweet nature, always wanting to please and invariably willing. This is a one-man dog with a liking for outdoor activities. Even freezing cold, snow and appalling weather conditions do not worry this tough breed. A naturally clean dog, the Sheltie is very intelligent and easily trained, gentle and responsive, caring deeply for its family.

must know

Some hip dysplasia and eye anomalies are present in this breed. Puppies should be bought from tested parents and should themselves be tested.


The Sheltie is a very pretty, perky little dog with an abundant double coat – a harsh-textured outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. It comes in brilliant colours, ranging from gold to mahogany, tri-colours, blue merle and black and white. Dogs are 37cm (14.5in) high while bitches are slightly smaller.

The perky little Shetland Sheepdog has an easily recognizable and abundant ruff of long, straight hair around its neck.

Strangers 4/5

Suspicious, will warn vociferously

Temperament 5/5

Responsive, amicable nature

Exercise 4/5

When adult, as much exercise as possible

Grooming 3/5

Important to groom every week

Other dogs 3/5

A friendly dog


An affectionate dog suitable for a lively family

General care

A tireless breed, this dog will take all the walking its owner can give. In urban situations, it should have frequent walks, free running and play. The coat needs weekly attention: deep brushing with a radial nylon brush is recommended and knots behind the ears are a problem. The feet, hind legs and the fur under the tail should be trimmed with sharp scissors.

Gallery of Shetland Sheepdog