The Shetland Sheepdog known as the Sheltie dog.

A hard working, very intelligent, small dog breed.

Breed picture

Breed History:

  The Sheltie dog is named after the Shetland Islands which lie off the cold barren northeast coast of Scotland, from whence it originally came. The area was noted for its miniature livestock, sheep, cattle, ponies, and sheepdogs. The islands were once occupied by Norwegians and it is thought that the Sheltie might have descended from dogs of the Spitz family, similar to the Norwegian Buhund or perhaps the "Yakki," a breed brought to the islands by whaling fleets from Iceland. The breed is known to have been crossed to early herding dogs of Scotland and to several other local small breeds. The Sheltie was once known as the "Toonie", a name derived from the Norwegian word "tun", which means farm. The farm dog was the "Toonie". Its job was to tend the small flocks of sheep and cattle and to keep them from wandering into the garden. It did double duty as a babysitter. It was a well loved family pet. By the turn of the century, they were a rather nondescript lot, and it wasn't until some cross breeding to small Collies that the appearance of the Shetland Sheepdog breed really advanced. The breed was given recognition by the Kennel club, England, in 1909. The early breed name adopted, was the Shetland Collie. This name however, was objected to, by many of the Collie breeders of the day, and so the Kennel Club, in 1914, recognized the breed name, Shetland Sheepdog. The first Challenge Certificate was awarded to the breed, in 1915. The AKC registered the first Sheltie dog in 1911. The American Shetland Sheepdog Association, the parent club, was organized at the Westminster Kennel Club show, in 1929. It held its first specialty show in 1933. The Canadian Kennel Club CKC, recognized the breed in 1930. In the United Sates and Canada, the breed standard calls for a slightly taller height than in Britain.
Height:   13 - 16 in. (33 - 41 cm) at withers.
Weight:   About 20 lb. (9.1 kg).
Activity Level:  Very high.
Exercise Needs:  Moderate daily exercise.
Playfulness:  Quite playful.
With Other Dogs:  Very good.
With Other Pets:  Very good.
With strangers:  Not very friendly.
Trainability:  Very high.
Shedding:  A lot.
Grooming:   Once a day.
Function: Herding sheep, trials & Companion.
With children:  Good.
Bonding:  Bonds to whole family.
Watchdog: Excellent.
Protection:  Low.
Life Expectancy:   12 - 14 + years.


  The Shetland Sheepdog should be between 13 (33cm) and 16 inches (41cm) at the shoulder. Heights above or below are disqualifications. The coat should be double, with the outer coat consisting of long straight harsh hair. The undercoat is short and furry and so dense as to give the entire coat its "stand-off" quality. The hair on face, tips of ears and feet should be smooth. The mane and frill should be abundant and particularly impressive in males. The males must appear masculine and the bitches must appear feminine. Many an innocent observer mistakes these dogs for miniature Collie dogs, but they are not. They are a separate breed.


  The Sheltie is a tireless worker and very attractive. It is the personality of the Shetland Sheepdog however, which endears it to man. The Sheltie dog lives to please. It is intensely loyal, affectionate, intelligent, a very quick learner, highly trainable and very obedient. Although inclined to be reserved with strangers, it must never be shy or timid. It must never be snappy, or ill tempered. A Shetland Sheepdog requires a lot of exercise, several times per day. They shed quite a lot, and so grooming once a day is recommended. A Sheltie puppy bonds with the whole family, and is excellent with children. An Instinct to protect personal property, and give watchdog warnings, are an extra bonus with this normally calm, obliging breed. Shetland Sheepdogs come in three colors, sable, black, and blue merle, with varying amounts of white and/or tan. A Shetland Sheepdog puppy is an excellent choice for an urban or rural family.

Finding other breeders:

Do you want more information on this small dog breed, the Sheltie dog, and Sheltie breeders who have Shetland Sheepdog puppies for sale?  See the Shetland Sheepdog breeders section. If there are no breeders nearby with available puppies, see the Canadian Sheltie dog club, Sheltie rescue, or Shetland Sheepdog rescue. See also the American Shetland Sheepdog club or American Sheltie rescue, for other Shetland sheepdog breeders with puppies.

Shetland Sheepdog Health Issues:

Sheltie major concerns:   Dermatomyositis (is a heritable inflammatory disease affecting skin and muscle in a breed at known increased risk. The cause of this disorder is unknown.)
Minor concerns:   CEA, (Collie Eye Anomaly. It is a recessively inherited eye disorder that causes abnormal development of the choroid - an important layer of tissue under the retina of the eye.).   PRA, (Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an inherited disease of the retina in dogs, in which the eyes are genetically programmed to go blind.).   Trichiasis; (This is a medical term for ingrown eyelashes. Hair grows in the wrong direction and interferes with the cornea or conjunctiva causing irritation.).   Cataracts; (same as in humans.).   CHD; (Canine hip dysplasia is characterized by a loose and unstable hip joint giving rise to arthritis lameness and pain.)   Hemophilia; (Hemophilia is a severe bleeding disorder caused by the absence of functional blood coagulation platelets. It is an excellent candidate for treatment of a genetic disease, by gene therapy.   Hyperthyroidism; (In hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is underactive, and unable to secrete enough thyroid hormone. This, in turn, decreases your dog’s metabolism.).   Patellar luxation; (The knee cap slips out of place.).   Legg-Perthes; (A disease of the hip joint that results in abnormal deformity of the ball of the hip joint).   This is a disease primarily seen in small breed dogs.   Allergies: (Some inhalant allergies are seasonal. Dogs may be affected by inhaling grass pollen in spring and summer or ragweed pollen in late summer and early autumn. Sometime a dog can be allergic to food ingredients or flea bites.)
Occasionally seen:   Deafness.   PDA; (Patent Ductus Arteriosus is the most commonly diagnosed congenital heart defect in dogs.).   Epilepsy, (This is a serious condition characterized by recurrent seizures.).   vWD, (Von Willebrand's disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder of both man and animals. Blood platelets clot.).

Sheltie Suggested Tests:

All breeding stock should be tested, prior to breeding, for the following:
Eyes, hips, thyroid, DNA for vWD.