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Shetland Sheepdog Facts and Sheltie Information

Updated on May 25, 2011

Shetland Sheepdogs or Shelties originated from the Shetland Islands off of the Northern Scottish coast. Shetland Sheepdogs were bred to herd livestock just like their closely related relatives, Border Collies and the Bearded Collies. The only difference is that Shetland Sheepdogs herd smaller livestock like ducks, while Border Collies and Bearded Collies herd larger animals such as sheep for example.

Shelties have been around for roughly one hundred and forty years, but it wasn't until 1909 that the British Kennel Club actually recognized this canine as an official dog breed. The Shetland Sheepdogs are classified and known for their distinct qualities such as their incredibly high intelligence, agility, speed, personalities and outstanding obedience. Today, Shetland Sheepdogs are rarely used for their herding abilities, but they're still kept by some as watchdogs. Also, Shelties hold a spot as one of the most popular dog breeds for agility competitions throughout the world.


the shetland sheepdog
the shetland sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog - Appearance & Health

Shetland Sheepdogs have gorgeous, thick medium long harsh coats which were used to stay warm during the cold Scottish winters. Their coats come in varieties such as tan and white, black tan and white, black and white, blue merle, sable, tricolors, and merle. The thickest parts of their fur are through their mains and frill around the neck and shoulders. Shelties have double layered coats in which the outer layer is long and the inner coat is short. Considering how lengthy their coats are Shetland Sheepdogs require very respectable amounts of grooming on pretty much an every other day to daily basis.

Shelties have elegant bodies that fit well with their luxurious straight coats. Their bodies are slightly thin but lean with muscle. Shetland Sheepdogs have semi deep chests and thin waists. This dog breed has moderately small ears that slightly stand up. Shelties have regular sized almond shaped eyes that are usually darker browns but may also come in variations of hazels, greens, blues, and light browns. Shetland Sheepdogs have very slender shaped heads with long snouts.

Shelties usually live between 12 to 14 years. Overall, Shetland Sheepdogs live long healthy lives, except for merle Shelties which are prone to many hereditary health issues such as blindness, deafness, and etc... One shouldn't mate two merles together since their Sheltie puppies will be excessively prone to genetic and hereditary health issues. These collies weigh in at roughly 20 pounds on average, and their withers usually lye within 14 to 14 and a half inches.

The Shetland Sheepdog Temperament

Shetland Sheepdogs have energetic and lively personalities that suite families with active lifestyles. Shelties require high levels of exercise and make great running and Frisbee partners. Since these collies are such an active breed, they don't need to go to owners who are overly busy with work or tend to sit around the TV during the evening. Not only do Shelties need lots of exercise but they need practically constant mental stimulation too, due to their high intention spans. If you're a person who loves to train an incredibly obedient pet and an animal that can perform complicated tricks, then a Shetland Sheepdog could just be the dog breed for you.

Shetland Sheepdogs are loving, loyal, playful, and caring canines that make great family dogs for people with toddlers or small children. When it comes to personality, Shelties are one of the best well rounded dog breeds in the category, as long as they're taken proper care of that is. If you let your Shetland Sheepdog get overly bored, tie it up on a chain all day, or leave it alone for too long Shelties can become destructive, depressed, and anxious due to lack of mental and emotional stimulation in which is vital to their happiness and health.


adorable shetland sheepdog
adorable shetland sheepdog


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      4 years ago

      shelties are the best

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      catherine 5 years ago

      these dogs are great i my self have one named muffin and shes the best breed ever there kind ant very good whith kids .

      so go get on i did and she changed my life.

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      jon 6 years ago

      Very informative article. Shelties are so beautiful

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      jon 6 years ago

      Great article. The coat of the shelties is so beautiful!

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      hello 6 years ago

      what a beautiful sheltie