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Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland-sheepdog-white-background Shetland-sheepdog-standing-white-background Shetland-sheepdog-friends-in-field Shetland-sheepdog-running Shetland-sheepdog-puppy Shetland-sheepdog-agility Shetland-sheepdog-lying-down

Breed Rating (2 Reviews)



The Shetland Sheepdog, more commonly called the Sheltie, comes from Scotland. They were first bred in the 1800’s and are most likely descended from Scottish herding dogs that were bred with Collies. The lack of vegetation in the area led to smaller livestock, which means that this smaller dog was favoured. Naval fleets took the breed to England where it soon became a popular pet. They are now one of the most popular breeds in America.


The Sheltie is one of the most loyal breeds around, they are affectionate and love to be around their owners. They make for a great family pet, but as is the case with many herding breeds, they can try and herd small children. They have a need to be around those close to them and dislike being left alone for too long. They are a curious breed that will follow you everywhere, sniffing out everything they go. The Sheltie is a very vocal dog that likes to bark, so the “quiet” command should be taught from an early age.

They can be shy around strangers, but this usually passes once they have been let into the house and the dog is sure that they pose no threat. They feel the need to warn you when anything is up, this can be good but when they start barking over a bird in the garden or a plane flying overhead it can get a bit much, this is just the way they are and not much can be done about it. Shelties are seemingly always ready, even when sleeping they have one ear open.

The Shetland Sheepdog is a smart breed that likes to keep its mind active. This makes training straightforward as they have a need to learn and please their owners. They have shown to do very well in agility, obedience, flyball and herding competitions. They love the action and praise. They are a gentle being and don’t react well to harsh treatment, harsh words will only set back training. Kind, consistent training works best. If they get bored they can become destructive and bark a lot.

Shelties tune in well to the emotions of those around them and will come and offer support if they sense that someone is feeling down. They make for a good therapy dog. Though they are a very active breed, Shelties don’t require hours of walking. One longer walk each day and a play session will be enough. Their recall puts other dogs to shame, pretty much always returning when you call them. They will enjoy the chance to meet other dogs and cause very few problems, especially if socialsied from an early age.

Their long coats need brushing every other day to keep it looking tidy. They shed a fair amount of fur.


Shetland Sheepdogs have a sensitive and companionable temperament. They are highly intelligent dogs who love mental stimulation and excel in obedience if given the right training. They won't respond well to a rough hand and may become withdrawn so best to encourage them with treats and praise. They are sociable with other dogs and should get on fine with a house cat but are likely to show little interest in strangers,

Health Problems

Dermatomyosis, a disease which causes skin and muscle inflammation, is common in this breed. Other potential problems include collie eye anomoly (inherited condition that can cause blindness), cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA: degeneration of the retina that can lead to blindness), other eye problems, blood clotting disease, Legg Calvé Perthes disease (degeneration of the femoral head which can cause lameness and joint swelling), patellar luxation (dislocation of the knee cap), canine hip dysplasia (CHD), elbow dysplasia and cancer.

Breed Details

  • Status: Common
  • Life Expectancy: 12 - 13 years
  • Weight: 15 - 20 lbs
  • Height: 13 - 16"
  • Rare: No
  • Coat: Medium
  • Grooming Requirements: Everyday
  • Town or Country: Either
  • Minimum Home Size: Small House
  • Minimum Garden Size: Small to Medium Garden
  • Breed Type: Herding
  • Size: Medium
  • Energy Level: Medium
  • Exercise Required: Up to 1 hour

Shetland Sheepdog Pictures

A dog next to a tennis ball
A white black and brown shetland sheepdog sat on a stone road

Latest Reviews For Shetland Sheepdog (2 of 2)

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Sheltie - a great friend - Jim,

My Sheltie is 14 years old. She’s been perfect in every way. Beautiful look at, as sweet as any dog can be. Despite the breed’s trait, she was never a barker. She is a great companion and friend. Unfortunately, at age 14 she developed dog dementia, with hearing loss and loss of most vision. She is a bit more work now, but given she has provided so much love in our household for so many years, this is a small price to pay in her final years of life. I would recommend a Sheltie to anyone who wants a cute, loving companion dog.

- Bess,

A sheltie can look you in the eye with the most endearing expression. Dog hairs/brushing is an ongoing task for the owner, but my dog is worth every minute of my time.