Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, also called the Sheltie, hails from the Shetland Islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. The breed is a descendant of the Collie, and its ancestors may have included the Greenland Yakki dog, King Charles Spaniel, Pomeranian, and the Border Collie, although this is uncertain. Up until the mid 20th century the breed was often called the Shetland Collie. The breed may have been used to herd small sheep and chase off scavengers, birds, pests, and wandering livestock.

The breed typically stands 13 to 16 inches tall and weighs 12 to 18 pounds, although this may vary due to its ancestry. The coat of the breed is double and water repellent, with the topcoat being long and rough. The coloration is generally sable, tri-color, or blue merle. Bi-blues (gray, black, and some white) and bi-blacks (white and black) also exist, but sable is the most commonly known. Its coat requires somewhat frequent grooming.

The Sheltie is a very loyal companion; it is trainable and eager to please its owner. The breed should be socialized at an early age. It can be a timid breed around strangers, but it is typically very affectionate with its family. The breed, although often timid, can be very vocal as a herding dog. It makes an excellent watch dog. The herding instinct in the breed is very strong. The breed not only loves to work, but play. The activity level of the breed generally coincides with the owner’s level of activity, but it still needs plenty of exercise and intellectual stimulation, regardless of the owner’s activity level. The breed is one of the brightest: the average Sheltie can understand a new command in fewer than five repetitions, and 95% of the time it would obey the first time a command was given. The breed excels at competitive obedience, herding, flyball, tracking, and showmanship ““ activities which satisfy the breed’s need for stimulation.

The breed is relatively healthy and can live for 10 to 15 years on average. The Shetland Sheepdog may experience some genetic health problems which can include Collie eye anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy, hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, skin allergies, Von Willebrand Disease.