The Shetland Sheepdog (or ‘Sheltie’ to its friends) is the ultimate clever clogs, capable of learning new commands in five repetitions or less. But it’s not just smart. This small breed is also vivacious and attractive and very much only small in stature. It thrives on human company and makes a perfect family pet. The Shetland Sheepdog’s strong herding instinct can see them chasing everything from harmless patches of light to slightly more ominous cars – a trait that needs to be carefully managed.
Shetland Sheepdogs look a bit like a mini Collie, and there’s definitely some Collie in their ancestry. The rest of the mix is a bit of a mystery though, with guesses ranging from the Pomeranian to the King Charles Spaniel. This breed originated in Scotland and was standardised by a Shetlander called Loggie with an ambition to win hearts and minds at Crufts. Spoiler alert: he succeeded.
You can expect a Shetland Sheepdog to live on average 12-14 years.
Health problems include epilepsy, knee problems and a whole host of eye diseases. This breed gains weight easily – keep an eye on their diet. Some varities of Sheltie are sensitive to certain types of canine drugs.
Shetland Sheepdogs make deeply beloved family pets. Keen to delight you, devoted, energetic and boundlessly positive, they enjoy learning and repay kind but firm training with affection to the moon and back. They’re communicative souls – a trait hearkening back to their sheepdog days – and this shouldn’t necessarily be taken as a sign of misbehaviour.
Daily grooming and weekly bathing are important to keep your Sheltie looking its glorious best. The luxurious double coat is notorious for shedding.
Indoors and outdoors
The Sheltie can live outside but makes a happy housedog too. Daily walks are needed to give this breed’s ample energy an outlet.
Shetland Sheepdogs are among the easiest breeds to train. Be careful not to let yours develop Small Dog Syndrome, where lenient (or a total lack of) obediency training leads your dog to think it runs the household.
The intelligent Sheltie is fairly easy to housebreak.
Where to find Shelties
Looking for fellow Sheltie owners to swap tales with? Find a Shetland Sheepdog breed group below.
The English Shetland Sheepdog Club
Shetland Sheepdog Club of Wales
The Yorkshire Shetland Sheepdog Club
Eastern Counties Shetland Sheepdog Clun
The Scottish Shetland Sheepdog Club
Adopt a Sheltie
Want to adopt a Shetland Sheepdog in need of a loving home? Find a rescue centre below.
The English Shetland Sheepdog Club Rescue
The Mid Western Sheltland Sheepdog Club Rescue
The Yorkshire Shetland Sheepdog Club Rescue
Can’t wait to bring the joys of the the lively little Sheltie into your life? Find an approved Shetland Sheepdog breeder below.
Kennel Club Assured Shetland Sheepdog Breeders