Shetland Sheepdog Information

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(Sheltie) The Shetland Sheepdog looks like a miniature Collie. Their head is extremely small and round with a long, narrow muzzle. Their large, round eyes are usually dark brown color, and their mouths close into a scissor bite.  Above their friendly faces, the dog’s small ears stick up but the tips fold over. Their neck and chest are slightly broad while their legs are short and skinny ending in small hare-like feet. The breed’s furry tail is long.  These dogs have an abundance of hair covering their entire body, including a soft mane around their neck and head. Their hair feathers out on their legs and tail. Shetland Sheepdogs have a double layered coat available in a variety of colors, including black, sable, or blue merle with different amounts of white and tan.

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Although they look somewhat like a Miniature Collie, the Sheltie has a broader forehead, shorter muzzle and a shorter wedge to the head than a standard Collie. They have a distinct forehead stop in their face. The double coat means that a fuzzy undercoat will shed out (especially in un-spayed females) twice a year. The under-coat will come out in handfuls. Males retain both the inner and out coats longer. Combing with a wide tooth comb will retain the layers of coat and not strip out the lift caused by the undercoat. Brushing will also prevent mats. Intense shedding only lasts about a week and happens twice a yea

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The Shetland Sheepdog loves pleasing its family. Obeying and making their owners happy is their top priority. Children love playing with them, and they enjoy the children in their family. However, strangers rarely get a loving reaction and are normally disregarded. Training is important and makes them happy because they enjoy learning. Intelligence is their main asset seeing, as they are one of the smartest dog breeds. They can learn and pick up on things quickly and easily. Chasing cars or animals and barking frequently are their main problems.

Some training is required, but they are generally very good around other people and pets.

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13-16 inches

Female: 12-15 inches
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14-27 pounds
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General Health

Shetland Sheepdogs have an inclination towards some genetic problems, such as CHD (canine hip dysplasia), epilepsy, hyperthyroidism, SES (sheltie eye syndrome), SSS (sheltie skin syndrome), and von Willebrand’s disease.  Although this list seems long, the Sheltie is a relatively hardy breed. As long as you find a reputable breeder, most of these concerns can be avoided.  The Sheltie has an average life expectancy of about 12 to 15 years.

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The Shetland Sheepdog originated on the island of Shetland off the coast of Scotland.  The island was already populated by Scottish Rough Collies, but these were bred with a dog called the Yakkin which arrived on the island with Icelandic fishermen.  By the 18th century, the Shetland Sheepdog as we know it today was busy guarding sheep.  Shelties first became known in other parts of the world during the 1900’s as the amazing herders started being exported outside of Scotland.  They have been a recognized breed in the United Kingdom and in the United States for almost a century.

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Grooming is fairly simple for the thick coated Shetland Sheepdog. Brush them often but if their hair is matted just spray the coat with water before brushing. Bathing is not often necessary for them and takes a lot of time when it is done so only bathe them when absolutely necessary. Walking is a good exercise for Shetland Sheepdogs, but they prefer running off leash. Exercise should be given to them often so they do not become bored. They can be entered in activities, such as agility competitions where they are likely to do very well and to have a good time.

They are average shedders and very active dogs.

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Ideal Environment

Shetland Sheepdogs are active and fun dogs to have in many families’ lives. Their mission in life is to make their owners happy and to obey them. Children in the family can get away with doing almost anything to the dog without concern, but Shelties do not always like strange children. Most strangers, however, will just be ignored by Shelties. Training is extremely important so they can become obedient and happy. Their owners should play games with them and let them run frequently to release energy. Shetland Sheepdogs can live in an apartment or a country house, but they are not good for owners who cannot control their frequent barking.

This breed enjoys large yards and plenty of daily exercise. Several daily leash walks will be required to keep this breed properly exercised.

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Dog Training!

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Shetland Sheepdog Q&A

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Recently I moved to Hawaii for a temporary job of three months and would like to bring my dog down with me do you think she will be okay in this type of climate? They have a lot of fur.

If you watch her carefully, she should be okay. Try hard to keep her cool if she looks over-heated


My one year old has just been diagnosed w/ hyperthyroidism what are the natural choices of treatment?


my sheltie has been vomiting bile lately and often. this is the same thing that happened to my other two sheltie's at the end of their lives. is this a normal sign that the end is near or what is wrong?

Our 9 year old Sheltie just died and he was vomitting too, then died in a day. He seemed fine before this. The vet found his liver was enlarged. If we think back he was showing signs for awhile that something was wrong, refusing to eat sometimes, vomitting occasionally, and less active. This the first dog we have ever had so had no idea that he might be showing signs that he was seriously ill. We have 2 other Shelties, so will be sure to look for these signs. I hope you find out what is wrong with your dog. I hope this helps you.


Our 9 year old sheltie just died at the vet's. The day before we took him to the vet he vomitted 15 plus times and refused to eat. The tests the vet ran showed that his liver was enlarged. They questioned whether he has eaten something toxic, but thought it more likely to be a mass on his liver. He died within a day. He seemed fine a few days before this. Is it normal for older shelties to experience this and die so quickly? We have 2 other shelties; one as big as Bear who died, 45 pounds, and a smaller 20 pound sheltie. I am so scared that they will get sick now, and I won't realize how serious it is. Has anybody seen this in their sheltie?

This happened to our Sheltie a few years back, the bile was because he had eaten some carpet fibers and his intestines were blocked. Our Sheltie is still with us but is was frightening week, trying to get these fibers to pass.


I am researching the Sheltie and am sure it is the breed I want to buy, but I haven't found any talk about the difference in male and female. Is their temperate better or worse? Do buyers tend to buy one or the other?

Most prefer females as they tend to be easier to train and more obedient. All Shelties are extremely active, but females tend to be easier and not as hyper so to speek. Males are on the hyper side of active and if they aren't stimulated, you will know it. This tends to be true for all dogs, so I believe it depends on the individual dog and owner. I have a lot of experience with Shelties, owning both male and female for over 16 years. Also males for the most point tend to have fuller coats.


would a sheltie be ok with going on like a 2 hour car ride most every week more than once

I have 4 Shelties and they love going in the van; whether it just to the store, park or a 3 hour drive to the cottage. We take our dogs everywhere and they sleep in the van most of the time while we are travelling.

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