Small Dog Breeds > Shetland Sheepdog

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Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as Shelties, are named after the Shetland Isles. They’re a herding dog that comes in small to medium sizes. This small dog breed has the appearance of a miniature Rough Collie. The breed’s early history is murky. It’s thought that the breed is a descendant of the King Charles spaniel and a small version of the Scottish collie.


The dogs are energetic, affectionate, excitable, and eager to please. The dogs are particularly loyal and make good watch dogs. They can be reserved with strangers but are not normally shy or timid. The dogs weigh 11 to 24 pounds. In the US and Canada, the breed specifications for height range 13 to 16 inches at the withers. However, height standards vary in other countries.

Shetlands rank #6 in intelligence. This makes them highly trainable. The dogs do well with small children if raised with them from an early age. However, the breed’s small size makes it easy to injure them, so supervision is recommended. Due to their herding heritage, they love to herd and chase things, such as ducks, squirrels, and children. If left unsupervised, some will even try to herd cars, which can be very dangerous. They also love to run in open areas. Because of their active nature, they require regular exercise or the dogs may adopt negative behaviors, such as phobias, barking, and nervousness.

Coat and Color

Shetland Sheepdogs have a double coat that comes in a variety of colors, including: tricolor, blue merle, and sable. Shelties with blue merle coats can have blue eyes or one blue eye and one brown eye. However, Shelties with other coat colors have dark colored eyes.

Shelties should be groomed every 4 to 8 weeks. Grooming should be more frequent when the dogs change their coats.
Height 13-16" at the withers
Weight 11-24 lbs
Life Span 12-13 years
Temperament Energetic, affectionate
Hypoallergenic No
Sheltand Sheepdogs are generally healthy. However, they’re particularly susceptible to Transitional Cell Carcinoma , which is a cancer of the bladder. Other ailments include: Von Willebrand disease, dermatomyositis, and eye diseases and defects.

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