The Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) Breed Description

The Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

Breed Description

I have a friend who has kept Shetland Sheepdogs all her life.  The beautifully graceful dogs look like miniature  Rough Collie’s. They have thick, luscious coats and endearing faces. I think that one of the main features of the Sheltie is their wonderful loving characters.


The coat originates from the days of herding sheep in the Shetland Isles where temperatures can be extremely low. They were used by Scottish farmers to keep birds off the crops so barking comes very naturally to them.

Shetland Sheepdog

Their athletic ability has made them superstars at agility including obedience and flyball. They are extremely intelligent and quick to learn a command. I love to watch Sheltie’s outdoors, they are extremely graceful, light-footed dogs and can jump really high.

Size is around 14 inches to the shoulder and weight is around 25 pounds, however, some Sheltie’s can be much larger.

The Sheltie’s I have met have been friendly, inquisitive and playful. They are known to be sensitive, so only quiet reprimands are advised. A  quiet, calm household is advised, where noise is kept to a minimum. They need early socialisation because there is a tendency to be skittish and timid in just a few Shelties.


The Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs adapt well to apartment living as long as they get a daily walk. They are excellent companions but will bark to protect their owners and property. At certain times of the year, the coat shedding is high, so daily grooming is required.


My friend’s dogs are Sable, and Tricolour. The Sables coat ranges from a light sandy colour to deep gold with white legs. The first photograph shows them at just nine weeks old. Their markings are seen clearly at this age, however, as the puppy gets older the fur grows much denser around the head and chest. There is also a Black and Tan colour and Blue Merle which is a silvery blue/grey coloured coat.

Shetland Sheepdogs



Like all dogs, Shetland Sheepdog’s have hereditary health issues. Here are the main ones;

Bladder Cancer

Allergies and Skin Problems

Eye Disease

Degenerative Hip Disease

Thyroid Problems

It is best to seek out a registered breeder who has certificates to prove that both parents have been tested for genetic conditions.

Alternatively, contact a breed rescue centre and adopt a fully grown adult dog with no health problems.

Is a Sheltie the right dog for you?

There is no doubt that Shetland Sheepdogs make excellent companions. They have loving personalities and thrive on affection. However, they are sensitive dogs and a calm household is advised. Sheltie owners must have the time to give the dog a daily five-minute brush and brisk walk. Anyone who lives in close proximity to other people may need to put in extra training to reduce barking.

A quiet home in the countryside with active owners would be ideal.

Shetland Sheepdog

Additional Reading

Labrador Retriever – Most Popular Dog Breed

The Border Collie




7 thoughts on “The Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) Breed Description

Add yours

  1. We love shelties! We were going to get one as our second dog, but went with another border collie instead. They are such sweet dogs though. My daughter trained one for 4H and they’re really smart. Excellent post and loved all your pics. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. ❤

    1. Thank you. I’ve known 6 throughout the years, everyone had a beautiful temprement and they walk so gracefully. xx

  2. Thank you so much forj sharing your love of shelties i don’t know what i would do without my 3 best friends

  3. Yes, they are beautiful dogs, I have a 10 year old Sheltie that was given to my husband and I. Joeys former owners had to be placed in a nursing facility. He has problems with cell phone rings in the home and on tv. It’s driving me crazy! What can I do to stop his barking? Please help. My husband and I are in our late 50s. No kids are around.

    1. Hi Teri, I can tell that you are desperate for help with Joey’s barking. It seems that Joey’s previous owners didn’t do anything to restrict his barking, so he doesn’t feel that he is doing anything wrong. Also, he might be anxious about his change of circumstances so he is constantly on high alert. I have a rescue dog who barked at everything so I know how frustrating it is. He is better now but not perfect.

Leave a Reply

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: