Shetland Sheepdog

In the United States, the Sheltie is one of the top ten most popular dog breeds in the country. Find out everything about the behavior, character, activity and exercise needs, training, and care of the dog breed Shetland Sheepdog in the profile.

The Shetland Sheepdog was first bred in Britain in the late 19th century, originally from the Shetland Islands where it was used to herd sheep. The plan of the first Shetland Collie Club to breed a “mini collie” by crossing the big “model” was initially rejected by the collie breeders. Their resistance meant that the breed was not officially recognized until 1914, and there are still far fewer Shelties than Collies.

General Appearance

The Shetland Sheepdog is optically a miniature version of the Collie. He has a lush coat of hair that can be of many different colors, a small lion’s mane, and a ruff. Its fine limbs and slender head give it a noble and elegant touch.

Behavior and temperament

The Sheltie is very smart and temperamental, as well as a very friendly, downright good-natured fellow. However, he is initially reserved towards strangers, but he is not afraid. He is very affectionate and follows his owner wherever he goes. He doesn’t like to be left alone but doesn’t make a fuss if someone wants to go to the cinema without him. He will love his family more than anything and will prove to be the perfect comforter in sad times: Shetland Sheepdogs register the moods of their owners very precisely and always strive to create cheerfulness and joy.

Need for employment and physical activity

You can only control his temperament with a lot of exercises, for example by taking him along as a companion on a bike or jogging. He is also well suited as a riding dog, since his hunting instinct is hardly present, you don’t have to worry that he will suddenly follow a track on his own. These dogs are particularly talented for dog sports such as agility or obedience because of their urge to move and their high level of intelligence.


Shelties are not only smart, but they also like to be submissive. So it’s very easy to raise them, as long as you don’t spoil their enjoyment of it. They are very sensitive and don’t like it when their master or mistress is in a bad mood. Therefore, they will do anything to keep their owner happy. Dominance problems are unknown in this breed.


Brushing or combing once a week is enough. Only the fine hairs on the ears should be combed more frequently to avoid matting. If possible, bathe the dog infrequently.

Disease Susceptibility / Common Diseases

Shetland Sheepdogs show an increased occurrence of dermatomyositis, a genetic skin-muscle disease. The small breed is also sensitive to certain medications (MDR1 defect), which is already known from collies. Eye diseases can also occur (CEA, PRA).

Did you know?

In the United States, the Sheltie is one of the top ten most popular dog breeds in the country. Some observers assume that there are significantly more purebred Shetland Sheepdogs in the United States today than in the country of origin Great Britain, where the dog still enjoys great popularity today.

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