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Shetland Sheepdog


  • Origin: Scotland
  • Alternate names: Sheltie, Miniature Collie, Toonie Dog (obsolete), Shetland Collie (obsolete), Dwarf Scotch Shepherd (obsolete)
  • Size: Small
  • Life Span: 12-14 years
  • Popularity: Ranked #24 in 2017
  • Availability in India:
  • Avg Puppy Price in India: ₹30,000 and above
  • Dog Breed Group: Herding Group
  • Guide Dog: No

Is Shetland Sheepdog Good for Indians?

The Shetland Sheepdogs are Scottish canines that are quite durable and can survive basically in any kind of weather conditions. They prefer colder weather and low-temperature areas more, but they can efficiently thrive in a hot environment as well. Therefore, these dogs can be a good option to raise in a country like India where temperatures are mostly quite high. But, the problem is that these dogs are not very easy to be found in the country. Apart from big cities, their availability and demand are quite low in the rest of the nation. They are mostly present at a large scale and reputable breeder’s place only. So, if anyone wants to be a Sheltie’s parent, then, s/he will be making a good choice but they will have to look a little harder.

Shetland Sheepdog Official Breed Standards

The Shetland Sheepdogs are small-sized canines whose long strands of hair covers all of their body. These dogs are quick and equally sturdy and possess a well-proportioned body. The official standards of the Shelties are given as follows:

  • Shetland Sheepdog Height and Weight

The male and the female Shelties are almost equal in size and there is no visible difference between the body dimensions of both of them. The average weight of a Shetland Sheepdog lies between 6-12 kg and its height is around 13-16 inches (at the shoulders).





06-12 kg

13-16 inch


06-12 kg

13-16 inch

  • Coat

The Shetland Sheepdogs have a long, harsh and straight outer coat and a dense, furry and short undercoat. The hair on the feet, tips of ears and the face should be smooth, but apart from that, the whole of the body is heavily feathered.

  • Body

Regardless of their small size, they have a strong and well-built body with a muscular and arched neck that carries their head proudly. Their chest area is deep and the back region is leveled and strongly muscled. The tail is sufficiently long and is covered with profuse hair. The forelegs and the hind legs are quite sturdy, muscular and in balance with each other.

  • Head

They have a slightly wedge-shaped head which is a little tapering from ears to nose. The eyes are almond-shaped, medium in size and are mostly found in dark colors. And, their ears are somewhat held erect, smaller in size and are quite flexible.

  • Jaws

They have powerful and clean jaws with the underjaw being slightly more deep and well-developed. The teeth are leveled and placed evenly inside their mouth. And, the muzzle is well-rounded and is equal in length to the skull.

  • Temperament

The Shetland Sheepdogs are one of the more trainable and responsive dogs out there. This breed is fairly easy to handle and is quite obedient as well. They love their family members with all their heart and are known to be highly friendly and gentle with their close ones. They are kind and careful with small kids too and mix well with most other people as well. And, in spite of their sociable personality, they still are decently aware of their surroundings and also possess above average watchdog ability through which they can easily alert their owners in case of an intruder. This breed is also very smart and a quick learner and thus training them is an easy task to accomplish. General temperamental traits of a Sheltie are listed below:

  • Intelligent
  • Gentle
  • Friendly
  • Affectionate
  • Playful
  • Lively
  • Responsive
  • Trainable

Shetland Sheepdog Overview

The Shetland Sheepdogs are generally known for their cute size and cordial personality all around the world, but the thing that is less talked about the Shelties is that they are extremely intelligent and smart. In fact, these dogs are one of the brightest canines present today and are often ranked in the top 10 of the world’s most intelligent dog breeds list.

Through various testing and evaluations, it is found that during the training exercise, a Sheltie would take fewer than 5 repetitions to understand a new command. And, the higher intelligence combined with their eager to please nature means training these dogs is a piece of cake for most dog owners.

The Shetland Sheepdogs also make awesome family pets because of their all-around amiable nature and a cheerful personality. They bring positivity with them wherever they go, care for their loved ones and are respectful of them, can protect their property, home, and housemates from the outsiders by being a decent watchdog and also gel well with others. And, any person would be very happy and proud to be a Sheltie parent.

Popular Shetland Sheepdog Types and Colors

The Shelties are divided into various types based on the different colors that their coats are available in. These different colors are as follows:

  • Sable and White
  • Sable Merle and White
  • Black and White
  • Black and Gold
  • Black White and Tan
  • Blue Merle and White
  • Blue Merle White and Tan

Shetland Sheepdog Breed Characteristics



Sensitivity Level


Affection Level


Potential for mouthiness




Drooling Potential


Barking Tendencies


Energy Level


Friendly towards dogs


Health Issues


Friendly towards other animals




Child Friendly




Exercise Needs


Shedding Level


Grooming Needs


Social Needs


Good for novice owners


Stranger Friendly




Watchdog Ability


Tolerates Heat


Tolerates Cold


Shetland Sheepdog Maintenance and Care

  • Feeding

The Shelties require a quality diet to be healthy, energetic and fit. They are a small sized breed and hence they should be fed a limited number of calories in a day (around 700). And, giving them many meals but in small amounts at regular intervals is a better way to feed them rather than feeding them large quantities all at once.

  • Exercise

The Shetland Sheepdogs love to spend their time outside the house playing with their close ones. They require a moderate amount of exercise on a daily basis to maintain their health and shape. Small running or brisk-paced walking sessions are good for them. Also, playing time which can be inside or outside the house is also beneficial for these lively canines and it keeps them happy and cheerful.

  • Training

As mentioned, these dogs are extremely smart and bright and are also very responsive and positive towards any kind of training exercise. They are very quick learners and can understand various new commands and tricks in no time. It is a very enjoyable and fun experience for any Sheltie owner to train his/her pooch.

  • Grooming and Shedding

A long and a beautiful coat of any dog comes with a reasonable cost and that is a good amount of grooming requirements to keep the attractive coat intact and flawless. The Shelties are required to be brushed at least 2-3 times a week to remove extra hair from their coat. They need regular trimming of their nails and occasional baths to keep them neat and tidy. Also, their shedding potential is decently high and they shed profusely especially during the shedding season. During that time, daily brushing of their coat is required to avoid mat formation.

  • Health Issues

The Shetland Sheepdogs are generally very healthy dogs, but like all the other breeds, they also suffer from some health-related issues. Common problems found in them are as follows:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Eye Diseases
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Gallbladder Mucoceles
  • Epilepsy
  • Visits to the Vet

Frequent visits to a veterinarian’s clinic are not required for a Shetland Sheepdog. They tend to remain fit and fine for the majority of their life-span.

Shetland Sheepdog History and Background

The Shetland Sheepdogs came into existence and were completely developed around the 1700s. It is speculated that these dogs are the distant relatives of the Rough collies and also that both of them are the descendants of the Border Collies.

The farmers that resided in the Scottish islands of Shetland wanted a herding dog who could protect their flocks. Hence, they started breeding between the Border Collies and the smaller island dogs (probably the Icelandic Yakkins), and the result of that breeding was a small-sized dog with very good herding instincts. As this breed was developed in the Shetland Islands, it became the inspiration behind their naming.

The Shelties were pretty decent farm workers. They used to herd and protect the flocks of sheep, were also good at guarding and tracking and were very tender and gentle with the small-sized stocks. And, because of their specific role as a farm worker, they were called as “Toonie Dogs”, that translates to “Farm Dogs”, for a long time. This breed was recognized and registered in England in the year 1909 and two years later, the AKC followed suit.