Shetland Sheepdogs (a.k.a Shelties) trace back to the border collies of Scotland where they worked as versatile farm dogs. These highly intelligent dogs are intensely loyal to their owners and are very willing to please. They are also known for their sensitivity and ability to pick up on their owners' emotions. Shelties are a lively breed but gentle and loving with their family, although some may be reserved with strangers.
Most shelties get along great with well mannered children and other pets. These traits combine to make shelties wonderful companions as well at top level performance dogs (obedience, agility, herding etc.)
Shelties are a medium breed dog, with an AKC height standard of 13-16 inches. However, sheltie size can be hard to control so it is not uncommon to see dogs below or above this range. Shelties come in a range of colors. Please see our
"Colors" page for a pictorial example of the different colors shelties come on.
Since shelties are a more active breed, they do require daily exercise. They also thrive on companionship and interaction with their people hence they do best as house dogs. If you are looking for a dog to keep chained out back with a dog house, this is NOT the breed for you.
Like all breeds, shelties also have their faults. They are known to be vocal and like to express their opinions whether you want to hear them or not! They also shed their undercoat once a year (twice if you have an un-spayed females.) No professional grooming is needed but they should be brushed out weekly to keep the coat in good shape. It should also be noted that, like most herding dogs, some shelties have a tendency to try to "herd" things (including kids and people.)
Shelties are generally a healthy breed. The four main things
to be aware of are:
Hip Dysplasia - Parents can be x-rayed and receive certification from the
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals(OFA). Ask to see a certificate and expect parents to be certified at least "fair", "good", or "excellent".
Progressive Retinal Atrophy or PRA - A progressive degenerative eye disorder which can be completely eliminated by not breeding affected animal. Ask to see
Von Willebrand's Disease or VWD - A bleeding disorder which can be fatal.
This is a recessive gene so as long as one of the parents of a litter test
"clear" for the gene, their puppies cannot be "affected" with this disease. Dogs
can be tested through Vetgen for this gene.
Sheltie Skin Syndrome (DM) - A degenerative skin and muscle disease. Very devastating. Not regularly tested for unless it shows up in the line.
Below are a few websites containing general breed information.
Please see our "Links" page
for more useful websites.
American Shetland Sheepdog Association
Lochland Shetland Sheepdog Club Fact Sheet