Shetland Sheepdog


Shetland Sheepdog: A Lovable and Intelligent Companion

The Shetland Sheepdog, popularly known as the Sheltie, is a small-sized herding dog breed that originated from the Shetland Islands in Scotland. With its remarkable intelligence, affectionate nature, and striking appearance, this breed is a favorite among dog lovers. In this article, we will delve into the history, breed characteristics, health needs, grooming, and exercise requirements of the Shetland Sheepdog.

Shetland Sheepdog History

The Shetland Sheepdog’s ancestors are believed to have originated from Scandinavian herding dogs bred by Viking traders in the 8th and 9th centuries. These dogs were brought to the Shetland Islands and were later crossed with small long-haired breeds to create the Sheltie. The breed was initially called the Shetland Collie and was later renamed the Shetland Sheepdog in the 1900s. The Shetland Sheepdog’s popularity began to rise outside of Scotland in the 1920s when the breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club as a distinct breed.

Shetland Sheepdog Breed Characteristics

Shetland Sheepdogs are small dogs, typically weighing between 11 to 24 pounds and standing 13 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder. They are generally regarded as a medium-sized breed due to their herding dog background, and they have a strong and muscular build. They have long, dense coats that come in varying colors, including sable, black, and blue merle.

Shetland Sheepdog Intelligence

Shetland Sheepdogs are exceptionally intelligent dogs and rank sixth on the list of the smartest dog breeds. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training. Their intelligence makes them exceptionally adaptable to different living conditions and an excellent choice for families with children.

Shetland Sheepdog Average Size

Shelties are small to medium-sized dogs, with an average weight of 14-25 pounds and an average height of 13-16 inches. Female Shelties are often slightly smaller than male Shelties.

Shetland Sheepdog Child Friendly

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally considered to be child-friendly. They are affectionate, loving, and playful, making them excellent companions for children. They are also patient and gentle with children, making them an excellent choice for families with young kids.

Shetland Sheepdog Health Needs

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs that can live for up to 14-16 years. However, some health issues that may affect the breed include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, epilepsy, and dermatomyositis. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and routine vet check-ups can help prevent or detect these health problems early.

Shetland Sheepdog Grooming Needs

Shetland Sheepdogs have thick, long fur that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangles. They need to be brushed at least once a week, and their fur trimmed every few months. Shelties are also prone to ear infections, so their ears need to be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent any infection.

Shetland Sheepdog Amount of Shedding

Shetland Sheepdogs are moderate shedders, and their thick fur will require more brushing during shedding season. However, frequent grooming will reduce the amount of hair that falls off the dog’s coat.

Shetland Sheepdog Trainability

Due to their intelligence, Shelties are easy to train and have been used in obedience and agility competitions. Positive reinforcement methods are the most effective when training Shetland Sheepdogs, as they can become anxious when treated harshly.

Shetland Sheepdog Exercise Needs

Shetland Sheepdogs require moderate exercise to stay healthy and maintain a healthy weight. Daily walks and playtime in enclosed areas are essential for their mental and physical well-being. They also do well with advanced activities like agility courses.

Shetland Sheepdog Average Lifespan

Shetland Sheepdogs have an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years, but with proper care, they can live up to 16 years.


In conclusion, the Shetland Sheepdog is an intelligent and affectionate breed that makes a great companion for families. They require moderate exercise, routine grooming, and regular healthcare to remain healthy. This breed’s loving temperament, small size, and beautiful appearance make them an excellent addition to any household.