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Shetland Sheepdog… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

He is popular for sure!

The Shetland Sheepdog Dog Breed is one of the most popular breeds in the United States. In fact, he is among the top-20 breeds registered by the American Kennel Club.

And it’s easy to see why!

After all, the Shetland Sheepdog is a good-looking breed. Small in size, but not too small. Friendly, funny and intelligent. Loyal and affectionate. A perfect family pet.


He does have a tendency of barking quite a bit, but that shouldn’t be an issue, unless you have some overly sensitive neighbors!

In many ways…

The Shetland is similar to the Catahoula Leopard Dog, the state dog of Louisiana, maybe not so much in looks, but certainly in way of attitude and friendliness.  He is also compared to the Border Collie, with whom he shares many characteristics.

Now if you’re…

Thinking about purchasing a Shetland Sheepdog puppy or better yet adopting a Shetland Sheepdog rescue, you’re going to need to understand that at his or her core is an athlete.

You see…

This breed loves dog sports – he excels at agility, obedience, flyball and other activities. He loves chasing around and fetching tennis balls. He can do that for hours and hours without getting tired or bored.

It should be noted though…

That this family dog is better suited to the suburbs, as he likes to have plenty of space to move around. He is an active and energetic dog, and loves running all over the place, in a park, lawn or backyard.

The city life…

Just doesn’t suit him too well. His barking could become a real nuisance in a small apartment or condo. What he likes – accompanying his owners as they go walking, hiking, running or cycling.

And remember…

If you are looking for Shetland Puppies for Sale, be sure to always buy your puppy from reputable dog breeders, people you trust. Never get puppies from puppy mills or pet stores.

Read the rest of this article to find out more about the Shetland Sheepdog.

Shetland Sheepdog Dog Breed Fast Facts

Country of Origin: Scotland or Shetland Islands

Original Purpose:  Sheep herder

Height: 13 to 16 inches

Weight: less than 30 pounds

Dog Breed Classification:  Herding group

 Life Span: 12 to 14 years

Origin of the Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog is from the Shetland Islands – a tiny archipelago of Scotland, to the northeast of the UK. This is one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world. The folks that live here are known to be rugged and independent, just like the Shetland Sheepdog.

The Sheltie…

As this breed of dog is called here, was developed hundreds of years ago from different Nordic breeds such as the Pomeranian, the Border Collie and Kings Charles Spaniel.

Back then…

The Sheltie was a favorite of the islanders. They formed the Scottish Shetland Sheepdog Club in 1909. The breed was brought to the United States in the early 20th century by Scottish immigrants.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Shetland in 1911. In 1929, admirers of this breed formed the American Shetland Sheepdog Association.

Physical Characteristics of the Shetland Sheepdog


The Shetland Sheepdog is an impressive looking dog. He is about 13 to 16 inches in height and looks very much like a smaller or miniature version of the Border Collie. The Sheltie weighs no more than 16 pounds – he is a small dog, but not too small.


The Sheltie is easy to identify with his lovely coat, longish, wedge-shaped head and active and agile movements. He has a narrow, well-rounded muzzle, black nose and sharp teeth. He has dark, almond-shaped eyes, small, erect ears and long tail. He has a remarkably muscular physique given his small size.


The best part about the Sheltie’s appearance is his thick double coat, which looks almost like a lion’s mane. His coat may come in different colors such as sable, blue merle and black with white and tan markings.

Now one thing…

You may notice is that some Shelties may have purple or merle patches on their coat because of a genetic condition. Whether your Sheltie puppy will have patches or not depends on its Oligo Dt length. You can ask a vet to surgically remove these patches if they appear to be too unseemly.


The Sheltie’s coat has to be given a proper brushing at least once every week. Use a hard pin brush to get rid of the loose hair, remove the tangles and prevent matting.

The Sheltie’s coat is water resistant and even dirt resistant. You only need to give him a proper bath once in a while. The Sheltie is a good looking dog, but not a high-maintenance pet.

Personality and Temperament of the Shetland Sheepdog

The Sheltie is a gentle dog

Nice and caring, friendly with everyone and blessed with great patience. He is not the sort of dog that jumps on people. He is good with kids, and makes for a perfect playmate for them.

He is a bit of a show off though…

A real attention seeker, this little guy. His constant barking is a way to get people to notice him. He hates nothing more than to be ignored by his human family.

He is a sheepdog

…That means he has a strong herding instinct. He is very protective of the kids in the family and considers them to be a part of his flock. He is always on an alert when the kids are playing outside, and watches out for them.

Health Problems

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy and have a decent life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. But like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health problems.

Now, that doesn’t mean all Shelties are vulnerable to such health concerns, but you should certainly be aware of them.

In particular

The Sheltie is vulnerable to a disease called Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis. This is a health concern that affects mainly young adult dogs of different breeds.

Symptoms include

Shortness of breath and fatigue during exercise, fluid build-up, undue pain and blood clotting. If you notice any of these symptoms with your dog, take him to a vet, who will conduct a blood test and other types of diagnostic testing.

The Sheltie may also suffer from other health concerns such as… 

And while…

Many of these conditions may not be life threatening, they can certainly become quite expensive to deal with particularly if they become recurring issues.

This is why…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.

Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?

No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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