5 Things to Know About the Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog in a field
Barbara O'Brien, Animal Photography
The Sheltie tends to take well to training and can be a superb canine athlete.

The often diminutive Shetland Sheepdog tends to be active and fun-loving. The Herding dog originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, and theories suggest the Sheltie might be a blend of Nordic breeds including the Pomeranian, the larger Collie and possibly even a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Through the years, he has gone by many names, including Lilliputian Collie, Toonie Dog, Fairy Dog and Miniature Collie. Learn more about the popular dog breed and whether he might be right for you.

They’re often really, really smart.

The brainy Shetland Sheepdog can generally pick up whatever trick you teach him. He usually learns best with treats and plenty of praise.

They’re generally athletic.

The Sheltie needs a moderate amount of exercise and tends to be a hotshot at dog sports like agility, obedience, rally and tracking. He can also be an excellent walking, running or hiking companion — just be sure to clear any new exercise routine with your veterinarian before your dog gets started.

They tend to be good watchdogs.

Don’t expect the Sheltie to be a quiet companion. The breed generally isn't afraid to use his voice and will likely be sure to let you know about any strangers or anything unusual he may see.

They’re generally loyal.

This breed tends to be affectionate with his family. He typically loves his people and can be good with kids. However, he can be reserved and even aloof with strangers.

They come in a variety of colors.

The Sheltie’s “Lassie” markings tend to be the most common and popular, but he comes in other varieties with varying degrees of white ruff and paws, including a mottled gray-black coat or solid black coat. Dogs with gray-black coats, also known as blue merles, may have blue eyes and may be deaf in one or both ears.

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