Shetland Sheepdog | Herding Group Breed

September 15, 2023

The Shetland Sheepdog, often called the Sheltie, is a small to medium-sized herding dog breed known for its intelligence, agility, and affectionate nature. Shelties resemble small Rough Collies and are prized for their loyalty and herding abilities. They make excellent family pets and excel in various canine sports and activities.

Breed Group: Shetland Sheepdogs belong to the Herding Group in the American Kennel Club (AKC) and various kennel clubs worldwide.

Physical Characteristics:

  • Size: Shetland Sheepdogs are small to medium-sized dogs. Adult males typically stand about 13 to 16 inches (33 to 41 cm) tall at the shoulder, and females are slightly smaller.
  • Weight: Adult Shelties usually weigh between 20 to 25 pounds (9 to 11 kg).
  • Coat: They have a double coat with a dense, straight, or wavy outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat. Coat colors include sable (most common), black and tan, and blue merle.


  • Intelligent and Trainable: Shelties are highly intelligent and trainable. They are quick learners and excel in obedience and agility training.
  • Affectionate and Loyal: They are known for their affectionate and loyal nature. Shelties often form strong bonds with their families and are attentive to their owners.
  • Energetic and Playful: Shelties have a moderate to high energy level and enjoy playtime, fetch, and interactive toys.
  • Alert and Vocal: They are alert dogs and may be vocal, making them good watchdogs.


  • Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred in the Shetland Islands of Scotland for herding and protecting sheep and other livestock.
  • Today, they are primarily kept as family pets and companions, but they may still exhibit herding behaviors with other pets or children.

Care and Grooming:

  • Shelties require regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks and playtime are important.
  • Grooming needs are moderate. They shed year-round, and regular brushing helps manage their coat. Extra attention should be given during seasonal shedding.


  • Shetland Sheepdogs are generally a healthy breed, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, eye problems (such as progressive retinal atrophy), and epilepsy.
  • Responsible breeding practices, regular veterinary check-ups, and a well-balanced diet are important for their well-being.

Shetland Sheepdogs are well-suited for families and individuals who can provide them with love and attention. They adapt well to various living environments, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met. Early socialization and positive reinforcement training are important to ensure they grow up to be well-mannered and happy pets. Their intelligence and affectionate personality make them cherished members of many households.