History of the Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, familiarly known as the Sheltie, comes from the Shetland Islands in the north east of Scotland and was originally known as the Shetland Collie.  He acquired his present name when the Shetland Sheepdog Club was formed in Lerwick in 1908. A Shetlander by the name of Loggie worked to create a standardised breed type and the breed was first shown at Crufts in 1906 as a Miniature Collie.

The Shetland Sheepdog was used as herding - both sheep and cattle - dogs and also as an alert guard of the croft.  Extremely biddable today they excel at Obedience because of their great desire to please.  The guarding element in the Shetland nature means that they are reserved towards strangers, but never nervous.  They are very active dogs; their dainty appearance belies their great energy, though they are equally happy as a busy housedog as going for long walks. 

The Shetland sheepdog is an intelligent breed and enjoys being challenged and Agility and  Obedience suit their talents very well. They stand around 14" at the shoulder and a wide range of colours are permissible.  The coat is dense with a heavy mane and frill (the longer hair below the neck) and breechings.  In all colours except black and tan, white markings are preferred; these can be any or all of the following - a blaze, collar and chest, frill, legs and tip of tail - butt never on the body. Abundant as the Shetland Sheepdog coat is, it is easy enough to keep with regular brushing and something a little more vigorous during Spring and Autumn when he is changing coat.

The key to the Shetland Sheepdog is balance; every part of him should be balanced and proportionate in itself and in harmony with the whole. A happy outgoing dog they are deservedly popular family pets.



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