- The Shetland sheepdog originated on the Shetland Islands of Scotland in the 1800s.
- They almost certainly were derived from early collie-type dogs that also provided root stock for collies and border collies.
- The terrain and sparse vegetation of the islands favored smaller livestock, which in turn only needed smaller herding dogs.
- The Shetland sheepdog herded sheep, ponies and chickens, keeping them away from cultivated fields in a land with few fences.
- Shetland sheepdogs were first exhibited as Shetland collies in England, but when collie fanciers objected, the name was changed to Shetland sheepdog.
- The breed's popularity followed that of the collie, with many families opting for what they thought of as a miniature collie.
- The Shetland sheepdog remains a steady favorite as a family dog throughout the world.
Shetland Sheepdog Behavior Concerns
- Makes a loyal and biddable companion.
- Playful and gentle with children, an excellent child's companion.
- When excited, it can nip at heels in play.
- A one family dog, tending to be aloof, even shy, toward strangers. Early socialization so that it willingly accepts new people is important.
- Very good with other dogs and pets.
- Some can be timid.
- Fast and eager learners that enjoy being directed.
- Sensitive to correction. Does best with gentle, reward-based training involving food, games or praise.
- Most bark a lot.
- One of the most accomplished breeds in the sports of agility and especially, obedience.
Shetland Sheepdog Suggested Exercises
- Makes a calm yet alert housedog.
- Its exercise needs can be met with a long walk, short run or backyard games.
- Herding and agility are favorite physical and mental outlets.
- Games and tricks can provide needed mental exercise. Shelties very much enjoy learning.
Shetland Sheepdog Grooming
- Coat is long, harsh and straight, with a short dense undercoat.
- Brushing and combing every other day is necessary to prevent mats.
- Shedding is above average.
Suggested Shetland Sheepdog Nutritional Needs
- Shelties tend to stay in good weight.
- Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.