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Shetland Sheepdog: Training, Characteristics, Exercise, Health (Sheltie)

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About Shetland Sheepdog

Country of Origin, History of Shetland Sheepdogs

Probably descended from Scottish Rough Collies, the Shetland Sheepdog herded and guarded sheep on the Shetland Islands in Scotland. Just like the Shetland Pony and several varieties of sheep, the dog was bred to be a miniature size which survived the rugged island terrain better than large sizes, thus making them ideally suited for that terrain.

Shetland Sheepdogs have a reputation for being gentle yet persistent with the sheep. They are rugged even though they look fragile. Hard workers who are smart, loyal and obedient, they are excellent at competitive obedience and agility as well as tracking, herding, watchdogging, guarding, and many other tasks.

They were first registered in England in 1909 and in the United States in 1911.

Shetland Sheepdog Tools

Breed Selector Tool - is the Shetland Sheepdog the right breed for you?

Is the Shetland Sheepdog the right breed for you and your family?

Find out by using our Free Dog Breed Selector Tool

Check Your Shetland Sheepdog's Learning Style

Are you aware dogs also have a learning style that can greatly affect their ability to housetrain as well as be trained correctly. Evaluate your Shetland Sheepdog's learning style and personality using our free Learning Style tool so that you are better able to provide him with the proper Shetland Sheepdog training methods.

Is your Shetland Sheepdog dominating over you?

Does your Shetland Sheepdog bark unnecessarily? Does your Shetland Sheepdog come to you when you call? Download a FREE Report on Dog Dominance for you and your Shetland Sheepdog and learn how to control your dog.

Do you make these mistakes with your Shetland Sheepdog?

Are you inadvertently snow-balling bad behavior in your Shetland Sheepdog? Evaluate your Dog Training Style from our Free Tool and learn how best to deal with your dog.

Shetland Sheepdog Calorie Calculator

Do you know how many calories your Shetland Sheepdog needs every day and how many cups of food you should be giving it every day? Click here to use our Shetland Sheepdog Calorie Calculator.

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A General Appearance of the Dog

Shetland Sheepdogs are known as miniature Collies or “little Lassies.” They look identical to a collie except smaller but in proportion. The Sheltie’s ears are supposed to be erect with tips that fold forward, but for a family pet it is okay if the ears have no fold. The Sheltie has a full, double coat that is medium long and very dense with a very heavy lion-like mane around his neck and chest.

The Sheltie should appear agile but strong with a long, wedge-shaped head like a fox. The nose may appear long and narrow. The tail is fairly long and feathered and wags a lot. His face is usually happy and questioning or gives the impression he knows something and is waiting for you to ask.

Coat Color

Shetland Sheepdogs are colored sable and white, tri-color (black, sable, and white), and blue merle (marbled). White is normally on the nose (and can go up the forehead) as a blaze, on the feet and/or legs, on the mane, and on the tail.

Coat Type

The Shetland Sheepdog has a full, double coat that is medium long and very dense with a mane around his neck and chest which may be very long. The Sheltie needs weekly brushing and sheds heavily in the spring and fall. His legs and tail are heavily feathered.

Height: 13-16 inches

Weight: 14 – 27 lbs

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Free Shetland Sheepdog Training Secrets

Free Course on Shetland Sheepdog Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

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Shetland Sheepdog Personality Traits

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The Spanish Water Dog is an extremely intelligent, fearless, ever-active, strong, attentive, happy and well balanced versatile working dog with strong herding, hunting and guardian instincts. It is a devoted companion. It is reserved, not shy, with strangers. They can be protective and territorial.

Are they suited to families with kids?

Most of them are good with children and other animals if properly socialized.

Shetland Sheepdog Activity Level

How Active is the Breed?

They have a fairly high energy level all their lives, but a fenced yard and walks or play times are sufficient. They can live in an apartment if sufficiently exercised and stimulated. They love to play with toys and interact with their owners indoors and outdoors.

How Much Exercise Does the Dog Need at every stage of its Life?

They love long walks, obedience training, agility training, flyball or just playing ball or Frisbee® in a fenced backyard each day well into old age. Hip and leg problems such as arthritis slow them down later in life.


They have a heavy double coat which they shed twice a year and which needs to be brushed weekly. In spring and fall the entire coat is shed, so needs daily brushing at those times.


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Free Shetland Sheepdog Training Secrets

Free Course on Shetland Sheepdog Training & Obedience
Stop All Bad Behavior, Excessive Barking and Biting

Sign Up Here

Health and Care

Genetic Problems

Eye diseases, hypothyroidism, displacement of the kneecap (patella) are possible problems of the Shetland Sheepdog. Hip and leg problems like arthritis and dysplasia are often seen.

Breeding the Dog and any Cautions

Be especially careful not to breed to a close relative.

Litter Size: Average litter size is 4-8.

Life Span: The live 12-14 years.

National Breed Clubs

National Breed Clubs

British – English Shetland Sheepdog Club –
US – American Shetland Sheepdog Association –


Rescue Link:

Group: Herding Group.

AKC Popularity Ranking: 25

Also Known As: Sheltie, Little Lassie

Train Your Shetland Sheepdog To Listen To You

Get Instant Access to Your Training Now - For Free

Sign up for our Free Shetland Sheepdog Mini Course to have a housebroken, obedient dog that happily comes to you every time you call.

You'll learn new commands to obedience-train your dog as well as how to housebreak your dog in 6 days or less.

You'll also learn how to eliminate bad habits like barking, nipping or biting, jumping, or pulling on the leash.Here's just s small fraction of what else you'll learn in the course:

  • How to lead and think like a pack dog - the new psychology.

  • 3 dangerous mistakes that most Sheltie owners make when they are trying to potty train their dogs.

  • The 2 main reasons why your dog barks excessively and how to control its excessive barking.

  • How to obedience train your Shetland Sheepdog to permanently end behavioral problems like Jumping, Aggression, Pulling on Leash.

  • A surprisingly easy way to teach your dog cool new tricks.

  • How to improve your dog's lifespan and keep it from getting overly heavy with a healthy and nutritious diet.

  • Getting Pro help fast - how to get access to our expert trainers when you need them most.

  • One hidden psychological trigger that all Shetland Sheepdogs have... that practically allows you to "analyze" and "control" your dog's every action.

  • Priority access to the free online seminars conducted by our training experts.

Whereas other dog training related web sites and books offer generic information for dogs in general, ours is the ONLY web site that offers Sheltie information specifically, from a renowned panel of experts - because as you probably know, Shelties have their own special training requirements that other dogs don't have.

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Our Dog Experts

The Shetland Sheepdog training information you will read here was developed by a panel of renowned dog training experts whose combined wisdom represents nearly 100 years of specialist experience training dogs.

Here are a few of our experts:

What Other Dog Owners Say…

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