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Shetland Sheepdog Facts
General Stats & Facts about Shetland Sheepdogs


Shetland Sheepdog factsThey are often called Shelties as a shortened down nickname.

Average sized litter is 5 puppies with 4 to 6 being in the normal range.

Life span is 13 years with 12 to 15 years being in the typical expected range.

They were an offshoot of the Border Collie, which was brought to Scotland and bred down in size.

They worked mainly as livestock herding dogs.

They are in the AKC Herding group, recognized in 1911.

Maturity is reached between 3-4 years, until that time the coat may not be as full as the adult coat will be.

This is the 19th most registered dog in the United States.

Both males and females  will reach a mature weight of 16 to 20 pounds.

Both will reach a height of 13 to 16 inches from floor to shoulder.

Color and Appearance

They resemble a miniature Collie.

Eyes have dark, almond shaped rims.  The eye color itself is always dark expect for those with merle coats, in which case the color may be blue or merle.

They have long hair and a thick mane.

Coat color may be black, blue merle (a diluted black with swirling colors), sable (colors ranging from golden sable to a deep, dark mahogany).

The most common (and arguably beautiful) coloring is a tri-coat of black, tan and white. 

Most will have white or tan markings aside from the base coat.

Behavior and Temperament

They are loyal, friendly and exceptionally alert.

They are known for being one of the most obedient purebred dog breeds.

They love the attention of their human family members, but many are exceedingly shy around strangers.

They can run fairly fast and if a Sheltie escapes it may be difficult for an owner to catch up to him or her.

Most are average barkers.

Since they are herding dogs, they have that basic instinct to do so…This means that if allowed they will attempt to herd....They may do this with cats, other dogs….And if your Sheltie has a habit of chasing cars, know that they are actually trying to herd them. For this reason, they should always be on leash or in a safe, enclosed area when outside.

It is a Shetland Sheepdog fact that this breed gets along extremely well with children. 

They can be very amusing, for example they may try to steal food off of your dinner plate, runs around trying to herd an airplane and display other silly behaviors.

This dog is very sensitive to their owners mood; most owners report that their Sheltie knows when they are sad and will offer a cuddle….and that they will sense when an owner is in the mood to play and will bring a ball to them,…If you wish to rest after a long day at work, they will give you space to relax.



Since they have the instinct to be farm dogs, they love having large areas in which to run and play but when given the proper amount of exercise and stimulation they can do well in just about any living environment.

Exercise should include daily brisk walks for 30-45 minutes and cardio play at least a few times per week.


Just like any other breed, it is a fact that the Shetland Sheepdog in general is prone to certain diseases more than others.  The most common are:  eye issues such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy and eyelash abnormalities.  They also tend to develop epilepsy more than some other breeds.


Males and females shed differently.  The process begins approximately between 1 and 1.5 years old. Males will have 1 heavy shed per year.  Females will have a moderately heavy shed each summer….They will also do so after every heat cycle. (This is commonly known as blowing a coat).  Heat for female Shetlands will happen every 7 months on average.  Do keep in mind that if you spay your dog both heat and that associated shedding will not occur.


They have double coats and this means that the coat will be thick with 2 layers.

Sheltie dog factsDuring shedding time, one will want to use an under coat rake…It is a great tool for pulling out dead hairs from deep in the fur.  You may be very surprised at how much comes out! Make sure to go over the entire body including the legs, tail and head.

It is recommended to then use a slicker brush for finishing or for normal brushings. It works well to distribute natural oils over the fur which keeps it healthy.

Trimming may be necessary to keep long hairs from growing out from the paws. You will want to check this every couple of weeks and trim any hairs that are growing out further than the paw pads.

They do not need baths very often, unless of course they get very dirty from playing outside, etc.  Baths are normally given 1 time per month.  This is due to 2 reasons: They tend to groom themselves and also too many baths can cause their skin to dry and flake.

After bath time, the coat should be patted dry and not rubbed. This is because rubbing can loosen the inner coat of fur.



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