The Shetland Sheepdog also commonly known as the Sheltie is a breed of herding dog.

They originated in the Shetland Islands off the northern coast of Scotland and are a product of cross mating between the Rough Collie and various spaniel and spitz-type breeds from visiting fishing and trade boats.

Hardy, diligent dogs were produced that could survive in the harsh climate and rugged landscape. They were used to herd cattle, sheep and ponies.

They were officially recognised by the British Kennel Club in 1909.


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Shetland Sheepdog Temperament & Size

Affectionately known as the Sheltie, this breed has a thick double coat with a fluffy undercoat that comes in a variety of colours including sable, blue merle and tricolour. It is high maintenance and requires regular grooming.

Correct diet and regular feeding is paramount as they are prone to weight gain.

Shelties are friendly, loyal and obedient. They are lovely pets but exercise caution around children. They are reserved around strangers and will bark which makes them good guard dogs.

Shetland Sheepdog Life Span & Health Problems

Average lifespan is 12-14 years.

Common Illnesses include;

  • Patella Luxation – Partial to full dislocation of one or both kneecaps.
  • Legg Calves Perthes Disease – Altered blood supply to the head of the thigh bone causes disintegration of bone and lameness.
  • Collie Eye Anomaly – A congenital, inherited condition involving both eyes, caused by a recessive gene defect. It can cause mild disease or blindness in a small percentage of causes.
  • Distachiasis – Extra eyelashes at eyelid margin which can rub against the corneal surface.
  • Entropion – Excess eyelid tissue causing the eyelashes to turn inward and rub against the surface of the eye resulting in corneal ulceration.
  • Cataracts – Clouding of the lens causing blurred vision to blindness.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy – Spinal cord degeneration in older dogs beginning with hind limb weakness and progressing to paralysis.
  • Renal Dysplasia – Congenital failure of the kidneys to develop correctly resulting in poor kidney function.
  • Hypothyroidism – Underactive thyroid gland causing obesity, lethargy, ear infections and skin problems.
  • Hip Dysplasia – Abnormal formation of the hip joints causing early onset degenerative joint disease.
  • Epilepsy – Recurrent seizures.

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