Shetland Sheepdog


A small Shetland Sheepdog
Shetland Sheepdog Quick Summary
Also Known As
OriginShetland Islands
Height (at withers)12-15in (30-38cm)
Weight12-18lbs (5.5-8kg)
Hair Colour(s)
Lifespan12-15 years
Energy LevelMedium
Litter size4-6
Barking Tendency
Exercise requirementsHigh
Ease of trainingHigh
Suitability for kids
Animal compatability
Aggression levels
Distress if left

The Shetland Sheepdog is a small but sturdy dog. The body is muscular with a deep chest, level back, straight legs and a low-set tail. The head is long and wedge-shaped, with almond-shaped eyes, small high-set ears and a black nose. The distinctive lush double coat consists of a dense, woolly undercoat and a long and straight outer coat, with a frilly mane around the neck and feathering to the legs and tail. The colouring varies but tends to include blue merle, sable and black, with streaks of white or tan.


Shetland Sheepdogs are charming and affectionate dogs with very gentle temperaments. Being extremely loyal, they make fine companions and family pets and thrive on companionship and affection. They are not suited to those with little time to dedicate to their pets, as they will grow bored and destructive if neglected. Early socialisation and consistent training are often recommended to promote stable, sociable and well-balanced temperaments, as some dogs can tend to be reserved and shy, and they can bark excessively when excited. These dignified and sensitive dogs are best suited to stable environments and do not like loud or tense atmospheres. These are eager, responsive and highly intelligent dogs that learn quickly, and so are easy to train. As a result they are suitable for both experienced and novice dog owners alike. Shetland Sheepdogs are suitable for older, more considerate children, as they startle easily and do not like to be teased. They will normally get along fine with other animals too, but their herding instincts mean they may often try to herd animals and people into groups by nipping at heels. They are wary and reserved around strangers and will cetainly not allow themselves to be petted by one, and will tend to bark incessantly at them. These traits make them effective watchdogs.

History & Skills

Shetland Sheepdogs originate from the Shetland Islands, and have a history considered to stretch back well over a century. These dogs are thought to be a mix of Scottish Rough Collies and the Icelandic Yakkin, and were used for guarding and herding sheep flocks. These days they retain these skills but also make popular companions and pets.

Breed Specific Ailments

Shetland Sheepdogs tend to live between 12-15 years, and some of the health concerns noted in the breed includes epilepsy, vWD, thyroid problems, luxating patella, PRA, hip dysplasia, eye problems, seizures, and heart problems.


Shetland Sheepdogs are medium shedders that also shed more heavily on a seasonal basis, so are not really suited to allergy sufferers. However, their grooming requirements are pretty low. The coat will need brushing around twice a week to remove dead hair and keep it in good condition, although this will need stepping up during the heavier shedding periods. They should be bathed only when necessary.

Exercise & Environment

Shetland Sheepdogs tend to live indoors and may be suitable for smaller homes as long as they are adequately exercised, although they will also be relatively active indoors. These dogs require a fair amount of exercise and will need a daily walk plus access to a yard or garden area for play. Ideally they should also be allowed to run freely but supervised in a large open area. However, this must be well away from any roads because they love to chase after cars.


FCIFCI - Federation Cynologique Internationale
KCThe Kennel Club (UK)
AKCAKC - American Kennel Club

Breed Clubs

Coming soon!

Owners Gallery

Pretty empy right now. If you would like to see you dog here please email a photo to BFD Photos along with your name, your dog's name & age, breed and rough location (please keep image file sizes reasonable!).