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Meet the breed: Shetland Sheepdog

Choosing to add a furry friend to your growing household is a long-term commitment, and picking a breed that fits your lifestyle is the key to a happy home. With over 160 American Kennel Club-recognized breeds, that decision can seem overwhelming. We’re here to help you meet the breed that’s right for you. If you’re looking for an intelligent companion to add to your pack, find out everything you need to know about the Shetland Sheepdog.


  • Intelligent
  • High-energy
  • Active lifestyle
  • Pleasant temperament
  • Long lifespan



The Shetland Sheepdog, also known as “Sheltie,” is often mistaken as a miniature Collie. But Shelties are a breed of their own, with the personality to prove it. This loyal herding dog was bred to help farmers and protect homes and is known to vocalize its protective instincts by barking. Intelligent as can be, Shelties rank among the top performers in agility and obedience training.

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Breed standards

  • AKC group: Herding
  • UKC group: Herding dog
  • Average lifespan: 12 – 14 years
  • Average size: 14 – 30 pounds
  • Coat appearance: Thick, coarse, water-repellent
  • Coloration: Varies
  • Hypoallergenic: No
  • Other identifiers: Many identify it as a miniature Collie. Small, triangle ears that flop over at the tips.
  • Possible alterations: None.

Is this breed right for you?

Shelties are a highly active breed and do best in outdoor environments where there is plenty of room to run. Farms and acreages would suit this breed perfectly, but apartment living could work provided they get consistent daily exercise and are trained to restrain their barking. Loyal to the core, this protective breed is loving and sweet but might intimidate strangers with its barking. If you’re prone to allergies or simply dislike fur, you may want to opt for another breed as Shelties have a high-maintanance coat that sheds frequently.

sheltie breed characteristics

A dream day-in-the-life

Doing what it was born to do — herding, guarding and even swimming. This active breed loves to spend its days filled with athletic activities. To exercise its brain muscles, enrolling your Sheltie in agility or advanced obedience training would be highly welcomed. Living on a farm or home with room to run would make this pooch extra happy.

Other breeds you might like

Meet the breed: Border Collie
Meet the breed: Collie
Meet the breed: Australian Cattle Dog

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