The Shetland Sheepdog is active, good-natured, gentle and intelligent. These cunning, intelligent dogs are not difficult to train and enjoy learning and keeping busy. Shetland Sheepdogs happily get along with other dogs, pets and children, provided they have their own space to which they can retreat. Shetland Sheepdogs are cautious with strangers and make good watchdogs. This breed are ideal family pets with their sociable, happy and obedient nature.
Shetland Sheepdogs have thick under coats which need frequent and thorough grooming to keep it tangle-free. Particular attention needs to be paid to the area behind the ears, the hindquarters and beneath the shoulders as these areas tend to tangle more easily. It is best to use a brush with pins or bristles that can reach right through to the under coat.
Shetland Sheepdogs tend to adapt to their family's daily activities, but they are intelligent and keen to work and should be engaged in exercise and different tasks. Shetland Sheepdogs perform well in different dog sports, especially in obedience and agility competitions.
The Shetland Sheepdog was originally known as the Toonie dog and is believed to have evolved from the old hill collies and Yakki dogs. They arrived in the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland with the Iceland fishermen. These sheepdogs were kept for their utilitarian purposes rather than beauty. The local crofters and farmers found them useful for looking after their smaller sheep and they tended to share their owners' home.
General Appearance: Graceful, sturdy and long-haired.
Color: Tricolors, sable, black, blue merle, black and white or black and tan.
Coat: The outer coat is straight, harsh and long with a short, soft under coat.
Tail: Set low, tapering, profuse feathering and with a slight sweep upwards
Ears: Set high, small and carried semi-erect with the tips dropping forward.
Body: The back is level and muscular with sloping shoulders. The ribs are well-sprung with a deep chest. The croup slopes gradually towards the rear and there is a slight arch at the loin.
- Bitches shed heavily when they are coming into heat (oestrus), however dogs shed a lot less.