Shetland Sheepdog Breed Information and Buying advice

Shetland Sheepdog

Are You Looking to Buy or Adopt a Shetland Sheepdog?

Quick Shetland Sheepdog Facts

Average Size of Adult
Small (2/5)
Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy Puppy
Grooming Requirement
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Average Life Span
12-14 years (5/8)
Exercise Requirements
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Medium (2/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Child friendly
Yes (1/2)
High (3/3)
Puppy Puppy Puppy
Breed Group
Pastoral (3/8)
No (2/2)

Why Shetland Sheepdogs are great

The Shetland Sheepdog, affectionately known as a ‘Sheltie’, is a firm favourite breed amongst many in the UK and elsewhere. The Shetland Sheepdog boasts a charming appearance, with a luxurious thick coat and slender features, including an elegant face. Shetland Sheepdogs are known for their loyal and loving natures and they have also enjoyed immense popularity in the show-ring, prized for their good looks. Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred for herding, hence their sheepdog name, and as such, they excel at obedience and have a trainable attitude. Some highlights:
  1. Shetland Sheepdogs are clever and easy to train in the right hands
  2. Shetland Sheepdogs love human attention and make great companions
  3. Shetland Sheepdogs boast an attractive and luxurious coat
  4. Shetland Sheepdogs are agile and athletic, who are excellent agility dogs

Things to consider when looking at Shetland Sheepdogs for Sale

Some downsides to the Shetland Sheepdogs:
  1. Shetland Sheepdogs are quite high maintenance when it comes to grooming as they shed regularly throughout the year, especially in Spring and Autumn
  2. Shetland Sheepdogs are known to sometimes suffer from separation anxiety when left alone for too long
  3. Shetland Sheepdogs can sometimes be wary and shy around strangers

History of Shetland Sheepdogs

The Shetland Sheepdog breed originates in the Scottish islands and was initially bred as herding dogs, for many years they were used to herd livestock. For centuries, the breed was used to guard and herd sheep on the Shetlands, hence the name Shetland Sheepdog. There is an engraving in Lerwick that dates to 1840, situated where the ‘Shetland Collie Club’ was originally founded in 1908. Shetland Sheepdogs are often compared to the Rough Collie, because of their very similar appearance.  


How big is the Shetland Sheepdog?

The Shetland Sheepdog usually reaches between 33cm – 44cm in height at the withers  

How heavy is a Shetland Sheepdog? 

A healthy Shetland Sheepdog generally weighs between 6kg – 12kg  

What Colour is the Shetland Sheepdog?

Shetland Sheepdogs closely resemble the Rough Collie, but are smaller in stature. The Shetland Sheepdog boasts a luxurious fur coat, which is tri-colour, tan, black and blue in colour.  


Do Shetland Sheepdogs make good guard dogs?  

Shetland Sheepdogs are known to be very good watchdogs, a trait that they have developed from hundreds of years of guarding livestock. Shetland Sheepdogs are always quick off the mark to warn their owners of any strange activity, although they are not aggressive dogs and may display shyness around strangers.  

Do Shetland Sheepdogs bark a lot?

Shetland Sheepdogs can sometimes be vocal, usually when strangers are around. However, with proper training, they should be quiet when told.  

Are Shetland Sheepdogs easy to train?

Shetland Sheepdogs wonderfully clever dogs and are easy to train, they make excellent agility dogs because of their intelligence and athletic ability.  

Are Shetland Sheepdogs playful?

Shetland Sheepdogs are sensitive by nature, but have a playful and fun side to them and love to be entertained. Shetland Sheepdogs can be clever and mischievous and adore to learn new things, they will happily get involved in any family activities.  

Are Shetland Sheepdogs good with children?

Shetland Sheepdogs are affectionate and loyal and will thrive in a family home. However, they are sensitive dogs and can be nervous with very young children. Shetland Sheepdogs are great with older children who know how to behave with dogs and enjoy playing.  

Are Shetland Sheepdogs good with other pets?

Due to their history and herding instinct, Shetland Sheepdogs can be known to chase or stalk other dogs, so it is vital that they are socialised at an early age. Shetland Sheepdogs are friendly, mild-mannered dogs, that should get on well with other pets.  

Can I leave a Shetland Sheepdog Alone?

Shetland Sheepdogs are loyal and develop strong bonds with their families. Because of this, they do not like to be left alone for too long, and may display anxiety if left for too long.  

Do Shetland Sheepdogs like water?

Shetland Sheepdogs generally like to swim and excel at most physical activity; they will likely take to the water naturally, especially when it is a warm day to cool off.  


How long do Shetland Sheepdogs live?

Shetland Sheepdogs are generally healthy dogs, who have a life expectancy of between 12 – 13 years.  

How much exercise does a Shetland Sheepdogs need? 

Shetland Sheepdogs are fiercely intelligent and quick to learn; they require a lot of mental stimulation and exercise to keep them happy. A Shetland Sheepdog will benefit from time off the lead, so that they can run off steam and enjoy themselves. One hour of exercise a day should be a minimum, and a Shetland Sheepdog would benefit from an enclosed garden to explore too.  

What are Shetland Sheepdogs Common health issues?

Shetland Sheepdogs, like many other breeds, can be prone to certain hereditary health problems. These can commonly include disease of the eyes, displacement of the patella and hypothyroidism. Buying a Shetland Sheepdog from a reputable breeder will minimise the risk of developing hereditary health issues.  


How much space do I need for a Shetland Sheepdog?

Shetland Sheepdogs are not large dogs but do have plenty of energy and love to play, as such, it is recommended that they have a secure garden to roam in and enough space to be happy.  

What should I feed my Shetland Sheepdog?

As a guide, a healthy, mature Shetland Sheepdog weighing 10.5kg may be fed between 145g – 166g, depending on exercise. A reputable breeder will provide you with a feeding schedule that should be adhered to.  

How much grooming do Shetland Sheepdogs need?

Shetland Sheepdogs require regular grooming, due to their thick, luxurious double coats that shed throughout the year. They can be quite high maintenance on the grooming front, so a few trips a year to the groomers is recommended.  

Do Shetland Sheepdogs shed?

Shetland Sheepdogs shed their fur heavily, especially during Spring and Autumn when frequent grooming to remove loose hair is necessary. Shetland Sheepdogs boast a thick coat that has a softer undercoat and a harsher topcoat, forming a robust mane.  

Average costs

How much does it cost to keep a Shetland Sheepdog?

As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £800 - £1000 for a well-bred Shetland Sheepdog puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £50 - £80 per month  

Specific Buying Guide

You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Shetland Sheepdog Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Shetland Sheepdog puppy buying advice:
  1. Shetland Sheepdogs are popular dogs who are a much-loved choice for families and individuals alike, as such, they can command a lot of money and it is vital that you are aware of scammers. Make sure that the dam can be seen with the puppies, and that any medical or breeding documents are available upon request.

Other reading, Adopting Shetland Sheepdog Puppies and Rescue Organisations

A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: