Extremely popular today as pets and companions, Shetland Sheepdogs boast a long tradition of herding work. While the Shetland Sheepdog almost certainly descended from larger Collies such as the Scottish Rough Collie, its smaller size owes largely to the challenging environmental conditions of its native Shetland Islands home. The breed may have existed as long as Collies themselves and probably came to the islands with early traders, whalers or settlers. In their new homes, the dogs herded flocks and helped find shelter and food across the land.
Given the relative isolation of the Sheltand Islands, the dogs were little known until worldwide export began in the early 20th century. A distinct breed was recognized in 1909 and breed clubs were formed around the same time. The dogs have participated in field, herding, obedience and conformation trials ever since.
The breed standard describes the Shetland Sheepdog as a small Collie, reaching about 16 inches in height. The dogs are calm and devoted, enjoying physical activity and companionship.
Size: Males and Females 13 to 16 inches (at the withers).
Appearance: Sturdy, balanced body with lively, speedy motion.
Coat: Long, straight, dense, coarse coat with smooth hair on the face, feet and tips of the ears; abundant fur around neck, tail and rear legs. Black, blue merle or sable color with white or tan markings.
Head: Flat skull with a rounded muzzle; dark, almond shaped, medium-sized eyes with dark rims; small ears, carried high.
Tail: Long, feathered, mildly curved.