Southside Shelties

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Sheltie Info.

On this page, you will find information regarding the wonderful breed that we know and love -- the shetland sheepdog, also known as the sheltie!  If you have any questions about shelties, feel free to contact us.

In a Nutshell...

Shetlies are intelligent and playful herding dogs.  These dogs typically love playing with children and learning new tricks.  Shelties are known as being easy to train and are world-class competitors in obedience, agility, and herding.  They are loyal and affectionate with their family, but can be a bit reserved towards strangers.  They will bark to let you know someone's at the door... or even across the street!  This makes them excellent watchdogs -- and also, excellent family dogs as well.  

History of the Breed

Shelties originated on the Shetland Isles in Scotland.  The first shelties were bred in the 1700's by crossing Scandinavian Spitz dogs with working Rough Collies.  The resulting dogs had a smaller stature and a thick double coat.  These traits were preferred to the larger collies, in that these new dogs required less food, and with their double coat, had a better chance of surviving through the harsh winters.  Initially, this breed was called Shetland Collies.  However, in the 1900's, Collie breeders started calling for more differentiation between the two breeds.  It was then that the breed name was changed to Shetland Sheepdogs, as is remains today. 


Shelties are classified as herding dogs.  They share this classification with other breeds such as the Collie, Australian Shepherd, and Border Collie, among others.  These dogs were originally bred to herd sheep, ponies, and chickens for farmers. 

Size & Statistics

Shelties mature at 13-16 inches tall at the withers, and weigh 15-25 pounds as adults.  They are considered to be a medium sized dog.  Their life expectancy is 12-14 years.  They tend to be vocal dogs and tend to like to bark.  Shelties were ranked the 27th most popular dog breed by AKC in 2020.



Shelties are generally a healthy breed.  Like all breeds, some dogs may be faced with challenges, such as like hip / elbow dysplasia and eye disease, but the majority of shelties are healthy dogs. 

Every breed has their own medical issues that can be checked, and clearances can be given through testing:

  • hips (OFA)
  • eyes (CERF exam)
  • thyroid
  • vonWillebrand’s Disease (VWD)
  • multi-drug resistance (MDR1)
  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
  • Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Some of these tests are genetic DNA tests -- the test is performed once, and you know the status of your dog.  These include the MDR1 and vonWillebrand’s Disease and more recently, Collie Eye Anomaly.   Other tests need to be done periodically throughout the shelties life, such as the eye exams and thyroid exams. 


Personality / Temperament

Shelties are often described as bright, playful, and energetic.  They are known for being good with kids, as well as good with other dogs and other pets.

These dogs are highly trainable and are eager to please their owner.  They want you to be proud of them!  Shelties are one of the most successful obedience breeds.

As a herding dog, shelties may be inclined to bark at, and even herd people.  Some shelties with higher herding instincts may nip at the heels of people, in order to herd them.  However inclined, these versatile dogs can adapt to many different living situations, if provided with proper outlets for their energy.  These dogs do best when at least taught basic obedience and manners, such as not jumping on people, as well as simple commands such as sit, down, and stay.

Shelties are very personable dogs that love their family.  They are known for following their family members around the house. 

Grooming Requirements / Coat Care

Shelties are a long haired breed.  They have a thick double coat which keeps them cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Despite their fuzzy appearance, these dogs should never be shaved to keep them cool, or to lessen shedding.  While shelties do shed year-round, they seasonally blow their coats in the spring and fall.  Their long fur is most easily managed if they are brushed regularly.  This also will help keep dog-hair-tumbleweeds (as we call them) on your floor to a minimum.

It is especially important to brush these dogs, to ensure that their fur does not mat up.  The most common places for mats are on the hindquarters and behind the ears.  Paying attention to these spots regularly will keep the fur soft and mat-free.


Energy Level / Activity Level

Shelties are known for being a more active breed of dog.  They enjoy a good run and a good workout.  While they may not always be up for "fetch," you might try frisbee or a dog sport with them.

Shelties thrive on mental exercise and love having a job to do.  They love to herd, and may sometimes herd little kids.  They also love to chase, and may chase you, or kids, squirrels, or even cars.  Because of this, care should be taken and these dogs should remain on-leash in open areas.