white chested shetland sheepdog with blurred background

The Shetland Sheepdog: thinking of getting a Shetland Sheepdog? reading-time-icon 2 min read

As natural herders, Shetland Sheepdogs have energy in spades! Are you and your family passionate about the great outdoors?

If so, a Sheltie could be just the breed for you.

Place of origin: The Shetland Islands, Scotland

How big do Shetland Sheepdogs get? 33 – 41cm

How heavy are Shetland Sheepdogs? 6 – 12kg

Life Expectancy: 12 – 13 years

Colour: Merle, Tri-colour, Blue Merle, Black & White, Sable & White, Sable, Black & Tan


Please note: A dog’s exercise, training/stimulation and grooming requirements can depend on several factors such as age and health. The same goes for ongoing costs of ownership. For advice on one specific dog, we always advise chatting with a vet.


How much exercise does a Shetland Sheepdog need?

Shetland Sheepdogs are energetic and highly intelligent. They respond best to exercise that also stimulates their brain.

They’ll need 2 long walks every day and will gladly accompany their owners on hikes, jogs and bike rides. Think about playing fetch with your Sheltie too, this will also stimulate their brain by putting their herder’s instincts to work.

Training: how to train a Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdogs love having a job to do. They need a lot of training to stay challenged and stimulated, which is easier said than done.

Shelties can resort to destructive behaviour if they get bored, so aim to keep their training routine fun and exciting – avoiding repetition as best you can.

You may find that your Shetland Sheepdog is a natural barker. It’s a good idea to train this behaviour out of them when they’re young… using positive reinforcement and reward-based techniques of course.

shetland sheepdog sideways on

Grooming: do Shetland Sheepdogs shed?

Shelties were bred to withstand the harsh weather conditions of the Shetland Islands. As such, they have very thick coats.

That said, Shelties are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. You’ll need to brush their fur once a week to keep it in tip-top condition, making sure you start at the roots and brush all the way to the end, paying particular attention to the fine hair behind their ears.

Shelties will shed more during moulting season, so you may find yourself hoovering more than usual at this time.

Complete your Shetland Sheepdog’s grooming routine with regular tooth brushingnail clips and ear checks.

Shetland Sheepdog temperament, socialising and ideal home environment

Shetland Sheepdogs are pretty adaptable. They thrive in the company of their owners and can learn to get along with just about anyone – children and pets included!

If you’re looking for a canine companion to spend lots of quality time with, walking and training, a Shetland Sheepdog may be just the breed for you.

Shelties are generally fine in most climates and environments. They’ll happily live in a flat/apartment or somewhere with more space and a garden – so long as they get enough exercise and mental stimulation.

If your lifestyle is quite chaotic and doesn’t allot much spare time to spend with a furry friend, a Shetland Sheepdog may not be the right breed for you.

Cost of owning a Shetland Sheepdog

When considering the lifetime cost of owning a Shetland Sheepdog, remember to take into account:

Need more info?

For more info on finding the best dog breed for you and your lifestyle, have a chat with your vet.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.

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