VCA Abbott Animal Hospital

Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog

Basic Shetland Sheepdog Information

  • Lifespan: 12 - 14 years
  • Height: 13 - 16 inches
  • Weight: 20 - 20 pounds

Medical Conditions Seen in Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetland Sheepdog Traits

  • Joggin Partner
  • Lap Dog
  • Good with Children
  • Warm Weather
  • Cold Weather
  • Grooming Requirements
  • Shedding
  • Barking
  • Ease of Training

Shetland Sheepdog History

  • The Shetland sheepdog originated on the Shetland Islands of Scotland in the 1800s.
  • They almost certainly were derived from early collie-type dogs that also provided root stock for collies and border collies.
  • The terrain and sparse vegetation of the islands favored smaller livestock, which in turn only needed smaller herding dogs.
  • The Shetland sheepdog herded sheep, ponies and chickens, keeping them away from cultivated fields in a land with few fences.
  • Shetland sheepdogs were first exhibited as Shetland collies in England, but when collie fanciers objected, the name was changed to Shetland sheepdog.
  • The breed's popularity followed that of the collie, with many families opting for what they thought of as a miniature collie.
  • The Shetland sheepdog remains a steady favorite as a family dog throughout the world.

Shetland Sheepdog Behavior Concerns

  • Makes a loyal and biddable companion.
  • Playful and gentle with children, an excellent child's companion.
  • When excited, it can nip at heels in play.
  • A one family dog, tending to be aloof, even shy, toward strangers. Early socialization so that it willingly accepts new people is important.
  • Very good with other dogs and pets.
  • Some can be timid.
  • Fast and eager learners that enjoy being directed.
  • Sensitive to correction. Does best with gentle, reward-based training involving food, games or praise.
  • Most bark a lot.
  • One of the most accomplished breeds in the sports of agility and especially, obedience.

Shetland Sheepdog Suggested Exercises

  • Makes a calm yet alert housedog.
  • Its exercise needs can be met with a long walk, short run or backyard games.
  • Herding and agility are favorite physical and mental outlets.
  • Games and tricks can provide needed mental exercise. Shelties very much enjoy learning.

Shetland Sheepdog Grooming

  • Coat is long, harsh and straight, with a short dense undercoat.
  • Brushing and combing every other day is necessary to prevent mats.
  • Shedding is above average.

Suggested Shetland Sheepdog Nutritional Needs

  • Shelties tend to stay in good weight.
  • Adult dogs should be fed a balanced diet, with restricted calories if the dog starts to gain too much weight.

Did you know?

  • Grapes and raisins are harmful to dogs.
  • Some dog parasites are transferable to humans.
  • Many common pet ailments may be detected early and prevented by visiting your veterinarian twice yearly - saving both time, money, and most importantly, ensuring the best quality of life for your dog.

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Ask the Vet

Have unanswered pet health questions? Dr.Donna Spector, with 10+ years of hands-on Internal Medicine experience, is here with your answers every Friday.


Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

In case of emergency, please call us immediately. If we are in a staff meeting you can still come to the hospital for help. If it is after hours please call:

VCA Southshore                         781-337-6622  South Weymouth

VCA Boston Road                      413-783-1203 Springfield

Tufts Small Animal Hospital    508-839-5395 North Grafton