"Sheltie" is a nickname for the Shetland sheepdog, a dog breed that is a miniature-sized, working collie. The breed was recognized in England in 1909 and by the American Kennel Club in 1914. Today you'll find shelties herding sheep or farm animals as well as being companionable, loving, intelligent pets.
Shelties have long hair that can be sable, black or blue in color with shades of white or tan markings. Miniature in size, they range from 13 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder, with blunt heads that taper from ears to nose. Noses are always black, and eyes are black or blue-colored. The sheltie's outer coat has long, straight and harsh hair, while the undercoat is short, furry and dense. Shelties weigh anywhere from 14 to 27 pounds and have a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years.
Shelties are loyal, alert and trainable, according to the AKC. In terms of behavior toward owners, shelties are calm and devoted dogs that are highly intelligent and understanding. Considered one of the easier dogs to train, shelties are very obedient when given commands, particularly in herding and agility. According to the website Dog Breed Info Center, shelties do well in small living quarters such as apartments, but they should get daily outdoor time and exercise.
The sheltie dates back to the border collie breed in Scotland, which was crossbred with longer-haired breeds on Scotland's Shetland Islands. The crossbreeding led to miniature-sized proportions, which led to the present-day sheltie. In the Shetland Islands, shelties often were used as protectors of the home and farm. According to Dog Breed Info Center, the Shetland sheepdog was cross-bred in the Shetland Islands as early as 1700 with the Icelandic yakkin, a small-sized dog that is now extinct.
The sheltie was recognized in England in 1909, but was not accepted as its own breed until 1914 when the American Kennel Club classified it in the herding group. The first AKC-registered sheltie was named Lord Scott and was owned by John G. Sherman, who transported him from Shetland to New York.
According to the AKC, a sheltie could earn a total of 100 points when being shown. A maximum of 25 points can be awarded for general appearance, which includes symmetry, temperament and coat; 20 points for the head, which includes the skull, muzzle, eyes, ears and expression; 20 points for the body, which includes the neck, back, chest, ribs and tail; 15 points for the forequarters; 15 points for the hindquarters; and 5 points for the gait. A sheltie's gait should be smooth while trotting with no wasted motion between steps.