The Shetland sheepdog (Sheltie) shares ancestry with the collie but despite its appearance, it is a breed unto itself. They prefer exercise to lounging around but size and temperament make them a good choice for many families.
History of the Breed
The Sheltie made its way from the Shetland Islands to the U.S. in 1908. The American Kennel Club recognized them as a breed in 1911.
Color and Size
The American Shetland Sheepdog Association notes that Sheltie colors include black, sable and blue merle (black with lighter spots of blue/gray) marked with white. They are about 13 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder.
Their dense, double coat has a furry under-layer with long, coarse hair on top. They require regular brushing, at least twice a week, and may require professional grooming once a month. The hair on their feet also needs regular trimming since it tends to grow between the toes and pads.
Described as highly intelligent, docile and devoted dogs by the AKC, Shelties may sometimes revert to their history of watching over sheep by barking and herding people. They can be standoffish with strangers but bond well with their families.
Perhaps due to their history as farm employees, the Sheltie likes to have a job. City dwellers can fulfill that calling by training and entering them in obedience, herding or agility competitions (see Resource below).