Also known as the Sheltie, this herding breed originated from Scotland. Like the Rough Collie, it is a descendant of the Border Collie which was crossed with the now extinct Icelandic Yakkin. When it was first introduced as a breed it was called the Shetland Collie but a controversy ensued amongst the Collie fanciers and breeders so the name was changed to Shetland Sheepdog. It weighs an average of 14 to 27 pounds and has a height range of 13 to 16 inches. From the side its head looks like a blunt wedge. It has a black nose, dark eyes that are almond shaped (although blue eyes can occur with blue merle coat), and ears that are small with the tips folding forward and the rest carried erect. It has a long tail that reaches to the hocks and well feathered. Shelties have double coats where the topcoat is made of long and rough hairs and the undercoat is thick, dense and soft. There are three main colours: shades of sable ranging from golden to mahogany; tri-colour which is made up of black, white and tan; and blue merle which is made up of grey with other colours.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a highly intelligent breed that excels at obedience competition. Its other skills include tracking, herding, watch dog, guarding, agility and performing tricks. They make good companion dogs with their alert and pleasant temperament. As a herder, the Sheltie can command large cattle while keeping small sheep in check. They enjoy running free and any task that will challenge their intelligence. The Sheltie can live for about 12 to 15 years.