Origin and Purpose
Shetland Sheepdog, like the Collie, traces to the Border Collie
of Scotland which, transported to the Shetland Islands and crossed
with small, intelligent, long-haired breeds, was reduced to miniature
Subsequently, crosses were made from time to time
with Collies. This breed now bears the same relationship in size
and general appearance to the Rough Collie as the Shetland Pony
does to some of the larger breeds of horses. Although the resemblance
between the Shetland Sheepdog and the Rough Collie is marked,
there are differences which may be noted.
Shetland Sheepdog is a small, alert, rough-coated, long-haired
working dog. He must be sound, agile and sturdy. The outline should
be so symmetrical that no part appears out of proportion to the
whole. Dogs should appear masculine, bitches feminine.
Shetland Sheepdog is intensely loyal, affectionate, and responsive
to his owner. However, he may be reserved towards strangers but
not to the point of showing fear or cringing in the ring.
Shetland Sheepdog should stand between 13 and 16 inches (33-41
cm) at the shoulder.
Note: Height is determined by a line perpendicular to
the ground from the top of the shoulder blades, the dog standing
naturally, with forelegs parallel to line of measurement.
coat should be double, the outer coat consisting of long, straight,
harsh hair; the undercoat short, furry, and so dense as to give
the entire coat its "stand-off" quality. The hair on
face, tips of ears and feet should be smooth.
Mane and frill should
be abundant, and particularly impressive in males. The forelegs
well feathered, the hind legs heavily so, but smooth below the
hock joint. Hair on tail profuse.
Note: Excess hair on ears, feet, and on hocks may be trimmed for the
show ring. Colour black, blue merle, and sable (ranging from golden
through mahogany); marked with varying amounts of white and/or
head should be refined and its shape, when viewed from top or
side, be a long, blunt wedge tapering slightly from ears to nose,
which must be black. Top of skull should be flat, showing no prominence
at nuchal crest (the top of the occiput).
Cheeks should be flat
and should merge smoothly into a well-rounded muzzle.
muzzle should be of equal length, balance point being the inner
corner of eye. In profile, the topline of skull should parallel
the topline of muzzle, but on a higher plane, due to the presence
of a slight but definite stop.
Jaws clean and powerful. The deep,
well-developed underjaw, rounded at chin, should extend to base
Lips tight. Upper and lower lips must meet and fit
smoothly together all the way around.
Teeth level and evenly spaced.
Eyes medium size with dark, almond-shaped rims,
set somewhat obliquely in skull. Colour must be dark, with blue
or merle eyes permissible in blue merles only.
Ears small and
flexible, placed high, carried three-fourths erect, with tips
breaking forward. When in repose the ears fold lengthwise and
are thrown back into the frill.
Contours and chiseling of the
head, the shape, set and use of ears, the placement, shape and
colour of the eyes, combine to produce expression. Normally the
expression should be alert, gentle, intelligent and questioning.
Towards strangers the eyes should show watchfulness and reserve,
but no fear.
should be muscular, arched, and of sufficient length to carry
the head proudly.
the withers, the shoulder blades should slope at a 45 degree angle
forward and downward to the shoulder joint. At the withers they
are separated only by the vertebra, but they must slope outward
sufficiently to accommodate the desired spring of rib.
arm should join the shoulder blade as nearly as possible at a
right angle. Elbow joint should be equidistant from the ground
or from the withers.
Forelegs straight viewed from all angles,
muscular and clean, and of strong bone. Pasterns very strong,
sinewy and flexible. Dewclaws may be removed.
overall appearance, the body should appear moderately long as
measured from shoulder joint to ischium (rearmost extremity of
the pelvic bone), but much of this length is actually due to the
proper angulation and breadth of the shoulder and hindquarter,
as the back itself should be comparatively short.
be level and strongly muscled.
Chest should be deep, the brisket
reaching to point of elbow.
The ribs should be well sprung, but
flattened at their lower half to allow free play of the foreleg
There should be a slight arch at the loins, and
the croup should slope gradually to the rear.
The hip bone (pelvis)
should be set at a 30 degree angle to the spine.
thigh should be broad and muscular. The thighbone should be set
into the pelvis at a right angle corresponding to the angle of
the shoulder blade and upper arm.
Stifle bones join the thighbone
and should be distinctly angled at the stifle joint. The overall
length of the stifle should at least equal the length of the thighbone,
and preferably should slightly exceed it.
Hock joint should be
clean-cut, angular, sinewy, with good bone and strong ligamentation.
The hock (metatarsus) should be short and straight, viewed from
Dewclaws should be removed.
Feet should be oval and
compact with the toes well arched and fitting tightly together.
Pads deep and tough, nails hard and strong.
tail should be sufficiently long so that when it is laid along
the back edge of the hind legs the last vertebra will reach the
Carriage of tail at rest is straight down or in a
slight upward curve. When the dog is alert, the tail is normally
lifted, but it should not be curved forward over the back.
trotting gait of the Shetland Sheepdog should denote effortless
speed and smoothness. There should be no jerkiness, nor stiff,
stilted, up-and-down movement.
The drive should be from the rear,
true and straight, dependent upon correct angulation, musculation,
of the entire hindquarter, thus allowing the dog to reach well
under his body with his hind foot and propel himself forward.
Reach of stride of the foreleg is dependent upon correct angulation,
musculation and ligamentation of the forequarters, together with
correct width of chest and construction of rib cage.
should be lifted only enough to clear the ground as the leg swings
Viewed from the front, both forelegs and hind legs should
move forward almost perpendicular to ground at the walk, slanting
a little inward at a slow trot, until at a swift trot the feet
are brought so far inward towards centre line of body that the
tracks left show two parallel lines of footprints actually touching
a centre line at their inner edges. There should be no crossing
of the feet or throwing of the weight from side to side.
timidity, or nervousness. Stubbornness, snappiness, or ill temper.
- Coat short or flat, in whole or in part; wavy curly, soft or silky.
Lack of undercoat.
- Smooth-coated specimens.
- Rustiness in a black
or a blue coat.
- Washed out or degenerate colours, such as pale
sable and faded blue. Self-colour in the case of blue merle, that
is, without any merling or mottling and generally appearing as
a faded or dilute tricolour.
- Conspicuous white body spots. Specimens
with more than 50 per cent white shall be so severely penalized
as to effectively eliminate them from competition.
- Too prominent stop, or no stop.
- Overfill below, between
or above eyes.
- Prominent nuchal crest.
- Domed skull.
- Snipey muzzle.
- Short, receding, or shallow underjaw,
lacking breadth and depth.
- Overshot or undershot, missing or crooked
- Teeth visible when mouth is closed.
- Light, round, large
or too small eyes.
- Prominent haws.
- Ears set too low.
- Hound, prick,
bat, twisted ears.
- Leather too thick or too thin.
- Too short and
thick a neck.
- Insufficient angulation between shoulder and upper
- Upper arm too short.
- Lack of outward slope of shoulders.
- Loose shoulders.
- Turning in or out of elbows.
- Crooked legs.
- Back too long, too short, swayed or roached.
- Barrel ribs.
- Chest narrow and/or too shallow.
- Croup higher than
- Croup too straight or too steep.
- Narrow thighs.
- Hocks turning out.
- Poorly defined hock joint.
- Feet turning in
- Splay feet. Hare feet. Cat feet.
- Tail too short, twisted
- Stiff, short steps, with a choppy, jerky movement.
steps, with a hopping up and down, or a balancing of weight from
side to side (often erroneously admired as a "dancing gait" but
permissible in young puppies).
- Lifting of front feet in hackney
like action, resulting in loss of speed and energy.
in adults over 12 months of age.
- Heights below or above the desired
range, i.e., 13-16 inches (33-41 cm).
ears, and expression
ribs and brisket
croup, and tail
thigh, and stifle
and lack of waste motion when trotting
(Source: Canadian Kennel Club