Home   »   Breeds   »   Shetland Sheepdog   »   History

Shetland Sheepdog
History
Looking for a Shetland Sheepdog?

The Shetland Sheepdog, as its name implies, is a working Collie in miniature. There is little doubt that the small working Collie, from which came the modern show Collie evolving on larger lines, was likewise the progenitor of the Shetland Sheepdog evolving on smaller ones. It was assisted in the process by the environment of the Islands, which produced diminutiveness in all its stock, and by crosses with other breeds residing in, if not indigenous to, the Islands.

As the Islands were isolated from the trend of travel, the little dogs were a long time coming to the ken of dog-loving folk. Thus the breed did not take its place on the show bench until well along in the present century. The year 1909 marked the initial recognition of the Sheltie by the English Kennel Club. Not until 1914 did the breed obtain separate classification as Shetland Sheepdogs, and not Shetland Collies, because of pressure brought to bear by the Collie breeders. The first Challenge Certificate was awarded to the breed in 1915, after which World War I put a stop to all progress for the next few years.

The first Shetland Sheepdog registered by the American Kennel Club (1911) was "Lord Scott" who was imported from Shetland by John G. Sherman, Jr. of New York. The American Shetland Sheepdog Association, parent club of the breed, was organized at the Westminster Kennel Club show in 1929, and held its first specialty show in 1933.

The breed characteristics common to all Shelties can be used for two purposes pertaining to their working propensities or their companionship qualities. It is their nature to obey, willingly and naturally, with few or no lessons needed, an instinct coming no doubt from the many generations of obediently trained dogs behind them. This responsiveness has helped to make them one of the most successful of all breeds in Obedience trial competition. The instinct to guard property or places and to give watchdog warning makes them invaluable for work as farm helpers or home protectors, a heritage of the constant vigilance required to protect the crofters' cottages, flocks, and herds from invaders of all kinds. Their ability to run swiftly and gracefully, and jump with agility over obstacles, makes them a delight in fields and woods as well as in farm work. But what most endears them to everybody is their devoted, docile natures and their keen and all but human intelligence and understanding.





More Info