meet theShetland Sheepdog

Did you know?

The Shetland Sheepdog, as its name implies, is essentially a working Collie in miniature.

Learn More

at aGlance

theBreed Standard

Embed the breed standard on your site.

Download the complete breed standard or club flier PDFs.

  • General Appearance

    The Shetland Sheepdog is a small, alert, rough-coated, longhaired 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.

  • Head

    The head should be refined and its shape, when viewed from top or side, should be a long, blunt wedge tapering slightly from ears to nose. Expression - Contours and chiseling of the head, the shape, set and use of ears, the placement, shape and color of the eyes combine to produce expression. Normally the expression should be alert, gentle, intelligent and questioning. Toward strangers the eyes should show watchfulness and reserve, but no fear. 

  • Body

    Neck should be muscular, arched, and of sufficient length to carry the head proudly. Faults - Too short and thick. Back should 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 and shoulder. Abdomen moderately tucked up. Faults - Back too long, too short, swayed or roached. Barrel ribs. Slab-side. Chest narrow and/or too shallow. There should be a slight arch at the loins, and the croup should slope gradually to the rear. The hipbone (pelvis) should be set at a 30-degree angle to the spine. 

  • Forequarters

    From the withers, the shoulder blades should slope at a 45-degree angle forward and downward to the shoulder joints. At the withers they are separated only by the vertebra, but they must slope outward sufficiently to accommodate the desired spring of rib. The upper arm should join the shoulder blade at as nearly as possible a right angle. Elbow joint should be equidistant from the ground and 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. 

  • Coat

    The 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 "standoff" 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. 

  • Hindquarters

    The 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 all angles. 

A Shetland Sheepdog
Learn More

theShetland Sheepdog Community

Add my DogAdd My Dog

Upload your favorite Shetland Sheepdog photos to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #akcShetlandSheepdog.

get involved inClubs & Events

Breed Club

theAmerican Shetland Sheepdog Association

Local Club

Find the Local Clubs in your area.


Explore and see all of the local Shetland Sheepdogs in your area.

watch a video of theShetland Sheepdog

exploreOther Breeds