Shetland Sheepdog,
or "Sheltie" for short.


Standard of the Shetland Sheepdog
Group 1 - FCI's breed nr. 88, of june 24, 1987

Native land: England.

General appearance: Small, longhaired working dog of great beauty, free from cloddiness and coarseness. Outline symmetrical, so that no part appears out of proportion to the whole. Abundant coat, mane and frill, shapeliness of head and sweetness of expression combine to the present ideal.

Characteristics: Alert, gentel, intelligent, strong and active.

Temperament: Affectionate and responsive to his owner, reserved towards strangers, never nervous.

Head and skull: Head refined; when viewed from top or side a long, blunt wedge, tapering from ear to nose. Width of skull in proportion to length of skull and muzzle. Whole to be considered in connection with the size of dog. Skull flat, moderately wide between ears, with no prominence of occipital bone. Cheeks flat, merging smoothly into well rounded muzzle. Skull and muzzle of equal length, dividing point inner corner of eye. Top-line of skull parallel to top-line of muzzle, with slight but definite stop. Nose, lips and eye-rims black. The characteristic expression is obtained by the perfect balance and combination of skull and foreface, shape, colour and placement of eyes, correct position and carriage of ears.

Mouth: Jaws level, clean, strong with a well-developed underjaw. Lips tight. Teeth - sound with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping the lower teeth and set square to the jaws. A full complement of 42 properly placed teeth highly desired.

Eyes: Medium size, obliquely set, almond shape. Dark brown except in the case of merles, where one or both may be blue or blue flecked.

Ears: Small, moderately wide at base, placed fairly close together on top of skull. In repose; thrown back; when alert brought forward and carried semi-erect with tips falling forward.

Neck: Muscular, well-arched, of sufficient length to carry the head proudly.

Forequarters: Shoulders very well laid back. At the withers separated only by vertebrae, but blades sloping outwards to accommodate desired spring of ribs. Shoulder joint well angled. Upper arm and shoulder blade approximately equal in length. Elbow equidistant from ground and withers. Forelegs straight when viewed from front, muscular and clean with strong bone. Pasterns strong and flexible.

Body: Slightly longer from point of shoulder to bottom of croup than height at withers. Chest deep, reaching to point of elbow. Ribs well sprung, tapering at lower half to allow free play of forelegs and shoulders. Back level, with graceful sweep over loins; croup slopes gradually to rear.

Hindquarters: Thigh broad and muscular, thigh bones set into pelvis at right angles. Stifle joint has distinct angle, hock joint clean cut, angular, well let down with strong bone. Hock straight when viewed from behind.

Feet: Oval, soles well-padded, toes arched and close together.

Tail: Set low; tapering bone reaches to at least hocks, with abundant hair and slight upward sweep. May be slightly raised when moving but never over level of back. Never kinked.

Gait/movement: Lithe, smooth and graceful with drive from hindquarters, covering the maximum amount of ground with the minimum of effort. Pacing, plaiting, rolling or stiff, stilted up and down movement highly undesirable.

Coat: Double; outer coat of long hair, harsh textured and straight. Undercoat soft, short and close. Mane and frill very abundant, forelegs well-feathered. Hindlegs above hocks profusely covered with hair, below hocks fairly smooth. Face smooth. Smooth coated specimen highly undesirable.


Sables: Clear or shaded, any colour from pale gold to deep mahogany, in it's shade, rich in tone. Wolf sable and grey highly undesirable.

Tricolours: Intense black on body, rich tan markings preferred.

Blue merles: Clear, silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan markings preferred but absence not penalized. Heavy
black markings, slate or rusty tinge in either top or undercoat highly undesirable; general effect must be blue.

Black & white and Black & tan: are also recognized colours. White markings may appear (except on black and tan) in blaze, collar and chest, frill, legs and tip of tail. All or some white markings are preferred (except on black and tan) but absence of these markings not to be penalized. Patches of white on body highly undesirable.

Size: Ideal height at withers:
Dogs 37,0 cms
Bitches 35,5 cms

More than 2,5 cms above or below these heights highly undesirable.

Faults: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Note: Male Animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Quoted from The English Shetland Sheepdog Club; Handbook 1995.


Related links:

Norwegian Shetland Sheepdog Club

 Leeland Shetland Sheepdogs