The Shetland Sheepdog is a beautiful rough-coated collie in miniature with a long, blunt, wedge-shaped head. The top plane of the muzzle should be parallel to that of the skull. The glorious long double coat sports a lion-like mane and frill around the neck, and comes in blue merle, sable, and black with various amounts of white and/or tan. The outer coat is lined with a dense, woolly undercoat. The legs and long tail are feathered, and the hair on the face and feet is smooth. The tail should reach to the hock, and is carried low. The almond-shaped eyes are generally dark, except in blue merle dogs, in which they might be blue or a merle color. The dog should have a watchful, gentle, questioning, and intelligent expression. The nose should be black. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The ears are small, flexible, and expressive, with dropping tips. The Sheltie is an agile, swift dog and a good jumper. Dogs should appear masculine and bitches, feminine.
The Shetland Sheepdog probably originated from collies brought to the Shetland Isles, off the coast of Scotland. These small shepherds were very gentle when herding the miniature stock. One of the top obedience-competition breeds, the Sheltie is an extremely smart and willing worker. The Shetland Sheepdog was first recognized in England in 1909, and first registered in the United States in 1911. Because of his kindly disposition, the Sheltie has become one of today's most popular companion dogs. The breed also excels at competitive obedience and agility.