The breed standard requires the Sheltie to be sound, hardiest of the registered breeds. His double coat is thick and protects him from the elements and enables him to withstand exposure of extreme temperatures.
The most striking feature is his ability to sense when something is wrong and his extremely strong awareness of property boundaries. He likes to work: lacking the opportunity to herd animals he may take over the children, keeping them where they should be or at least letting others know if something is wrong.
Their working instinct lends to inventive ways of pleasing his master. He is a pleasure to live with and a delight to own.
HISTORY: The actual origin is lost in the mists of the Shetland Islands and cannot be traced completely by records, but tradition makes the Sheltie as old as the islands themselves. There is little doubt that the small working Collie from which the modern show Collie derives, was likewise the progenitor of the Shetland Sheepdog.
Traits: Some Shelties grin: many cross their front legs while laying down: some use their hands extensively, and some wash their face like a cat. Shelties have a distinct language of whines, groans, grumbles, and warbles, and some even purr. The original Island Shelties never barked except to sound a warning. This is not as true today. Most Shelties are barkers. You will see many Shelties debarked or have the bark softened. Males have proven to be quieter, more stable, and easier to housebreak than females.
Sheepdog should be small 13" to 16"at the shoulder and weight not more than 25lbs. However, most but not all. pet Shelties are larger and weigh a little more because kennel breeders sell the pups for pet when they know they will go over size. Over 16" can not be shown for conformation. Size is one of the hardest things to obtain and a small pup can turn out to go over size while a large pup can slow and stay in size. Somewhat of a guessing game on a young dog. The outline should be so symmetrical that no part appears out of proportion to the whole. Dogs should appear masculine: bitches feminine.
Head. Refined in its shape. When viewed from top or side, be a long, blunt wedge tapering slightly from ears to nose, which must be black. The top skull should be flat. Skull and muzzle should be of equal length, balance point should parallel the top line of muzzle, but on a higher plane due to the presence of a slight but definite stop.
Coat: Should be double, the outer consisting of long, straight, harsh hair; theundercoat short, furry and so dense as to give the entire coat its "stand-off" quality. Mane and frill abundant, and impressive in males. Forelegs feathered, hind legs heavily but smooth below the hock joint. Hair on tall profuse. Excess hair on ears, feet and hocks can be trimmed.
Color: Black, blue Merle, and sable (golden to mahogany) Marked with varying amounts of white and or tan. There should be no rustiness in black or blue coats. Nor should there be washed out or degenerate colors such as pale sable or faded blue. More than 50 percent white shall eliminate them from competition.
Temperament: He is intensely loyal, affectionate, and responsive to his owner. He may be reserved toward strangers but not to the point of showing fear.
Eyes: Medium size with dark, almond shaped rims, set somewhat obliquely in the skull. Color must be dark, with blue or merle eyes permissible in blue merles
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. Most pups benefit by have their ears set with moleskin or glue while teething or periods of stress.
Neck: muscular, arched, and of sufficient length to carry the head proudly.
Body: Should appear moderately long as measured from shoulder joint to pelvic bone. Chest should be deep, the brisket, reaching to point of elbow. The ribs well sprung, but flattened at their lower half to allow free play of the foreleg and shoulder.
Tall: Long so that when it is laid along the back edge of the hind legs the lastvertebra will reach the hocks