Small, long-haired working dog of great beauty, free from cloddiness
and coarseness, action lithe and graceful. Outline symmetrical so that no part appears out of
proportion to whole. Abundant coat, mane and frill, shapeliness of head
and sweetness of expression combine to present the ideal.
Alert, gentle, intelligent, strong and active.
Affectionate and responsive to his owner, reserved towards strangers,
Head and Skull
and elegant with no exaggerations; when viewed from top or side a long, blunt wedge,
tapering from ear to nose. Width and depth of
skull in proportion to length of
skull and muzzle. Whole to be considered in connection with 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. Topline of skull parallel to topline 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
Medium size obliquely set, almond-shape. Dark brown except in the case
of merles, where one or both may be blue or blue flecked.
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.
Jaws level, clean, strong with well-developed underjaw. Lips tight.
Teeth sound with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, ie. upper
teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws. A full
complement of 42 properly placed teeth highly desired.
Muscular, well arched, of sufficient length to carry head proudly.
Shoulders very well laid back. At
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 but not heavy, bone.
Pasterns strong and flexible.
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
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. Hocks straight when viewed from behind.
Oval, soles well padded, toes arched and close together.
Set low; tapering bone reaches to at least hock; with abundant hair
and slight upward sweep. May be slightly raised when moving but never
over level of back. Never kinked.
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.
Double; outer coat of long hair, harsh-textured and straight.
Undercoat soft, short and close. Mane and frill very abundant, forelegs
well feathered. Hind legs above hocks profusely covered with hair, below
hocks fairly smooth. Face smooth. The
coat should fit the body and not dominate or detract from the outline of
the dog. Smooth-coated specimens highly undesirable.
Sable: clear or shaded, any colour from pale gold to deep mahogany, in
its shade, rich in tone. Wolf-sable and grey undesirable. Tricolour:
intense black on body, rich tan markings preferred. Blue Merle: clear
silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan marking
preferred but absence not penalised. Heavy black markings, slate or
rusty tinge in either top or undercoat highly undesirable; general
effect must be blue. Black and White, and Black and Tan: also recognised
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 penalised. Patches of white on body highly
Ideal height at withers: dogs:
37cms (14.5ins); bitches: 36cms (14ins). More than 2.5cms (1in) above or
below these heights highly undesirable.
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.
Copyright of ŠThe Kennel Club.
Kennel Club Recommended Book List
- Baker, Maurice. Shetland Sheepdogs today. Hert: Ringpress, 1988,
- Davis, M. Pet owners guide to the Shetland Sheepdog. Herts:
Ringpress, 1994, ISBN 0948955988
- McKinney, Betty Jo and Rieseberg, Barbara. Sheltie talk. Colorado:
Alpine, 1976, ISBN 0931866014
- Merrithew, C. The Shetland Sheepdog. An owners guide to a happy,
healthy pet. NY: Howell, 1995, ISBN 0876053851
- Moody, Jan. Shetland Sheepdogs - The Sheltie. Worcester: Bredicot,
1990, ISBN 0951681206
- Nicholas, Anna Katherine. The book of the Shetland Sheepdog. NJ:
TFH, 1984, ISBN 0866220364
- Pisano, Beverly (ed). Shetland Sheepdogs. NJ: TFH, 1979, ISBN
- Riddle, Maxwell. The new Shetland Sheepdog. NY: Howell, 1985, ISBN
- Rogers, Felicity M. All about the Shetland Sheepdog. 2nd ed
London: Pelham, 1980, ISBN