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Revised Jan 1, 2008
The general appearance of the Shetland Sheepdog is that of a Rough Collie in miniature. A male Sheltie should appear distinctly masculine, and a female distinctly feminine.
The Shetland Sheepdog is affectionate, loyal, highly intelligent and an extremely willing worker. Shelties may be wary with strangers but are intensely devoted to their
family members, including children and other dogs. Shelties excel in performance events, and many still serve as working farm dogs. Shelties make excellent guard dogs, alerting to any intrusion with enthusiastic barking.
The head is refined but proportionate to the size of the body. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are of equal length, parallel, and joined by a slight but
definite stop. Viewed from the front and the side, the Shetland Sheepdog's head forms a long, blunt wedge shape.
The muscular, well-arched neck is sufficiently long to enable the head to be carried proudly, blending smoothly into well-laid-back shoulders.
Shoulders are smoothly muscled. The shoulder blades are well laid back. The upper arm appears to be equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent
right angle. Elbows are close to the body.
The body is slightly longer than tall, measured from prosternum to point of buttocks, but the length is derived from good angulation and not actual length of back.
Whether the dog is standing or moving, the line of the back is strong and level from the withers to the gradually sloping croup. The loin is moderately short, muscular and slightly arched, with very little tuck-up. The ribs
extend well back and are well sprung out from the spine, then curving down and inward to form a deep body. The brisket extends to the elbow. Viewed from the front, the chest is well filled and of moderate width.
The hindquarters are broad and muscular. In profile, the croup slopes slightly. The angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters.
Feet are compact, well knit, and oval in shape. Toes are well arched and pads are thick and hard. Nails are strong. Dewclaws may be removed.
The tail is set low, forming a natural extension of the topline. It is thicker at the base and tapers to the tip. A tail of the correct length extends at least to the
hock. When the dog is relaxed, the tail hangs down naturally or with a slight upward curve. When the dog is moving or alert, the tail may be raised slightly, but never higher than the line of the back.
The Shetland Sheepdog has a thick, weather-resistant, double coat. The outer coat is long, harsh textured and straight. The undercoat is soft, short, and dense. The coat
stands away from the body and is noticeably more profuse on males than females. The neck is heavily coated forming an impressive mane, frill and apron. The front of the forelegs are covered with short, smooth hair while the
back sides are well feathered. The rump and hind legs down to the hock are covered with thick hair that forms the characteristic "trousers." The tail is richly plumed. Hair on the face, tips of ears, feet and hocks is smooth.
Trimming of these smooth areas is allowed.
Acceptable colors include: black, blue merle, sable, sable merle, and predominantly white. The black, blue merle, sable, and sable merle are marked with varying amounts
of white, tan, or white and tan trim. Sable ranges from golden through mahogany. The predominantly white has a sable, black, blue merle or sable merle head, with or without tan trim, and the body has small amounts of
like-colored markings. White should never predominate on the head and should never surround the eyes. The ears should also be predominately colored. When evaluating the relative merit of dogs, faults and merits of color and
markings are always secondary to those of physical soundness and gait, except that a dog with the serious color faults described below should never be considered for awards in conformation competition.
Height for a mature Shetland Sheepdog ranges between 13 and 16 inches. Weight is proportionate to height.
The Shetland Sheepdog is a herding dog that requires an easy, almost floating movement, agility, and endurance. The correct shoulder assembly and well-fitted elbows allow a long, free stride in front. The forelegs should reach well forward without too much lift. Viewed from the front, the legs move in nearly parallel planes, inclining slightly more inward as speed increases. Hind legs should drive well under the body and move on a line with forelegs, with hocks turning neither in nor out. Feet should have no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other. Short, choppy movement; rolling or high-stepping gait; or overly close or overly wide movement are incorrect.
Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchid. Viciousness or extreme shyness. Smooth coat. Albinism. Brindle. White surrounding one or both eyes. One or both ears predominately white. Height above 16 inches or below 13 inches.
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