Miniature Border Collie

Miniature Border CollieBreed History

The miniature border collie, also known as the Shetland sheepdog, or sheltie, was bred in the United Kingdom for herding livestock, such as sheep. Their name derives from their origin, the Shetland Islands. It was originally called a Shetland collie, but the name was changed to Shetland sheepdog to avoid confusion, as they are not actually collie dogs, they are a separate breed altogether. These sheepdogs are athletic, energetic and intelligent.

The Kennel Club officially recognized them in 1909. This hardy breed can thrive in harsh weather conditions, and enjoys living on a farm and being a family pet. Their average lifespan in between 12 and 14 years.


Sheltie Temperament

Miniature border collies are herd dogs, which make them agile and fast. Since they were bred to have a lot of energy and to be swift and fast dodgers, they are great at playing sports that demand flexibility and speed, like flyball.

Shelties are loyal and extremely smart and loving dogs. They have a tendency to be shy around new people and don’t handle small babies very well, however they can handle older children just fine.

They bark a lot, and their work dog instincts can be honed to teach them to be fantastic guard dogs.

Shelties are herding dogs, and as such, they are eager-to-please, and fast learners. It is easier to train this breed than others, for this very reason. However, if they are not given a task, they may invent one as a cure for boredom, such as barking at anyone, and anything that passes by the house, from children walking home from school, to random squirrels.

Because they have a natural tendency to bark, they must be trained if before they become a loud nuisance. A solution to this is to teach them to bark on command, which can then be used to teach them to be silent on command. Over time, the Sheltie will learn when it is appropriate to bark. Source:

Another thing to keep in mind is that they are sheep herding dogs, and have a tendency to try to bark at people and try to herd them. It is a breed behavioral trait that is instinctual, but it can be tamed with proper and consistent training.


Coat Color and Breed Information

Miniature border collies have a double coat consisting of protective outer long guard hairs and a thicker short undercoat that keeps them warm. The guard hairs repel water, while the interior short coat keeps them warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Shelties have a mane about the neck, and thick tail fur, with feathering patterns on the legs. Colors include white with black, sable or blue merle (silver grey) patterns.

Shelties have three basic coat color patterns: sable, tricolor and bi-black. Sable is mainly golden to mahogany brown with white on the legs, neck, and chest. Tricolor is tan, white, and black. Bi-black are black and white fur patterns.

Shelties that are blue merle, bi-blue, or sable merle often have blue eyes.

Average height is 13 to 16 inches, and their weight ranges are 14 to 27 pounds. Males tend to weigh more and be taller than their female counterparts.

A sheltie ears tip down or slightly bend down, often one-third or a quarter of the ear is bent down.


Miniature Border Collie Health Defects

Shelties tend to be healthy dogs. However, they can develop eye diseases, elbow and hip dysplasia, skin allergies or hypothyroidism. They are also susceptible to getting bladder cancer. Some forms of skin allergies can be malforming and damaging, as the immune system attacks the animal’s skin and sometimes, the nervous system.


How to Decide if They’re a Good Pet for You

Shelties have a pleasant personality. They are loving and work hard to please their owners. They crave companionship and will need a human family that will give them a lot of attention and take them out for walks and to play.

They require a lot of grooming, as they have a nice thick coat. They also shed a lot, so that is something to keep in mind when considering them for a family pet. Shelties must be groomed weekly, with brushing, nail trimming, and ear cleaning. Source:

As they are smart work dogs, miniature border collies do need daily exercise and stimulation. They love to run around enclosed yards and enjoy exercises that are task-based. Give them a job to do, and they’ll be very happy pets indeed.


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