Dog Breed

Shetland Sheepdog

Primary image of Shetland Sheepdog dog breed
Full Name
Shetland Sheepdog
Your PupScore
Take the best dog breed quiz to get your Pup Scores!
Life Span
12 - 14 years
30 pounds

If you don't like being alone and want a companion that will be affectionate and protective, you found it - Shetland Sheepdog.
Shetland Sheepdogs are smart, lively and loyal. They are often used as medical alert dogs and as service or therapy dogs. They love to train and learn new tricks as it makes them feel fulfilled, almost as being with their family, especially children with who they can play for hours and hours.

Bred For
Sheep herding
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Shetland Sheepdog good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Shetland Sheepdog friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Shetland Sheepdog friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Shetland Sheepdog like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Shetland Sheepdog like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Shetland Sheepdog make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Shetland Sheepdog good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Shetland Sheepdog be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Shetland Sheepdog. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Shetland Sheepdog shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Shetland Sheepdog easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Shetland Sheepdog need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Shetland Sheepdog?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Shetland Sheepdog bark? Does the Shetland Sheepdog bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Shetland Sheepdog a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Shetland Sheepdog good at staying alone? Is the Shetland Sheepdog independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Shetland Sheepdog a good apartment dog? Can the Shetland Sheepdog live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Shetland Sheepdog?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Shetland Sheepdog tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Shetland Sheepdog?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Shetland Sheepdog tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Shetland Sheepdog?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Shetland Sheepdog try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Shetland Sheepdog a healthy dog? The general health of a Shetland Sheepdog should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Shetland Sheepdog? Is the Shetland Sheepdog too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Shetland Sheepdog drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Shetland Sheepdog have a large prey drive? Does the Shetland Sheepdog like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Shetland Sheepdog atheltic? Is the Shetland Sheepdog fast and strong?

The Shetland Sheepdog is a purebred dog that belongs to the Shepherd / Sheepdog sub group, which falls under the larger Herding dog breed group.
Herding group: The Herding group dogs all share an instinctual ability to control the movement of other animals. They have traditionally been raised on farms to help herd and protect valuable livestock. They are intelligent, and have been bred to treat each day like they have a "job" they must do. Their innate herding ability is such a big part of who they are, that they are known to even "herd" their owners, children, or other small dogs. Some can seem stubborn and even obsessed with their herding, since they take it seriously! They have high expectations, and must be stimulated mentally just as much as physically. The reward to these "high expectations" is that they can be trained very well, and are oftentimes used in competitions. Certain breeds such as the well known German Shepard are also used by Police forces, because of their discipline, intelligence, and ability to be trained.
Shepherd / Sheepdog sub-group: Shepherd dogs are the super performers of the dog world. For many generations they have served their owners by performing their job of helping in the farm- guarding, protecting, and herding. Shepherds were bred based off intelligence and temperament, and willingness to serve their families. Today they are excellent family dogs, but also excel as military service animals, emotional therapy dogs, and in competitive obedience competitions. They are highly trainable and intelligent, but that does not necessarily mean they are an easy dog or optimal for first time owners. With this potential comes greater responsibility from the owner. They need a firm owner who is willing to stimulate them both physically and mentally from an early age. They need a leader. If they have one, you will be rewarded with one of the friendliest and most intelligent dogs in the World.

Similar Breeds