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Shetland Sheepdog basic information

The Shetland Sheepdog (or Sheltie) is a breed of dog, originally bred to be small sheep dogs ideally suited for the terrain of the Shetland Islands. They resemble a rough Collie in miniature and have been crossed from time to time with the rough Collie.

Shelties have a double coat consisting of long guard hairs covering a fluffy insulative undercoat.

Several coat colors exist. There are three main acceptable show colors, sable (ranging from golden through mahogany), tricolor (black, white, and tan) and blue merle (grey, white, black, and tan). Bi-Blues (grey, black, and some white) and bi-blacks (white and black) are less common but still acceptable. The best-known color is the sable, which is dominant over other colors. Shaded, or mahogany, sables can sometimes be mistaken for tricolored Shelties due to the large amount of dark shading on their coats. Another acceptable color in the show ring, but much less seen, is the sable merle, which can often be hard to distinguish from regular sables after puppyhood. Double merles, the product of breeding two merle Shelties together, can be bred but have a higher incidence of deafness or blindness than the other coat colors. There are few additional coat colors that are quite rare because they are unacceptable in the breed standard, such as color-headed white (majority of fur white, with the head 'normally' marked). There have been reports of a brindle Sheltie but many Sheltie enthusiasts agree that a cross sometime in the ancestry of that specific Sheltie could have produced a brindle coat.

Sizes of Shelties differ from country to country, with the United States of America having a wide size range of 13-16 inches (at the withers), and the UK with an ideal of 14-15 inches. However, due to the number of large, but excellent, Shelties far back in the ancestry of many of the breed, a rather large number are oversize (17+ inches, over 25 pounds) and thus are throwbacks to earlier generations.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Shetland_Sheepdog".
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