Mackland Shetland Sheepdogs Shelties South Africa

The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog. They are small to medium dogs, and come in a variety of colours, such as sable, tri-color, and blue merle. They are vocal, excitable, energetic dogs who are always willing to please and work hard. They are partly derived from dogs used in the Shetland Isles for herding and protecting sheep. The breed was formally recognized by The Kennel Club in 1909.
The Shetland Sheepdog's early history is not well known. Although of obscure origin, the sheltie is probably a descendant of small specimens of the Scottish Collie and the King Charles Spaniel. It was developed to tend the diminutive sheep of the Shetland Islands, whose rugged, stormy shores have produced other small-statured animals such as the Shetland pony.
Today it is raised as a farm dog and family pet. They were originally a small mixed-breed dog, 330 mm in height and it is thought that the original Shetland herding dogs were of Spitz type, and were crossed with collie-type sheepdogs from mainland Britain. In the early 20th century, James Loggie added a small Rough Collie to the breeding stock, and helped establish what would become the modern Shetland sheepdog. The original name of the breed was Shetland Collie, but this caused controversy among Rough Collie breeders at the time, so the breed's name was formally changed to Shetland Sheepdog.

Unlike many miniature breeds that resemble their larger counterparts, this breed was not developed simply by selectively breeding the Rough Collie for smaller and smaller size. The original sheepdog of Shetland was a Spitz-type dog, probably similar to the modern Icelandic Sheepdog. This dog was crossed with mainland working collies brought to the islands, and then after being brought to England, it was further extensively crossed with the Rough Collie, and other breeds including some or all of the extinct Greenland Yakki, the King Charles Spaniel (not the Cavalier), the Pomeranian, and possibly the Border Collie. The original Spitz-type working sheepdog of Shetland is now extinct, having been replaced for herding there by the Border Collie. The Shetland Sheepdog in its modern form has never been used as a working dog on Shetland, and ironically it is uncommon there.
When the breed was originally introduced breeders called them Shetland Collies, which upset Rough Collie breeders, so the name was changed to Shetland Sheepdog. During the early 20th century (up until the 1940s), additional crosses were made to Rough Collies to help retain the desired Rough Collie type – in fact, the first AKC Sheltie champion's dam was a purebred rough Collie.
The year 1909, marked the initial recognition of the Sheltie by the English Kennel Club, with the first registered Sheltie
being a female called Badenock Rose. The first Sheltie to be registered by the American Kennel Club was "Lord Scott" in 1911.

The general appearance of the Sheltie is that of a miniature Rough Collie. They are a small, double coated, working dog, agile and sturdy. Blue merle Shelties may have blue eyes or one brown and one blue eye, but all others have dark coloured eyes. Their expression should be that of alertness with a gentle and sometimes reserved nature. They are often very good with children. They carry their tail down low, only lifted when alert and never carried over the back. They are an intensely loyal breed, sometimes reserved with strangers but should not be too shy.

Shelties have a double coat, which means that they have two layers of fur that make up their coat. The long, rough guard hairs lie on top of a thick, soft undercoat. The guard hairs are water-repellent, while the undercoat provides relief from both high and low temperatures.

The English Kennel Club describes three different colours: tricolour, blue merle, and sable (ranging from golden through mahogany), marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan. Essentially, however, a blue merle dog is a genetically black dog, either black, white, and tan (tricolour). In the show ring, blue merles may have blue eyes; all other colours must have brown eyes.

Basic coat colours
Sable – Sable is dominant over other colours. May be pure for sable (two sable genes) or may be tri-factored or bi-
factored (carrying one sable gene and one tricolour or bicolour gene). Tri-factored sable and shaded sable are not
interchangeable terms.
Tricolour – black, white, and tan. Tricolour is dominant over bi-black. May be pure for tricolour (2 tri genes) or may be
bi-factored (carrying one tricolour gene and one bicolour gene).
Bi-black – black and white. Bi-black is recessive. A bi-black Sheltie carries 2 bi-black genes; thus, any dog of any other
colour with a bi-black parent is also bi-factored.

"Modified" coat colours
Any of the above colours may also have a colour modification gene. The colour modification genes
are merling and white factoring. Merling dilutes the base colour (sable, tricolour, or bi-black) causing a black dog's
coat to show a mix of black, white, and gray hairs, often with black patches.
Blue merle—blue, white, and tan. A tricolour with the merling gene. May have blue eyes.
Bi-blue—blue and white. A bi-black with the merling gene. May have blue eyes.
Sable merle—faded or mottled sable and white. Often born with a mottled coat of darker brown over lighter brown, they usually present as a faded or lighter sable or can appear as a washed out blue-merle. Sable merles are shown in the breed ring as sables.
White factoring affects the amount of white on the dog. It is hard to tell, without actually breeding, whether a dog is white-factored or not, though dogs with white going up the stifle (the front of the hind leg) are usually assumed to be white-factored. Breeding two white-factored dogs can result in colour-headed whites—Shelties with coloured heads (sable, tricolor, bi-black, or blue or sable merle) and white bodies. For show dogs, dogs with more than 50% white are heavily penalized and thus are not shown in the breed ring; they are normal in every other way.
Double merles, a product of breeding two merle Shelties together, have a very high incidence of deafness and/or blindness.
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. Unacceptable colours in the show ring are a rustiness in a blue or black coat. Colours may not be faded, no conspicuous white spots, and the colour cannot be over 50% white.

Shelties normally weigh around 5–11 kilograms. In general, males are taller and heavier than females. Accepted height ranges may differ depending on country and standard used. KUSA specifies a male’s height as 37cm ± 2½ cm at the withers, and a female’s height as 36cm ± 2½ cm, however, some shelties can be found outside of these ranges but are not considered truly representative of the breed.

To conform to the breed standards, the Shelties' ears should bend slightly or "tip", this contributes to the "proper
Sheltie expression. The ear is to have the top third to a quarter of the ear tipped. Wide-set (too much distance between) ears are also not a desired trait, nor are ears which tip too low down.

Shelties have a double coat, and often shed a lot of the time, no matter the season. The top coat consists of long,
straight, water-repellent hair, which provides protection from cold and the elements. The undercoat is short, furry, and very dense and helps to keep the dog warm. Mats can be commonly found behind the ears, under the elbow on each front leg, and in the fluffy fur on the hind legs, as well as around the collar. The coat is usually shed twice a year. Females will also shed right before or right after giving birth. Male shelties technically shed less than females but fur still comes off constantly. Shaving these dogs is very bad for their skin and some do not regrow any significant amount of hair after being shaved, a condition known as alopecia. Spaying or neutering can alter coat texture, making it softer, more prone to matting and even more profuse. It should be noted that Shelties shed in clumps which can be pulled or brushed out of the main coat, rather than individual hair. This makes them much easier to groom and clean-up after than many smooth-haired dogs, which leave loose fur in their space.

Shelties have a high level of intelligence. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, an expert on animal intelligence, the Shetland sheepdog is one of the brightest dogs, ranking 6th out of 132 breeds tested.


For the most part, Shelties are athletic and healthy. Like the Rough Collie, there is a tendency toward inherited
malformation and disease of the eyes. Each individual puppy should have his eyes examined by a qualified veterinary ophthalmologist. Some lines may be susceptible to hypothyroidism, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, or skin allergies.
Compared to other dogs, Shetland Sheepdogs have a four-fold increased risk of developing transitional cell carcinoma, a cancer of the bladder.
Dermatomyositis may occur at the age of 4 to 6 months, and is frequently misdiagnosed by general practice veterinarians as sarcoptic ordemodectic mange. The disease manifests itself as alopecia on the top of the head, supra- and suborbital area and forearms as well as the tip of the tail. If the disease progresses to its more damaging form, it could affect the autonomic nervous system and the dog may have to be euthanised. This disease is generation-skipping and genetically transmitted, with breeders having no clear methodology for screening except clear bloodline records. Deep tissue biopsies are required to definitively diagnose dermatomyositis.
Von Willebrands disease is an inherited bleeding disorder. In Shelties, affected dogs as a general rule are not viable and do not live long. The Sheltie carries type III of von Willebrands, which is the most severe of the three levels. There are DNA tests that were developed to find von Willebrands in Shelties. It can be done at any age, and it will give three results: affected, carrier and non-affected. Shelties may also suffer from hypothyroidism, which is the under-functioning thyroid gland. It is an Autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. Clinical symptoms include hair loss or lack of coat, over or under-weight, and listlessness.
Although small breed dogs are not usually plagued by hip dysplasia, it has been identified in Shelties. Hip dysplasia
occurs when the head of the femur and the acetabulum do not fit together correctly, frequently causing pain and/or lameness. Hip dysplasia is thought to be genetic. Many breeders will have their dogs' hips x-rayed and certified .

The two basic forms of inherited eye diseases/defects in Shelties are Collie eye anomaly (CEA) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Collie eye anomaly: An autosomal recessive inherited trait which results in incomplete closure of the embryonic fissure; seen almost exclusively in Collies, Border collies and Shetland sheepdogs. CEA can be detected in young puppies by a veterinary ophthalmologist. The disease involves the retina. It is always bilateral although the severity may be disparate (unequal) between eyes. Other accompanying defects (ophthalmic anomalies) may wrongly indicate a more severe manifestation of CEA. CEA is present at birth and although it cannot be cured, it doesn't progress. Signs of CEA in shelties are small, or deepset eyes. That is, the severity of the disease at birth will not change throughout the dog's life. CEA is scored similar to the way hips are.
CEA is genetic, inheritance is autosomal recessive, this means that even a dog that shows no phenotypic signs of the condition may be a carrier. Breeders should actively try to breed this disease out by only breeding with dogs that have "clear" eyes or very low scoring eyes. A CEA score considered too high to breed with may still be low enough not to affect the dog's life. These dogs live happy and healthy lives as pets but should be not used for breeding. The recent development of a DNA test for CEA makes control of this disease much more likely as more breeders take advantage of the test.

PRA can be detected at any time but usually does not show up until the dog is around two years of age. Breeding dogs should be tested for genotype for this condition before breeding and only animals found "clear" should be used for breeding. PRA can occur in most breeds of dog including mix breeds. In Most breeds it is also an autosomal
recessive condition, however it has been found in other breeds to be autosomal dominant and sex-linked in others. As the name suggests, it is a progressive disease which will eventually result in total blindness. Like CEA, an affected dog should not be bred with but these dogs can live happily as pets. Currently there is no treatment for either disease, but as both diseases (CEA and PRA) are hereditary it is possible to eliminate them using selective breeding.

MDR1 Gene Mutation - According to the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, the Shetland Sheepdog, and many other herding breeds, have a risk of being born with a MDR1 Gene Mutation, with about 15% of individuals affected. Cross-breeds are also affected. Dogs carrying Mdr1-1 share a common ancestor that experienced remarkable evolutionary success, having contributed genetically to at least nine distinct breeds of dog. Due to this genetic mutation, affected dogs may exhibit sensitivity or adverse reactions to many drugs. including Acepromazine, Butorphanol, Doxorubicin, Erythromycin, Ivermectin, Loperamide, Milbemycin, Moxidectin, Rifampin, Selamectin, Vinblastine, and Vincristine.

Work & Dog Sports

As the name suggests, Shelties can, and have been, used as sheepdogs and still participate in sheepdog trials to this day.
Herding dogs conduct livestock from one place to another by causing fear-flocking and flight behaviour. The instinct to herd is primarily a product of breeding. No amount of training can substitute this trait.

In their size group, the breed dominates dog Agility, Obedience, Conformation, Flyball, Tracking, and Herding.
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 combined to present the ideal.

Alert, gentle, intelligent, strong and active.

Affectionate and responsive to his owner, reserved towards strangers, never nervous.

Head refined 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 ears.

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 under jaw. Lips tight. Teeth sound with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite i.e. 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. Forelegsstraight, 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 rear.

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. Maybe 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. Hindlegs 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 of 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 undesirable.

Ideal height at withers : Dogs : 37 cms (14½ ins)
Bitches : 35.5 cms (14 ins).
More than 2½ cms (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 and its effect on health & welfare of the dog

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


sheltie south africa eyes

Sheltie ears south africa

sheltie ears pricked and tipped south africa

shetland sheepdog (sheltie)


Clear or shaded, any colour from pale gold to deep mahogany, in its shade, rich in tone, marked with varying amounts of white/and or tan
sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa

Tricolour and Black & tan
Intense black on body, rich tan markings preferred or a majority black, with only tan points, no white.

sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa

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 of undercoat highly undesirable; general effect must be blue

sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa

Bi black
Black and white
White markings may appear in blaze, collar and chest, frill, legs and tip of tail
Patches of white on body highly undesirable

sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa

Bi blue
Merle and white (no tan)
White markings may appear in blaze, collar and chest, frill, legs and tip of tail
sheltie shetland sheepdog colours colors south africa

History of the Sheltie
Barbara Thornley

Those of us who are keen readers of as many books on The Shetland Sheepdog as we can lay our hands on, must be aware of how the Sheltie has changed since it was the little dog, working in all weathers on the Islands to look after the sheep belonging to his Master and the Family. The climate of the Islands was cold and bleak in the long Scottish winters, so this dog although small, was strong because he had to withstand all extremes of weather and intelligent because of the work he must do. The early pictures show us a small, fairly long haired dog, with an almost Border Collie type head and some have been described as 'pommie' because of their rounded skulls, deep stop and short muzzles.

It is not really known exactly when the Sheltie has it origins, but in the very early 1800's they were thought to be a type of small working Collie which had been crossed (mostly by accident!) with the Icelandic Dog bought from Iceland on the fishing boats visiting the Shetland Islands. It has also been suggested that there may be some crossing with the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, but most of this information is sketchy and not actually proven. What is known however, is that a Mr. J Loggie who was one of the first Sheltie enthusiasts from the islands took the rather courageous step of introducing a small show Collie into the breed. This he did to establish a definite type, up until that time the little dog tended to appear as a variety of types, sometimes with a head which resembled a spitz type of dog, with pricked ears, or sometimes with a head of more rounded appearance, with a round eye to match! Apparently the actions of Mr. Loggie caused some concern amongst the Sheltie fanciers of that time, but it has since been acknowledged that it was probably one of the best things to happen.

history shelties

Little was known on Mainland Britain of the Shetland Sheepdog until 1906 when the first Shelties were shown at Cruft's Dog show. Two years after that the Shetland Collie Club was founded in Lerwick, the capital of the Shetland Islands, then in 1909 the Club asked the Kennel Club for permission to change the name of the breed to Shetland Sheepdog, but this was refused. The breed was at this time, rather smaller than the present day - in 1909 the standard described them as "a Collie in miniature, height to be about 12 inches" and at this time there were two varieties, rough and smooth.

By 1909, the breed was becoming fairly popular both as a pet and a showdog and several societies were scheduling classes on the Mainland, although people were quite confused about the different types still to be seen in the ring.

1914 was a turning point for the breed with the formation of the English Shetland Sheepdog Club in January, then in August of the same year the Kennel Club gave the breed it's official recognition as a separate breed and gave it the name Shetland Sheepdog. The following year Challenge Certificates were offered and a year later the first breed champion emerged - Ch. Woodwold. Due to the World War which was raging during these important first years, little breeding and showing was done and by 1917 the breed was facing almost extinction. Miss Humphries of the Mountfort prefix, decided that it was time for another Collie cross as type seemed to be varied again, so the introduction of a small Collie bitch, Teena who was mated to a dog called Wallace seemed to set the foundations for the type which we know today. Miss Humphries made no secret of her Collie cross and most breeders accepted that in order to establish a definite type, this was necessary.

1924 saw the last of the necessary Collie crosses, this time a bitch, Chestnut Sweet Lady was mated to Chestnut Rainbow, a tricolour Sheltie and the result was eight puppies. This was to be one of the most important litters in the breeds modern day history, as one of the puppies, Chestnut Bud was sold to Jim Saunders of the Helensdale prefix and Bud was behind many of the famous Helensdales. Four puppies were sold to Dr. Margaret Todd of the Clerwood prefix, and the smallest puppy was bought by Mrs. E. Baker of the Houghton Hill prefix. This dog was the sire of Ch. Uam Var of Houghton Hill, one of the most important sires in those years leading up to the Second World War. Mrs. Sangster of the Exford prefix was the daughter of Mrs. Baker, so the Exfords had the good foundation of the Houghton Hills on which to build. The Exfords and a few years later, the Riverhills, were already established before the war, but were to become probably the most well known kennels of the post war years.

The entries of Shelties at shows during the late forties and fifties steadily increased, with more and more people finding the charms of the Sheltie hard to resist. Pictures of the Riverhills of this period show us the wonderfully balanced heads with flat skulls together the correct shape and placement of the eyes which makes the expression that is exclusive to the Sheltie. The Misses Rogers were very keen horsewomen and so construction and movement was a very important item on their breeding agenda as they knew the pitfalls of breeding animals with bad construction. The Exford Shelties were also very famous for their excellent construction and movement. They lived in the New Forest - a large area of natural forest in the South of England. They had the total freedom of the forest and used to accompany Mrs. Sangster when she rode her horses out on their daily exercise, so the Exfords had to be able to keep up with a galloping horse for many miles.

The fifties and early sixties saw a huge increase in the popularity of the breed, not always a good thing because there is a danger of any breed becoming commercialised. The influence of the pre war kennels was, by this time, very important and the newer breeders who were keen to learn tended to attach themselves to the experienced people.

In the show ring during this period of time, very little importance was paid to temperament - the breed standard stated that the dog should be "reserved towards strangers" and I think this was taken literally. I can remember going to shows in the early sixties and watching some of these really beautiful dogs standing behind their owners legs while they were being judged, with the owners hardly noticing. Most of the championship show judges were breed specialists and were used to this kind of behaviour so paid very little attention.

The dog that turned this situation around (in my opinion) was Ch. Antoc Sealodge Spotlight. A most beautiful Sheltie to look at in profile, he had a lovely shape with a super neck and topline, well-balanced head with the neatest of ears which he never stopped using. He hadn't got the best front angulation in the world, but he was of outstanding quality and correct breed type. He was also a magnificent showman, totally in tune with his handler, and it was very obvious that he really enjoyed being a show off!! He took the eye of several all breeds judges, which previously a Sheltie had been unable to do (with the exception of Ch. Helensdale Ace). This then made the newer breeders sit up and take notice, realising that not only did they have to aim to produce Shelties of the right size, with correct heads and construction but they must also do something to improve the temperament.

It was quite an uphill struggle. So many of the larger kennels kept Shelties in vast numbers which meant they were unable to give the dogs the individual attention that they required to improve their temperaments. As the larger kennels also had the stud dogs which were influencing the breed at that time, it was difficult to plan a breeding programme when type, quality and now temperament was the consideration. Sadly Spotlight who was mainly Riverhill bred, was discovered to be infertile after siring just a few litters - his breeding and outstanding temperament would have been invaluable to many people, but it was not to be.

By the end of the sixties, Shelties were being bred by people who kept just a few dogs in the house, which meant that the dogs were very much part of the family, mixed with the children, saw all the visitors and were beginning to become much more sociable. However, with the increase in the number of Shelties being bred and shown, came a decline in the quality of the puppies being produced. People were taking less notice of the advice of the experienced breeders and were producing Shelties without thinking of the future generations. Temperament of course, was improving, but bad faults were creeping in, like straight shoulders and upper arms, also Shelties which were well over the size limit. Breeders were breeding from bitches of inferior quality and mating them to stud dogs who were popular and winning well at the time, without thinking whether or not the pedigrees of each were compatible. 

Then came CEA!! Up until this time the only eye disease we had heard of was PRA and this didn't really affect the Sheltie. Then Dr. Keith Barnett who was the leading authority on animal eyes in this country visited America and came back with the disturbing news of this new disease which had been discovered in Shelties there. Everyone breeding Shelties was encouraged to have all their dogs tested. Some did and some decided it was best not to know, so without making testing compulsory it was very difficult to establish any kind of pattern of how the disease was, or was not progressing in the U.K. Most of the newer breeders tested, but the pre war people decided that it was best to leave well alone.

By the mid seventies, more testing was being done and a pattern of affected lines was emerging, which meant some of the top stud dogs were no longer being used by so many people. This led to quite a variation in type and quality again, as breeders were tending to use clear dogs irrespective of their pedigree or suitability. Of course, much discussion followed on this subject, whether or not we should concentrate mainly on eradicating CEA or push CEA to the side and breed for the correct type.

During the eighties, the breed lost the influence of some of the top kennels, Riverhill, Shelert and Exford being the main ones. With their demise the breed had not only lost some outstanding Shelties, but the knowledge and experience of their breeders went with them. It is a well known fact that with age and experience comes wisdom and knowledge, so the breed had then to rely on those who had taken the trouble to learn and benefit from the teachings of these knowledgeable people.

Some new names have emerged in the late eighties and nineties, some have fallen by the wayside, others have proved to be beneficial to the breed by breeding for correct type and quality. Sadly type is still varied, but this is bound to happen when so many people are breeding, and do not have the experience to know exactly what is meant by the correct type. It is the responsibility of every breeder and judge to concentrate on this true Sheltie type and as we go into the next century we can only hope that everyone understands the importance of doing this, thus keeping the Sheltie as our standard describes it "a small long haired working dog of great beauty"

It is true to say that over the years there have been changes in the appearance of the Sheltie, but the last forty years have seen the improvement of the temperament which has to be an asset. We now have to safeguard the breed and not allow it to become a tool for ambitious people who are looking for a quick way to the top and who care nothing for the well being and future preservation of the correct type.

For more about Shetland Sheepdogs in South Africa, please see this website:

Conditions that affect the Sheltie