Breed Standard of the Shetland Sheepdog

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 combine 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 underjaw. 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. Forelegs straight 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

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. May be 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

Double; outer coat of long hair, harsh-textured and straight.
Undercoat soft, short and close. Mane and frill very abundant,
forelegs well feathered. Hind legs 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.


clear or shaded, any colour from pale gold to deep mahogany, in its
shade, rich in tone. Wolf-sable and grey undesirable.

intense black on body, rich tan markings preferred.

clear silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan
markings preferred but absence not penalised. Heavy black markings,
slate or rusty tinge in either top or undercoat highly undesirable;
general effect must be blue.

also recognized 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 (14 ins); bitches: 36 cms (14
ins) More than 2 cms (1 in) above or below these heights highly

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 upon the health and
welfare of the dog.

revised by ESSC July 08