The Different Breed Standards

 

 

 

 

 

The AKC Standard

 

General Appearance

The Shetland Sheepdog, like the Collie, traces to the Border Collie of Scotland, which, transported to the Shetland Islands and crossed with small, intelligent, longhaired breeds, was reduced to miniature proportions. Subsequently crosses were made from time to time with Collies. This breed now bears the same relationship in size and general appearance to the Rough Collie as the Shetland Pony does to some of the larger breeds of horses. Although the resemblance between the Shetland Sheepdog and the Rough Collie is marked, there are differences which may be noted. The Shetland Sheepdog is a small, alert, rough-coated, longhaired working dog. He must be sound, agile and sturdy. The outline should be so symmetrical that no part appears out of proportion to the whole. Dogs should appear masculine; bitches feminine.

 

Size, Proportion, Substance

The Shetland Sheepdog should stand between 13 and 16 inches at the shoulder. Note: Height is determined by a line perpendicular to the ground from the top of the shoulder blades, the dog standing naturally, with forelegs parallel to line of measurement.

Disqualifications-- Heights below or above the desired size range are to be disqualified from the show ring.

 

In overall appearance, the body should appear moderately long as measured from shoulder joint to ischium (rearmost extremity of the pelvic bone), but much of this length is actually due to the proper angulation and breadth of the shoulder and hindquarter, as the back itself should be comparatively short.

 

Head

The head should be refined and its shape, when viewed from top or side, should be a long, blunt wedge tapering slightly from ears to nose.

 

Expression

Contours and chiseling of the head, the shape, set and use of ears, the placement, shape and color of the eyes combine to produce expression. Normally the expression should be alert, gentle, intelligent and questioning. Toward strangers the eyes should show watchfulness and reserve, but no fear.

 

Eyes

Medium size with dark, almond-shaped rims, set somewhat obliquely in skull. Color must be dark, with blue or merle eyes permissible in blue merles only. Faults-- Light, round, large or too small. Prominent haws. Ears small and flexible, placed high, carried three-fourths erect, with tips breaking forward. When in repose the ears fold lengthwise and are thrown back into the frill. Faults-- Set too low. Hound, prick, bat, twisted ears. Leather too thick or too thin.

 

Skull and Muzzle

Top of skull should be flat, showing no prominence at nuchal crest (the top of the occiput). Cheeks should be flat and should merge smoothly into a well-rounded muzzle. Skull and muzzle should be of equal length, balance point being inner corner of eye. In profile the top line of skull should parallel the top line of muzzle, but on a higher plane due to the presence of a slight but definite stop. Jaws clean and powerful. The deep, well-developed underjaw, rounded at chin, should extend to base of nostril. Nose must be black. Lips tight. Upper and lower lips must meet and fit smoothly together all the way around. Teeth level and evenly spaced. Scissors bite.

Faults-- Two-angled head. Too prominent stop, or no stop. Overfill below, between, or above eyes. Prominent nuchal crest. Domed skull. Prominent cheekbones. Snipy muzzle. Short, receding, or shallow under-jaw, lacking breadth and depth. Overshot or undershot, missing or crooked teeth. Teeth visible when mouth is closed.

 

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck should be muscular, arched, and of sufficient length to carry the head proudly. Faults-- Too short and thick.

 

Back should be level and strongly muscled. Chest should be deep, the brisket reaching to point of elbow. The ribs should be well sprung, but flattened at their lower half to allow free play of the foreleg and shoulder. Abdomen moderately tucked up. Faults-- Back too long, too short, swayed or roached. Barrel ribs. Slab-side. Chest narrow and/or too shallow. There should be a slight arch at the loins, and the croup should slope gradually to the rear. The hipbone (pelvis) should be set at a 30-degree angle to the spine. Faults-- Croup higher than withers. Croup too straight or too steep.

 

The tail should be sufficiently long so that when it is laid along the back edge of the hind legs the last vertebra will reach the hock joint. Carriage of tail at rest is straight down or in a slight upward curve. When the dog is alert the tail is normally lifted, but it should not be curved forward over the back. Faults-- Too short. Twisted at end.

 

Forequarters

From the withers, the shoulder blades should slope at a 45-degree angle forward and downward to the shoulder joints. At the withers they are separated only by the vertebra, but they must slope outward sufficiently to accommodate the desired spring of rib. The upper arm should join the shoulder blade at as nearly as possible a right angle. Elbow joint should be equidistant from the ground and from the withers. Forelegs straight viewed from all angles, muscular and clean, and of strong bone. Pasterns very strong, sinewy and flexible. Dewclaws may be removed. Faults-- Insufficient angulation between shoulder and upper arm. Upper arm too short. Lack of outward slope of shoulders. Loose shoulders. Turning in or out of elbows. Crooked legs. Light bone. Feet should be oval and compact with the toes well arched and fitting tightly together. Pads deep and tough, nails hard and strong. Faults-- Feet turning in or out. Splay feet. Hare feet. Cat feet.

 

Hindquarters

The thigh should be broad and muscular. The thighbone should be set into the pelvis at a right angle corresponding to the angle of the shoulder blade and upper arm. Stifle bones join the thighbone and should be distinctly angled at the stifle joint. The overall length of the stifle should at least equal the length of the thighbone, and preferably should slightly exceed it. Hock joint should be clean-cut, angular, sinewy, with good bone and strong ligamentation. The hock (metatarsus) should be short and straight viewed from all angles. Dewclaws should be removed. Faults-- Narrow thighs. Cow-hocks. Hocks turning out. Poorly defined hock joint.

 

Coat

The coat should be double, the outer coat consisting of long, straight, harsh hair; the undercoat short, furry, and so dense as to give the entire coat its "standoff" quality. The hair on face, tips of ears and feet should be smooth. Mane and frill should be abundant, and particularly impressive in males. The forelegs well feathered, the hind legs heavily so, but smooth below the hock joint. Hair on tail profuse. Note: Excess-hair on ears, feet, and on hocks may be trimmed for the show ring. Faults-- Coat short or flat, in whole or in part; wavy, curly, soft or silky. Lack of undercoat. Smooth-coated specimens.

 

Color

Black, blue merle, and sable (ranging from golden through mahogany); marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan. Faults-- Rustiness in a black or a blue coat. Washed-out or degenerate colors, such as pale sable and faded blue. Self-color in the case of blue merle, that is, without any merling or mottling and generally appearing as a faded or dilute tri-color. Conspicuous white body spots. Specimens with more than 50 percent white shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition. Disqualification-- Brindle.

 

Gait

The trotting gait of the Shetland Sheepdog should denote effortless speed and smoothness. There should be no jerkiness, nor stiff, stilted, up-and-down movement. The drive should be from the rear, true and straight, dependent upon correct angulation, musculation, and ligamentation of the entire hindquarter, thus allowing the dog to reach well under his body with his hind foot and propel himself forward. Reach of stride of the foreleg is dependent upon correct angulation, musculation and ligamentation of the forequarters, together with correct width of chest and construction of rib cage. The foot should be lifted only enough to clear the ground as the leg swings forward. Viewed from the front, both forelegs and hindlegs should move forward almost perpendicular to ground at the walk, slanting a little inward at a slow trot, until at a swift trot the feet are brought so far inward toward center line of body that the tracks left show two parallel lines of footprints actually touching a center line at their inner edges. There should be no crossing of the feet nor throwing of the weight from side to side.

Faults-- Stiff, short steps, with a choppy, jerky movement. Mincing steps, with a hopping up and down, or a balancing of weight from side to side (often erroneously admired as a "dancing gait" but permissible in young puppies). Lifting of front feet in hackney-like action, resulting in loss of speed and energy. Pacing gait.

 

Temperament

The Shetland Sheepdog is intensely loyal, affectionate, and responsive to his owner. However, he may be reserved toward strangers but not to the point of showing fear or cringing in the ring. Faults-- Shyness, timidity, or nervousness. Stubbornness, snappiness, or ill temper.

 

 

 

 

UKC Standard

 

General Appearance

The general appearance of the Shetland Sheepdog is that of a Rough Collie in miniature. A male Sheltie should appear distinctly masculine, and a female distinctly feminine.

 

Characteristics

The Shetland Sheepdog is affectionate, loyal, highly intelligent and an extremely willing worker. Shelties may be wary with strangers but are intensely devoted to their family members, including children and other dogs. Shelties excel in performance events, and many still serve as working farm dogs. Shelties make excellent guard dogs, alerting to any intrusion with enthusiastic barking.

Faults: Shyness, timidity, nervousness, snappishness.

 

Head

The head is refined but proportionate to the size of the body. When viewed from the side, the skull and muzzle are of equal length, parallel, and joined by a slight but definite stop. Viewed from the front and the side, the Shetland Sheepdog's head forms a long, blunt wedge shape.

Faults: Skull and muzzle not parallel or of equal length; stop too prominent or absent.

 

Skull

The skull is flat and of moderate width. The occiput is not prominent. The skull tapers slightly toward the muzzle. Cheeks are flat.

Faults: Prominent occiput; broad or domed skull; prominent cheekbones.

 

Muzzle

Jaws are clean and powerful, with a well-developed underjaw, rounded at the chin that extends to the base of the nostrils. Lips are tight and black. Faults: Snippy muzzle; short, receding, narrow or shallow underjaw; Roman nose.

 

Teeth

The Shetland Sheepdog has a complete set of evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite.

Faults: Overshot or undershot bite; missing or crooked teeth; teeth visible when mouth closed.

 

Nose

The nose is black, and projects somewhat over the mouth.

 

Eyes

Correct eye color, shape and placement is essential to proper Sheltie expression, which is alert, intelligent, and gentle. Eyes are medium in size, almond shaped, and set somewhat obliquely. The inner corner of the eye marks the central point of the stop. Eye color is dark brown, except that blue merles, sable merles, and predominately whites with merle coloration on the head may have one or both eyes blue or flecked with blue. Eye rims are black. Haw should not be visible.

Faults: Eyes too light, too large, too small, or too round; visible haw; blue or blue-flecked eyes with any coat color other than merle or predominately white with merle.

 

Ears

Correct ear set and carriage are essential to proper Sheltie expression. Ears are small, moderately wide at the base, and fairly high set, but not so high as to give a sharp, terrier-like appearance. When alert, ears are carried semi-erect with the top one-fourth of the ear dropping forward. Otherwise, ears may be folded lengthwise and laid back into the ruff.

Faults: Ears set too low or too high; erect, drop, bat, or twisted ears; ear leather too thick or too thin.

 

Neck

The muscular, well-arched neck is sufficiently long to enable the head to be carried proudly, blending smoothly into well-laid-back shoulders.

 

Forequarters

Shoulders are smoothly muscled. The shoulder blades are well laid back. The upper arm appears to be equal in length to the shoulder blade and joins it at an apparent right angle. Elbows are close to the body.

 

Forlegs

The forelegs are straight with strong, but not heavy, bone that is oval in shape. Pasterns are strong, flexible and slightly sloping. Viewed from the front, the forelegs are parallel. Viewed from the side, the point of elbow is directly below the withers, and equidistant from the withers and the ground.

Faults: Upright shoulders; short upper arm; insufficient angulation; loose shoulders; out at elbows; crooked legs; bone too heavy or too light.

 

Body

The body is slightly longer than tall, measured from prosternum to point of buttocks, but the length is derived from good angulation and not actual length of back. Whether the dog is standing or moving, the line of the back is strong and level from the withers to the gradually sloping croup. The loin is moderately short, muscular and slightly arched, with very little tuck-up. The ribs extend well back and are well sprung out from the spine, then curving down and inward to form a deep body. The brisket extends to the elbow. Viewed from the front, the chest is well filled and of moderate width.

Faults: Back too long, too short, swayed, or roached; barrel ribs or slab sided; narrow or shallow chest; croup too steep or too flat; croup higher than withers.

 

Hindquarters

The hindquarters are broad and muscular. In profile, the croup slopes slightly. The angulation of the hindquarters is in balance with the angulation of the forequarters.

 

Hind Legs

The stifles are well bent, and the hocks are well let down. Hock joint is clean cut. When the dog is standing, the short, strong rear pasterns are perpendicular to the ground and, viewed from the rear, parallel to one another.

Faults: Poorly muscled thighs; poorly defined hock joint; hocks turning in or out.

 

Feet

Feet are compact, well knit, and oval in shape. Toes are well arched and pads are thick and hard. Nails are strong. Dewclaws may be removed.

Faults: Feet turning in or out; round, splay or hare foot.

 

Tail

The tail is set low, forming a natural extension of the topline. It is thicker at the base and tapers to the tip. A tail of the correct length extends at least to the hock. When the dog is relaxed, the tail hangs down naturally or with a slight upward curve. When the dog is moving or alert, the tail may be raised slightly, but never higher than the line of the back.

Faults: Tail too short; kinked tail.

 

Coat

The Shetland Sheepdog has a thick, weather-resistant, double coat. The outer coat is long, harsh textured and straight. The undercoat is soft, short, and dense. The coat stands away from the body and is noticeably more profuse on males than females. The neck is heavily coated forming an impressive mane, frill and apron. The front of the forelegs are covered with short, smooth hair while the back sides are well feathered. The rump and hind legs down to the hock are covered with thick hair that forms the characteristic "trousers." The tail is richly plumed. Hair on the face, tips of ears, feet and hocks is smooth. Trimming of these smooth areas is allowed.

Faults: Short or flat coat; absence of undercoat; wavy, curly, soft, or silky texture.

Disqualification: Smooth coat.

 

Color

Acceptable colors include: black, blue merle, sable, sable merle, and predominantly white. The black, blue merle, sable, and sable merle are marked with varying amounts of white, tan, or white and tan trim. Sable ranges from golden through mahogany. The predominantly white has a sable, black, blue merle or sable merle head, with or without tan trim, and the body has small amounts of like-colored markings. White should never predominate on the head and should never surround the eyes. The ears should also be predominately colored. When evaluating the relative merit of dogs, faults and merits of color and markings are always secondary to those of physical soundness and gait, except that a dog with the serious color faults described below should never be considered for awards in conformation competition.

Faults: Rustiness in a black or blue merle coat; washed-out colors, such as pale sable or faded blue; self-colored blue or sable merle with no merling or mottling.

Serious faults: Predominately white head.

Disqualifications: Albinism; brindle; white surrounding one or both eyes; one or both ears predominately white.

 

Height & Weight

Height for a mature Shetland Sheepdog ranges between 13 and 16 inches. Weight is proportionate to height.

 

Gait

The Shetland Sheepdog is a herding dog that requires an easy, almost floating movement, agility, and endurance. The correct shoulder assembly and well-fitted elbows allow a long, free stride in front. The forelegs should reach well forward without too much lift. Viewed from the front, the legs move in nearly parallel planes, inclining slightly more inward as speed increases. Hind legs should drive well under the body and move on a line with forelegs, with hocks turning neither in nor out. Feet should have no tendency to swing out, cross over, or interfere with each other. Short, choppy movement; rolling or high-stepping gait; or overly close or overly wide movement are incorrect.

 

 

 

The Canadian Kennel Club Standard

 

 

General Appearance

The Shetland Sheepdog is a small, alert, rough-coated, longhaired working dog. He must be sound, agile and sturdy. The outline should be so symmetrical that no part appears out of proportion to the whole. Dogs should appear masculine, bitches feminine.

 

Temperament

The Shetland Sheepdog is intensely loyal, affectionate, and responsive to his owner. However, he may be reserved towards strangers but not to the point of showing fear or cringing in the ring.

Faults: Shyness, timidity or nervousness. Stubbornness, snappiness, or ill temper.

 

Size

The Shetland Sheepdog should stand between 33.02 and 40.64 cm (13-16") at the highest point of the shoulder blade.

Note: Height is determined by a line perpendicular to the ground from the top of the shoulder blades, the dog standing naturally, with forelegs parallel to line of measurement.

 

Coat and Colour

The coat should be double, the outer coat consisting of long, straight, harsh hair; the undercoat short, furry, and so dense as to give the entire coat its "stand-off" quality. The hair on face, tips of ears and feet should be smooth. Maine and frill should be abundant, and particularly impressive in males. The forelegs well feathered, the hind legs heavily so, but smooth below the hock joint. Hair on tail profuse. NOTE: Excess hair on ears, feet and hocks may be trimmed for the show ring. Colour black, blue merle, and sable (ranging from golden through mahogany); marked with varying amounts of white and/or tan. Faults: Coat Short or flat, in whole or in part; wavy, curly, soft or silky. Lack of undercoat. Smooth-coated specimens. Rustiness in a black or blue coat. Washed out or degenerate colours, such as pale sable and faded blue. Self-colour in the case of blue merle, that is, without any merling or mottling and generally appearing as a faded or dilute tricolour. Conspicuous white body spots. Specimens with more than 50 per cent white shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition.

 

Head

The head should be refined and its shape, when viewed from top or side, be a long, blunt wedge tapering slightly from ears to nose, which must be black. Top of scull should be flat, showing no prominence at nauchal crest (the top of the occiput). Cheeks should be flat and should merge smoothly into a well-rounded muzzle. Skull and muzzle should be of equal length, balance point being the inner corner of eye. In profile, the topline of skull should parallel the topline of muzzle, but on a higher plane due to the presence of a slight but definite stop. JAWS clean and powerful. The deep, well-developed underjaw, rounded at the chin, should extend to base of nostril. Lips tight. Upper and lower lips must meet and fit smoothly together all the way around. Teeth level and evenly spaced. Scissors bite. EYES medium size with dark, almond-shaped rims, set somewhat obliquely in skull. Colour must be dark with blue or merle eyes permissible in blue merles only. EARS small and flexible, placed high, carried three-fourths erect, with tips breaking forward. When in repose the ears fold lengthwise and are thrown back into the frill. Contours and chiselling of the head, the shape, set and use of ears, the placement, shape and colour of the eyes, combine to produce expression. Normally the expression should be alert, gentle, intelligent and questioning. Towards strangers the eyes should show watchfulness and reserve, but no fear. Faults: Two-angled head. Too prominent stop, or no stop. Over-fill below, between or above eyes. Prominent nauchal crest. Domed skull. Prominent cheekbones, Snipey muzzle. Short, receding or shallow underjaw, lacking breadth and depth. Overshot or under-shot, missing or crooked teeth. Teeth visible when mouth is closed. Light, round, large or too small eyes. Prominent haws. Ears set too low. Hound, prick, bat, twisted ears. Leather too thick or too thin.

 

Neck

Neck should be muscular, arched, and of sufficient length to carry the head proudly. Faults: Too short and thick.

 

Forequarters

From the withers the shoulder blades should slope at a 45-degree angle forward and downward to the shoulder joint. At the withers, they are separated only by the vertebra, but they must slope outward sufficiently to accommodate the desired spring of rib. The upper arm should join the shoulder blade as nearly as possible at a right angle. Elbow joint should be equidistant from the ground or from the withers. Forelegs straight viewed from all angles, muscular and clean, and of strong bone. Pasterns very strong, sinewy and flexible. Dewclaws may be removed. Faults: Insufficient angulation between shoulder and upper arm. Upper arm too short. Lack of outward slope of shoulders. Loose shoulders. Turning in or out of elbows. Crooked legs. Light bone.

 

Body

In over-all appearance the body should appear moderately long as measured from shoulder joint to ischium (rearmost extremity of the pelvic bone), but much of this length is actually due to the proper angulation and breadth of the shoulder and hindquarter, as the back itself should be comparatively short. Back should be level and strongly muscled. Chest should be deep, the brisket reaching to point of elbow. The ribs should be well sprung, but flattened at their lower half to allow free play of the foreleg and shoulder. There should be a slight arch at the hip bone (pelvis) should be set at a 30-degree angle to the spine. Abdomen moderately tucked up. Faults: Back too long, too short, swayed or roached. Barrel ribs, Slab-sides. Chest narrow and/or too shallow. Croup higher than withers. Croup too straight or too steep.

 

Hindquarters

The thigh should be broad and muscular. The thighbone should be set into the pelvis at a right angle corresponding to the angle of the shoulder blade and upper arm. Stifle bones join the thighbone and should be distinctly angled at the stifle joint. The over-all length of the stifle should at least equal the length of the thighbone, and preferably, should slightly exceed it. Hock joint should be clean-cut, angular, sinewy, with good bone and strong ligamentation. The hock (metatarsus) should be short and straight viewed from all angles. Dewclaws should be removed. Feet should be oval and compact with the toes well arched and fitting tightly together. Pads deep and tough, nails hard and strong. Faults: Narrow thighs. Cow hocks. Hocks turning out. Poorly defined hock joint. Feet turning in or out. Splay feet. Hare feet. Cat feet.

 

Tail

The tail should be sufficiently long so that when it is laid along the back edge of the hind legs the last vertebra will reach the hock joint. Carriage of the tail at rest is straight down or in a slight upward curve. When the dog is alert the tail is normally lifted, but it should not be curved forward over the back. Faults: Too short, twisted at end.

 

Gait

The trotting gait of the Shetland Sheepdog should denote effortless speed and smoothness. There should be no jerkiness, nor stiff, stilted, up-and-down movement. The drive should be from the rear, true and straight, dependent upon correct angulation, musculature, and ligamentation of the entire hindquarter, thus allowing the dog to reach well under his body with his hind foot and propel himself forward. Reach of stride of the foreleg is dependant upon correct angulation, musculature and ligamentation of the forequarters, together with correct width of chest and construction of rib cage. The foot should be lifted only enough to clear the ground as the leg swings forward. Viewed from the front, both forelegs and hind legs should move forward almost perpendicular to ground at the walk, slanting a little inward at a slow trot, until at a swift trot the feet are brought so far inward towards centre line of body that the tracks left show two parallel lines of footprints actually touching a centre line at their inner edges. There should be no crossing of the feet or throwing of the weight from side to side. Faults: Stiff, short steps, with a choppy, jerky movement. Mincing steps, with a hopping up and down, or a balancing of weight from side to side (often erroneously admired as a "dancing gait" but permissible in young puppies). Lifting of front feet in hackney like action resulting in loss of speed and energy. Pacing gait.

 

Faults

Shyness, timidity or nervousness. Stubbornness, snappiness, or ill temper. Coat Short or flat, in whole or in part; wavy, curly, soft or silky. Lack of undercoat. Smooth-coated specimens. Rustiness in a black or blue coat. Washed out or degenerate colours, such as pale sable and faded blue. Self-colour in the case of blue merle, that is, without any merling or mottling and generally appearing as a faded or dilute tricolour. Conspicuous white body spots. Specimens with more than 50 percent white shall be so severely penalized as to effectively eliminate them from competition. Two-angled head. Too prominent stop, or no stop. Over-fill below, between or above eyes. Prominent nauchal crest. Domed skull. Prominent cheekbones, Snipey muzzle. Short, receding or shallow underjaw, lacking breadth and depth. Overshot or under-shot, missing or crooked teeth. Teeth visible when mouth is closed. Light, round, large or too small eyes. Prominent haws. Ears set too low. Hound, prick, bat, twisted ears. Leather too thick or too thin. Too short and thick a neck. Insufficient angulation between shoulder and upper arm. Upper arm too short. Lack of outward slope of shoulders. Loose shoulders. Turning in or out of elbows. Crooked legs. Light bone. Back too long, too short, swayed or roached. Barrel ribs, Slab-sides. Chest narrow and/or too shallow. Croup higher than withers. Croup too straight or too steep. Narrow thighs. Cowhocks. Hocks turning out. Poorly defined hock joint. Feet turning in or out. Splay feet. Hare feet. Cat feet. Tail too short, twisted at end. Stiff, short steps, with a choppy, jerky movement. Mincing steps, with a hopping up and down, or a balancing of weight from side to side (often erroneously admired as a "dancing gait" but permissible in young puppies). Lifting of front feet in hackney-like action resulting in loss of speed and energy. Pacing gait.

 

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