Description & History

The Shetland Sheepdog is an ancient breed. Little is known of the their history, but it is almost certain that their ancestors came originally from Scandinavia and that for hundreds of years dogs were kept on the Shetland Islands to herd cattle and sheep.

Today's dogs are descended from the rough - coated show Collie and appear to have altered little since the beginning of the present century.

Once known as the Toonies (from the Norwegian for 'farm'), these dogs, as well as being used for herding, were also used to protect vegetables and other crops. It was very easy for the crops to be damaged or stolen, as there was no fencing or any form of natural barrier on the island, so the Sheltie was the only means the farmer had of guarding his land.

Their natural willingness to obey not only helped the farmer, but in later years contributed to their success in obedience competitions.

Until 1909 the Sheltie was known as the Shetland Collie. In 1914 they were recognised by the British Kennel Club and also became known as the Shetland Sheepdog.

The Sheltie is always happy to be taken for a long walk, but this is not necessary as long as it receives adequate exercise.

Rosamund Walters.

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