The Shetland Sheepdog, often known as the Sheltie, is a breed of herding dog that originated in the Shetland Islands of Scotland. This small, diligent dog is clever, vocal, excitable and willing to please. They are incredibly faithful to their owners, to the point where they are often referred to as "shadows" due to their attachment to family. This breed was formally recognized by the Kennel Club (UK) in 1909.
Like the Shetland pony, Shetland cattle and the Shetland sheep, the Shetland Sheepdog is a hardy but diminutive breed developed to thrive amidst the harsh and meagre conditions of its native islands. While the Sheltie still excels at herding, today it is often raised as a working dog and/or family pet.
The Sheltie's origins are obscure, but it is not a direct descendant of the Rough Collie, which it largely resembles. Rather, the Sheltie is a descendant of small specimens of the Scottish Collie and the King Charles Spaniel. They were originally a small mixed-breed dog, often only about 20 to 30 cm in height at the shoulder. It is thought that the original Shetland herding dogs were of the Spitz type, and were crossed with Collies from mainland Britain. In the early 20th century, James Loggie added a small Rough Collie to the breeding stock, and helped establish the breed that would become the modern Shetland Sheepdog.