The Shetland Sheepdog (or Sheltie) is a breed of dog, originally bred to be small sheep dogs ideally suited for the terrain of the Shetland Islands. They resemble a miniature Rough Collie; however the breed was not created by miniaturizing (nor is it related to) the Rough Collie. more...
Shelties have a double coat consisting of long guard hairs covering a fluffy insulative undercoat.
Several coat colors exist. There are three main acceptable show colors, sable (ranging from golden through mahogany), tricolor (black, white, and tan) and blue merle (grey, white, black, and tan). Bi-Blues (grey, black, and some white) and bi-blacks (white and black) are less common but still acceptable. The best-known color is the sable, which is dominant over other colors. Shaded, or mahogany, sables can sometimes be mistaken for tricolored Shelties due to the large amount of dark shading on their coats. Another acceptable color in the show ring, but much less seen, is the sable merle, which can often be hard to distinguish from regular sables after puppyhood. Double merles, the product of breeding two merle Shelties together, can be bred but have a higher incidence of deafness or blindness than the other coat colors. There are few additional coat colors that are quite rare because they are unacceptable in the breed standard, such as color-headed white (majority of fur white, with the head 'normally' marked). 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 coat.
Sizes of Shelties differ from country to country, with the United States of America having a wide size range of 13-16 inches (at the withers ), and the UK with an ideal of 14-15 inches. However, due to the number of large, but excellent, Shelties far back in the ancestry of many of the breed, a rather large number are oversize and thus are throwbacks to earlier generations.
The Shetland Sheepdog is an outstanding companion dog with a delightful temperament. It is lively, intelligent, trainable, and willing to please and obey. Shelties are loving, loyal, and affectionate with their family, but are naturally aloof with strangers and might not appreciate being petted by someone they do not know; for this reason Shelties must be socialized extensively. Most Shelties, if encouraged, will warm up to strangers if given time. Some can be quite reserved and some have varying degrees of shyness. Although they are excellent family pets, Shelties do especially well with children if they are raised with them from an early age; however, their small size makes it easy for a child to accidentally injure them, so supervision is necessary.
Shelties have a reputation as vocal dogs, but that might be undeserved. Ill-bred dogs often display a terrier-like personality--hyper and yappy, always on the go--but can just as easily be overly timid and may become a fear-biter. The intelligent Sheltie can be trained to be an excellent guard dog, and not yappy, giving two or three barks to alert its owner to a person at the door or to something amiss. However, three or more Shelties constitute a pack, and thus barking is harder to control.
Read more at Wikipedia.org