Shetland Sheepdog “Sheltie” Vs Collie – Similarities and Differences
Even for avid dog lovers, the Sheltie and the Collie can be two difficult breeds to differentiate. The two breeds have similar coloring, coats, and body structures. They are both bred from the Border Collie of Scotland so there is no doubt they are going to look alike. The Sheltie was bred with smaller dogs to acquire its size. This article will discuss the similarities between the Collie and the Sheltie as well as ways to determine the differences between the two breeds.
The Collie’s coat can be found in four main colors, white, sable/white, tricolor, and blue merle. The tricolor coat is mainly black with sable, white, and tan markings. The blue merle coloring is marbled with blue, gray, and white. Similarly to the Collie, the Sheltie can also be found in blue merle and sable, both with tan and white markings. But, unlike the Collie, the Sheltie can also have an almost fully black coat, as shown below. Many times a Collie’s coat will have dark coloring that looks black but is actually a dark mahogany. If you are having trouble determining whether a certain dog is a Collie or a Sheltie, examine the coat.
When it comes to the coats’ of the two breeds, you will see many similarities. Both have thick, abundant coats with two layers. Their outer coats are straight, shiny and a little harsh while their under coats are soft and fluffy. The Collie and the Sheltie both have thick, straight hair around their mane (head) along with fluffy tails and frilled leg hair.
One of the main ways to distinguish a Sheltie from a Collie is the size of the dog. Collies weigh in around 60 to 75 pounds while Shelties can weigh nearly a quarter of a Collie at 14-27 pounds. Collies stand taller at 24-26 inches tall and Shelties are nearly half the size at 13-16 inches tall. When determining the height of a dog, measure from the bottom of the dog’s feet to the shoulder of the dog. Do not include the head in the height. Below you can get a good idea on the size differences between the two breeds. Collies are almost double the size of Shelties so this can play a big factor when choosing the right dog breed for your home. Collies are great for relaxed homes, the elderly, or if you have a home with small children. Shelties can be great for families who are active and have large areas to run around and burn off energy.
In the pictures below you can see the undeniable similarities at first glance between the two breeds. It is especially difficult to tell the difference if the dogs are sitting down because then you can’t get an idea of their size. But, if you look at the dog’s face you can see the length, and width of the dog’s muzzle, which will easily clue you in on a Collie versus a Sheltie. Shelties, being the smaller of the two, have shorter muzzles with a deeper curve between the eyes as shown above in the silhouette image. The Collie has a broader, longer muzzle that is more cylindrical than the Sheltie.
When it comes to comparing activity levels of the Sheltie vs Collie, both breeds are active and responsive. The difference between these two breeds is the strength and grace the Collie exudes while the Sheltie has an alert and agile manner. Both are great family dogs but the Collie is more apt to lay low and be calm around strangers while the Sheltie can be weary and thrive for activity.
|Sheltie Vs Collie|
|Size||13-16″ tall||24-26” tall|
|Weight||14-27 lbs.||60-75 lbs.|
|Country of Origin||Scotland||Scotland|
|Original Use||Herding Dogs||Herding Dogs|
|Temperament||Alert, Active, Playful||Active, Regal, Well-tempered|
|Climate Tolerance||Medium – Likes Neutral Temperature||Medium – Likes Neutral Temperature|
|Life span||12-13 Years||11-13 Years|
Dog Lover Store
June 26, 2013
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The small, active Shetland Sheepdog (nicknamed the Sheltie) was once a Scottish farmer's best friend: sounding the alarm when anyone approached the property, barking at birds and other animals to shoo them from the garden, and later, with crosses to Scottish herding dogs, keeping the sheep flocks in line. While at first glance they look like a smaller version of the Rough Collie, the two are distinctly different breeds.
Shelties are loving companions for all members of the family, including the kids, but they can be reserved or even shy around strangers. Because of their protective nature, they're quick to bark if they sense that anything's amiss in their territory. Training is essential to keep this trait from becoming a nuisance. On the upside, they make excellent watchdogs. You just have to teach them some discrimination.
Ask any Sheltie owner, and they'll probably tell you how smart their dog is. According to Dr. Stanley Coren, an animal intelligence expert, that's more than pride of ownership talking. In his studies of the intelligence of 132 different dog breeds, Shelties ranked sixth in intelligence by being able to understand a new command after being told it fewer than five times on average, and obeying commands the first time they were given at least 95 percent of the time.
Because of their intelligence, willingness to please, and athletic ability, Shelties excel at performance events. In their size group, Shelties typically dominate the field in agility. They're also exceptionally good in competitive obedience, flyball, tracking, and herding.
In fact, Shelties have a reputation for being a little too smart for their own good. This is a breed that needs a job. Without plenty of mental stimulation, Shelties quickly become bored and will invent their own entertainment, which may or may not be to their people's liking.
Shelties retain a strong herding instinct. You'll find that your Sheltie will enthusiastically chase and try to "herd" squirrels, rabbits, and children, running around them, barking, and nipping. Shelty owners should discourage this habit, especially with children, because it can lead to biting. Never let your Sheltie herd unless it's in a herding class with appropriate subjects such as ducks or sheep.
Shelties are relatively inactive indoors and can handle apartment living if they're walked daily and aren't recreational barkers. Otherwise, they need a fenced yard where they can play safely and be prevented from seeking out animals, people, or cars to "herd."
Shelties have a long, dense, furry coat and shed heavily. Lots of people don't realize just how much loose fur they're letting themselves in for, and many Shelties are given up to rescue groups every year because they shed. Be sure that you and your vacuum cleaner can handle that much hair.
Shelties can be a good choice for a working person as they'll stay home alone contentedly, provided they get their fair share of attention when their people are home. They thrive in an environment where they're given companionship, playtime, training, and quiet patting. Your love they'll return tenfold.