June 1st is International Sheltie Day! Though it’s unclear where or how this holiday originated, there’s always a good reason to celebrate the Shetland Sheepdog. Playful, energetic, and affectionate, this breed has made its way into the hearts of dog lovers around the world. Read on to learn more about the Shetland Sheepdog, or Sheltie for short—a breed that’s small in size, but big in personality!
Shelties are not exactly quiet dogs—if they’re happy or if they sense that something’s not right, they’ll let you know with their loud, piercing bark! Fortunately, they’re also willing to please and are highly trainable, so they can be taught to stop barking on command.
Shelties were bred to be smaller than Collies to help them survive the cold, harsh conditions of their native homeland. Food can be scarce on the Shetland Islands, but because of their petite size, Shelties eat less than other herding dogs. This is the reason why Shetland ponies are pint-sized as well.
The breed’s popularity may have dwindled on the Shetland Islands, but Shelties are still one of the most well-loved dogs in the US. Between the 1970s and 1990s, the Sheltie appeared on the American Kennel Club’s list of the 10 most popular dogs a dozen times. Today, the Sheltie is the 25th most popular breed out of the nearly 200 registered by the AKC.