The Shetland Sheepdog
kind permission from The
© The Kennel Club
Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal
characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that
the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders
and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or
exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health,
welfare or soundness of this Breed. From time to time certain conditions
or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs
in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer
to the Breed Watch section of the Kennel Club website here http://www.the-kennel-club.org.uk/services/public/breeds/watch
for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is
desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a
dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as
undesirable or highly undesirable, it is strongly recommended that it
should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Small, long-haired working dog of great beauty, free from cloddiness
and coarseness, action lithe and graceful. Outline symmetrical so that no part appears out of
proportion to whole. Abundant coat, mane and frill, shapeliness of head
and sweetness of expression combine to present the ideal.
Alert, gentle, intelligent, strong and active.
Affectionate and responsive to his owner, reserved towards strangers,
Head and Skull
Head refined and elegant with no exaggerations; when viewed from top or side a long, blunt wedge,
tapering from ear to nose. Width and depth of skull in proportion to length
of skull and muzzle. Whole to be considered in connection with
size of dog. Skull flat, moderately wide between ears, with no
prominence of occipital bone. Cheeks flat, merging smoothly into
well rounded muzzle. Skull and muzzle of equal length, dividing
point inner corner of eye. Topline of skull parallel to topline of
muzzle, with slight but definite stop. Nose, lips and eye rims
black. The characteristic expression is obtained by the perfect
balance and combination of skull and foreface, shape, colour and
placement of eyes, correct position and carriage of ears.
Medium size obliquely set, almond-shape. Dark brown except in the
case of merles, where one or both may be blue or blue flecked.
Small, moderately wide at base, placed fairly close together on top of
skull. In repose, thrown back; when alert brought forward and
carried semi-erect with tips falling forward.
Jaws level, clean, strong with well-developed underjaw. Lips
tight. Teeth sound with a perfect, regular and complete scissor
bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to
the jaws. A full complement of 42 properly placed teeth highly
Muscular, well arched, of sufficient length to carry head proudly.
Shoulders very well laid back. At withers, separated only by
vertebrae, but blades sloping outwards to accommodate desired spring of
ribs. Shoulder joint well angled. Upper arm and shoulder blade
approximately equal in length. Elbow equidistant from ground and
withers. Forelegs straight when viewed from front, muscular and
clean with strong , but not heavy bone. Pasterns strong and flexible.
Slightly longer from point of shoulder to bottom of croup than height at
withers. Chest deep, reaching to point of elbow. Ribs well
sprung, tapering at lower half to allow free play of forelegs and
shoulders. Back level, with graceful sweep over loins, croup
slopes gradually to rear.
Thigh broad and muscular, thigh bones set into pelvis at right
angles. Stifle joint has distinct angle, hock joint clean cut,
angular, well let down with strong bone. Hocks straight when
viewed from behind.
Oval, soles well padded, toes arched and close together.
Set low; tapering bone reaches to at least hock; with abundant
hair and slight upward sweep. May be slightly raised when moving
but never over level of back. Never kinked.
Lithe, smooth and graceful with drive from hindquarters, covering the
maximum amount of ground with the minimum of effort. Pacing,
plaiting, rolling, or stiff, stilted, up and down movement highly
Double; outer coat of long hair, harsh-textured and straight.
Undercoat soft, short and close. Mane and frill very abundant,
forelegs well feathered. Hindlegs above hocks profusely covered
with hair, below hocks fairly smooth. Face smooth. The coat
should fit the body and not dominate or detract from the outline of the
dog. Smooth-coated specimens highly undesirable.
Sable: clear or shaded, any colour from pale gold to deep
mahogany, in its shade, rich in tone. Wolf-sable and grey
Tricolour: intense black on body, rich tan markings preferred.
Blue Merle: clear silvery blue, splashed and marbled with
black. Rich tan marking preferred but absence not penalised.
Heavy black markings, slate or rusty tinge in either top or undercoat
highly undesirable; general effect must be blue.
Black and White, and Black and Tan: also recognised colours.
White markings may appear (except on black and tan) in blaze, collar and
chest, frill, legs and tip of tail. All or some white markings are
preferred (except on black and tan) but absence of these markings not to
be penalised. Patches of white on body highly undesirable.
Ideal height at withers: dogs: 37 cms (14½ ins); bitches: 36 cms (14
ins). More than 2½ cms (1 in) above or below these heights highly
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and
the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in
exact proportion to its degree.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended
into the scrotum.