Shetland Sheepdogs are intelligent, alert, active, and often vocal. These traits in addition to their speed make them good herding dogs. However, as with other herding breeds, the energy level of the pet Shetland Sheepdog requires physical and mental stimulation. Dog sports such as flyball, musical freestyle, herding, Frisbee, agility, tracking, and obedience as sport can help to provide this while helping the dog bond closely with its family.
The Shetland Sheepdog (also known as the "Sheltie") has its roots in the Shetland Islands off the coast of Scotland. Unlike most miniature breeds, the Shetland Sheepdog was not the result of selective breeding. Although its exact origins are unknown, its ancestors are likely to include the Border Collie, the Icelandic sheepdog, the Yakki (a dog kept and bred by Greenland whalers) and the Prince Charles Spaniel. An all-round farm dog, the Shetland Sheepdog was used to herd sheep, ponies and chickens. The Shetland was recognized by the English Kennel Club in 1909 and by the American Kennel Club in 1911. The Shetland Sheepdog is now very rarely found in Shetland, although the breed is very popular in the United States and Europe.