Shetland Sheepdog Breeders
Find professional and ethical Shetland Sheepdog breeders in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
I have taken care to list only professional Sheltie breeders in our directories. However, please do your own due diligence before you hand over any money. Seek evidence of breed expertise and champions on their websites, make sure they perform genetic screening and vet checks, and visit the kennels in person so you can meet the puppy's parents. Also see:
- 6 Warning Signs of a Puppy Mill
- 20 Things You Need for a New Puppy
- Shelties: The Complete Pet Owner's Guide
Rescue Shelties for Adoption
There are thousands of rescue dogs waiting to be adopted, with Shetland Sheepdogs among them. You're unlikely to find Sheltie puppies for adoption (although it does happen) but please don't discount adult dogs.
One benefit of adopting an adult rather than buying a puppy is she's already house trained and probably recognizes some commands. She'll be be much cheaper than buying a puppy through a breeder, and she'll be ready to take home immediately as rescue organizations are under constant pressure make way for new intakes.
Most importantly of all, you're giving a dog a second chance at life. Rescues have already been through a lot in their lives, including abuse, neglect, and abandonment. They're in desperate need of secure, loving homes. So before you seek out Shetland Sheepdog breeder, check with your local Sheltie rescue to see if there are Shelties in need of forever homes.
The Science of Dog Breeding
Shetland Sheepdogs wouldn't exist without the careful breeding practices of knowledgeable dog breeders.
That's because specific dog breeds have specific genetic templates. The Sheltie template expresses itself as the appearance and temperament common to all purebred Shelties. Once you start to dilute this genetic template (by cross-breeding with dogs of other breeds to create Shelties mixes) you quickly lose the features of the Sheltie.
Each breed template is, of course, based on what humans prefer to see in their dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred to watch over diminutive sheep herds on the Shetland Islands of Scotland.
Early breeders deliberately selected for size, coat quality, aptitude to alarm bark and instinct for herding. When they had a desirable trait in a Sheltie, breeders made sure to mate that dog with their other finest Shelties, so their puppies would inherit the trait too.
This is known as artificial selection. When humans don't intervene in animal breeding, it's known as natural selection. Both are drivers of evolution: the emergence of new species through genetic mutation.
Dogs are all the same species because they are genetically similar enough to produce fertile offspring regardless of breed. But it's the unique interference by humans in dog mating that has led to the numerous and distinct dog breeds we know today.
Professional Shetland Sheepdog breeders continue to seek ideal examples of appearance, temperament, and health in their dogs. They use genetic testing in mating pairs to selectively eliminate inheritable diseases from the gene pool. They also attend dog shows to gain official recognition of the quality of their Shelties and use award-winning dogs to produce puppies. Those puppies that don't meet the breed standard are rehomed as pets.