Collie vs. Sheltie – how do they compare? If you’re thinking about adopting one or buying a puppy, this comparison guide will provide you with plenty of information. While the Sheltie and Rough Collie look very similar, with the Sheltie looking like a smaller sibling, it’s easy to assume they have the same personality as well. However, while they are both herding dogs, they are different dog breeds entirely. They have their own nature, history, and characteristics.
Learning as much as you can about each dog breed will give you a better understanding and make it easier to choose the more suitable breed for you and your family.
Collie Vs. Sheltie History
There’s no clear record of when the Collie first appeared, how he got the name Collie or what the word means. During the 18th century, the Collie lived in the Scottish Highlands; the Collie is almost certainly a Scottish dog; it’s difficult to see how an English dog would have ended up in Scotland without some sort of record of this happening. But the development of the Collie was English-led, and by the late 1800s, the Collie was a famous show dog. The Collie was first shown in Birmingham in the midlands of England in 1860 under the class “Scotch Sheep-Dogs.” The Collie was imported to America in 1879, and between 1900 and 1920, their popularity grew exponentially in America.
The Collie Club of America, founded in 1886, is one of the oldest clubs in the United States. The AKC recognized the Collie in 1885; they are the 38th most popular dog in America and have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. The Shetland Sheepdog or “Sheltie” is very likely a descendent of Scandinavian herding dogs. Because those dogs possessed a thick double coat, the dogs would feel perfectly at home in the Scottish islands.
From the 1700s, these herding dogs were crossed with local working collies, probably including dogs such as the Rough and Border Collies and possibly other smaller breeds like King Charles Spaniel and Pomeranian. To combat limited resources, animals on the Shetland Islands are famously smaller than usual, such as the sheep and ponies. However, it’s believed the farmers gradually reduced the size of the Sheltie by breeding smaller dogs.
By the 1800s, tourists began arriving in the Shetland Islands and took to the small dogs. Then farmers looking out to make extra money started crossbreeding the Sheltie to reduce the dog’s size even more, believing they would sell more of the dogs. By the 1900s, Shetland dog breeders realized they had made a mistake and began reintroducing Rough Collies again. By 1909 a new line was established called Shetland Collies, and the Kennel Club accepted them into their membership.
However, Rough Collie breeders were unhappy with using the word collie in this new breed’s name. Finally, Rough Collie breeders put enough pressure on the Kennel Club, and they changed the name to Shetland Sheepdog. By 1952 breeders confirmed the breed standard as we know it today. The Sheltie was accepted into the AKC in 1911. Shelties are ranked the 25th most popular dog in America.
Collie Vs. Sheltie Physical Differences
Shelties can weigh between 15 to 25 pounds and grow to heights between 13 and 16 inches; females are the same size as males with this dog breed. Collies are a much bigger dog; they can weigh up to 75 pounds (males) and 50 to 65 pounds (females). In addition, Collies can reach a height of 26 inches (males) and 24 inches (females).
The Sheltie and Collie are very similar, but you can spot the differences when you stand them side by side. For example, Shelties have a shorter, narrower muzzle, and the gap between the eyes is deeper in the Sheltie. In addition, the Collie’s muzzle is broader and longer and is far more curved than the Sheltie.
The Rough Collie and the Sheltie have a full-length outer coat over a thick undercoat. Coat colors are similar, with both dogs sharing similar colors, which can be tri-color, blue merle, and sable. Collies can also be primarily white with markings of different colors.
Collie Vs. Sheltie Temperament
Collies and Shelties have different personalities, and these differences are crucial to understanding if you’re looking to bring one of these dogs home to your family. Shelties need work to keep them occupied; they don’t do well lounging around; you can keep them thoroughly engaged by enrolling them in agility, herding, confirmation, or rally sports. If you don’t engage Shelties in this way, they will become bored and destructive behavior will follow. However, providing their excess energy is taken care of, they are very gentle, affectionate, happy-go-lucky, loyal, and intelligent family dogs.
Shelties can be aloof towards people they don’t know and make excellent watchdogs ever happy to sign the alarm when anyone comes calling. Barking can be an issue with Shelties when they are left alone for too long; they prefer being close to their owners. Shelties are dogs that love to please their owners; when you put that trait alongside their intelligence, they are easy dogs to train and are brilliant at obedience training. However, they don’t respond well to harsh training methods, and using these methods will only bring out stubbornness and resentment.
Herding dogs are typically intelligent, easy to teach, and very in tune with humans; Collies are no exception. A Collie will respond well when the training is reward-based and consistent. In addition, Collies love to perform to an audience and enjoy the attention whatever they are doing from herding events, agility, or obedience competitions. Collies are excellent dogs for therapy because they are relaxed indoors and are a suitable height.
Dealing with intelligent dogs like the Collie takes creative thinking if you don’t want the dog to be bored. They learn things very quickly but at the same time can become bored with what they have learned and want new training activities to keep them engaged. Collies are an extremely vocal breed and will bark when they want you to take notice they’re not happy. Herding dogs like the Collie would nip at the heels of the sheep or cattle to get them moving, and this instinct is still prevalent in Collies. Especially with young children, nipping is something you need to train Collies not to do; this behavior can be pretty scary for any child.
Rough Collies are a family dog, and they have a great time playing with children; outside the home, they enjoy a good run but are calm and relaxed inside. Because they aren’t a small dog, it’s surprising they are okay living in an apartment; this assumes they get plenty of outdoor exercises, though.
Collies Vs. Sheltie Lifespan & Health
Collies live between 8 to 12; however, Shelties have a longer life expectancy and can live between 12 and 14 years; more than likely, this is due to the comparative size of the two dogs; bigger dogs tend to live shorter lives.
Both dogs can suffer from genetic conditions such as seizures, hip dysplasia, and eye problems. Collies are known to experience gastric torsion (bloat); in addition, Shelties might have hypothyroidism.
Collie Vs. Sheltie Grooming
The Sheltie and Collie both shed all year round and more heavily during seasonal changes. However, the Collie sheds more than the Sheltie; this could be a consequence of being the much larger dog. If you aren’t keen on having dog hairs in your morning coffee and on your toast, you’ll need to buy a pet vacuum; otherwise, you’ll have hair all over your clothes, carpets, and soft furnishings. Prepare yourself for plenty of grooming as well because they both need regular brushing practically every day.
I probably don’t need to mention this, mainly after I’ve just explained how much hair they lose, but just in case someone asks the question – Collies and Shelties are definitely not hypoallergenic. If you suffer from dog allergies, these two breeds won’t make the ideal choice.
Collie Vs. Sheltie Cost
Costs can vary between breeders and typically depend on the breeder’s reputation and the puppy’s pedigree. The price for a Sheltie and Rough Collie are comparable and can range between $1000 to $2000 if you buy from a good breeder. Of course, this doesn’t consider anomalies such as extra cost if you want a female to breed puppies or you’re looking for a show dog. Generally, the more you pay, the more likely it is you’ll be getting a healthier and better quality puppy.
Collie Vs. Sheltie – whichever of these dogs you choose to own, it’s more than helpful to understand the crucial differences between the two breeds. In this way, you can offer the best care to satisfy the puppy’s and, later on, the adult dog’s needs.
These dogs are gentle, affectionate dogs that make ideal family pets for homes with or without children. If space is an issue for you, then the Sheltie might be the better option, but don’t forget the Collie is a very relaxed and calm dog indoors.
A Sheltie has a longer life expectancy than the Rough Collie if that’s a consideration.