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Sheltie vs Collie – Which Is The Better Working Turned Companion Dog?

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For many years, Lassie has been the star of books, movies, and television shows. Many people nowadays call the dog breed Lassie. But it is a Collie, more precisely, a Rough Collie dog breed. The movie made such a perfect portrait of the dog, and it managed to mirror the personality and characteristics Collie puppy. Today, however, we will talk about a breed comparison between Sheltie and Collie.

Many people think the Sheltie is a miniature Collie. But that is not the case. The Shetland Sheepdog is a distinct breed. It is not easy to differentiate between these two dogs. The American Kennel Club makes the difference between the two herding dogs.

They have similar coloring, coats, and body structures. And they were both bred from the Border Collie of Scotland. They might look alike, but they are different dog breeds. Let’s talk more about this comparison.

Breed History

As we said before, both of these dog breeds originate from Scotland. They are descendants of the Scotland Border Collie.

Shetland sheepdog dog breed originated in the late 1800s as a small and agile sheepdog. They were bred and developed by shepherds to withstand rough weather and rocky terrain.

So that is the history of the Sheltie. What about the Collie? They originated in Scotland during the same period. They were bred to help farmers herd and guard livestock. The dog breed was refined in the mid-1800s when it became widely popular in England.

Sheltie Overview


Before we get to the Sheltie versus Collie breed comparison, let’s talk a bit about the general overview of both puppies.

The Shetland Sheepdog, or the Sheltie dog, is a herding dog from Scotland. It was originally called Shetland Collie, but that name was later changed. Built for rough terrain and long days at work, the Sheltie has transitioned from a working dog to a companion dog.

They were bred by crossing Rough Collies with Border Collies and other island dogs at the time. Even Spaniels were used for breeding this puppy. They end up being smaller in stature and more hyper than their Collie parent.

Collie overview


The Rough Collie is a herding breed originating from Scotland. They were working dogs originally, but over time, they landed in homes as family dogs. Thanks to Lassie, this adorable dog became widely popular and recognizable.

The beloved family pet has also transitioned from a herding dog breed to a companion dog breed.

Appearance Breed Comparison

sheltie collie

The biggest obvious difference in the Sheltie and Collie comparison is in the appearance. For starters, Sheltie is a smaller dog.

Collies weigh between 60 and 75 pounds, while Shelties weigh between 14 and 27 pounds. And Collies stand taller at 24 to 26 inches, while Sheltie puppies can grow up to 16 inches at maximum. As you can see, Collies are almost double the size of their Sheltie counterpart.

Speaking of their appearance, the Collie dog breed standard allows four main colors, white, sable/white, tricolor, and blue merle. The tricolor coat is mainly black with sable, white, and tan markings.

Shelties can be found in blue merle and sable, both with tan and white markings. But the breed standard also allows a fully black coat. Examine the coat, and you can easily see which puppy is which breed. Collie’s coat has dark coloring, but it is dark mahogany.

As for their coat structure, both have thick, abundant coats with two layers. The outer coat is straight and shiny, while the undercoat is soft and fluffy.

At a first glance, these two are quite similar. And if they are sitting down, you cannot tell the difference because you cannot get an idea of their size.

But look closely, and you will see the difference. Pay attention to the length and width of the muzzle. Shelties have a shorter muzzle with a deeper curve between the eyes because they are small dogs. Collies have a broader and longer muzzle.

Personality Traits Comparison

When it comes to making a decision between two dog breeds, personality traits play a huge role. Between these two, there are many similarities.

A Sheltie puppy is a lively dog full of character. This puppy will make a terrific playmate and enjoys an active lifestyle. They get along with other pets, especially if they grow up together. And because of their gentle nature, Shelties are suitable for a home with small kids.

Collies are gentle herding dogs as well. They have outgoing personalities and can adjust to most living situations. They are social and kind, making them a great addition to a growing family. After all, Lassie was the perfect family dog, right?

We just have to mention, despite their calm nature, they are protective of their home. They might not be aggressive but are watchful.

Exercise And Training


If you own a Sheltie, be ready for some long training sessions. The Sheltie dog breed doesn’t handle boredom. They need daily exercise and constant mental stimulation and physical exercise. As working dogs, they need a task to do.

That might be a challenge for training. But on the positive side, the Sheltie puppy is loyal and eager to please. As long as you make training specific to their needs, you will not have a problem. Give them a job to do, like carrying a ball on walks, and you will be fine.

Sheltie responds well to positive reinforcement dog training. Keep things upbeat, and reward and praise good behavior. Be careful, they do not respond well to heavy discipline.

Collies need a lot of activity as well, but not as much as their Sheltie cousin. They are more of a long-walk type of dog than an exercise and play dog. Anything between 45 and 60 minutes of walk per day will do it. You have to remember this is a quick and agile dog. They make great fetchers and chasers.

In terms of training, they can be a bit stubborn. But they aim to please you. As one of the most intelligent dog breeds, the Collie will pick up basic commands very easily. It will not take too many repetitions before your canine friend masters the training exercise. They too need mental stimulation, but not as much as a Sheltie.

Activity Levels

When you compare the activity levels of these two working dogs, they are both active and responsive. The difference is in the strength and grace of Collie. The Sheltie has a more agile and alert manner.

While they excel in a family setting, Collie is more apt to lay low and be calm around strangers. Shelties thrive on activity, even around people they do not know.

Health Concerns And Issues


These two are relatively healthy dogs. They enjoy a long lifespan. As a larger dog, the Collie is more prone to hip dysplasia.

Generally speaking, there are not many health issues, risks, and concerns regarding these two breeds.

Which One Is More Suitable For You?

While they are quite similar, you can say they fit different households. Talking about the suitability, Collie is better for active singles and families with children. They need a fenced-in yard to roam and guard. Prospective dog owners should know they get an intelligent and sensitive dog.

Shetland Sheepdog is a great choice for first-time owners. They are affectionate and thrive when they have free space to run around. Just do not forget their herding instinct. The Sheltie dog can be vocal and try to get everyone in line by barking. They are kid-friendly and pet-friendly.

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