Everything You Need To Know About Owning A Shetland Sheepdog In Singapore

Shetland Sheepdogs, also known as Shelties, are a beautiful breed known for their pointed ears and thick, luscious fur. While they’re commonly mistaken for miniature Collies, they’re a distinct breed with unique temperaments and needs.

Read more about their key traits and personality, as well as how to train and care for them below!

We’d like to thank the following vets and veterinary technicians for their valuable contributions towards this article:

  • Dr Amanda Nascimento (DVM) from NHV Natural Pet,
  • Dr Joanna Woodnutt (MRCVS) from Breed Advisor,
  • Dr Randy Aronson (VMD) from betterpet and
  • Caroline Cochran (former veterinary technician) from Dog Food Heaven.

  • *Disclaimer: All content published in this article is for general knowledge. It should not be deemed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Please consult a vet for an accurate diagnosis of your dog’s health condition.

    Infographic of Shetland Sheepdogs

    Key Traits

    Height33 - 40cm
    Life expectancy12 - 15 years
    CoatShelties may come in any of the following 3 colours, each with different amounts of tan and/or white markings:
  • Sable
  • Black
  • Blue merle
  • Personality

    The personality of each Sheltie differs according to the individual. In general, however, they’re known to be gentle and affectionate, yet shy towards unfamiliar faces.


    Shelties tend to have a sweet and gentle disposition. While they’re not typically aggressive towards others, they may nip at strangers.


    Shelties are affectionate creatures that enjoy being around humans and you may even find them following you around the house!

      Reserved towards strangers

    Shelties are usually reserved around strangers. As they’re also protective by nature, they may have a habit of barking at unfamiliar people. This can be addressed with proper training and socialisation.

    Caring For A Shetland Sheepdog In Singapore

    Close up of a Shetland Sheepdog

    Staying In A HDB Apartment

    Shetland Sheepdogs are permitted in HDB apartments.

    If you’re keen to find out more about the other breeds of dogs allowed in HDB apartments, you can refer to this list of HDB approved dogs!

    Grooming Needs Of A Shetland Sheepdog

    Like Shiba Inus, Shelties are a double-coated breed.

    Undercoat: Short, thick and fluffy
    Outer coat: Long, straight and harsh

    According to Dr Aronson (VMD), Shelties can live in tropical regions like Singapore in spite of their thick coat. However, he advises against shaving them as their coat provides both protection from sunburns and natural insulation.

    As Shelties are heavy shedders, they should be brushed at least twice a week. During the shedding season in fall and spring, you may be required to brush them more frequently.

    Grooming tip!
    You should look out for any tangles in the fine hair behind your Sheltie’s ears and carefully brush them out. Also, professional grooming is advised as they’re relatively high maintenance dogs.

    Exercise Needs Of A Shetland Sheepdog

    Shetland Sheepdog running in an obstacle course

    Shelties are highly active creatures that enjoy lots of physical exercise. However, it’s essential to take greater care of your Shelties in warmer climates as it’s easier for them to overheat. Also, they may be at a higher risk of tick and flea infections in humid conditions.


    In tropical climates where it’s hot all year round, Dr Nascimento (DVM) advises to bring your Shelties out in the early morning or late night to avoid the heat. 

    To help regulate your Sheltie’s body temperature, you can spray some water on their back and paws. You can also bring them to areas with cool grass and lots of shade to cool down.

    Exercise tip!
    If you’re looking for other ways to exercise with your Sheltie while keeping it cool, dog swimming pools are a great and fun option to consider!

      Exposure to ticks and fleas

    According to Dr Nascimento (DVM), ticks and fleas tend to be more common in tropical regions where humidity levels are high. These parasites can cause various infections and illnesses including Lyme disease and tapeworms.

    To protect your Sheltie from these insects, you can use a natural tick and flea repellent. However, before using any substances on your Sheltie, make sure to consult a vet first. Shelties are very sensitive to Ivermectin, a component found in medication used for treating parasite infections.

    Diet Of A Shetland Sheepdog

    Shetland sheepdog with an overflowing bowl of dog food

    According to Caroline, Shelties require a diet that’s high in protein and healthy fat in order to meet their daily energy needs.

    A healthy diet should consist of:

    • Protein (min 18%)
    • Fat (min 5%)
    • Carbohydrates

    However, you should be careful not to overfeed your Sheltie as it could cause them to develop health problems related to obesity. If you’re unsure, you can consult a vet for advice on the best diet for your pet.

    Training A Shetland Sheepdog

    3 brown and white Shelties sitting on a pavement

    Shelties have a habit of chasing moving objects and creatures. Thus, training them to walk on a leash is important. Additionally, socialising Shelties since young will help them to better interact with strangers and other animals.

    As these dogs are highly intelligent and obedient, they’re relatively easy to train. These are some tips that you can take note of when training them:

      Use positive reinforcement

    Shelties are sensitive creatures that can feel hurt when treated harshly. Thus, using positive reinforcement will work best on this breed.

      Make training fun

    Shelties are smart dogs. Thus, it’s important to make training fun and interesting. To prevent them from getting bored, you should also avoid repeating exercises once they get the task right.

    Potential Health Conditions

    Black Shetland Sheepdog lying on the floor

    Thyroid Disease

    Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the Sheltie’s body is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormones.


    • Weight gain
    • Thinner coat
    • Dry skin
    • Cold intolerance
    • Slow heart rate


    While hypothyroidism can be treated with medication, this condition cannot be cured.

    Collie Eye Anomaly

    According to Dr Woodnut (MRCVS), Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is a common health problem among Shelties. This condition is genetic and often affects both eyes, each to a varying degree. In serious cases, CEA can result in blindness.


    • Microphthalmia, where eyeballs are abnormally small
    • Sunken eyeballs
    • Cloudy eyes


    There’s no treatment for CEA. However, you can consult your vet for advice on whether surgery would be helpful in reducing the effects of the condition.

    Hip Dysplasia

    When the ball of the hip joint fails to fit into the socket, this condition is known as hip dysplasia.


    • Stiffness and pain
    • Lameness in the hind legs
    • Difficulties with running, jumping and climbing
    • More restricted range of motion


    • Joint supplements
    • Physical therapy
    • Medication
    • Surgery


    Dermatomyositis is another genetic disorder commonly observed in Shelties, as shared by Dr Aronson (VMD). This condition is characterised by the inflammation of the skin and muscles.


    • Skin lesions
    • Muscle inflammation
    • Significant hair loss
    • Severe skin ulcerations
    • Decline in muscle mass


    There’s no cure for dermatomyositis. If your Sheltie is suffering from this condition, you should avoid activities that could hurt their muscles and skin. You should also minimise the time they spend in the sun as it could worsen the skin lesions.

    von Willebrand’s Disease

    von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) is a genetic blood disorder that occurs due to deficiencies in the von Willebrand factor (vWF) which helps with forming blood clots.


    • Prolonged bleeding after injuries or surgical procedures
    • Bleeding in the nose, mouth and intestinal tract
    • Blood in stool


    In severe cases of blood loss, blood transfusion may be required. However, you should discuss the treatment options with your vet to help you decide the appropriate course of action.

    Price Of Owning A Shetland Sheepdog In Singapore

    3 brown Shetland Sheepdog with white markings

    One-Off Costs


    According to the National Parks Board, it’s mandatory for all canines in Singapore to be licensed as this will facilitate tracking during a disease outbreak.

    Depending on the type of license and number of dogs owned, the cost of licensing may differ. You can apply for a new license through the Pet Animal Licensing System (PALS) portal.


    Sterilising your dog reduces the risk of certain illnesses and infections. The cost will depend on your dog’s gender and can range from $150 to $500.


    If your dog gets lost, microchipping can help to locate him. The cost of this procedure ranges from $50 to $90.

    Recurring Costs

    • Food: From $100 per month
    • Vaccinations: From $30 per vaccine
    • Grooming: $50 per session
    • Dental and healthcare: $50 per consultation

    Other additional costs include pet insurance, dog toys and clothing and accessories.

    Did you recently get a new Sheltie puppy?
    We’re giving away a free Puppy Pack (worth up to $124) to you and your new fur friend. Simply sign up for our Puppy Bonus Plan* here!

    Pet Lovers Centre Puppy Bonus Plan

    The Puppy Pack includes
    dog food,
    a dog poo bag and
    • a 1-year VIP membership for new members!

    *Puppy must be younger than 12 months of age.

    Fun Facts About Shetland Sheepdogs

    Shetland Sheepdogs were herding dogs

    Shelties were once bred as herding dogs for sheep. Hence, they tend to have a strong natural instinct to chase after and bark at live animals like squirrels and rabbits. Don’t be surprised if you see them doing the same to children as well!

    Shetland Sheepdogs can withstand harsh weather conditions

    Shetland Sheepdog lying in snow

    Shelties were first bred on the Shetland Islands where they were exposed to harsh weather conditions. Their double coat allows them to trap pockets of air, thus providing them with natural insulation against the cold.

    Shetland Sheepdogs are incredibly intelligent

    Dr Stanley Coren, a well-respected scientist and researcher, once conducted a study on canine intelligence and found Shelties to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds (6th out of 132 breeds). They were praised for their trainability and ability to understand and obey new commands quickly.

    As Shelties are incredibly smart dogs, it’s important to provide them with sufficient mental stimulation through activities such as puzzles or new tricks. This will help to prevent destructive behaviour and reduce their anxiety and stress levels.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are Shetland Sheepdogs good family dogs?

    The loving and gentle personality of Shelties make them popular family pets. They can also play well with children if

    • the children are gentle and
    • your Sheltie has been trained and socialised well.

    Do Shetland Sheepdogs bark a lot?

    As Shelties have protective instincts, they may bark at approaching strangers. They also have a tendency to bark when they’re excited. Proper training can help to curb such excessive and undesirable behaviour.

    Can Shetland Sheepdogs be left alone?

    Shelties are affectionate creatures that require attention. It’s not advisable to leave them alone for the entire day without a human companion. Furthermore, they’re highly active dogs that will need a way to expend their energy.

    Do Shetland Sheepdogs get along with other dogs?

    With sufficient and proper socialisation, Shelties can get along well with other dogs.

    Owning A Shetland Sheepdog In Singapore

    Shelties require a high standard of care and maintenance. Thus, before you commit to these precious canines, you should ensure that you have the appropriate resources and capacity to care for them!


    • Emilia Wong


      Bubble tea and sleeping are two of Emilia's favourite things. She also enjoys cooking and loves to experiment with new recipes for different cuisines.


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