... the "Collie Shetland" is an extremely interesting dog .. he is stubborn as the solid cliffs of the Shetland, so tenacious in his work as a guide and shepherd as the noise and the roar of the waves of the North Sea, while watching and watching over his flock is as faithful as the Scots' attachment to the sound of bagpipes. "
The Boston Globe, 1909.
... WHY "MINI LASSIE"? Which Sheltie at least once has not been called a "mini Lassie"? Why do the Shetland Sheepdog look so much like miniature Rough Collies? As you will see in a moment, this breed has been heavily crossed with Rough Collies. But before that there was a significant miniaturization of these dogs ... But why create mini shepherd dogs?
The Shetland Islands are famous for their "miniature" animals, among them we have Shetland Pony about one meter tall and Shetland Sheep much smaller and lighter than their continental counterparts.
The islands are small, food is scarce and the animals have naturally resized over the generations. As a result, Shetland breeders raised small shepherd dogs to run and guard their small animals ... and so did the new "Toonie" breed.
The history of the Sheltie begins with Scandinavian shepherd dogs, most likely the Spitz. Their thick fur and often made them well equipped to face harsh winters, and they were excellent candidates as working dogs for the Shetland Islands.
Once imported to the Shetland Islands in the 1700s, the Scandinavian Spitz race was very much coupled with the various collies who worked in Scotland. These included Border Collies and Rough Collie, along with other races such as the now extinct Greenland Yakki, King Charles Spaniel and the Pomeranian.
In the nineteenth century, the peoples of the Shetland Islands discovered that they could earn from these dogs, when the naval fleet of Great Britain, brought the puppies home with them, after military exercises on the islands. These first dogs were known as Toonie dogs (toon means farm), Lilliputian Collie and Peerie Dogs. Around 1906 they were advertised as Collie Shetland, but Collie enthusiasts disapproved, since the Sheltie consisted of a great mix of breeds, so Shetland breeders acquired the name of Sheepdog best suited to the new breed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) accepted the Shetland Sheepdog as a recognized breed.