Shetland Sheepdog “Sheltie” Vs Collie – Similarities and Differences

Even for avid dog lovers, the Sheltie and the Collie can be two difficult breeds to differentiate. The two breeds have similar coloring, coats, and body structures. They are both bred from the Border Collie of Scotland so there is no doubt they are going to look alike. The Sheltie was bred with smaller dogs to acquire its size. This article will discuss the similarities between the Collie and the Sheltie as well as ways to determine the differences between the two breeds.

The Collie’s coat can be found in four main colors, white, sable/white, tricolor, and blue merle. The tricolor coat is mainly black with sable, white, and tan markings. The blue merle coloring is marbled with blue, gray, and white. Similarly to the Collie, the Sheltie can also be found in blue merle and sable, both with tan and white markings. But, unlike the Collie, the Sheltie can also have an almost fully black coat, as shown below. Many times a Collie’s coat will have dark coloring that looks black but is actually a dark mahogany. If you are having trouble determining whether a certain dog is a Collie or a Sheltie, examine the coat.

Sheltie Puppy

When it comes to the coats’ of the two breeds, you will see many similarities. Both have thick, abundant coats with two layers. Their outer coats are straight, shiny and a little harsh while their under coats are soft and fluffy. The Collie and the Sheltie both have thick, straight hair around their mane (head) along with fluffy tails and frilled leg hair.

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One of the main ways to distinguish a Sheltie from a Collie is the size of the dog. Collies weigh in around 60 to 75 pounds while Shelties can weigh nearly a quarter of a Collie at 14-27 pounds. Collies stand taller at 24-26 inches tall and Shelties are nearly half the size at 13-16 inches tall. When determining the height of a dog, measure from the bottom of the dog’s feet to the shoulder of the dog. Do not include the head in the height. Below you can get a good idea on the size differences between the two breeds. Collies are almost double the size of Shelties so this can play a big factor when choosing the right dog breed for your home. Collies are great for relaxed homes, the elderly, or if you have a home with small children. Shelties can be great for families who are active and have large areas to run around and burn off energy.

Sheltie Vs. Collie

In the pictures below you can see the undeniable similarities at first glance between the two breeds. It is especially difficult to tell the difference if the dogs are sitting down because then you can’t get an idea of their size. But, if you look at the dog’s face you can see the length, and width of the dog’s muzzle, which will easily clue you in on a Collie versus a Sheltie. Shelties, being the smaller of the two, have shorter muzzles with a deeper curve between the eyes as shown above in the silhouette image. The Collie has a broader, longer muzzle that is more cylindrical than the Sheltie.

Sheltie Collie Comparison

When it comes to comparing activity levels of the Sheltie vs Collie, both breeds are active and responsive. The difference between these two breeds is the strength and grace the Collie exudes while the Sheltie has an alert and agile manner. Both are great family dogs but the Collie is more apt to lay low and be calm around strangers while the Sheltie can be weary and thrive for activity.

Sheltie Vs Collie
Size13-16″ tall24-26” tall
Weight14-27 lbs.60-75 lbs.
Country of OriginScotlandScotland
Original UseHerding DogsHerding Dogs
TemperamentAlert, Active, PlayfulActive, Regal, Well-tempered
Energy LevelHighMedium
Climate ToleranceMedium – Likes Neutral TemperatureMedium – Likes Neutral Temperature
Life span12-13 Years11-13 Years


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June 26, 2013
Updated July 31, 2019

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