Even for avid dog lovers, the Sheltie and the Collie are difficult breeds to differentiate. The two breeds have similar coloring, coats, and body structures. Both are bred from the Border Collie of Scotland, so there is no doubt they look alike. With that said, the Sheltie was bred with smaller dogs to acquire its size. This article discusses the similarities between the Collie and the Sheltie and ways to determine the differences between the two breeds.

Collie Vs Sheltie Colors

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. Similar to the Collie, the Sheltie is found in blue merle and sable, both with tan and white markings. But, unlike the Collie, the Sheltie has an almost fully black coat, as shown below. Furthermore, the 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

Collie Vs Sheltie Coat

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.

Dog Gifts Banner

Collie & Sheltie Size Comparison

One of the main ways to distinguish a Shetland Sheepdog vs 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 which 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. While Shelties are great for families who are active and have large areas to run around and burn off energy.

Sheltie Vs. Collie

Side by Side Comparison

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. On the other hand, the Collie has a broader, longer muzzle that is more cylindrical than the Sheltie.

Sheltie Collie Comparison

Activity Levels

When 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
Sheltie Collie
Size 13-16″ tall 24-26” tall
Weight 14-27 lbs. 60-75 lbs.
Country of Origin Scotland Scotland
Original Use Herding Dogs Herding Dogs
Temperament Alert, Active, Playful Active, Regal, Well-tempered
Energy Level High Medium
Trainability High High
Climate Tolerance Medium – Likes Neutral Temperature Medium – Likes Neutral Temperature
Life span 12-13 Years 11-13 Years


Dog Lover Store
June 26, 2013
Updated July 31, 2019
Last Updated September 3rd, 2020

Was this article helpful? Click for our other informative dog articles

You've just added this product to the cart: