Miniature Collie breed info: The 101 on this cute and smart dog

Last Updated on April 21, 2023

Also known as the Sheltie, this bright and energetic pooch is one of the world-class competitors in canine sports. They’re also obedient and sensitive doggos that every active person would love.

Do you want an intelligent herding dog of your own? Keep reading to find out if the Miniature Collie breed is the fido for you.

A portrait of a Shetland Sheepdog standing
A portrait of a Shetland Sheepdog standing

Is there such a thing as a Miniature Collie?

If you’re thinking of a smaller version of the purebred Collie, then it’s NOT this dog. This one’s a separate breed that came from the United Kingdom’s northernmost point — Scotland’s Shetland Islands (hence the name).

This small dog was created to herd poultry, ponies, and sheep while withstanding rugged terrains and harsh climates.

Fun fact: The Miniature Collie is also called with another fun nickname — Toonie Dog. “Toon” is actually a slang that translates to farm in Shetland language.

There are many theories about what dogs make up the Mini Collie, though.

Some say that they descended from Border Collies where they were crossed with smaller purebreds, while others believe that they have Nordic and Pomeranian breeds in their blood.

But what’s important is the other reason why they are bred smaller than other herding breeds — less food consumption.

In the place where they originated, the climate is harsh and cold, so food is scarce. Which also explains the Shetland ponies’ diminutive size.

And since the islands were so inaccessible, any breed in it was unknown to the rest of Britain until the early 20th century.

In 1909, the Miniature Collie was initially recognized as the Shetland Collie by the Kennel Club (England). It was only changed into Shetland Sheepdog after Collie fanciers disagreed with their first name.

Just two years after (1911), the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered its first Mini Collie.

What does a Miniature Collie look like?

A standing Blue Merle Shetland Sheepdog
A Blue Merle Shetland Sheepdog patiently waiting – Image source

Miniature Collie has a refined head that is long and wedged shaped. Its eyes are medium-sized and have a dark rim around them. Their small ears stand straight with the last quarter being forwards tipped. 

Despite its small size, Shelties are highly athletic. Therefore they have a muscular neck and back as well as broad, strong hindquarters. Its forequarters stand straight at a 45-degree angle to its shoulder blades. 

This dog even has a passing resemblance to the Australian Shepherd.

Collie VS Miniature Collie

A Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog sitting with light blue background
Look at the size difference between a Rough Collie and Shetland Sheepdog

Mini Collies are often mistaken for their Lassie-like Collie cousins or miniature border collies due to their similar appearances. However, these breeds differ in size and temperament and also evolved independently. 

Size: Is a Sheltie the same as a Miniature Collie? 

As stated previously, Sheltie is one of the nicknames for the Shetland Sheepdog breed.

Bigger than a dachshund but smaller than a golden retriever, these dogs are usually 13-16 inches (33-40 cm) at shoulder height and weigh 15-25 pounds (6-11kg).

These dogs reach this height and weight by maturity at the age of 3 or 4 years. However, the males are slightly larger than the females.

These small, energetic dogs require lots of activity to stay happy. So they’re best suited to living in homes with a large yard or even a smallholding.

Miniature Collies can adapt to apartment living if you take them for daily walks and runs. They will need some playtime to keep them mentally stimulated. 

What is a Miniature Sheltie Collie’s coat like?

A tri color and black and white Mini Sheltie enjoying outdoors
Two fluffy Mini Shelties outdoors

Miniature collie dogs have a double coat, which was necessary to withstand the harsh weather conditions on the islands where the shetland sheepdog originated.

Their outer coat is long and straight with a rough texture, while the undercoat is short and fluffy. This breed typically has feathering on its legs as well as a smooth mane around its head. 

Three colors may feature in your dog’s coat. They can have sable, which varies from a golden to dark brown color, mixed with white.

Some mini collies have a black and white or black and tan coat. Another potential is a blue merle or blue-silver color. Finally, Shelties can have a tri-color coat. 

All Miniature collies will have some white in their coat. However, the American Kennel Club’s ( AKC) breed standard sees too much white as a breed fault. 

Temperament: Are Miniature Collies good family dogs?

These shetland island collies have a wonderful nature that is well suited to singles, families, and seniors. The miniature shetland collie is intensely loyal and forms a strong bond with its owners.

This makes for a loving furry family member. This dog breed is excellent with children if they’ve grown up around them. However, toddlers are less likely to handle these dogs with the care they need. 

Miniature Collies are reserved, not aggressive. If you socialize your dog from an early age, then they’ll have no problems with other animals nor strangers.

Their herding nature may cause them to nip and strangers ankles at times, but again, this comes down to obedience training

As stated above, this dog breed forms a strong bond with its owner, so they don’t enjoy being left alone. Isolation or loneliness causes these dogs to become anxious, which they express by barking or chewing things.

In general, Miniature Collies bark quite a bit which makes them good watchdogs, but their friendly nature means they won’t be the best guard dog. Sufficient training will help reduce how much your dog barks. 

A serious Miniature Collie laying comfortably
Source: @nora.cute.sheltie / IG

Miniature Collies are extremely intelligent, obedient, and eager to please their owners. This combination means that these dogs are easy to train.

These little dogs have a sensitive nature and don’t respond well to impatient, loud owners. 

To get the best out of your dog training, you should use positive reinforcement and praise your Mini Collie. It’s also best to start training from when they are a puppy, especially when it comes to potty training.

Caring for your Miniature Collie: Are they high maintenance?

Two Shetland Sheepdog sitting on the snow
Two double-coated Shetland Sheepdog enjoying winter

This breeds double coat makes it well suited to cooler and temperate environments.

If you live in a warmer climate, then you must be aware of the possibility of your dog overheating and should preferably keep them indoors where it’s cooler. 

Exercising your Miniature Collie

It’s important to remember that this dog was bred for herding purposes. So, they have high energy levels and require walks or runs daily.

Additionally, their high levels of intelligence mean that they need exercise that will stimulate them mentally as well. 

Grooming: Do Miniature Collie shed?

Miniature Collie continuously shed some hair, but they will shed their coat once a year during the spring.

However, females that aren’t neutered tend to shed twice a year, usually after their estrus period. This shedding means that this breed is not hypoallergenic. 

This 10-minute video will show you exactly how to groom your Miniature Collie in the comfort of your own home! 

How often do you need to groom your dog?

This highland dog breed is good at keeping itself clean, and their coats’ double layering means that it does get wet or dirty quickly. So, your miniature collie should rarely smell and you’ll only need to bathe it once a month. 

While their long coats may not get dirty easily, you do need to brush them at least once a week. This keeps the undercoat from getting matted or tangled. The best tool for this is a pin brush. 

It’s best practice to trim your dog’s nails every two weeks or so. You’ll know it’s time when you hear the familiar clicks across the floor.

To keep your mini collie’s breath fresh and teeth in tip-top condition, you should aim to brush their teeth 2-3 times a week. 

Miniature Collie Food Consumption

High-quality dog food will ensure your dog has a nutritious, balanced diet. However, this breed tends to have a sensitive stomach and may be allergic to grains, so this should be kept in mind when buying pet food.

They can be fed fresh foods such as meat and other vegetables. 

Your dog’s diet will vary depending on its age, size, and activity level, so it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian.

In general, you should feed your pet ¾ to 2 cups a day, which you should split into two smaller portions. This will prevent them from becoming overweight. 

Lifespan: How long do Miniature Collies live?

Long coated Mini Sheltie Collie looking up and standing on grass with dried leaves
Source: @merlin_thesheltie2013 / IG

Mini Shetland Collies usually live for 12-15 years if cared for properly. This means feeding them the right type and amount of dog food, exercising them regularly, and keeping them mentally stimulated. 

While this breed of dog tends to be healthy, some concerns are particularly present amongst these purebred dogs. 

Minor health problems include Hip dysplasia, Dermatomyositis, Epilepsy, and Arthritis.

Some major health concerns your mini collie may experience include Thyroid disease (Hypothyroidism), Von Willebrand’s disease as well as several eye diseases. 

Like the Collie, this breed may get Collie eye anomaly, but they may also contract corneal dystrophy, progressive retinal atrophy, and optic nerve hypoplasia.

Other potential health issues your dog may have are Gallbladder mucoceles, Cancer of the bladder, Patellar luxation, Allergies, Weight issues, and Sensitivity to canine medications. 

How much is a Miniature Collie puppy?

A Mini Collie puppy with close eyes and laying on a soft bed
Source: @the.explora.nora / IG

A puppy can cost anywhere from $800 to $1200 depending on whether it’s a pedigree, the breeder’s reputation, and what costs are included. You must also consider vaccinations, which will cost $60 to $70. 

Miniature Collie Breeders

If you’re looking for Miniature Collie puppies for sale, then you should contact a reputable breeder. When choosing a breeder, you should consider whether they have any sporting goals in mind for the litter.

Also, keep in mind if they perform the recommended health tests on their puppies if they are knowledgeable and open to sharing this information with you, and finally, whether they are happy to let you meet the parents of the litter. 

The American Shetland Sheepdog Association has an extensive database you can use to locate a breeder and find more breed information.

Miniature Collie Rescue 

There are numerous Sheltie Rescue groups across the United States who can help you find a rescue to adopt. The National Sheltie Rescue Association has an extensive list of rescue groups as well as their contact information. 

Is a Miniature Collie right for me?

Two Miniature Collies sitting on snow on a winter day
Source: @elliecinna / IG

A miniature collie is a loving, intelligent bundle of energy and can make a wonderful addition to your family, but this depends on the type of person you are.

If you have the time to train your dog and take it out for regular walks or runs, then this may be just the dog for you.

However, if you’re looking for a low-maintenance dog, you may want to consider selecting another dog breed. 

We hope this guide answered all your questions about Miniature Collies! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. 

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