Shetland Sheepdog Breeder Listings
Search our Shetland Sheepdog breeder directories for Sheltie puppies in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand.
Below are links to all our Sheltie breeder directories by country. Before you make contact, please educate yourself on the difference between ethical breeders vs puppy mills:
How to Find an Ethical Sheltie Breeder
Aside from Sheltie rescues, professional Sheltie breeders are the only trustworthy place to buy Sheltie puppies. Never support backyard breeding or puppy mills as you're only investing in their cruel profit-driven trade and increasing the demand for more suffering.
How do you know if a breeder is ethical? You have to put your detective hat on. Here are my top tips:
Visit their website - Ethical breeders specialize in knowing everything there is to know about one or two dog breeds maximum. Their website will clearly show this. They'll also show off their champion dogs, who have won awards in conformation shows and make up their breeding stock. These are very good signs of dedicated, ethical breeding.
WARNING SIGNS: Puppy mill breeders offer many different breeds of puppies for sale, including designer dogs and miniature Shelties. Hybrids Sheltie mixes like the Sheltie-Poo (Sheltie x Poodle), Poshie (Pomeranian x Sheltie) and Sheltie-Pom (Sheltie x Pomeranian) are bred purely for the pet trade to deliver profit.
Ask about breeding practices - Ethical breeders always perform genetic testing on their mating pairs to avoid passing on hereditary diseases. They also select dogs for breeding based on their overall health, appearance and temperament. They will talk expertly about these subjects with details in the official Shetland Sheepdog Breed Standard last overhauled in 1952.
WARNING SIGNS: Puppy mill breeders may claim they perform genetic testing but they almost certainly don't. It's an expense they spare themselves and happily lie about. Dig into this lie. Ask what diseases they're looking for when they test (see Inherited Health Issues in Shelties). Similarly, ask what specific features they look for in appearance. Puppy mill breeders will blag a vague or incorrect response that's not specific to Shelties.
Visit the kennels - Ethical breeders will invite you to their kennels to pick up your puppy. There, you can tour the facilities, meet some of their champion dogs, and check that the living conditions are humane. They will have a professional setup with healthy, happy dogs who approach you with confidence.
WARNING SIGNS: Puppy mill breeders often operate online with no in-person contact and no visits to kennels. They may ship puppies long distances and use this as an excuse for the non-contact. If they do allow you to visit their kennels, take a tour. Watch out for multiple dogs sharing cages and dirty living conditions like faeces in the cages, which suggests they haven't been let out for a long time. Their dogs will look subdued, unhealthy, and poorly groomed.
Sheltie Breeder Directories
Rescue a Sheltie Puppy
There are thousands of rescue dogs waiting to be adopted, with Shetland Sheepdogs among them. You're unlikely to find Sheltie puppies for adoption (although it does happen) but please don't discount adult dogs.
One benefit of adopting an adult rather than buying a puppy is she's already house trained and probably recognizes some commands. She'll be be much cheaper than buying a puppy through a breeder. And she'll be ready to take home immediately; rescue groups are under constant pressure to open up spaces for new intakes.
A rescue dog has likely been through a lot in her life. She may have been abused and/or neglected, and has now been abandoned completely by her family. She's in desperate need of a secure loving home. So before you seek out a breeder of Sheltie puppies, check with your nearest Sheltie rescue and give a Sheltie in need a forever home.
When Can Puppies Be Re-Homed?
Like all dog breeds, Sheltie puppies shouldn't be separated from their mother until they're at least 8 weeks old. Any earlier than this and the puppy becomes nervous and has problems settling into his new home.
However, puppies should be re-homed by 12 weeks, when they start forming strong lifelong attachments with their family. So 8-12 weeks is the window of opportunity to take your puppy home.
For more information on raising a Sheltie puppy, including their vaccination schedule, how to de-worm and de-flea a puppy, and the ethics of de-sexing, see my Pet Owner's Guide to Shelties.
The Science of Dog Breeding
Shetland Sheepdogs wouldn't exist without the careful breeding practices of knowledgeable dog breeders.
That's because specific dog breeds have specific genetic templates. The Sheltie template expresses itself as the appearance and temperament common to all purebred Shelties. Once you start to dilute this genetic template (by cross-breeding with dogs of other breeds to create Shelties mixes) you quickly lose the features of the Sheltie.
Each breed template is, of course, based on what humans prefer to see in their dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs were originally bred to watch over diminutive sheep herds on the Shetland Islands of Scotland.
Early breeders deliberately selected for size, coat quality, aptitude to alarm bark and instinct for herding. When they had a desirable trait in a Sheltie, breeders made sure to mate that dog with their other finest Shelties, so their puppies would inherit the trait too.
This is known as artificial selection. When humans don't intervene in animal breeding, it's known as natural selection. Both are essential drivers of evolution: the emergence of new species through genetic mutation.
Dogs are all the same species because they are genetically similar enough to successfully mate regardless of breed. But it's the unique interference by humans in dog mating that has led to the numerous and distinct dog breeds we know today.
Professional Shetland Sheepdog breeders continue to seek ideal examples of appearance, temperament and health in their dogs. They use genetic testing to eliminate inheritable diseases from the gene pool. They attend dog shows to gain official recognition of the quality of their Shelties and use award-winning dogs to breed new litters.