Shetland Sheepdog Breeder Listings
Search our Shetland Sheepdog breeder directories in the US, Canada, UK, Australia and New Zealand and meet your new best friend.
A professional Sheltie breeder is the only trustworthy place to buy a purebred Sheltie puppy. Dedicated breeders work responsibly by performing genetic testing to avoid passing on hereditary diseases. They also select their breeding pairs for health, appearance and temperament.
Be sure to visit the breeder's premises when you collect your puppy and ask to meet the puppy's parents. This ensures you're not supporting the cruel puppy mill industry or encouraging backyard breeding (which contributes to the problem of dog overpopulation and sees millions of dogs euthanised every year).
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 Shetland Sheepdog Puppy Guide.
Search our directory of Sheltie breeders in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Hit your country link below to search now, or read on to learn about the science of dog breeding.
Note: While we aim to list only ethical breeders, we can't vouch personally for all the names in our directories. Please use your best judgement and only support professional breeding practices.
|Visit our US directory of Sheltie breeders|
|Visit our UK directory of Sheltie breeders|
|Visit our Canadian directory of Sheltie breeders|
|Visit our Australian directory of Sheltie breeders|
|Visit our New Zealand directory of Sheltie breeders|
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.
Shelties tend to product litters of 4-6 puppies and due to natural genetic variation (owing to dominant and recessive genes) not all of them will be suitable for breeding or the show ring. These are the puppies you will find for sale by breeders.
Now compare this to the practice of backyard breeding, a catch-all term for accidental or deliberate breeding by pet owners, as well as people who might call themselves professionals but don't really invest the time or energy into producing outstanding healthy dogs.
The reasons for backyard breeding are very different from professional breeding and are usually profit-focused or because their owners thought it would be cute.
Sadly, with so many unwanted dogs sitting in rescue shelters, often the result of backyard breeding (or worse, puppy mills) it can hardly be justified as an ethical breeding practice.