The Shetland Sheepdog is often described as a miniature Rough Collie in terms of appearance. Standing 33 to 44 centimetres at the withers and weighing 14 to 27 pounds, this beautiful dog is small yet agile and graceful. It has a refined, elegant flat head that tapers appropriately to the nose, a slight but definite stop, flat cheeks, a well-rounded muzzle, and sound teeth with a perfect scissor bite. The rim in its nose, lips and eyes are black. Its medium eyes are oval-shaped, obliquely set and usually dark brown in colour (except for merle where one or two eyes are blue). Its ears are small and set moderately wide apart, which are carried back when at rest and forward when alert or excited.
The Sheltie boasts of a thick, dense coat comprised of a straight outer coat and a softer, short undercoat. The hair around its neck is longer and thicker, which forms a mane. It also has feathering in its forelegs and its back legs have an abundant hair above the hocks. The accepted KC colours are sable, tri-colour, black & white, and blue merle, which can have white and/or tan markings.
Since the Shetland Sheepdog has quite a long and thick coat and sheds heavily all year round, it has high grooming needs. Daily brushing with a pin comb is a must, making sure to get right down to its skin. To avoid damaging the hair, it needs to be sprayed with water so it is damp when being brushed. Its grooming regimen must include daily brushing of the teeth, regular cleaning of the ears and trimming of the nails when there are clicking sounds on the floor.