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American Vs. English Shelties

Discussion in 'The Sheltie Standard' started by Sheltie.Mama, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. Sheltie.Mama

    Sheltie.Mama Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2013
    Just wondering.. What are the major differences between the sheltie's and which type do you prefer?
  2. BarbV

    BarbV Forums Celebrity

    With my limited knowledge, European Shelties tend to be finer boned and shorter in height and length. My Indy is ones of these. When he trots or runs its on his tip toes....

    North American dogs tends to be longer and bigger boned, and more like to go over standard as a result, I think. My Bacca is one of these. so though bigger boned, when Bacca trots it is an entirely different movement. To watch him is like poetry in motion He flows.....He reminds me of Lypasander horses......Of course, this doesn't happen much now since he has been sick, but every now and again, he pulls it out!

    As to what I prefer....I love both. I love Bacca's fluid's movements, but I also like Indy's compact size
  3. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

    Aug 28, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    The best way to see the differences is to look at some photos of winning dogs in both countries.

    Let's take a kennel tour. Here is the webpage of a successful Sheltie breeder in the UK.

    Now visit the page of a Canadian breeder who has been successful in Canada and the US. (Full disclosure: she and my mother have been co-breeders for many years; we co-own dogs together and our kennels are closely related.)

    To me, the difference that stands out is the way heads are constructed... the North American dogs have more "planes and corners" to their heads, while the UK dogs tend to be "softer". (Not every US dog has good planes, but I think there's more of an emphasis on that here.) The eye set and shape is often different. And the grooming and presentation are different, too.

    As an interesting aside, I have always found it fascinating how similar many of the UK Rough Collies are to the UK Shelties. Here's a UK Rough Collie breeder's page... Now compare those dogs to the UK Shelties. To my eye, the UK Collies look more like the UK Shelties than the US Collies and Shelties look like each other (if you follow!).

    Now have a look at this US Collie breeder's dogs for comparison.

    It reminds me of the relationship between Shiba Inu, Japanese Akitas, and American Akitas. One looks like a larger version of the other, and the third looks like its own breed entirely.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  4. Sharon7

    Sharon7 Moderator

    Oct 31, 2009
    Southern California
    It really struck us when we visited a SN member in England over a year ago. The UK Shelties are just more delicate looking, thinner bones, kind of fox-like. And a lot of the sables I have seen there are very light without much black shading.

    David's dogs were all Sheltie, though, just delightful personalities!
  5. Mignarda

    Mignarda Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 17, 2013
    Dover, Delaware
    Personally I think the breeders have gotten completely carried away with the whole "fluff" look. Shelties are powerful and graceful runners, as they ought to be, but with those huge coats they often appear awkward and cumbersome. In my opinion that's something that could stand to be scaled-back just a bit.
  6. missjenneygirl

    missjenneygirl Forums Enthusiast

    Aug 20, 2009
    It was a total delight to visit the Richmond Kennel Society Dog Show in Guildford England this past September. I was fortunate to spend the day with Julia (Seashell on the Forums). We had lively discussions about the differences in American and UK shelties. From structure to grooming, and more.
    I found the UK shelties smaller, and lighter in bone. The heads were most noticeably different. Also, overall structural balance is different.

    The delightful temperament and essence of the breed, rings true for both types. It was a total joy to have the opportunity to see so many UK shelties, and watch the judging. As I have mentioned in a previous post, the dog that won Best of Breed that day, was a blue dog that mostly resembled the American style. Heavier bone, and fuller muzzle.
  7. Chris

    Chris Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Northern Virginia
    I think David's Shelties are gorgeous, too! I have no problem with two different "types." I think both are lovely!
  8. xerospin

    xerospin Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 11, 2010
    To me the English type and American type are different enough I would not mind classifying into two different breeds. they are VERY different. UK type is petite, fox like face lighter bones and generall finer structured. US type is completely different, esp the head expression. They have bigger head and smaller eyes in comparison to the UK type and tend to become oversized more. I don't think I've ever seen an oversized English type, but undersized yes.

    Both are beautiful and I happen to own one of each type. I'd like to see the American type Sheltie groomed UK way for better comparison. Too much products are used in the US show rings sometimes and most breeders don't put up "natural" photos of their dogs.
  9. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    One of the big differences with breed standards is the size as the British standard is about an inch less than the American. Many years ago the American standard was more popular in Aust, but there is now a distinct move to the British lines and standards. Where you'd see a lot of US imports in the ring most are now coming from Europe.

    I have to agree, I look at pictures of shelties on SF, compared to what I'm used to and the head seems more angular or square for want of a better word, it's particularly noticeable in the noses. I think the way you set the ears may contribute to this - the American shelties have their ears set much higher on their heads.

    I get the feeling that the difference in UK and US shelties has very much developed from the cross-breeding with Roughs and the differences that had already developed in that breed across continents. To me there is a noticeable similarity between US Collies and Shelties as well with the square head and nose and high set ears. I always think the American Shelties are closer to Collies and the UK Shelties look a little like Poms.

    It's just that the oversized ones get mistaken for American lines. Not kidding either, I've seen a fair amount of oversized British lines and they do tend to have that stocky, Collie like frame, I think the only thing that would differentiate them is the narrower nose.

    EJHUNTL Forums Enthusiast

    Aug 11, 2013
    Ontario, Grand Bend

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