Colors Found in Shetland Sheepdogs

Shelties come in many different colors. Some of the colors that can be found in Shelties are expressly allowed by the breed standard. Other colors are allowed by the standard, but are discouraged by penalizing them so heavily in conformation judging that they are eliminated from the possibility of winning their classes. Still other colors are expressly prohibited by the standard. Additional photographs of Shelties of colors supported by the standard can be seen on this page.

This page illustrates all of the colors that are known to be found in Shetland Sheepdogs, because we want individuals, shelters, animal control officers, etc. to identify Shelties for rescue, even when they do not have an “accepted” color. Under no circumstances should the illustration of a prohibited or discouraged color Sheltie on this page be taken as an indication that deliberate breeding of Shelties of such colors is encouraged in any way.

Sable and White

Often a paler sable than the Black-Factored Sable and White

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Black-Factored Sable and White

Usually a mahogany color with black overlay.

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Sable Merle and White ("Sable Merle")

Usually has silvery hair on edges of ears which may be the only identifying color trait. Merling in coat of pure for sable merle may not be evident. eyes may be brown, blue or merled.

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Black-Factored and White-Factored Sable Merle

May be pinto or piebald in color (heavily penalized in the conformation ring) or double merle (very heavily penalized in the conformation ring). Note the presence of silvery merling on the face and body. Merling is more obvious than in pure-for-sable merle dogs.

Black, White, and Tan ("Tricolor")

Note tan markings on face and upper leg areas.

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Black and White ("Bi-Black")

Note absence of tan markings.

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Blue Merle, White, and Tan ("Blue Merle")

Any shade of gray with black patches and tan markings.

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Bi-Blue Merle ("Bi-Blue")

Note absence of tan markings.

Photo courtesy of Skyehaven Shelties

Sable-Headed White

Very heavily penalized in the conformation ring.

Tricolor-Headed White

Very heavily penalized in the conformation ring.

Blue Merle-Headed White

Very heavily penalized in the conformation ring.

Double Dilute ("Double Merle")

May be hearing- and/or sight-impaired. Primarily white, including the head. Very strongly penalized in the conformation ring.

Brindle

Note mixture of black and brown hairs. Disqualfied for the conformation ring.

Dilute Tri-Color

Note the faded black coat color. Considered a fault in the conformation ring.

Chocolate

This is a variation on the tricolor gene. Note tan points above eyes. Considered a fault in the conformation ring.

White head with colored body

Considered a fault in the conformation ring.