The Toy Sheltie Club of America
est 2001
and
The International Toy Sheltie Club
est 2012
Toy Sheltie Size and Size Charts

Here is an example of a 12" Toy Sheltie next to a 15" standard Sheltie. The true Toy Shelties are dramatically smaller than a regular sized Sheltie. This male was sold to me as 11"; he is actually 15", measured by a AKC judge. He is NOT an oversize dog (despite several online chatroom participants claiming he is far larger than 15"). I took these pics to show the seller that my 12" female was too small to breed to the dog that she had sold me.  She conceded the dog she sold me was larger than she had represented, but would neither take the dog back or refund any of my purchase price for misrepresentation! Beware breeders will say dogs are smaller than they are!

Sheltie Standard

The AKC Official Sheltie Standard for showing is 13-16 inches at the wither. These dogs are usually 20-40 lbs. Because larger dogs may have more 'presence' in the show ring, many show breeders breed for Shelties on the high side of the standard, many of these dogs 'go over', i.e. grow larger than 16 inches. Today we see many 17-18 inch 'pet' shelties who may weigh 40-55 lbs. Standard Sheltie breeders will view the dogs who are closer to 14 inches as being 'small'.  These same breeders frown greatly upon breeders who specialize in 'undersize' shelties. Make no mistake, there is no separate AKC registry for Toy or Mini Shelties, there is only one AKC Shetland Sheepdog registry.

Because some breeders and Sheltie lovers were taking an interest in smaller type (undersize) Shelties, and because these same breeders wanted to keep the quality in the smaller Shelties, the Toy Sheltie Club of America was formed. These breeders wanted to be recognized as responsible, caring breeders who had the goal of beautiful, healthy, smaller Shelties than those that the show breeders were producing. 

The Toy Sheltie is classically 10-12 1/2 inches at the withers and 8-15 lbs. Very few AKC Shelties fit this size description and even fewer are smaller than this. Because so many of today's buyers have little interest in conformation showing and have very busy lifestyles that they would love for their pets to be a part of, the Toy Sheltie type is rapidly growing in popularity. These dogs are still eligible to compete in AKC Agility, but would be disqualified from the conformation ring because of their diminutive size.

If you are in the group of people who either have a very active lifestyle and desire your dog with you (fast and easy to groom), the jet-setting type who wants a sheltie who fits neatly under the seat and into airline standards (under 20 lbs) or the retired or older adult who physically doesn't want to or can't lift a 35-50lb dog, a toy-size Sheltie might be perfect for you!

How did Sheltie Size become so variable

Shetland Sheepdogs are one of the few breeds with an absolute disqualification on size. At the same time, the breed as it now exists has within the last century and a half or less combined breeds ranging in size from Papillons, Pomeranians and English Toy Spaniels to full-sized Collies. The allowed size range has changed during the development of the breed, generally moving upward from a one-time maximum of 12" as more and more Collie genes were incorporated. (The actual sizes were often much larger, especially during the period when Collie crosses were common.) But the desired size range is achieved by balancing genes from large and small breeds, and consequently breedings in which both parents are the correct size can produce puppies much larger or smaller than desired.

As a result, Shetland Sheepdog breeders tend to become obsessed with measuring the size of their puppies, and a number of growth charts have been developed to estimate adult size from measurements made at various ages.

*** Our puppies have been maturing 5 x weight at 6 weeks and 4 x weight at 8 weeks.***
 
TOY BREED WEIGHT CHART
Birth
2 1/2 oz
2 3/4 oz
3 oz
3 1/2 oz
4 oz
4 1/4 oz
4 1/2 oz
5 oz
5 1/2 oz
6 oz
6 1/2oz
1 week
3 3/4
4
5
5 1/2
6 1/2
7
8
9
9 1/2
10 1/4
11
2 weeks
5
5 1/2
6 1/2
7
9
10
11
12 1/2
13 1/2
14 1/2
16
3 weeks
6
7
8
9
11
13
14
16
17 1/2
18 1/2
20
4 weeks
7
8
9 1/2
11
13
15
17
19
21
23
24
5 weeks
8
9
11
13
15
17
19 1/2
22
24
26
29
6 weeks
9
11
12 1/2
15
17 1/2
20
22
26
27
30
32
7 weeks
10
12
14 1/2
17
19 1/2
22

24 1/2

27

30
33
35
8 weeks
11
13
16
19
21 1/2
24
27
29
33
36
39
9 weeks
12
15
17 1/2
20
23
26
29
32
35
39
42
10 weeks
13
16
19
22
25
28
31
34
38
41
45
11 weeks
14
17
21
24
27
31
34
37
40
45
49
12 weeks
15
19
22
26
30
33
37
41
45
49
53
13 weeks
16
20
24
28
32
36
40
44
49
53
57
14 weeks
17
22
26
30
34
39
43
47
52
56
60
15 weeks
19
23
28
32
37
41
46
51
56
61
65
16 weeks
20
25
30
34
39
44
49
54
59
65
70
17 weeks
21
26
31
36
41
46
51
57
62
67
72
18 weeks
22
28
33
37
43
48
54
60
65
71
76
19 weeks
23
29
34
39
44
50
56
62
67
72
77
20 weeks
24
30
35
41
46
52
58
64
70
76
81
21 weeks
24
31
36
42
48
54
60
66
72
78
84
22 weeks
25
32
37
43
49
56
62
68
74
80
86
23 weeks
26
33
38
44
50
57
64
70
76
82
88
24 weeks
26
33
39
45
51
58
65
71
78
84
90
25 weeks
27
34
40
46
52
59
66
72
79
86
93
26 weeks
27
34
40
47
53
60
67
73
80
87
94
18 months
2 lbs
2 1/2lbs
3 lbs
3 1/2 lbs
4 lbs
4 1/2 lbs
5 lbs
5 1/2 lbs
6 lbs
6 1/2 lbs
7 lbs
Teacup Sizes
Tiny Toy Sizes
Toy Sizes

Please note there is no way to know for sure how big a pup will be when full grown this chart is to help with a good educated guess but that is all.

 This chart is a guide to what the future weight of a puppy might be.  There are many factors that affect the final size your puppy may attain upon reaching adulthood and this chart CANNOT predict the final outcome with FULL certainty. 

*** After following my personal sheltie numbers, mature size seems more reasonably 1.7 x the weight it projects ***

A third chart is specifically for lines with heavy Pow (Ch Cherden Sock It To 'Em CD ROM) breeding, and is based on statistics collected by Cheryl Anderson and sent to me by Nora Borgstrom. Pow was the result of crossing a dog heavily linebred on Golden Note/Timberidge/Geonimo lines (Ch Diamond's Robert Bruce ROM) with a bitch who combined Page's Hill with Ch Thistlerose Arcwood Aladdin (Pocono/Thistlerose).

 


Pow line height chart (use in conjuction with weight chart below) The blue and green lines give separate values for male and female pups.

 

 


Pow line weight chart

 

Nora Borgstrom says the following about this chart:
"The first type (slower maturing) appears smaller,finer boned, but still has that chiseled headpiece and plenty of muzzle and underjaw. Through puppyhood and even teen stages it appears weedy, no coat to speak of,but still has that "look of promise." This type once it has reached maturity will never "go off". At ten or twelve the look and body are still there,and the head piece never coarsens. The second (faster maturing) type is the one that you sometimes worry and fret "Will he stay in?" type.Very often they will be at the top of the chart or even a little over through early growth stages, so you will use the weight to gage the final outcome. If they are a little over chart in the height department but are okay weightwise it's a good chance they will stay in. It's never a sure thing in the boys especially but once youve seen a few of these chancy ones, you begin to "just know" which are going to stay in.Not too many puppy bloomers in the POW line but as I said when they finally mature they don't change. The second type of growth seems to produce the "stallion like" male. The first type tends to produce more moderately."

Different Sheltie lines do follow different growth patterns, so if anyone has information on growth rates for other specific lines, I'll post them too. Of course most Shelties today are combinations of a number of lines, and line crossing can produce growth patterns (especially in the second generation) that are quite different from either parent strain. Note also that with any chart it is wise to look at how fast the dog is growing relative to the rate shown on the chart as well as how tall the dog is.

Size is measured at the highest point of the shoulder blades, just behind the base of the neck. The dog should be measured standing on a hard, level surface with the front legs vertical and the head in a natural position. The ideal measuring device is an adjustable wicket or guillotine standard, but for the owner of a single Sheltie, the easiest way is to tape a yardstick to a wall with the 0" mark against the floor. Then take a drawing triangle or a rectangle of cardboard (the cardboard backing from a pad of paper works fine) and hold an edge against the yardstick above the height of the dog. Stand the dog with its front feet lined up with the yardstick and slide the triangle or rectangle down until it just rests on the withers. Read the dog's height from the yardstick at the bottom edge of the cardboard.

Some historical perspective on the size problem might be in order.

Shetland Collie Club (1908) "height shall not exceed 15 inches...A register shall be kept of members' dogs 12 to 15 inches."

Scottish Shetland Collie Club (1909) "height about 12 inches and weight from 10 to 14 pounds" but seems to have been interpreted as a 12 inch maximum height.

Dogs benched at Crufts in 1910 ranged from 13 to 16 inches at the shoulder

Crufts 1911 longer, lower dogs, 10 to 12 inches

Scottish Shetland Collie Club (1913) ideal height 12 inches

English Shetland Collie Club (1914) ideal height 12 inches

Scottish Shetland Collie Club (1914) ideal height 12 inches at maturity, fixed at 10 months. (Smooth coated specimens were explicitly barred for the first time in the same year.)

English Shetland Sheepdog Club (1923) From 12 to 15 inches, the ideal being halfway.

American Shetland Sheepdog Association (1929) 12 to 15 inches

Reading this information you can see the tiny size of our shelties is not unusual, perhaps we should have called them 'Foundation Shetland Sheepdogs' instead of Toy Shelties, either way, one can see the size of our dogs has a long history within the breed. The larger shelties are a relatively new change.



How to Measure Size/Height

Size is measured at the highest point of the shoulder blades, just behind the base of the neck. The dog should be measured standing on a hard, level surface with the front legs vertical and the head in a natural position. The ideal measuring device is an adjustable wicket or guillotine standard, but for the owner of a single Sheltie, the easiest way is to tape a yardstick to a wall with the 0" mark against the floor. Then take a drawing triangle or a rectangle of cardboard (the cardboard backing from a pad of paper works fine) and hold an edge against the yardstick above the height of the dog. Stand the dog with its front feet lined up with the yardstick and slide the triangle or rectangle down until it just rests on the withers. Read the dog's height from the yardstick at the bottom edge of the cardboard.

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