The Shetland sheepdog originated on the Shetland Islands of Scotland in the 1800s. They almost certainly were derived from early collie-type dogs that also provided root stock for collies and border collies.
The terrain and sparse vegetation of the islands favored smaller livestock, which in turn only needed smaller herding dogs. The Shetland sheepdog herded sheep, ponies and chickens, keeping them away from cultivated fields in a land with few fences.
Shetland sheepdogs were first exhibited as Shetland collies in England, but when collie fanciers objected, the name was changed to Shetland sheepdog. The breed’s popularity followed that of the collie, with many families opting for what they thought of as a miniature collie.
The Shetland sheepdog remains a steady favorite as a family dog throughout the world.