How to Trim Your Shetland Sheepdog's Fur

Shelties make wonderful companions but do need frequent grooming.
i Sheltie Portrait image by jodi mcgee from

Shetland sheepdogs, more commonly referred to as shelties, are a small herding breed that bears a striking resemblance to the rough collie. Noted for their gentle demeanor and cheerful personalities, shelties need frequent grooming to keep their flowing coats smooth and tidy.

Step 1

Fill a spray bottle with warm water and spritz it all over the dog’s coat. Separate the coat down the back with your fingers and pull out the dead undercoat with the slicker brush. Shelties have an extremely dense undercoat, and your brush will quickly fill with loose hair, so clean it often. Thorough undercoat removal is necessary to prevent mats.

Step 2

Brush your sheltie from head to toe with a soft pin brush. A sheltie’s coat is long and thick, and the pin brush grabs dead hair and pulls it loose before it mats. Brush between the dog’s front legs and under the tail to remove as much loose hair as possible.

Step 3

Hold the dog’s tail out straight behind her body and brush the long hair down toward the floor. Shelties are noted for their plush, plume-like tails, and brushing the hair flat gives the tail a sleek, smooth appearance.

Step 4

Lift the tail over the back and trim away long hairs around the anus. This is particularly important to prevent feces from clumping in the fur, so trim the hair to a length of approximately one-half inch.

Step 5

Trim the hair on the feet and between the toes. Snip the long hairs around the foot into a neat, clean arch. Spread the toes and trim the hair in the middle even with the pad, taking care not to cut the skin. Shelties have small, compact feet, and excessive hair may pick up debris and make walking painful.

Step 6

Clip your dog’s nails with a pair of dog nail clippers. Hold the foot gently in your hand and snip off a little bit of nail at a time. Shelties have small toenails, and you could cut the quick if you trim off too much at once. Cut the nail until you see the light pink or gray oval of the quick in the cut surface of the nail.

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