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“Dorothy's Page” 
A page for and about Sheltie Rescue.


Sheltie Colors

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 here.

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 counterpart at right

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Black factored sable and white

Usually a mahogany colour with black overlay

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Sable Merle and White
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 Skyehaven Shelties

Black factored and white factored
sable merle — may be a pinto/piebald (heavily penalized) or double merle (very heavily penalized)
Note presence of silvery merling on face and body. Merling more obvious than in pure for sable merle pictured to left.


Black, white, & tan (also known as tricolor)

Note tan markings on face and upper leg areas

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Black and white (also known as bi-black)

Note absence of tan markings

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Blue merle, white, & tan (also known as Blue Merle)
Any shade of grey with black patches & tan markings

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Bi-blue merle (also known as bi-blue)

Note absence of tan points

photo courtesy Skyehaven Shelties

Sable headed white (very strongly penalized)

Tricolor headed white (very strongly penalized)

Blue Merle headed white (very strongly penalized)


Double dilute/double merle (sometimes hearing and/or sight impaired)
Primarily white including the head (very strongly penalized)

Brindle (disqualifying color)

Note mixture of black and brown hairs

Dilute Tricolor (fault)

Note faded black coat color

Chocolate (fault)

This is a variation on the tricolor gene - note tan points above eyes

White head, colored body (fault)


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