Do Short Haired Shelties Exist? [Curious Case]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

As an avid dog lover and former vet tech, I’ve had my fair share of encounters with Shetland Sheepdogs.

Their lively personalities and striking appearance have always captivated me.

However, the idea of a short haired Sheltie seemed as mythical as finding a unicorn in my backyard.

Do they actually exist? Let’s find out more.

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Are There Short-Haired Shelties? Are Short-haired Shelties Real?

The Sheltie or Shetland Sheepdog is quite a popular breed because of its stunning, luscious coat that turns heads wherever it goes. 

Many fur parents are drawn to them because their thick fur adds an extra touch of grace and elegance.

But you may have noticed some Shelties that seem to have shorter fur.

Are they a different breed altogether? Well, not necessarily. 

Short haired Shelties do exist, but it’s actually a misnomer. They should be called short fur Shelties instead!

Among the Sheltie population, there are some that sport a thinner, smoother coat, giving the impression of having shorter-than-usual fur.

This is usually due to a natural factor like genetics, or a man-made situation due to grooming.

What Do Short haired Shelties Look Like?

What Do Short haired Shelties Look Like

Short-haired Shelties may catch your eye because of their slightly different appearance.

Their coats lack the fullness and length that we typically associate with the breed. 

Instead, their fur is sleeker and lies closer to their bodies, creating the illusion of shorter hair.

Take note though, these Shelties are not a separate breed or a different variant. 

In terms of color and markings, short-haired Shelties can come in the same range as the long-haired variety. 

They may have a combination of colors such as sable, black, and white, or they may exhibit a beautiful merle pattern. 

Their facial features and body structure still retain the classic Sheltie charm, with expressive eyes, erect ears, and an elegant silhouette.

Wanna know the standard for this breed? Check here.

How Does the Sheltie’s Coat Work?

How Does the Sheltie's Coat Work

The Sheltie has a double coat, which means it consists of two layers. 

The outer coat is made up of long, straight, and harsh guard hairs that help repel dirt and water.

These guard hairs serve as a protective barrier against environmental elements, such as rain or snow.

Beneath the outer coat lies the thick undercoat, which is soft and dense. 

The undercoat acts as insulation, providing warmth during colder seasons and helping to regulate body temperature. 

It also helps to keep the Sheltie cool in hot weather by providing airflow and preventing direct sunlight from reaching the skin.

Why Do Some Shelties Have Shorter Fur Than Others?

The length of a Sheltie’s fur can vary, which is why some Shelties may have shorter hair compared to others. It’s not a lot different from us humans to be honest.

This variation can be influenced by breeding.

If the parents of the dog have short fur, then their offspring will naturally have shorter than normal fur as well. 

Additionally, some Shelties that are bred for specific working purposes may have shorter coats.

It just makes working outside much easier when their fur is shorter. 

In the show ring, longer, more luxurious coats are often preferred. 

What is the Purpose of a Sheltie’s Thick and Long Coat?

shetland islands where shelties orginated

The thick and long coat of a Sheltie serves primarily as insulation.

After all, this breed was originally meant for herding work so the dogs needed a thicker coat to ward off the cold.

Being able to tolerate cold weather is particularly beneficial considering the Sheltie’s origins in the Shetland Islands, where they were exposed to harsh weather conditions.

Additionally, the double coat helps protect the dog’s skin from the sun’s harmful rays. It can also act as a barrier against external elements like dirt and moisture. 

The coat also plays a role in repelling water and preventing the dog’s skin from getting too wet for too long. 

Lastly, the luxurious appearance of the coat adds to the breed’s charm and distinctive look, contributing to its overall beauty and elegance.

Why Do Shelties Not Have Short Hair?

Shelties do not have naturally short hair because their breed standard calls for a thick and long double coat. 

The purpose of this coat is to provide insulation, protection, and a characteristic appearance. Breeders have carefully selected and bred Shelties with this type of coat over generations to meet the breed standard. 

While there may be individual Shelties with shorter fur due to genetic variations or specific circumstances, the breed as a whole is known for its luxurious, long coat.

Can You Shave a Sheltie?

Can You Shave a Sheltie

Shaving a Sheltie is generally not a good idea. Their double coats aren’t just there to make them look beautiful, they serve a bunch of important purposes.

When you shave a Sheltie, it can seriously mess up its coat, making it grow back all wonky, patchy, and not as nice as before. Their coats may end up looking dreadful!

Shaving your pet’s fur also increases the risk of sunburn because their skin doesn’t have the natural protection provided by their coat. 

While we humans have that thing called melanin in our skin to shield us from UV rays, dogs don’t have the same setup. 

In dogs, melanin is in the hair shaft, not the skin, so without the hair, their skin is vulnerable to sunburn.

Plus, once you start shaving your Sheltie, you’ll likely have to keep doing it because their coat might not grow back properly or even in patches. 

Are Shelties Difficult to Groom?

In my experience, grooming any long-haired breed will require a moderate time investment. But that doesn’t mean that Shelties are necessarily difficult to groom. 

Due to their beautiful double coat, Shelties do need regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles and keep their fur looking fabulous. 

You’ll want to set aside a few sessions each week for brushing to keep their coat in top shape. When it comes to bathing, Shelties don’t need frequent baths, so it won’t take up a significant amount of your time. 

How to Care for a Sheltie’s Fur? (Basic Grooming Tips)

To keep your furry pal’s coat looking its best, regular grooming practices are essential. Start by incorporating regular brushing sessions into your routine, ideally a few times a week. 

Using a slicker brush or a pin brush, gently work through the coat to remove loose hair, prevent mats, and keep it tidy. 

Pay special attention to the undercoat, as Shelties have a dense undercoat beneath their longer outer coat. 

During shedding seasons, their coat will “blow,” so it’s important to increase the frequency of brushing to every day to effectively remove dead hair and manage shedding. Don’t worry. This only happens around twice a year.

Shelties generally don’t require frequent baths unless they become particularly dirty or develop an unpleasant odor. 

When bathing your Sheltie, use a shampoo and conditioner specifically formulated for dogs, and ensure thorough rinsing to avoid any residue. 

After bathing, it’s super important to completely dry the coat to prevent dampness and potential skin problems.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why can’t we shave double-coated dogs?

Double-coated breeds have a protective undercoat and longer guard hairs that serve as insulation, regulating their body temperature in both hot and cold weather. Shaving can disrupt this natural insulation and put the dog at risk of sunburn, skin irritation, and temperature extremes. 

Can Shelties naturally have short hair, or is it achieved through grooming?

While grooming practices like trimming or shaving can alter the appearance of their coat, they cannot change the natural length or texture of the hair. So, short hair in Shelties is not achieved through grooming alone but rather a result of genetic variations.

Can I trim my Sheltie’s hair myself, or should I seek professional grooming services?

General maintenance and minor touch-ups can be done at home with the proper tools and techniques. However, it’s important to learn the correct methods and use grooming scissors or clippers specifically designed for dogs. Seeking professional grooming services is recommended for more intricate grooming tasks.

In Conclusion: Short Haired Shelties

Although the existence of short-haired Shelties may be rare, it’s not entirely impossible.

However, if you are an owner, you should be aware of the purpose of your dog’s fur and why you should not shave it off.

After all, Shelties are best with their long luscious coats!

Check out other dog breeds here:

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

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