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Short Haired Shelties (Do They Exist?)

If you have ever owned a Sheltie (Shetland Sheepdog), you already know that they are a great breed to have around! Not only are their personalities wonderful, but they also have some of the most beautiful fur among all dog breeds.

Some dog lovers have wondered whether or not short-haired Shelties even exist. The answer is, yes, they do!

Some Shelties do have shorter/smoother hair that is less thick. There are several reasons why this can happen, the two most common are genetics and weather changes.

If you are interested in learning more about Sheltie fur and what makes some Shelties have sleek, short fur, keep reading to find out!

Thank you, Stephanie S., for use of your photo!

Are There Short Haired Shelties?

One of the first, and most important things to know about Sheltie fur/hair, is that it is actually fur, not hair! While we interchange these words a lot, there is a difference.

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If you are interested in learning more about what the difference is between the two, check out THIS article! (In this article we will use both terms to mean the same thing).

The Sheltie breed is known for its beautiful double-coated fur; however, there are some Shelties that seem to have shorter and smoother hair than others, why is this?

There is not a huge difference in the length of the hair when it comes to a Sheltie with “shorter hair,” it is actually the thickness of the hair that causes the fur to appear so much shorter.

There are many reasons that can cause Shelties to have shorter hair than others, some of the most common include genetics, weather changes, if they are a show or working dog, health conditions, and grooming; let’s break each of these down:

Chess Dog 300 x 600


Genetics is usually the main reason why some Shelties will have shorter/smoother hair than others; if the dogs’ parents have a certain type of hair, the puppy will likely develop the same type too!

Shelties are known for having thick, fluffy fur, it is likely that if your Sheltie has thinner/smooth fur, they are actually a mixed breed!

While short haired Shelties do look slightly different, their fur is practically the same as a long-haired Sheltie! They both have the shorter/fuzzy hair that is located within their undercoat.

This undercoat hair is what regulates the dog’s body temperature and what can also cause them to shed so much!

Show or Working Dog

A lot of people are not familiar with the difference between show and working dogs. Truthfully, there aren’t that many significant differences between the two.

Working dogs tend to be bred for doing outside, labor-intensive activities (Shelties were originally bred as herding dogs).

Show dogs, on the other hand, are those who are born with the genetics that make them “desirable” according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standards.

Oftentimes you can tell a difference between show and working dogs because of their size, fur type, and physical/behavioral characteristics.

Shelties that are used as show dogs tend to have slightly longer, and thicker fur than working Shelties who have shorter and sometimes softer fur.

Unfortunately, shorter/smooth fur is not as desirable when it comes to the breed standards for Shelties.

NOTE: Shelties used for show are expected to have fluffy, thick, and beautiful fur (this oftentimes requires a lot of grooming!)

The thinner, shorter coat of a working Sheltie is better for them because it doesn’t get in the way when they are working; this also helps them cool off better than if they had long, thick fur.

It is important to remember that both long and short haired Shelties both shed and regulate their body temperatures naturally because of their double coats; this is why it is important to NEVER shave your Sheltie!

Thank you, Rachel B., for use of your photo!


Weather will oftentimes play a big role in what type of fur a dog will have. If a Sheltie lives in a warmer climate, it is likely that their hair will be less thick than a Sheltie who lives in a colder climate.

In a colder environment, a Sheltie will grow more fur to keep themselves warm vs. in a warmer environment, they will shed more fur so that they aren’t as hot.

NOTE: Don’t be alarmed if you notice your Sheltie losing more fur as the seasons’ change, this happens to all double-coated dog breeds!


Health can also be a factor in a Sheltie losing fur, or their fur thinning out.

It is important to remember that there is a difference between a Sheltie having shorter/less fur from birth and if they begin losing significant amounts of fur over time.

If you notice that your Sheltie’s fur is falling out or losing its thickness/length, there could be an underlying health condition that is causing this to happen.

NOTE: If you notice your Sheltie losing hair suddenly, it is best to check with your vet to determine what is causing the hair loss, there could be an underlying health condition that needs to be treated.


The way a dog is groomed can make a huge difference in the way its fur looks, feels, etc.

Some Shelties appear to have less fur and look smoother simply because they are being groomed to look that way.

Oftentimes Shelties are trimmed to have shorter fur, a lot of owners will do this to their dog(s) if they are living in a warm climate or if the fur is long enough to where it drags the ground, becomes uncomfortable for the dog, etc.

Because Shelties have thicker coats and they oftentimes keep a buildup of fuzz everywhere, it is important to brush them consistently, and invest in a brush that will work the best for their fur type!

Some brushes and combs that work best for Shelties include detangling brushes, detangling combs, fine-toothed combs, and slicker brushes.

All of these tools work great for double-coated dog breeds who will oftentimes get buildups of stubborn fur throughout their coat.

Click HERE to see some of the best grooming tools for double-coated dogs.

Read these next: (All About Shelties!)

Sheltie Shedding Guide: Top Tips and Tricks!

Sheltie Brushing Guide (How to & How Often?)

Sheltie Hair Care (Complete Grooming Guide)

Shaving Your Shetland Sheepdog (Is It Ever Ok?)

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