While the breed was originated in Scotland, they were perfected in the Shetland Islands. These dogs certainly herded sheep, but also dealt with chickens and ponies. Britons, on naval maneuvers, would bring back puppies to England, sometimes calling them Toonie Dogs, referencing their farm work. Today, they are often just called Shelties and enjoy great popularity outside of the United States.
While smart, these dogs are very afraid of strangers. It is a rare treat to have one walk up and greet a stranger. They are very attached to their families and are watchful over the children. They can nip at heels, but tend to be far more gentle than other herding breeds. These dogs love to play and bark and will want to be a part of the family at all times.