The word "Sheltie" is short for Shetland Sheepdog. The breed originated on the Shetland Islands, off the northeast coast of Scotland.
The Shetland Islands are a land of harsh and desolate beauty. Traditionally, the economic activities of the islands are primarily agricultural, especially the raising of Shetland sheep, known for their fine wool. Crops raised include oats and barley; however, the cold, windswept islands make for a harsh environment for most plants.