Whether you are searching for Sheltie names for your new Shetland Sheepdog–or you have fallen in love with the Shetland Islands and would like to give your dog an inspired name–we’ve got some of the best Shetland names to help you give your new fur baby a unique and special name.
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Where is Shetland?
Shetland sheepdogs were developed on the Shetland Islands, located where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the Atlantic meets the North Sea. As you’ll see, the names are a combination of Scottish and Scandinavian combined with words that hark back to the islands’ long history. In the ninth century, Norway began colonization of these islands, a legacy that left behind many place names. In 1469, the islands were pawned to Scotland as a means by which the Norwegian king could settle the dowry for his daughter’s marriage into the royal House of Scotland.
As you might imagine, this is a chilly climate–so it’s no wonder the Shetland Sheepdog and Shetland Ponies (and did you know there are Shetland Sheep?) have such beautiful coats!
Names from the Shetland Series
The Shetland TV series, based on books by Ann Cleeves, have brought the attention of the world to these beautiful islands.
Shetland Words and Foods
- Bairn: child (perfect for your fur baby!)
- Bannock: an unsweetened cake
- Bide: stay
- Birl: spin around
- Blyde: happy
- Braaly: pretty
- Breck: slope
- Broch: round tower; built as a defensive structure dating back to the Iron Age.
- Brönnie: thick scone
- Croft: The small farms often used by a tenant farmer, an archaic term now only used in the islands and in the Scottish Highlands.
- Filsket: Frisky
- Foy: Party
- Holm: small island
- Hufsie: homemade cake
- Hund: Used as a noun to refer to a dog or as a verb meaning to chase away.
- Isla: Scottish for island
- Lass: girl
- Lodberry: Many visitors enjoy strolling the historic streets of Lerwick and its harbor lined with historic buildings, many built on their own piers. These are known as lodberries, and today the southern end of Commercial Street is lined with 17th and 18th century lodberries. (If you are fan of the Shetland series, Jimmy Perez’s home is a lodberry.)
- Makkin: Knitting, from the Norn word for knitting woolen yarn
- Moorie: snowstorm
- Noss: nose or a pointed rock (or a narrow muzzle Sheltie?)
- Peerie: small
- Proil: items including things that are precious
- Sirpin: soaking wet, if you have a water-loving Sheltie!
- Smucks: slippers
- Stoorie: dusty
- Tattie: potato
- Tiffin: a dessert similar to a brownie made with crushed cookies, raisins and chocolate
- Trow: Fairy
Place Names that Make Exotic Sheltie Names
You can opt for a place name from this archipelago that has been inhabited since approximately 1500 BC for a unique name for your Sheltie that harks back to his heritage. This archipelago spans over 100 isles, although only 15 of these inhabited. The largest of the islands is Shetland Mainland; at 374 square miles it is Scotland’s third largest island (and the setting for the popular Shetland detective TV series.)
- Balta: One of the uninhabited Shetland islands.
- Bressay: A small island known for its migrant birds.
- Burra: Two islands in Shetland which are connected by a bridge.
- Busta: Busta Voe is a sea inlet on the Mainland (the main island of Shetland).
- Bustaessay: A small island near Lerwick.
- Charlotte: Fort Charlotte, constructed in a pentagonal shape, was built in 1665 during the wars between Britain and the Netherlands. Its cannons still point out to the sea.
- Firth: the Scottish name for the body of water here known as a sound.
- Garth: Bay of Garth. Garth is also used to mean an enclosure.
- Laxo: A small community on the island of Vidlin.
- Lerwick: In the seventeenth century, the town of Lerwick was founded; it remains the northernmost town in Scotland as well as in all of the United Kingdom. Its name is derived from the words Ler Wick or “Bay of Mud” in Norn (the language descended from Old Norse that was spoken here). During the city’s earliest days, it served as a marketplace for Dutch fleets and a seaport for exporting herring and whitefish; today Lerwick continues its fishing traditions (primarily herring and mackerel) but has also diversified with livestock, offshore oil, and knitwear.
- Mousa: Mousa Broch is considered Scotland’s best-preserved broch, located on the island of Mousa.
- Noss: a nature preserve filled with puffins and gannets. The mile-long cliff here is honeycombed with nesting sites; during the peak of breeding season, this preserve is home to over 150,000 birds. Seals and otters are also seen.
- Oxna: A now uninhabited island.
- Papa: An uninhabited island; from the Old Norse Papey or “the island of the priests.”
- Ronas: Ronas Hill, the highest point in Shetland (perfect for your jumping future agility dog!)
- Vaila: A Shetland island that means “foreign island.” A beautiful female Sheltie name.
- Yell: an island
- Whalsey: The sixth-largest Shetland island.
- Brouster: The Scord of Brouster is one of the earliest Neolithic sites in Shetland, dating to 2220 BC.
- Catt: Historically Shetland was known as Insi Catt or Isle of Cats. This doesn’t refer to four-legged cats, though, but a tribe known as the Cat.
- Fridarey: The historic name given by the Norse to Fair Island; means “isle of peace.”
- Norn: The language spoken in Shetland after Norse until the 17th century.
- Norse: Old Norse, the language which the Shetland Islanders once spoke starting in 800AD with the arrival of Norwegian settlers. Its influence is still seen in many place names.
- Pict: Around 297AD, the Romans arrived to find the islands ruled by the Picts, who also dominated Northern Scotland.
- Viking: After the Picts, the Vikings arrived to overtake the islands.
- Gannet: Over 46,000 gannets call the Shetland Islands home.
- Juniper: Tree especially found on Fair Isle.
- Puffin: Over 200,000 colorful puffins reside on these islands