Shetland Sheepdogs Hailed Nations Most Obedient Breed After Winning 'Obreedience’ Final at Crufts

A team of four Shetland Sheepdogs won the Obreedience competition at the world’s biggest dog event, Crufts on Thursday 5th March.

The Shetland Sheepdogs team, named the Sheltie Superstars, proved themselves more obedient than the nine other breed teams that made it to the final at Crufts in Birmingham. The other finalists were teams of German Shepherd Dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Manchester Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Cairn Terriers, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Standard Poodles, Papillons and Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Obreedience, an exciting team obedience competition, was introduced at Crufts 2014 as a special display event. Now in its sixth year as an official competition, obreedience continues to grow and entertain the crowds that come along to support their favourite breeds.

The winning team members were:

  • Vanessa Hardin with Jelly Tot (Sheltysham Medley of Gold AW(G) RL6.Ex) from Milton Keynes
  • Carol Dare with Rafa (Lavika Mirror Image Nov.Ex) from Buckley, Flintshire
  • Rowena Steady with Toes (Tooralie’s Just the Tonic P.Beg Ex RL3.Ex) from Bridgwater
  • Jean Tuck with Zac (Tooralie’s Masquerade at Craygill AW(P) Beg.Ex RL3.Ex) from Uttoxeter
The team’s captain Vanessa Hardin said: “We are delighted with our win! We are geographically challenged as a team so practice times were limited to shows only - this speaks volumes for the dogs’ temperaments and sociability.  

“The dogs on our team are multi-talented, most of them have awards from agility as well as working trials and rally.”

Vanessa McAlpine, Crufts Show Manager, said: “Huge congratulations to the Shetland Sheepdogs team on their amazing win. These dogs are fantastic examples of happy, well-trained dogs that have an incredibly strong bond with their owners.

“The obreedience competition is a brilliant way to show off the fact that any breed, given the right training and socialisation, and of course patience from their human counterparts, can do well in competitive obedience. We look forward to seeing which breeds excel in obreedience at the heats being held throughout 2020.”

Each obreedience team comprised four handlers and dogs, who took part in two rounds.  The first was a heelwork round completed as a group, with the dogs being assessed on their ability to complete different moves whilst remaining synchronised with their team mates. The second round featured four set exercises and each member needed to successfully complete one of the four different exercises. Points were deducted for any faults and the team with the most points won. The exercises were a retrieve (handler’s own article), a send to bed, stop the dog, and scent over articles.

Read further details about obreedience.   

Crufts took place from 5th – 8th March at the NEC, Birmingham. For more information, please visit