The Collie (or Scottish collie, as the breed is often called) is a dog breed that originated in Scotland, where this breed was primary used as a herding dog and all-around farm dog. In 1800s and early 1900s their popularity and reputation as awesome farm dogs started to grow rapidly and many of them were exported internationally as working animals. They are believed to share an ancestor with Border Collies.
FUN FACT: Some historians think that the name Collie comes from the word “colley” - the Scottish black-faced sheep; that the Collie dog used to guard.
Collies are medium-sized dogs, and males are slightly larger than females. Male Collies are 24-26 inches tall and weight 60-75 pounds and female ones are 22-24 inches tall and weight 50-65 pounds. Their life span is 12 to 14 years.
Collies come in a variety of colors – sable (think Lassie), tricolor (black with white markings and tan shadings), blue merle and white (predominately white with markings). Often, they have white markings, especially around the neck and down the chest. All white Collies, preferably with some color markings, are being seen more frequently, and this color is believed to be associated with some health problems. Collies are famous for their abundant coat that is quite long. Because of their long coat, Collies should be groomed daily or every other day to prevent matts and tangles. During shedding time, some extra grooming is required. They shed throughout the year and blow coat twice a year.
FUN FACT: There are two types of Collies - the Rough Collie, with a long coat; and the Smooth Collie with a short, dense and flat coat. The Rough Collie is a classic „Lassie“ with rich coat, and the smooth-coated ones are easier to care for.
Collies are incredibly intelligent, gracious, hard-working dogs. They are highly trainable and are eager to learn. Usually, they will overcome quickly any task they are given. The Collie breed is best described as “sweet”, friendly. Collies love to be around people and have a strong desire to please. Collie motto is “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.” Collies are sensitive, loyal and have an ability to foresee their owners’ needs. They tend to get along with everyone, including children and other animals, and thus they are one of the favorite breeds among people with large families.
Although good-natured and friendly, the Collie can be suspicious of strangers. The Collie make excellent watchdog – the dog will bark and notify that somebody is approaching but is not aggressive. They do need exercise, but nothing much – a few longer walks, and some ball throwing through the day will be enough. Like most herding dogs, Collies do well at such canine sports as herding trials, agility, obedience, and lure coursing. Like any other dog, Collie also needs early socialization to grow into a well-rounded dog. When they are frustrated, bored or left alone for too long, the Collie might bark excessively. This can be prevented by keeping them mentally occupied with some tasks. A "Quiet" command should be a part of every Collie's training program.
The Collie is a very healthy breed, but, like all the others, this breed is also prone to some health conditions. Important thing to know is that hip dysplasia is not a noticeable concern. Some of conditions Collies are prone to are: Collie Eye Anomaly – an eye condition present at birth, inherited from both parents and affects both eyes. Collie Eye Anomaly causes the eye to fail to develop properly and dogs are affected to varying degrees, even to blindness; Dermatomyositis - an inherited autoimmune skin disorder that causes lesions and muscle problems; Collie Nose or nasal solar dermatitis which is a condition in which the skin of nose peels, oozes, and may lose color. Another condition is MDR1 Sensitivity – causes dogs to be sensitive to certain drugs, such as anti-parasitic medicines and antibiotics. This condition is common among herding dogs. Bloat, epilepsy, allergies are also something your Collie can be prone to.
The Collies’ popularity caused unethical breeders to breed these dogs excessively, with no regard for temperament, health or conformation, so if you are buying a Collie puppy, make sure to find a reputable breeder who has no problem with showing health clearances for both puppy’s parents.
The popularity of the Collie
The Collie became popular when people fell in love with Lassie, a fictional dog created by Eric Knight in his novel. Soon, there were a successful movie and a television show about Lassie, that were describing the heroic dog in action. Eric Knight’s fictional dog character of Lassie was played by a Rough Collie named Pal in the 1943 movie - Lassie Come Home. Soon, the character of Lassie was featured on toys, clothes, comic books, etc.
Also, Queen Victoria visited her Scotland estate in 1860 and was amazed by Collies’ good looks and gentle temperament so she decided to bring few of them back to England.
FUN FACT: A Scotch Collie called Jean was the first canine to become a movie star.
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