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Breed Notes

The Collie evolved from Scottish herding dogs that may date back to the time of the Romans. Queen Victoria, after seeing working Collies in Scotland, brought several to England in the 1860s. This royal stamp of approval skyrocketed the Collie to fame in England. This fame spread internationally with the writings of Albert Payson Terhune and Hollywood movies. There are two varieties of Collie: the Rough, which has a long coat and the Smooth, which has a short coat. This is the only difference between the two.
The Collie is a loyal companion, very gentle and docile. He is an excellent dog for children. He also is an excellent herding dog.
The Collie head is long and narrow with little definition change between the skull and the muzzle. The ears stand erect on the head with the top third tipped forward. The eyes are almond-shaped, medium in size, and set obliquely on the face. Preferred eye color is dark brown except in dogs with blue merle coats (marbled blue, gray and black) where the eye may be blue. The coat on the Rough Collie is abundant with a thick undercoat and long, straight, harsh outercoat. The Smooth Collie has an abundant undercoat with a short, dense, flat outer coat. Coat color combinations in both varieties include sable, blue merle, tri-color and white. Collies also have a white rough, white stockings and a white-tipped tail. The tail is long, reaching to the hock or below, and carried low. The body is longer than tall, with a deep chest and slightly arched back over the loin. The legs are straight and muscular. The gait is easy, light, and seemingly effortless. The males will stand between 24 and 26 inches in height, while the females will be between 22 and 24 inches. of Washington writes:

So cute and really nice.
My old Collie was the sweetest thing. She would follow me around and protect me. That dog was extremely caring, and if I felt the least bit nervous she would help me out. The only drawback about a Collie is that they need to be brushed constantly. Please get a rescue or a pound Collie, you don't know how happy that dog will be to have a friend and a warm, cozy home! This is most definitely a five-star dog! (Go for a Rough Collie.) of Charleston, WV writes:

Wonderful temperament, sweet and loving.
I currently own a blue merle Collie who is two years old. Unlike other dogs I have owned, Cocker Spaniel, German Shepherd, and Beagle, the Collie always wants to please. Training was a pleasure. He only soiled the carpet twice and that was at nine or ten weeks old. In other words, simple to housebreak. Right now, I believe that he would bust before he would go to the bathroom in the house.
Also, he is wonderful with kids. I do not have any but my dad has two young adopted boys. Recently, we were staying with my dad and one of the boys got in trouble which constituted a time-out in his bedroom. My Collie was deeply concerned about his well-being. He would run back and forth from the boy's room to my dad and me in the living room trying to force us to go check on him. Additionally, I have seen him get extremely upset when he sees anyone be mean to another person or their animal. He has no problem expressing his displeasure or concern.
My Collie is a fun and active dog. He loves to catch a Frisbee and has become excellent at this game. But in the house, he is calm and usually lays by my feet. I highly recommend this breed. I have been fortunate to have two Collies and both of them surpassed all other dogs I have had or have been around in intelligence, obedience and easy to train. The only negative is you have to stay up with their coats. I take mine to a groomer every month and brush him almost daily but I still have problems with mats behind his ears and the back of his legs. of Singapore writes:

The best dogs ever.
I have reared and owned Collies all my life. They are naturally obedient and they definitely do not need harsh training. Harsh training will mentally scar your dog forever and your dog will be terrified of you. Constanly feeding your Collie will make it obese. The easiest way is to exercise your Collie regularly and feed it treats each time your dog gets it right, as in tricks or agility training. In conclusion, Collies are COOL!

Name withheld by request of Wales, UK writes:

I owned a Collie for thirteen years and I absolutely adored her, and she adored me. I had a baby and all she did was lie by her cot and guard her. If anyone came anywhere near the cot she would bark until I came to see who it was. She was extremely protective of me and my children, but very friendly at the same time. Loyal, beautiful, spirited and "smiley," this dog makes a wonderful companion, but needs lots of exercise and required grooming. of Springfield, OR writes:

Are you the right person for a Collie?
I have owned Collies for over 25 years. I don't show them and I don't breed. They are simply my best friends. My current, "only half Collie" (in blood, but definitely in temperament and in looks), is my hearing dog. He was professionally trained and only through the organization's care and some luck did I end up with a Collie as my "extra ears." Collies are gentle, loyal, sensitive, calm indoor and playful outdoors. While they are wonderful family dogs, they are usually a little reserved with strangers. They get along well with any species of pets (my first Collie had his own pet hamster!). They enjoy working at any job you give them. Collies are highly intelligent and very versatile, but they need a lot of human companionship. I've heard a story or two about someone's experience with a bad-tempered Collie. The common factor involved was a Collie that was kept strictly outside, on a chain! Most of the Collies I've had were very vocal dogs (maybe they just take after me). Most were not very territorial and I didn't consider them the ultimate house guardian; however, each of mine were very protective of me and mine. I recently saw a picture of a woman surrounded by several Collies, and told my husband, "See? That's heaven!" of Delaware writes:

Smooth Collies are absolutely the ideal dog.
The ideal dog for anyone who wants a large, easy-care, very loving, gentle and amusing dog to be your best buddy. I have had Smooth Collies for 22 years and can't imagine being without one or more. They are easy to live with, great company, the perfect size for a good hug. At present I have three Smooths, one Rough, three sighthounds, and a cat. The Collies are lively, loving, and funny. They are usually calm in the house. If I go into another room pretty soon there are four Collie bodies on the floor, sofa, bed, or bathmat. They are great to take to school to do lessons on dog care, training, and safety and they love it. Two of my nephews learned to walk by pulling themselves up and walking around and around the Smooths. As a rule, Collies are patient and gentle with kids. The advantage the Smooths have over the Roughs is their coat is so much easier to care for and they are a little more lively and amusing. They do shed their undercoats once or twice a year and it gets all over everything. Also they bark, a lot. And they need a big fenced yard to play in a couple of times a day, either with another dog or a person. But most Collies only need a four-foot fence. Mine have always been easy to housebreak and very trainable with gentle methods and lots of happy praise. Although they love cold weather don't get a Collie if you want an outside dog only, they aren't happy if they are kept away from their family. Since Collies can have a couple of different eye problems, some skin problems, and, like other large dogs, can be prone to hip dysplasia, if you get a puppy you better go to a reputable breeder. But lovely adult Collies, even Smooths, show up at animal shelters and rescue organizations.

` of Staten Island, NY writes:

A sensitive, loving dog.
I own a Collie, a Lassie look-alike, blaze and all. But I had to understand that this dog and very, very few Collies can measure up to the real Lassie, although they may look-alike, there are vast
differences. Collies are very intelligent, sensitive and seem to understand exactly what you are saying &shyp; you can have an entire conversation with this breed. They are loving, sensitive and sweet, but require a lot of grooming and attention. They get bored easily and need plenty of exercise. They are nosy dogs, putting their noses in everything and very sociable and friendly, maybe too friendly. They simply adore people, company and attention. They also love food and seem to be always hungry. They housebreak easily but are somewhat difficult to train. They understand, but are rarely in the mood to do what you want them to do. They are keenly intelligent dogs, as said, but once you get over the Lassie thing, you will love a Collie, all the hair and all. of Cincinnati, OH writes on 8/12/01:

The best friend you will ever have.
I grew up having German Shepherds, who always ran away at the first chance at freedom. I have had a Maltese for 17 years, sweet guy, a Chow, and finally my two Collies. There is no dog as wonderful, kind, and protective as the Collie. My female white is the original Lassie. She has saved my little boy from near disaster twice. Once he was in his walker as a toddler and got near an electric socket with a spoon in his hand, He bit on the back of his walker and pulled him all the way to me. Second, he climbed up a stool got on a high counter and as he jumped she laid flat across and he landed on her. She follows whereever he goes and will not allow him to be in a room alone with anyone not a family member. My male Collie is sweet, calm and serious. When he barks you know their is a stranger around not just a neighbor. The hair can be burdensome, but anything worthwhile requires effort. I would never be without a Collie again. They also learned at four years old to accept two cats in the house and now they protect the cats from neighbor dogs. of Iowa writes on 11/21/00:

Perfect family dog.
We have raised Collies for 6 years. They are fabulous with children. Sweet happy affectionate dogs. They come in two coat varieties and the smooth version is perfect as an indoor dog requiring little or no grooming.I rated collies at a 4 because they need attention, they do best when they have a fenced yard to run in for at least some time each day and they do very well in a multi-dog household. Buy from a reliable and responsible breeder. of Minnesota writes on 4/23/00:

Sweet-tempered, and great with kids.
Few breeds have spent so much time in the service and companionship as Collies have, and it is their devotion and their willingness to please that makes them and outstanding family dog. Collies are the happiest with children. They are generally gentle natured when raised properly. They do learn very quickly, and are inclined to be reluctant to cooperate if they find that a certain task may mean pain. The majority of them are excellent problem solvers. It has been found that Collies are incapable of mortally wounding a human, when soldiers attempted to train them as attack dogs in WWII. They made excellent courier dogs, and watch dogs. They are sensitive in nature, and are sympathetic to the moods of their owners and children.
Collies do not respond well to harsh training, in fact, discipline is rarely needed, except when they are going through their "teenage phase", 4 months to 10 months. Then they need a gentle, but firm hand, and obedience training is recommended. However,they get bored with too much repetition. They learn things quickly, and in fact, despite their size (and long coats in the roughs), they housebreak very quickly as pups (between 14 weeks and 18 weeks of age), and make excellent housedogs.
They do require plenty of exercise, and having another Collie as a playmate, and a large fenced in yard is best. Never, ever, allow a Collie roaming privledges, even as a farm dog. Their herding instinct is very strong, and can get them into trouble. Supervision is required. However, tying them up for lengthy periods is cruel. They need a large run and exercise yard, or regular exercise to be happy. If confined to a small run, they can become barkers, annoying everyone in hearing range, simply out of boredom, and are inclined to do a lot of pacing as well. They do best if they can spend time outside in a large run with other Collies (although they usually get along well with most any breed), and then get to spend time in the house with their family.
Collies are often 1 person dogs, that is to say, that, although they generally love to meet anyone, and are quite friendly (to a fault), they usually pick one person they will take orders from, occasionally 2. In other words, they have only one boss. They like everyone else, but will often turn a deaf ear to them when told to do something by anyone else other than their "boss". They know who is in charge.
Grooming routines should be started at an early age. Collies need to be cooperative when it comes to grooming time as their coat requires regular attention. Granted, they do not need constant bathing and primping as do some breeds, but a bath several times a year, (unless they are being shown, then bathing should be more frequent) and a good thorough brushing once a week is plenty. Their coats are good at shedding dirt, but they tend to get mats behind their ears, in their armpits, and between their hind legs where the hair is softer textured, so brushing once a week helps prevents mats from building up. Never shave a Rough Collie! That coat helps to protect their skin from the suns rays, and can actually help to keep them cool. They usually go through a heavy shedding stage between April and June, blowing their thick wooly undercoat. It pays to keep their brushed well during this time to prevent all over body mats. Use flea, tick, fly and mosquito repellents during the summer, to protect them durng this thin-coat time, and always keep them up-to-date on their shots and heart-worm medicine.
I have found over my 24 years of breeding showing, and owning Collies, that most people who have had a Collie, and lost it, want to get another one, simply because of their loving temperments. They are the best breed to have with children! I have had and presently have other breeds in my home, but there is nothing as special as a Collie, and I would never be happy without one in my family! of Illinois writes on 10/20/99:

Smooth collies - all the fun without all the fuss!
The smooth (short-haired) Collie has been seriously short-changed. Smoothies have the same great "Lassie" temperament - as the more familiar roughs - the only difference is that they don't have all the hair. Collies are very smart, so they need training (or they'll make up their own fun - and you probably won't appreciate it!) They also need to have lots of contact with the people they love, so are not a good choice for an "outdoor" dog. But if you have the time to share with them, smooth collies will repay you with lots of love, security, and fun. Smooth collies make great guide and assistance dogs, and can excell in performance sports such as agility. They enjoy having a job to do, and will gladly work with you in almost any field of endeavor. My own dogs participate in conformation, agility, and obedience competition, and have taught themselves to be sensitive to my asthma, alerting me when an attack is coming on. They're great! writes on 10/11/99:

The ultimate.
My first Collie was killed in 1962 pushing my son out of the way of truck in my own driveway. I have not been without at least two since then. I believe the Collies essential to raising my eight kids, protection, babysitting, playmate, etc. The herding instinct kept my kids in the yard and no stranger was ever allowed to open the gate. I have spent 35 years+ with this breed and have found few others to have the sensitivity or intelligence of the Collie. Grooming problems can be easily solved by acquiring a Smooth - same dog just short coat. Like all breeds some attention needs to be paid to genetic problems and any responsible breeder will provide eye checks and OFA background,health and temperment guarantee. of U.S. writes on 10/10/99:

The Ultimate Weekend Warrior
I have owned, shown, trained, and bred Collies for over 12 years. No other breed I have owned comes close to my collies for versitility and true-human like intelligence. Collies are the ultimate weekend warriors. During the week they are content to be home bodies, on the weekend they are ready to go where ever I am. Be it herding, obedience, agility, backpacking or a conformation show, they rise to the occasion. There is no finer house dog and childs pet than the Collie. It gets along well with my cats and my other pets and quickly obeys even my sister's 3 year old daughter.
However the Collie is not for everyone. A fenced yard of moderate size for a good run is a must. The long glorious coat does take some care and having the time to complete proper grooming is critical. The Collie is a very sensitive dog and does require a soft hand when training. Should you wish to get a Collie, please look for a responsible breeder so you can avoid some of the health and temperament problems that come from poorly bred collies. Or if possible, try your local Collie rescue group and save a needy collie that was bound for the shelter. Many of these Collies are perfectly happy and healthy dogs that are easily re-adoptable. Once you have owned a Collie, I am sure you will agree that this is the ultimate dog for the family.

Name withheld by request of Ontario writes on 10/10/99:

Can make a good family pet with some training!
Like another breed Collies need obedience training! Collies, are more intellegent the other breeds (eg: Beagles), but they need training expecially around kids! Becuase of thier hearding instinct you may see them circling stuff MANY times, they may even try & 'herd' children! Which you must be carful of because SOME Collies tend to force bite, which means they would nip the the stock to get them moving a bit faster! But that can be solved with a bit of training! Good luck with your Collie, and if you have any questions I know the kind of people on the Collie-H can help!

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