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Many theories have been put forward about the
origins of the Collie as a breed. But, it will remain a mystery whether the typical
sheepdog from the early 1800s, after cross breeding with Greyhounds, as well as Gordon-
and Irish Setters, led to the Collie.
Even the origin of the name of the breed is based on supposition. The original name
Colley could derive from the Anglo-Saxon word col, meaning black, which was possibly the
original color of the breed. It is also likely that the name derives from the black-faced
sheep, called colleys, that the Collie used to herd.
The Collie herded sheep in the Scottish Highlands, sometimes without the shepherd's
guidance. In order to cope with this task, the dog needed to be able to act on his own
initiative, a fact which causes the Collie to differ in mentality from other breeds. The
Collie does not serve blindly - he loves his family, but there are moments when, due to
his personality, his own initiative shines through.
The Collie's popularity began with Queen Victoria (1837-1901), who fell in love
with the breed on visits to her Scottish retreat. It was then that the lowly farmers dog
was elevated to a state of canine aristocracy. It then became more fashionable to own a
Collie and show entries rose.The intelligent sheepherder emerged in this area but quickly
became a favorite in England for it's herding abilities.
In 1879 the first English Collie was
imported to this country. It is from England that we find the famous pillars of the breed,
from which the American fanciers sought not only their next big winner, but also their
Height: 24 - 26" (61 -
61cm) for dogs, 22 - 24" (55.9 - 55.9cm) for bitches
Weight: 60 - 75 lbs (26.8 -
26.8 kg) for dogs, 50 - 65 lbs (22.3 - 22.3 kg) for bitches
Coat Type: The Rough coat is
long, abundant, straight and harsh to the touch. The undercoat is soft, woolly and
extremely dense. The coat is most profuse on chest and neck, and on tail and hindquarters.
The acceptable color combinations include Blue Merle, Sable and White, Tricolor, and
White. Grooming is a frequent chore and requires thorough brushing to rid coat of dead
hair and prevent mats; shedding can also be a problem.
Temperament: The kind Collie is
friendly, watchful and easy to train. He is a personable dog and is especially patient
with children, making him an excellent choice for growing families.
Collie's are very loyal and
devoted pets but need training with a gentle touch from an early age. They also need lots
of exercise and play time or they can become bored and can be destructive with digging,
barking and car chasing.
Health Problems: Prone to eye
problems; epilepsy is suspected to have a genetic component in this breed.
Special Interest: Despite the
fact that the breed has been around for centuries, it was often considered common and
familiar. Its popularity mushroomed however in the Victorian era when the Queen herself
was greatly impressed by this hardworking herder and saw its potential as a showdog. She
brought some back with her to the Royal Kennels and since then, the dog has become a
favorite the world over. Stories about the breed and the subsequent "Lassie"
movies furthered the breed's popularity as well. Even though the character of
"Lassie" was female, all of the dogs who portrayed her on TV and in the movies
were male. The males tend to have darker, richer and fuller coats, thus showing up
better on film.
AKC: Group 7 - Herding Dogs
CKC: Group 7 - Herding Dogs
KC: Non-Sporting - Working Group
FCI: Group 1
ANKC: Group 5 - Working Dogs
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More information about Collies
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