Breed History
Unfortunately, the Collie's exact origins are shrouded in obscurity. It has been the subject of much research and speculation. The word "Collie" is as obscure as the breed itself. The name has been spelled many different ways: Coll, Colley, Coally and Coaly. Generally, the most accepted origin of the word is "Coll" - the Anglo-Saxon word for black.

In the 18th century, the Collie's natural home was in the highlands of Scotland, where he had been used for centuries as a sheepdog. The dogs were bred with great care in order to assist their masters in the herding and guarding of their flock.

While the breed as we know it may have originated in Scotland, invariably we think of England as the true home of the breed. Without a doubt, it is to the English fancy of the late 1800s that the breed owes its development as a popular show dog. Collies were first exhibited in 1860 at the Birmingham, England dog show, in the generic class "Scotch Sheep-Dogs."

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 foundation stock.

By the turn of the century, the American Collie was in a state of continued development. The breed continued to flourish in England. American show prizes were dominated by the British imports. As a result of the imports, the breed made rapid progress between 1900 to 1920. These dogs built the foundations upon which the present day Collie is based and paved the way for the emergence of the great American kennels of the 1920s and 1930s. Names such as Alstead, Arken, Arrowhill, Tazewell, Tokalon, Hertzville, Lodestone, Noranda, Sterling, Bellhaven and Honeybrook began to dominate the American dog scene. This signaled the true emergence of the golden age of the American Collie. Our Collie legacy since that time has been rich and varied. For more detailed information regarding the history of the Collie, contact the Collie Club of America, Inc., for various books and publications.


The Collie was used extensively as a herding

and hailed from the highlands of Scotland and

Northern England. The true popularity of the

breed came about during the 1860’s when Queen

Victoria visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in

love with the breed. From that point on Collie

became very fashionable. The Collie’s character

has been further romanticized and portrayed as the

ideal family companion by such authors as Albert

Payson Terhune (“Lad of Sunnybank,”) Eric

Knight (“Lassie Come Home,”) and in the 1950s

TV series “Lassie.”


The Collie breed comes in two different varieties -

the Rough and the Smooth. The two varieties are

identical with the exception of the coat. The

Smooth has a short, dense and flat coat, while the

Rough Collie has a long, well-fitting, harsh-textured

coat. It is abundant everywhere

except on the

head and legs

and it is the

c row n i n g

glory of the

Rough variety of Collie.


Collies come in (4) different colors. The color long

associated with the breed, thanks in part to Lassie,

is the sable color. This color can range from a light

golden tan to a rich mahogany color. The tricolor

is black, white & tan. Blue Merle can range from a

pale, silvery blue coloring, to a darker gray color,

with black body spots of various sizes. The fourth

color is white, which is a predominantly white body,

with either sable, tri or blue markings, usually on

the head. Typically all Collies are marked with the

traditional white collar, chest, legs, feet, tail tip and

sometimes white facial markings, called a blaze.


The Collie is a medium-sized dog, with females

ranging from 22" to 24" and males ranging from

24" to 26" at maturity. Weights can range from 50

to 70 pounds.


Typically Collies live 10 to 14 years, with the median

age being 12, although some have gone well

into their 15th or 16th year.


Not only are they beautiful, but they are intelligent,

friendly, loyal, loving and sensitive. They are

real family dogs and are noted for being very

people-friendly. Likewise, they are easy to train.

In addition to being very clean dogs, they are one

of the easiest breeds to housebreak. Typically the

Collie is not a one-man dog. If raised properly and

treated with respect, they make an ideal pet for

the entire family. They are not recommended as a

complete outside/backyard dog and under no circumstances

should a Collie ever be chained or tied

up. If kept outside for long periods of time with

no human contact, they can become easily bored,

as well as lonely. This can result in a noisy, unhappy

dog. Collies, along with many other herding

dogs, have long been known for their barking

tendencies. They are notorious people dogs,

known for wanting to be with their owners. They

make great couch potatoes! While they are excellent

watchdogs, they are not known for being aggressive.

A Collie should never be nervous, shy or

fearful. They love to play, retrieve and to go for

long walks. In essence, they make great companions

for young or old.


One of his greatest assets

is his natural love of

children. Even when not raised with children, the

Collie can be charming, playful and protective with

most well behaved kids. Stories have abounded for

years of children guarded and protected by the family



A common misconception is that the Collie needs

daily brushing or frequent bathing. The amount

of coat care is dependent upon the amount of coat

a dog may have and the time of year. Rough Collies

in full coat should be brushed once a week or

every two weeks. A dog that is out of coat or in

summer coat is going to need less grooming.

Spayed females and males shed once a year. Intact

females shed according to their heat cycle. The

smooth coated variety will require less brushing

and maintenance, but both varieties do shed. Collies

are a very clean breed and are noted for not

having a doggie odor frequently found with some

other breeds. It is recommended that the puppy

or adult dog receive a Microchip implant or a tattoo

for future identification purposes.


You should do your homework before purchasing

a dog or puppy by reading up on the breed and

talking and visiting with various breeders. And

most importantly, by seeing the dogs. This can either

be done at dog shows, performance events or

by visiting a breeder’s home or kennel. The Collie

has a rich and loyal following. People who love

Collies for all the reasons the breed is famous for,

usually do so for life! Once you have determined

what you want in a dog and evaluated your lifestyle,

make sure you have the desire and ability to

commit to the lifetime of the dog. The Collie is

the most beautiful and most noble of all the breeds

and they deserve only the best!


This is the single most important thing you will

do in selecting a puppy. Don’t be offended by the

breeder who asks you a million questions. It only

means that they care about where their puppy is going to be living