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.
COLLIES AND CHILDREN:
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.
IS THE COLLIE THE BREED FOR YOU?:
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!
SELECTING A BREEDER:
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