The Collie was used extensively as a herding dog 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 Collies 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.”
Rough & Smooth Varieties
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 crowning 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 and 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.
Size and Longevity
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 Collie.
Learn more at the Collie Club of America.