In the 1800s in Scotland, the Collie dog breeds were used to herd and guard sheep and to drive the sheep to market, but it was in England in the late 1800s that the breed we know today began to take shape. The breed didn’t catch the public’s eye until the publication of Alfred Payson Terhune’s (1872–1942) stories and books about his treasured Collies: Lad, Wolf, and Bob. When Lassie was introduced in movies, books, and on television, the public was reminded of these beautiful dogs, and their popularity soared again.
A trained Collie is a great companion.
The breed’s long wedge-shape head is unique and instantly recognizable. Standing 22 to 26 inches tall and weighing 55 to 75 pounds, with females smaller than males, the Collie should be lean with no extra weight.
The rough collie coat has a long double coat with a lush mane, well-feathered legs, and a plumed tail. The smooth collie coat has a short, dense double coat with no feathering. Collies may be sable and white, tricolored, blue merle, and white. The smooth Collie needs twice weekly brushing, but the rough Collie’s coat takes considerably more work. Both the smooth Collie and rough Collie shed, and shed a lot during the spring and fall. In addition, the rough coat can tangle and mat. A daily brushing and combing can keep the coat looking good, keep the hair in the house to a minimum, and prevent mats from forming.
A vigorous walk morning and evening and a fast game of catch will keep most Collies happy. A bored Collie who is not exercised regularly will get into trouble. Every Collie and owner should attend a basic obedience class together. You may want to continue your training, attend advanced training, or learn how to participate in dog sports. A well-trained Collie can be a wonderful family companion. Collies are loyal dogs, great with children, and watchful of the home. As dedicated watchdogs, some Collies bark too much, which is annoying to neighbors, but training can help temper that trait. Health problems include a sensitivity to heartworm preventatives, eye defects, gastric bloat, and torsion.