The Collie's ancestors almost certainly came to Britain with the Romans around 500 B.C, and over the centuries were crossed with other breeds such as the Newfoundland, Deerhound, and later, the Borzoi - which helped in the formation of its elongated head. Towards the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie were quite different in appearance, with the Rough Collie being notably smaller than the Smooth. They were probably named after the Colley, the black faced and footed sheep that the Collie herded and guarded. In 1860, Queen Victoria was allured by a number of Rough Collies she saw while on holiday in Balmoral Castle, and consequently decided to take several back with her to Windsor Castle. It was here that the public's love affair with the breed began and in 1886, the breed standard was written and the type for both Rough and Smooth was established - no changes to height or weight have been made since. While the Collie is still a capable worker, nowadays they are mainly bred as a loving companion, perhaps more so, since they shot to fame in the 'Lassie' films.
Renowned for their looks, this stunning, sometimes excitable, sometimes aloof breed is both sensitive and affectionate, yet at times can be stubborn and indolent. Protective of his family and particularly children, this aristocratic and highly intelligent dog makes a great family pet. Loyal and anxious to please, his sense of belonging and affection for the family also makes him a good watch dog. A glamorous looking dog who is applauded in the show ring, but is no slouch in the obedience or agility ring either. He is of a friendly disposition, and that, along with his exquisite looks is what's been attracting him to Kings and Queens for centuries. We should not forget however that he was a working dog, and care must be taken when walking around livestock ...because his working instincts may awaken and take charge, all very gracefully of course.
The Collie require at least an hour of exercise a day. Two long, brisk, daily walks are the minimum needed to keep the Collie in shape and to provide him with adequate mental stimulation. A secure garden is also recommended, as he is an agile and intelligent breed who will not find it hard to escape should he get bored. Plenty of walks and romp in the park should satisfy his needs, along with plenty of games in and around the house and actively being involved with the family. You might also want to try agility or obedience, he's no slouch and will be happy to prove it!
As with all dogs basic obedience training should commence from puppy-hood in order that good manners are instilled and he becomes a agreeable companion and acceptable to society. The Collie can be trained to reach the highest levels in obedience competition. He is willing to please and very quick to learn and, once he understands what is required, he is prompt to comply with commands. All training should be motivational - good work and good behaviour being reinforced by rewards of treats and praise. Harsh discipline, verbal or physical, will accomplish nothing. Such methods will teach the dog only to be frightened of his owner and confusion and lack of trust will ensue. Socialization which accustoms the dog to various situations, people, sounds, animals, etc. is of the greatest importance and should start as early as possible in the puppys life. Adequate socialization will ensure that he grows to be a confident, well-mannered, friendly dog who is a credit to his breed.
- Eye conditions (PRA & CEA)
- some hip problems
- and MDR1.
Some photographs of the Collie (Smooth)...