Originating in Scotland in the early 1800s and used strictly for herding, the collie has always been a very popular breed of dog. The American Kennel Club acknowledged the breed in 1885 and today ranks them 35th among the most popular dog breeds in America. Collies are popular not only for their use as herding and working dogs but also as family pets. Their unique herding abilities is one of the qualities that make them so useful and widely used on farms. Collies became even more popular in the 1950s when they were used in the popular TV show Lassie. The show depicted the collie dog as intelligent, extremely loyal and an all-around great family pet.
Of medium to large size, collies possess a friendly and happy personality that makes them great pets. The collie’s height may from 20-24 inches with males generally slightly taller than females. The weight can vary from 40 to 65 pounds. Males are typically larger than females, although, this is not always the case.
Since the show Lassie, most people think of collies as rough long-coated dogs with thick bushy tails. However, collies can be either rough or smooth coated. There are many breeds of collies such as Border collie, bearded collie, Australian cattle dog, Australian shepherd, blue lacy, Shetland sheepdog and rough collie, which is the most common in the United States today.
Collies come in a variety of colors with color often dependent on the breed. For instance, the rough collie is usually brown and white, whereas the Border collie is black and white. The Shetland sheepdog may be a combination of brown, black and white or sable and white. Almost all collies have a while chest.
With good care and barring physical illness, collies can have a life span of 14 to 16 years. Collies are a strong dog with a sturdy body but are also prone to certain hereditary health problems. Two of the most common collie problems are MDR1 gene mutation and a stem cell disorder called Grey Collie Syndrome. Collies may also develop eye problems such as collie eye anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dystrophy and cataracts. They are also susceptible to allergies, skin problems and bloat.
If purchasing a collie is something you are considering, it is important to check with well-known and responsible breeder. Some of the defects may be able to be detected with medical tests. Although a lot of the collie’s adult behavior comes from the training it’s received, genetics can also play a role. For this reason, try to see both the parents and observe them in the natural environment.
Whether you have your collie as a herding dog or a family pet, it’s important that it gets some sort of training starting at an early age. Collies are easy to train and have a great deal of patience. Their combined playful personality and love of children make them ideal children pets. Collies typically get along well with other dogs and animals in general. Their long hair requires that they be brushed at least once a week.
Collies can get along well and have a happy life whether living in an apartment or in a home with a large yard. They do need exercise if they are used as an indoor dog. The Border Collie, in particular, has a high energy drive and needs lots of exercise or work to perform. They love playing with children, which makes giving them exercise fun and easy. Separation anxiety may be an issue if left alone for long periods, but that’s typically not the case with collies.