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Adopt a Collie

Collie Dog Breed

Picture: Robert Dowling/Corbis


livestock, herding

Area of origin:


Original function:

sheep herding

Average size of male:

Ht: 24-26, Wt: 60-75

Average size of female:

Ht: 22-24, Wt: 50-65

Other names:

Scottish collie

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    Friendliness towards dogs

  • Friendliness towards other pets

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    Friendliness towards strangers

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    Ease of training

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    Watchdog ability

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    Protection ability

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    Cold tolerance

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    Heat tolerance

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Collie Dog Temperament

The Collie is gentle and devoted, a mild-mannered friend to all. He is a dog with a working heritage, and needs daily mental and physical exercise or he can become frustrated. He is sensitive, intelligent and willing to please, although he is sometimes a bit stubborn. He can nip at heels in play. Some may bark a lot.

Collie Dog Care

A good walk or jog on leash or a fun play session is needed every day. The collie is such a family-oriented dog that he is far happier indoors. The coat of the smooth variety needs minimal care; the coat of the rough variety needs brushing or combing every other day, more when shedding.

Collie Dog Health

Major concerns: CEA
Minor concerns: distichiasis, pyotraumatic dermatitis
Occasionally seen: PDA, deafness, cerebellar abiotrophy (Rough)
Suggested tests: eye, (cardiac), (hearing)
Life span: 8-12 years
Note: often sensitive to ivermectin. Merles should not be bred to merles because homozygous merle is lethal or detrimental to health.

Interested in the history of the Collie dog breed?

The derivation of the Collie is as obscure as the derivation of his name. One theory of the breed's origins is that it was derived from the same rootstock as the Border Collie. One theory of the name's origin is that it was derived from a Gaelic word meaning useful, which certainly described the useful farm or stock dogs valued by the Celts who first settled on the British Isles. Although sheep herding and guarding are some of the most ancient of canine services, evidence of the Collie dates only from about 1800. Both rough- and smooth-coated 'Scotch' Collies existed by that time, but they apparently were derived from different crosses. The rough-coated dogs were characteristically smaller and broader headed, and usually black or black and white. As the breed caught the interest of dog fanciers, both rough- and smooth-coated Collies became taller and more refined. The rough-coated Collie was especially influenced by the progeny of a dog named 'Old Cockie', born in 1867 and thought to be responsible not only for setting type but also for introducing the sable color. Around this same time, Queen Victoria became enthusiastic about the breed; under her sponsorship, the Collie's popularity grew not only with Shepherds appreciative of his working value but also with members of the upper class, who were enamored of his beauty. By 1886 a standard was drawn up that still describes the breed as it is today. Meanwhile, as sheep herding became more important in America, settlers brought collies with them to the New World. In 1878, Queen Victoria once again put the breed in the limelight by entering two collies in the Westminster Dog Show. This provided the impetus for America's social elite to join the collie clan, and soon the collie could be found in some of the most prestigious estates in America. Later the Collie found a champion in Albert Payson Terhune, whose stories about collies heightened their popularity with people from all walks of life. The most famous collie of all, the television star Lassie, further popularized the breed, helping to make the rough collie one of the all-time favorite breeds in America. The smooth Collie has never shared the same popularity.

Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc. based on

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