Adopting A Collie

History and origin: Ancestors of the Collie were introduced into Scotland and England from Iceland 400 years ago, but it was as guardians of the flock that they acquired their name in Scotland.  He was first used as a cattle and sheep drover and then as a herder.

Description: The Collie stands 23 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 55 and 75 pounds.  He has a large, lithe body and a long muzzle.  The breed comes in two varieties, Rough and Smooth.  The Rough (Lassie-type) Collie has a beautiful thick shedding coat with an undercoat that requires daily brushing.  The Smooth Collie’s coat is much shorter and requires less care.  The color may be sable-and-white, tricolor (black, white, and tan), blue merle (marbled blue-gray, black, and white), or white with sable, tricolor, or blue merle markings.

About the breed: The Collie is a large, beautiful dog who is intelligent, easy to train, a good guard dog, and a wonderful family pet.  He is loyal and affectionate to his owners and gets along well with the children in his family as long as roughhousing is not permitted.  This breed can be noisy and is not suitable for apartment living.  He should not be left in the yard all day or he will find something to bark at and may bark all day.  This is a very active dog outside, but he tends to be quite calm indoors.  The Collie tends to be on the sensitive side and does not do well with gruff, overbearing adults or with children teasing around.  He needs a calm, predictable environment, and must be exercised every day.

Similar to other herding breeds, the Collie tends to chase children, bikes, cars, and joggers if allowed to roam free.  Early training is recommended to suppress this instinct.  The Collie responds well to training, provided he is not rushed or overbearing.  A well-trained Collie is reliable with children.  The Smooth Collie can be more aggressive and stubborn than the Rough.  The Smooths also tend to be more energetic than the Roughs.  The Collie is susceptible to hip dysplasia and eye problems.  Deafness may occur among the blue merle dogs.

Feeding:  Recommended feeding for the Rough or Smooth Collie is 1 ½ — 2 ½ cans (13.3oz) of high-quality meaty product with biscuit added in equal part or 5 cupfuls of a complete, dry dog food.

Ideal home: This breed needs a house with a fenced yard. The owner of a Rough Collie should be a patient leader who desires an athletic, sensitive breed.  The owner of a Smooth Collie should be slightly firmer and more demanding.  Daily exercise is necessary.  Herding, obedience, or agility work can help direct this breed’s energy and build his confidence. Spoilers and nervous owners may encourage pushy, nippy behavior and will lower the dog’s confidence.  Overbearing people may provoke fear-biting.  Older children are okay provided no rough-housing or chase games are allowed.  The elderly and the disabled may have trouble controlling and exercising the Rough Collie and should not consider the Smooth Collie.