Did you know?
Although “Lassie” was a female dog in the movies and on TV, the part was always played by a male Collie because males are bigger, have more coat, and look better on film.
A Collie has the brains of a man, and the ways of a woman. – Scottish Proverb
The Collie’s past is mysterious and may go back to the Roman herding dogs that were brought to Britain during the Roman Empire. Whatever the truth, by the 18th century the Collie called the highlands of Scotland home, as it had been used there for centuries as a sheepdog. The dogs were bred to herd and guard their flock.
Both varieties of Collie are native to Scotland and Northern England where they worked herding black-faced mountain sheep called ‘colleys’. It is believed that these dogs became known as ‘colley dogs’. However, the exact origin of the name is unclear. Some believe it may come from the Scottish word for “coal”. The name has been spelled many different ways: Coll, Colley, Coally and Coaly. Most historians accept the origin of the word as “Coll” meaning “black” in Anglo-Saxon.
Collies are a distinctive type of herding dogs. They have diversified into many varieties and collie type dogs are called shepherds or sheepdogs in other parts of the world.
Photos displayed courtesy of Shirley Klassen, Prairie Wynd Collies, British Columbia
The Rough Collie stands up to 26 inches (67 cm) at the shoulder. He weighs in at 60 to 75 pounds (27-34 kg). He is believed to have inherited his long coat and noble face from Borzoi ancestors. He has a straight, harsh, outer coat over a soft, dense undercoat. The coat comes in five colour varieties. He may be white (with any other colours on approximately 20% of the body), sable and white (all shades of brown ranging from lemon yellow through orange and red to dark mahogany, always with white markings), sable merle and white (similar to the sable and white,with a lighter sable colouring and darker sable mottling or spotting through the coat, often with grey tipping on the ears, and always with white markings), blue merle and white (grey mottled colour, ranging from a clear, silvery blue to a darker matte grey, with black merling or spotting distributed throughout), or tri-coloured (black with tan markings).
The Rough Collie’s coat is his crowning glory. His abundant mane surrounds a smooth face. While his coat sheds dirt fairly easily, he requires regular grooming. The Collie is subject to seasonal shedding.
Rough Collie is by far the most popular, but he is identical to the Smooth Collie in every way except for coat length.
Since catching the eye of Queen Victoria in the 1860s, the Collie has enjoyed increasing popularity. The TV show “Lassie” turned the Rough Collie into a beloved cultural icon almost overnight. From the original Lassie “Pal” there have been 11 generations. New Lassies were always sons of the previous dog.
A hard-working, loyal, kindly, obedient, and responsive nature makes the Rough Collie an excellent family pet. He is very attached to people and needs the companionship of family life. He gets along beautifully with children and is usually fine with other pets. He is naturally protective and will make a good watchdog. Remember, he is a herder and in some dogs this instinct will be very strong.
The Rough Collie is intelligent and quick and eager to learn. He is easily trained and becomes housebroken fairly quickly. Early obedience training is best. The Rough Collie will respond to his owner’s tone of voice. Heavy-handed training techniques are not necessary.
Bred for a day spent herding his flock, the Collie needs daily outdoor activity including free exercise. He does best in an environment where he has access to a large fenced yard.