Does a friendly and sweet dog sound appealing to you? Hardworking, intelligent, and the looks of "Lassie," the Collie is a famous breed! Find out if the Collie is a good match for you.
Also known as the Rough Collie, Smooth Collie, or Scottish Sheepdog, this breed is a multipurpose farming dog. They are a herder, drover, guard, and companion dog. The breed got its start in Scotland and Wales assisting the farmers with their sheep and goats.
The Collie is best recognized as Lassie, one of the world's most famous dogs to be portrayed in film, television, or literature.
Queen Victoria also played a role in making the Collie a very popular dog among dog fanciers, by having several Collies as her personal pets. The breed made its first appearance in the United States in 1877.
Rough or Smooth, What is the Difference?
The Rough Collie's coat is a long, while the Smooth Coat is shorter.; However, both are double coated.
Can you say "Lots of Grooming Required?" If shedding and grooming are two areas you don't want the time, expense, or hassle of dealing with, the Collie is definitely not the breed for you.
Their double layered coat will require daily brushing, otherwise their fur can become matted very easily. Their coat is a magnet for burrs, grass seeds, and all types of outdoor debri. After playing outside, a quick brushing will most likely be required each time they come back indoors.
Shaving a Collie is not an option, their coat protects them in winters and works as a cooling agent in the summers.
For allergy suffers, it is best to avoid the Collie.
"The Collie Must be a Very Active Breed" - Not Necessarily
One would think, being a herding dog and working in many different aspects of a farm, that a Collie would be high energy. Not necessarily. The breed can harbor different levels of energy. Some are content, quiet, and calm, while others are raring to go at a moments notice.
An active Collie will require a daily walk or run for at least 45 minutes. Putting a doggy backpack on your Collie, will give them a purpose of work as well as helping them to drain their energy quicker. Consider Doggy Daycare for your Collie while you are at work so they can play with their doggy friends, and come home content to be with you at the end of the day.
Great with Children and Other Pets
The Collie is a very loyal dog to their family, and sometimes to a particular person within the family. They are known to be great around kids and other pets, however, early training and proper socialization will help keep this wonderful trait in the Collie.
The Collie does not do well with harsh training methods. They are a very intelligent dog, but can also be very shy. To help a Collie overcome their shyness, gentle training with positive reinforcement is the best option for this beautiful breed.
Children should be taught to respect, and be kind to their Collie. If they are, they will have a best friend forever in the Collie.
Being a herding dog, they will have a strong instinctive need to corral and herd small children and small animals, it will be imperative to work with your Collie to help manage this need of theirs.
The Collie relishes hanging out with their family members, and will not do well if left out doors to be by themselves.
Oh, How Lassie LOVES to Bark!
If you ever saw the television series of Lassie, I am sure you remember the scenes with Timmy saying to Lassie "What is it girl?", and Lassie would happily comply back with several barks trying to get Timmy to follow her. The TV series was not off in this area of the Collie. They are a very vocal breed.
Collie's are often extremely difficult to train to not use their voice. So, if you live in an apartment or condo, the Collie is not a good choice for that reason alone.
Collie's are Happiest if Given a Job
They were bred to carry and manage many different jobs on a farm. A Collie is at their happiest when working for their family. Consider agility competitions, a therapy dog, or training them to do "special" chores around the house like picking up dirty socks and putting them in a laundry basket. This will make the Collie enjoy being a part of your family as a contributing member of the pack.
My Training Tip on how to pick up dirty laundry: To teach your dog to pick up clothing articles off the floor, teach them first the command to "Pick It Up" and then "Drop It."
Step 1: Drop a sock on the floor in front of them, then pick up the sock, put it to their mouth and say "Pick It Up", then put the sock back on the floor and step away. Repeat these steps.
Step 2: Eventually, the dog will want the sock in their mouth, when the dog grabs the sock, call them over to you, and give them LOTS of PRAISE and treats. Soon the dog will pick up socks and bring them to you. The next step will be to teach them to "Drop It" into the laundry basket.
Step 3: Using your laundry basket, put it under your dog's mouth, use a treat and put it to their nose, the dog will want the treat, and will release the sock into the basket, and you say "Drop It."
TAAA-DA!!! Now you have you a hard working breed helping you do laundry!
Always wanted a Lassie?
Here are some things to consider before acquiring this breed:
The Collie is a very sweet, loyal, affectionate, and intelligent breed. Herding is a very strong trait in this breed, so young children and small animals will need to be well socialized around a Collie.
They can be a high energy dog, and will require daily exercise. The Collie wants to be with the family as much as possible.
They are happiest if given a job! Teaching them many commands, and tricks will help keep your Collie mentally healthy too.
They have some health issues to be aware of: hip dysplasia and blindness (genetic) are the most common amongst the breed.
Their average life span is 14-16 years.
As you begin looking for a Collie, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized - not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescue agencies. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe