Collie is a general name for certain breeds of herding dog originating primarily in the border area between Scotland and northern England. There are two varieties of Collies: Rough and Smooth. Both varieties have the same characteristics. In Smooth Collies the coat is short and dense and requires much less grooming. The popularity of the Lassie movies and television shows, which starred Rough Collies, has commonly associated Collie specifically with this breed.
The Collie's origins go back to the Highlands of Scotland where it was used as a sheepdog. Because of its herding ancestry, it needs a large space to roam and should not be confined to a small area. If left alone all day outside, they may develop a tendency to bark which can annoy the neighbors.
The Rough Collie has a long coat composed of fairly coarse, weather resistant hairs with a well developed undercoat. The Smooth Collie has a coat around one to two inches in length which lies close to the body and does not develop a massive undercoat in the winter. Unlike the Rough variety, the Smooth Collie does not have well developed feathering on the legs and chest, nor does it have the massive neck ruff.
Photo courtesy of Les Mille Vignes, France
Country of Origin: Scotland
FCI Classification: Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs; Section 1 Sheepdogs; AKC Classification: Herding Group
Size: Medium (22-24 inches at shoulders)
Colors: The four colors named in the standard are sable and white, tricolor, blue merle and white. The AKC standard states "There is no preference among them". White is not allowed under the KC(Great Britain) standard.
Photo courtesy of Thorndale Collies
Litter Size: 10
Life Span: 10-15 years
Shedding: Heavy all year round
Personality: Collies are intelligent and highly trainable dogs who tend to bond to their families and may take a while to make friends with strangers. They are sensitive and do not work well with heavy handed training. Collies are alert and willing to let you know if something afoot. They are prone to nuisance barking if bored or not enough exercised. They need an active life in which they are involved with their family.
Social skills: Gets along well with other dogs and cats.
Suitability for Children: Wonderful with children and usually are much calmer than other herding breeds.
Exercise Needs: 60 - 80 minutes a day
Train Ability: Collies are both intelligent and sensitive, which can make them a joy to train. Owners quickly learn that they must give this dog a reason for doing what he is told to do. Excessive repetition bores him. Collies thrive on variety and new challenges, so training and review sessions should be short, snappy, and interesting.
Health & Behavioral Issues: Nasal Solar Dermatitis (Collie Nose), eye problems (Collie eye anomaly, cataracts, PRA, skin disorders (dermatomyositis, demodicosis) and deafness.