Collie Details

Brief History

The "Rough Collie" started life as a sheep herding dog in Scotland.
(It is believed that the "Rough Collie" evolved in the highlands of Scotland and Northern England.)

They became better known through the "Lassie" films (I think that there were actually 5 different dogs who played this part, and all of them were males) The "Rough Collie" has gone on to become one of the world's most recognisable breeds. Today, no longer in demand as a working dog, the "Rough Collie" makes a devoted family pet, with a particular affinity for small children. Never happier than when they have a job to do. Their abundant two-ply coat is without doubt, their crowning glory. (My own preference is the Tricolour) It helps that the "Rough Collie" is not so profusely coated around the legs as many of the other heavily coated breeds. Also, it is my opinion that they do not seem to "cast" their coats around the house as much as other breeds seem to do. Like all working dogs, the "Rough Collie" needs regular exercise to keep him/her in trim. Intuitive and anxious to please, he/she responds well to training.

There are some who claim that the Collie's ancestors were brought to the British Isles by the Romans in the middle of the first century AD. From these probable descendants came a hardy, quick-witted dog that was needed to handle sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs, and they were more than likely used for hunting along with their herding duties.

The "Rough Collie" was virtually unknown in London as late as 1860, while a bobtailed "smooth" sheep dog was more common to that area. "Rough Collie's" came down from Scotland, and the border countries to the farmer's markets at Birmingham, following the development of the railroads. The "Rough Collie" most likely made his show ring debut in December 1860, at Birmingham. (The third formal dog show at which conformation of individual animals was judged.) They were more than likely shown in the group classified as "sheepdogs" which was combined of different strains of rough, smooth, bobtail and Beardie Collies.

The Collie's popularity began with Queen Victoria, who fell in love with the breed whilst holidaying in Scotland, at Balmoral Castle. It was then that the lowly farmers dog was elevated to a state of canine aristocracy. It became more fashionable to own a Rough Collie, and show entries rose. One of the most important Collies, was a dog named "Old Cockie", who became recognised (breed) in 1868.

All show Collies can be traced back to "Old Cockie" through his sable and white grandson "Charlemagne", whose pedigree shows the only two sables: "Maude" - his dam, and her sire, "Old Cockie". ("Old Cockie" lived for fourteen years and was owned by a Mr. James Bissell).

"Rough Collies" - General Information

Rough Collies are very good family dogs. They love kids, are very intelligent, quick learners, very sensitive, playful, and great outdoors dogs. "Rough Collies" get along well with other pets also. They make excellent obedience dogs. They require a soft, gentle, touch when initially being taught, and a quick correction once they do understand, but refuse, to obey your command(s). "Rough Collies" (and collies in general) can become stubborn and unwilling to learn anything if too much correction is used. They are also bright enough to figure out ways to avoid doing the exercises. They also make good watchdogs. In general they are very intelligent and sensitive dogs.

"Rough" coats take some looking after. In general good brushing once a week will take care of many mats and tangles, and a bath every two months or so is OK. (I take Heidi to be groomed once a month - well worth the money spent) If you brush them out regularly then shedding shouldn't be a big problem. (In my opinion they do not seem to cast their coats as much as other dogs) Large mats should be removed with thinning shears or scissors. It is also advisable to remove the fur from the inner pads of the feet and the lower areas of the hock and pasterns. Those dogs with "dew" claws need them trimmed at least once a month. The average life span for a "Rough Collie" is about 12 to 16 years.

Males are a bit more boisterous than females. Females are usually pretty reserved, but both are equally good with kids. Females tend to have less coat than the males and are slightly smaller. Both are equally intelligent. Get your rough collie pup from a responsible breeder and you should not have any problems. You should also, if possible, visit the kennels at least twice, and view the pup running about in his/her natural environment. Watch how it interacts with the rest of the litter. Get a guarantee of quality with your puppy and don't be offended by spay/neuter contracts for pet puppies. State before purchase whether you want to breed or not.

Ask the breeder if there is a history of "HD" "DJD"and Eye "Diseases" within his breeding line, and get a definitive answer from him/her. Also ask if the pup has been inspected by a vet, and ask if he will provide a vets certificate to certify good health. (Some of which I did not do) if he refuses, look elsewhere for your pup. (See the following for details of these diseases)

"Rough" Collie - General Characteristics

The "Rough Collie" is a lithe, strong, responsive, active dog, carrying no useless timber, standing naturally straight and firm. The deep, moderately wide chest shows strength, the sloping shoulders and the well-bent hocks indicate speed and grace, the face shows intelligence. The "Rough Collie" presents an impressive, proud picture of true balance, and no part should ever seem to be out of proportion to any other part.

The characteristics of the head are important.
When considered in proportion to the size of the dog the head is inclined to lightness and never appears massive. Both, in front and profile view, the head bears a general resemblance to a well blunted lean wedge, being smooth and clean in outline and nicely balanced in proportion. On the sides, it tapers gradually and smoothly from the ears to the end of the black nose, without being flared out in backskull (cheeky) or pinched in muzzle (snipy). In profile view the top of the backskull and the top of the muzzle lie in two approximately parallel, straight planes of equal length, divided by a very slight but perceptible stop or break point between the inside corners of the eyes (which is the centre of a correctly placed stop) . The end of the smooth, well-rounded muzzle is blunt, (but not square). The underjaw is strong, clean-cut and the depth of skull from the brow to the under part of the jaw is not excessive. There is a very slight prominence of the eyebrows. The backskull is flat, without receding, either laterally or backward and the occipital bone is not highly peaked. The proper width of backskull necessarily depends upon the combined length of skull and muzzle, and the width of the backskull is less than its length.

Because of the combination of the flat skull, the arched eyebrows, the slight stop and the rounded muzzle, they are necessarily placed obliquely to give them the required forward outlook. The eyes are almond-shaped, of medium size, and never appear to be large or prominent. The colour is dark and the eye does not show a yellow ring or a sufficiently prominent haw to affect the dog's expression. The eyes have a clear, bright appearance, expressing intelligent inquisitiveness, particularly when the ears are drawn up and the dog is on the alert. In "Blue Merle's", dark brown eyes are preferable, but either or both eyes may be merle or china in colour.

The ears are in proportion to the size of the head and, if they are carried properly, break naturally and are seldom too small. Large ears usually cannot be lifted correctly off the head, and even if lifted, they will be out of proportion to the size of the head. When in repose the ears are folded lengthways and thrown back into the frill. On the alert they are drawn well up on the backskull and are carried about three-quarters erect, with about one-quarter of the ear tipping or breaking forward.

The neck is firm, clean, muscular, sinewy, and heavily frilled. It is fairly long, carried upright with a slight arch at the nape and shows a proud, upstanding appearance showing off the frill.

The body is firm, hard and muscular, a trifle long in proportion to the height. The ribs are well-rounded behind the well-sloped shoulders and the chest is deep, extending to the elbows. The back is strong and level, supported by powerful hips and thighs and the croup is sloped to give a well-rounded finish. The loin is powerful and slightly arched. Noticeably fat dogs, dogs in poor flesh, with skin disease, or with no undercoat are out of condition.

The forelegs are straight and muscular, with a fair amount of bone considering the size of the dog. The forearm is moderately fleshy and the pasterns are flexible but without weakness. The hind legs are less fleshy, muscular at the thighs, very sinewy and the hocks and stifles are well bent. The comparatively small feet are approximately oval in shape. The soles are well padded and tough, and the toes are well arched and close together.

The tail is moderately long, the bone reaching to the hock joint or below. It is carried low when the dog is quiet, the end having an upward twist or swirl. When the dog is excited it is carried gaily but not over the back.

The well-fitting, proper-textured coat is the crowning glory of the "Rough Collie". It is abundant, except on the head and legs. The outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch. The undercoat, however, is soft, furry and so close together that it is difficult to see the skin when the hair is parted. The coat is very abundant on the mane and frill. The face or mask is smooth. The forelegs are smooth and well feathered to the back of the pasterns. The hind legs are smooth below the hock joints. The hair on the tail is very profuse and on the hips it is long and bushy.

There are four recognised colours, and they are "Sable and White", "Tricolour," "Blue Merle" and "White."

The "Sable and White" is predominantly sable (a fawn sable colour of varying shades from light gold to dark mahogany) with white markings usually on the chest, neck, legs, feet and the tip of the tail. A blaze may appear on the foreface or backskull or both.

The "Tricolour" is predominantly black, carrying white markings as in a "Sable and White" and has tan shadings on and about the head and legs.

The "Blue Merle" is a mottled or "marbled" colour predominantly blue-grey and black with white markings as in the "Sable and White" and usually has tan shadings as in the "Tricolour."

The "White" is predominantly white, preferably with sable, tricolour or blue merle markings.

Dogs are from 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 60 to 75 pounds. Bitches are from 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder, weighing from 50 to 65 pounds.

I have put a few tips for buying a dog / pup at the following link Buying Tips