The "Rough Collie" started life as a sheep herding dog in Scotland.
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 "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.