Collies are purebred dogs that have been used for herding sheep for hundreds of years in England and Scotland. Collies are highly intelligent dogs that are gentle, loving, and loyal. These personality traits have made the collie one of the most popular family pets in the world.
Keep reading to learn more about these wonderful dogs!
History of Collies
Mentions of Collies is found as early as the 1500s throughout history.
Back then, Collies were predominantly found throughout England and Scottish Highlands regions where they were used as herding dogs.
Their great herding instincts were highly valued and Collies were considered an important part of the wool trade at the time.
Collie Breed Recognition
The International Sheepdog Society was developed in the early 1900s and helped to give shepherding dogs like the Collie more recognition.
They were entered in many competitions and quickly became known as very athletic and intelligent dogs.
Collies and Royalty
Collies also attracted the attention of royalty and a border collie named Sharp was said to be the favorite dog of Queen Victoria!
The Collie breed was finally officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995 and has been known as a faithful family pet ever since.
Why Are Collies Good Pets?
One big positive of looking into getting a Collie as a pet is that there are many different types of Collies to choose from.
Each type has its own pros and cons and personality traits, so be careful to pick one that would be the best fit for you and your family.
Rough Collies are also known as long-haired Collies. They have an extremely thick, dense coat consisting of medium to long hair and easily recognizable almond eyes.
This breed requires more grooming and more brushing than other Collie varieties because of this hair.
Rough Collies were originally used for herding and are still primarily used for this purpose. They are also good at agility training due to their high energy.
However, they still make excellent family pets due to their affectionate nature for people, children, and other animals (including cats!)
Smooth Collies are known as short-haired Collies. They are similar to Rough Collies but have a short coat that is easier to maintain.
Like other Collie breeds, Smooth Collies are good at agility, obedience, and make excellent service and rescue dogs.
They are outgoing and friendly and will quickly grow attached to all members of your family.
They would likely enjoy being taken on trips and playing in the park, but would ultimately be happy anywhere by your side.
Border Collies are one of the most well-known Collie breeds. They are actually quite different from their relatives the Rough and Smooth Collies.
However, all Collie breeds are still active canines that are intelligent and caring.
For one, Border Collies are much shorter and stockier than Rough or Smooth Collies. This breed would be a better fit for someone with less space for a large dog.
Border Collies also have a coat that is in between Rough and Smooth Collies, thick but not long.
Finally, Border Collies have been bred specifically for work which makes them a bit more active than Rough or Smooth Collies.
Border Collies are best suited for someone with an active lifestyle who has plenty of time to take them to exercise or play with them in a fenced-in yard.
Finally, the Bearded Collie is the last well-known Collie breed. Though similar in personality to the other breeds, Bearded Collies look quite different from the other types of Collies.
They have long, thick hair that needs constant upkeep. Compared to other breeds, they will need much more grooming and shed more often.
Bearded Collies are similar in size to the Border Collie, but make slightly better family dogs as they love children and bonding with their owner.
However, they get bored easily so will need activities to keep them busy and happy throughout the day.
Each type of Collie can have different characteristics as they can be very different dogs. Just something to keep in mind.
Collies are an extremely intelligent breed as well as being loyal and gentle.
They make excellent family members even with small children due to their loving, caring nature. Just always be sure to take precautions with any dog around young children.
Collies can also make excellent guard dogs and emotional support animals because of their devotion to family.
As with all animals, Collies will need proper training to ensure proper obedience and sweet temperament, especially around small children.
Given the right training, Collies can fit your needs well and can even get along well with other pets such as cats and dogs. Start obedience training early with your Collie to see the best results.
Collies Have Great Herding Abilities
If you own any farm animals, you may want to consider a Collie for its herding abilities.
Collies are known for their strong herding instinct, which makes them attractive to farmers and other animal owners.
You may want to consider purchasing your Collie from a breeder committed to breeding herding dogs if you are specifically interested in a herding pet.
Some genetic lines produce better herding dogs than others, so seeking out specific breeders and organizations can help you find a dog best suited to your needs.
Collies that are sought after as only pets can be adopted from an animal shelter or purchased from a reputable breeder.
Collies are Highly Intelligent
Collies are among the most intelligent dog breeds. They are quick to learn new tricks and pick up housetraining easily. They are also sensitive to the emotions of others.
When considering a Collie, make sure you take the time to get them the gentle training they need to thrive in your household.
They will also be the first to comfort you on a bad day as Collies make excellent emotional support animals.
Collies are Loyal
Finally, Collies are incredibly loyal pets. Though it may take time due to their shyness, Collies bond to their owners strongly.
Once they have bonded to you, they won’t want to leave your side.
Collies are also incredibly protective of their families and those in their care, both animal and human.
They show unwavering devotion to their loved ones. In fact, the TV show Lassie capitalized on this trait of Collies, further cementing them as excellent family dogs.
Compared to some other mid-to-large-sized dogs, Collies have a long lifespan. Collies normally live between 12 and 14 years.
Lifespan is something to consider as it means that with good care, you should be able to spend quite a long time with your family pet.
The average lifespan for a pet is also something to consider before taking the plunge and bringing that Collie puppy home.
You will be responsible for your loyal friend for many years.
Why Collies May Not Be a Good Fit For You
No dog is the perfect fit for everyone and Collies are no exception. Here are some reasons a Collie may not be a good fit for you.
Collie Health Problems
Please note that we are not veterinary professionals. Always consult your vet for questions about your dog.
The below information is to help you make an informed decision before bringing a Collie puppy home.
Collies are particularly prone to a condition called idiopathic epilepsy. This condition causes random seizures in dogs and is seen in a large percentage of Collies.
Your vet can do a number of tests to determine if your Collie has IE and can work up a treatment plan for you.
Most Collies with idiopathic epilepsy will need to be on daily medication for the remainder of their lives to prevent more seizures.
If your Collie has a seizure, be sure to protect it from hurting itself and make a note of the length of the seizure and any specific symptoms to tell your vet.
Collies are genetically predisposed to certain specific eye problems including Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy (CPRA).
Both of these conditions are debilitating to Collies as they prevent them from doing the jobs they were bred to do.
When picking a Collie, genetic testing and reputable breeder research are necessary to reduce the risk of picking a puppy with these genetic conditions.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is a condition in which the blood vessels in Collie puppies don’t fully develop.
As adults, Collies with this condition have a fuzzy, blurry, or absent vision in several spots of their eyes.
In some cases, surgery may be a viable option to repair your Collie’s retina and restore some of his or her vision.
Central Progressive Retinal Apathy (CPRA)
Central Progressive Retinal Apathy (CPRA) is a genetic condition found in Collies that causes them to lose their vision over time as their retina weakens with age.
Most responsible breeders will do genetic testing before breeding a Collie with CPRA, but you should be sure to diligently research breeders and check that they test for this condition.
There is no cure for this condition, so owners will have to help transition their dog to daily life with impaired vision.
Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD)
Osteochondritis Dessicans (OCD) is a condition found in Collies caused by improper nutrients during development.
As puppies, Collies need the best puppy food possible to grow at a normal pace for their bodies.
If given food that is not made for puppies of their size, Collies may grow too fast during early development.
Collie puppies that grow too fast during early development end up with bones that grow more quickly than their cartilage. This results in significant pain in adulthood and can require surgery to fix.
By feeding your Collie puppy an approved puppy kibble, you can ensure your Collie will grow at a proper rate.
Finally, hip dysplasia is a condition found in some Collies. As Collies grow, their hip sockets may form incorrectly which may result in difficulty moving that joint as well as pain when walking.
By researching breeders that screen for these conditions and providing your puppy with an appropriate diet at a young age, it is possible to significantly reduce the risk of developing this condition.
Collies are Highly Active Dogs
Collies are much more active than many other breeds of dogs.
Because they were originally intended for herding, Collies had to have a high enough energy level to travel the fields and herd sometimes hundreds of animals for their owners.
If you intend on owning this breed, you will need to find ways to keep your dog active to keep him or her healthy.
There are many different ways you can help your Collie keep active. Collies enjoy high-energy activities such as jogging, hiking, and agility.
If those activities aren’t your speed, you can always let your dog exercise in a fenced-in yard, take them on a long walk, or take them to a dog park or daycare.
Collies are Emotionally Sensitive
Collies are intelligent but also emotionally sensitive to their owners. If you live in a high-stress household, a Collie may not be a good idea.
Collies may begin displaying signs of stress such as neurotic behavior when exposed to chronic high levels of stress.
Collies need regular grooming. Because they are a long-haired dog breed, they need regular brushing at home. Yes, Collies shed!
In addition, these dogs will need baths at least once a month to wash away any dirt or debris that may get stuck in their thick coat.
In addition to regular grooming, potential Collie owners should consider how much a Collie will shed.
Because they have long hair and a thick double coat, they will “blow their coat” every spring in addition to regular shedding throughout the year.
Owners will need to invest in good pet hair vacuums as well as a hair squeegee for couches and other porous surfaces.
Collies are Known to Bark
Barking is in a Collie’s nature. They are bred to be chasing sheep around and need to have a loud voice!
Because of their emotional sensitivity, Collies tend to be easily alarmed which leads to barking.
They may bark frequently, either to scare away potential intruders or just scare away the mailman. Early training can help them overcome chronic barking.
You have to have a great name for your Collie! Here is a list of some popular Collie names.
Related Collie Questions
How old was the oldest Collie ever?
The oldest Collie that ever lived was Bramble the Border Collie from West England. He lived to be 25 years old!
How big can Collies get?
Collies can range in height between 18-26 inches depending on the breed and sex of the dog. They also range between 40-80 pounds depending on the breed and sex of the dog.
Has a Collie ever won a world record?
In 2021, two Border Collies won a world record for the greatest number of tricks performed by two dogs in one minute!
What other dog breeds do Collies get along with?
Collies can get along well with many other dog breeds, but they will get best along with Australian Shepherds, Australian Cattle Dogs, and Belgian Tervurens.
These breeds will get along because they have similar traits and qualities to Collies such as herding and having lots of energy.
Who was the most famous collie?
The most famous Collie ever is Lassie of course! Lassie was a very famous TV Collie and was loved throughout the world.
Collies are one of the most popular dog breeds and can make great family pets.
Be advised Collies do have some special needs, but if you are willing to put in the effort you will find their hearts full of love and loyalty.
Because Collies are herding dogs, they need lots of mental stimulation and daily exercise to avoid health issues.
The good news is that long walks are a great solution and something the entire family can do together.
Check out the Collie Club of America for more information about this wonderful dog.