Breed Group: Herding
Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
Life Span: 10 to 14 years
Collies are one of the best family dogs possible: they are devoted to the entire family, eager to please, housetrain easily, and need less grooming than you’d think. They’re energetic outside and calm inside.
Did You Know There are Two Types of Collies?
The TV show “Lassie” made the Collie — and the phrase “Timmy fell into the well!” — famous. Lassie rescued Timmy from falls into mine shafts, rivers and quicksand. However, during the show’s 19 year run, Timmy never once fell into a well.
Thanks to the enduring power of Eric Knight’s “Lassie Come Home” and Albert Payson Terhune’s “Lad, a Dog,” the Collie has a reputation as dog with super powers, able to leap deep wells in a single bound and communicate complicated messages, even without the aid of speech. While the breed certainly has qualities that bolster that impression, it’s a disservice to any dog to load him up with baggage that he can’t possibly carry. The Collie is gentle, affectionate and sensitive, but Collie puppies don’t come fully trained and ready to rescue Timmy from the well.
There are two types of Collies. The most common is the Rough Collie, the classic Lassie, with a long coat. The Smooth Collie sports a short, dense and flat coat that has a lot of undercoat. In the show ring they are considered the same breed and are judged by the same standard.
Collies love children, love playing with them, and bond closely with all family members. They are not a one-person dog and are protective of everyone in the family. Collies think of everyone as their friend. They are an excellent choice as a family dog and get along with other pets. Be aware that their herding heritage may cause them to nip at heels, which can frighten some children. The Collie will also herd your neighbor’s chickens, the neighborhood kids, and other dogs and cats.
Colors for both varieties are sable and white, white, tri-color, and blue merle. The white Collie still has a sable and white head, but the body is almost entirely white.
Rough Collies are not a good choice for someone who is allergic to dogs. They shed throughout the year and blow coat twice a year, during which you can easily pull clumps of hair out with your fingers. They need to be brushed more frequently when they blow coat. Smooth Collies don’t blow coat but shed more than the Rough Collie during the non-molting days.
As a herding breed, the Collie is bred to work all day and needs quite a bit of exercise. A 30- to 45-minute walk or playtime twice a day is a good start. The Collie is not a good candidate for apartment life unless someone will be home to prevent nuisance barking and give him the exercise he needs. When he’s done with his activity for the day, he’s a calm housedog.
Collies thrive on being with people. If left alone for long periods with nothing to do, they become bored and will fill the time with barking.
Other Quick Facts About the Collie
Collies are sensitive and can become depressed if spoken to harshly.
Collies don’t have a “doggie odor” as long as they are brushed regularly.