"The Lassie Dog"
18th century Scottish shepherds were justifiably proud of their native herding dogs, who not only could gather the flocks, but entertain children and sound alarms. It's likely that the Romans brought Collies into the United Kingdom when they invaded Britain. They evolved to be great farm workers, workaday helpmates, household companions and rescue dogs – or a little of everything. The breed caught the attention and warmed the hearts of commoners and royalty alike. Queen Victoria was a great admirer because of their beauty and sweet demeanor.
Gentle, graceful and sweet, the Collie wags her tail gently whenever approached. Eyes seem to smile their welcome. They're willing to do the same chore again and again, only asking a loving touch in thanks. Exception to appropriate jobs: watch dog – they will watch and likely bark, but they're also as likely to let an escaped convict in the yard as your great aunt Fanny. Ignoring this breed is impossible – they just won't allow it! As adults, Collies follow the ones they adore, not interfering but just keeping company. Left alone for too long, they'll vocalize their displeasure. They'll tell you, they'll tell the neighbors, they'll tell the world. The breed's sensitivity means these dogs cannot tolerate harshness. A raised voice is enough to draw a crushed look. Collies happily play or work with children or adults, but do not demand constant entertainment – just a nearby presence of a loving person. They're as happy curled by your feet while you surf the net as they are walking around the block.
Not all Collies are red-blonde sable and long-coated! Tri colors (black, tan and white), blue merles and whites appear in both the rough coat and smooth coat varieties. Their ears fold forward at the tip; eyes are usually brown, but the merles may have blue eyes or one of each color! The long tail wags almost continually. A rough-coat's hair is medium-long, covering the entire body, with a full, profuse mane, and is described as the rough's “crowning glory”(pictured above). The face of both varieties is smooth. Although the smooth-coat's hair lies close to his body, he does have a thick ruff (pictured left).
Born to please, the Collie adapts easily to household rules. Collies actually want to be good and happily obey commands when taught with love and patience. Whether it's to give a high five, jump through a hoop or perform a perfect heeling routine, a Collie is ready and willing to learn. They aren't born knowing how to do so, however, so don't expect every pup to perform Lassie-like routines.
Grooming & Care
A frequent, thorough brushing of both roughs and smooths helps keep the floating hair tufts to a minimum. Heavy shedding occurs twice a year. A regular bathing schedule encourages dead hair to drop out. It's amazing that the smooth seems to lose as much hair as the longer rough coat – it's just shorter!
Parents should be OFA certified. The breed does suffer eye problems, so ask whether parents have been tested by an ophthalmologist within the last year. Some lines suffer epilepsy or hypothyroidism. Sensitivity to certain pharmaceuticals necessitates a breed-savvy veterinarian.
Lassie; the literary "Lad of Sunnybank" by Albert Payson Terhune; Reveille, mascot of Texas A & M University.
|Challenges||May bark if left alone for long periods of time, but why would you?|
|Height||22 to 26 inches|
|Weight||50 to 75 pounds|
|Life||8 to 10 years|
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