Breed Introduction: Border Collie

Find out more about the oh so magnificent border collie!

Breed Introduction: Border Collie

The Collie dog breed is a native of Scotland. It is a very sensitive and intelligent dog, known for its undying loyalty and amazing ability to foresee her owner’s needs. The beautiful Collie has two distinct looks: full coat known as the Rough variety and short coat known as the Smooth variety. The well-bred Collie is sweet, friendly, and gentle. She is a family dog and enjoys being part of all household activities. Especially fond of kids, she enjoys playing with them, while protectively watching over them. Although the collie is good-natured and friendly, it can be suspicious of strangers, especially if they approach the children in its family. The breed makes a good watchdog — it will bark but she is not aggressive.

Like every dog, the Collie needs early socialization exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences when they are young. Socialization helps ensure that your Collie puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

Border Collie Origin

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The Collie is a native of Scotland, primarily from the Highland regions. It has been called Collis, Colley, Coally, and Coaly, names that probably derive from col, the Anglo-Saxon word for black. Some historians think, however, that the name comes from the colley, the Scottish black-faced sheep that the Collie dog used to guard. Original Collies were closer in size and shape to today’s Border Collies, and they were predominantly black.

Herding ability was more important than appearance, so the dogs varied a great deal in looks. Stone Age nomads brought dogs to what is now Southern England, and from these came a hardy, intelligent dog used to herd sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs. Some historians say that the Collie’s particular ancestors were brought to the British Isles by Roman conquerors, some two thousand years ago. One Collie, named Old Cockie, who was born in 1867, is credited with the characteristic type of the Rough Collie known today, and it is believed to be responsible for introducing sable coat colour to the breed.

In 1879, the first Collie was imported to the United States. The Collie Club of America was formed on August 26, 1886, which makes it one of the oldest canine specialty clubs.

Border Collie Characteristics

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1. The Collie is usually quiet unless it has a reason to bark. However, if it is left alone too often or if she is bored, she will bark excessively.

2. Both varieties need grooming, but the Rough Collie especially needs regular brushingto keep her coat clean and free of tangles.

3. Many Collies are sensitive to medications including ivermectin, the drug used in heartworm preventives.

4. Males stand 24 to 26 inches tall; females are 22 to 24 inches tall. Collies weigh 50 to 70 pounds.

5. Collies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Not all Collies will get any or all of these diseases, but it is important to be aware of them if you are considering this breed.

6. The Collie lives comfortably in the city or the country, as long as she has enough exercise. A brisk, daily walk and yard play are sufficient. Mostly, she wants to be with her family, meaning she is not a candidate for a backyard lifestyle. If left alone for too long, she tends to bark excessively.

Updated: September 21, 2017.

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