Collies are, thanks to the television show Lassie, a fairly recognizable and popular dog breed in the United States. These dogs are large (ish) but graceful herders, which means they generally stand 22-26 inches tall, weigh 50-75 pounds, and are incredibly smart. They’re generally pretty fond of children and excel in things like obedience, agility, and herding.
This breed is a Scotland native and it’s said that the collie’s ancestors arrived in Scotland with the Romans as they conquered Britain in the first century CE. As the centuries went on, these dogs bred with local dogs and eventually, collies as we know them today came to be. The first written record of collies happened around 1800.
The 1950s television series ‘Lassie‘ wasn’t too far off in their depiction of the breed, as many real Collies are very intelligent and sensitive. Because of their great temperment, these dogs are great family dogs and do well with children. However, they can be a bit suspicious of strangers and still have a strong herding instinct. Like many other breeds, Collies like to be with their people! If left alone for too long, they might start to bark excessively but training, proper socialization, exercise, and mental stimulation can help keep a Collie happy and healthy.
Collies can adapt to any type of home, as long as they have plenty of enrichment and exercise every day. As herding dogs, collies do well with running and playing outside with their people (including kids) but they may try to gather everyone together! They also do really well with herding trials, agility/lure courses, and obedience training. Their calm, friendly demeanor also makes them great therapy and assistance dogs.
Collies have a recognizable long and wedged face, almond eyes, and pointed ears. They also have two types of coats: rough and smooth. The Rough Collie has a long coat, with a straight outer coat that’s a bit harsh and a soft but incredibly thick undercoat. The Smooth Collie, on the other hand, has a shorter, dense, and flat outer coat with a thick undercoat. Collies will need regular grooming to help keep their coats and skin healthy but Rough Collies will need more grooming. There are four colors for Collies: sable (like Lassie), a tricolor of black with white markings and tan shading, blue merle (a silvery blue and black), and white.
If you’re looking for a great family dog that can join you on adventures or do fun activities like agility courses, a Collie would be a great addition! These dogs are incredibly intelligent and are great with folks of all ages. However, they will need a calm and confident owner who sets and follows the rules, as they can get stubborn and lazy without an authority figure. Positive reinforcement works well for this breed and these dogs thrive in a variety of exercises and games.