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"One reason a dog
can be such a comfort when you're feeling blue
is that he doesn't try to find out why."


Author Unknown
 



 

Collie

Collie refers to various landraces and breeds of herding dog originating in Britain, especially the upland areas of the north and west. The exact origin of the name is uncertain, although it may derive from Early Scots coll ("coal" or "black"). The collie name refers especially to dogs of Scottish origin, but the collie type is far more widespread in Britain and in many other parts of the world, often being called sheepdog or shepherd dog elsewhere [1]. In the United States, "collie" is most often used to refer solely to Rough Collies rather than the collective grouping of all collie breeds.

Appearance
Collies are generally large dogs weighing between 55-75lbs, fairly lightly built with a pointed snout and erect or partly erect ears, giving a foxy impression. Cattle-herding types tend to be rather more stocky. Collies are always alert and are active and agile. The fur may be short, flat, or long, and the tail may be smooth, feathered, or bushy. Some types were traditionally docked, and some types are naturally bobtailed or tail-less. Types vary in colouration, with the usual base colours being black, black-and-tan, red, red-and-tan, or sable. Many types have white along with the main color, usually under the belly and chest, over the shoulders, and on parts of the face and legs, but sometimes leaving only the head coloured – or white may be absent or limited to the chest and toes (as in the Australian Kelpie). Merle colouration may also be present over any of the other colour combinations, even in landrace types. The most widespread patterns in many types are black and white or tricolour (black-and-tan and white).

Working types
Working collies are extremely energetic and agile dogs with great stamina, well able to run all day without tiring, even over very rough or steep ground. They are intelligent, and are instinctively highly motivated to work. These characteristics generally make working strains unsuitable as pets, as few owners are able to give them the mental and physical challenges they need and, if not well fulfilled, they may become unhappy and badly behaved. However, in addition to herding work they are well suited to active sports such as sheepdog trials, flyball, disc dog and dog agility. Working strains have strong herding instincts, and some individuals can be single-minded to the point of obsessiveness. They are often intensely loyal.

 

Collie

Show and pet types
Certain types of collie (for example Rough Collies, Smooth Collies, Shetland Sheepdogs and some strains of Border Collie and other breeds) have been bred as pets and for the sport of conformation showing, not as herding dogs, for many generations. These types have proved to be highly trainable, gentle, loyal, and well suited as pets. Their gentleness and devotion also make them quite compatible with children. They are often more suitable as companions than as watch dogs, though the individual personalities of these dogs vary. The temperament of these breeds has featured in literature, film and popular television programmes. The novels of Albert Payson Terhune celebrated the temperament and companionship of collies and were very popular in the United States during the 1920s and 1930s. More famously, the temperament and intelligence of the Rough Collie was exaggerated to mythic proportions in the character Lassie which has been the subject of many films, books and television shows from 1938 to the present.

Collie types and breeds
Herding dogs of collie type have long been widespread in Britain, and these can be regarded as a landrace from which a number of other landraces, types, and formal breeds have been derived, both in Britain and elsewhere. Many of these are working herding dogs, but some have been bred for conformation showing and as pets, sometimes losing their working instincts in the selection for appearance or for a more subdued temperament.

Herding types tend to be more variable in appearance than conformation and pet types, as they are bred primarily for their working ability, and appearance is thus of lower importance.