The Collie breed originated in Scotland where they were bred to be used as hard-working herding dogs. The exact origin of the name Collie is uncertain, but it can be traced back to the 1650s and is thought to come from the English word coaly meaning "coal-black," possibly referring to the black-faced sheep that shepherd dogs in the area were known for herding. The Scotch Collie, an early ancestor of the breed, was brought to England by Queen Victoria in the 1860s. These beloved herders went from being the dedicated helpers of shepherds to cherished companions of the English upper-class. In order to make the Scotch Collie better in appearance for dog shows, there is evidence that the Borzoi and Gordon Setter were incorporated into the lineage before arriving in the United States. Today, the Collie is one of the most recognized breeds in America and gained a lot of popularity from the 1950s and 60s television show and movie series Lassie that stared a rough-coated Collie who was always there to save the day.
Sporting a large fluffy coat, Collies look both elegant and graceful as they work. These herding dogs exude confidence and true balance. There are two distinct coat types for the breed: rough and smooth. Rough-coated Collies have a straight and harsh topcoat with a soft undercoat that is abundant except on the head and legs, while smooth-coated dogs have a short, dense, and flat topcoat with an abundance of undercoat. The two layers of the breed's coat are so close together that it can be very difficult to distinguish between the two. Collies are widely recognized for their long wedge-shaped head, bright almond-shaped eyes, and semi-erect ears that give them a wide variety of alert expressions. They have a well-rounded and blunt muzzle with a black nose. The Collie's moderately long tail is carried low or gaily depending on their mood.
As a reliable herding breed, the Collie is a strong and responsive shepherd, known for their hard-working qualities and desire to always have a job to do. Their calm and welcoming personality has earned them the spot for being one of the most popular breeds in the United States, commonly seen as therapy and service dogs. Their extremely high intelligence and love for learning makes these shepherds very easy to train. Collies tend to get bored with repetitive training sessions but they thrive on positive reinforcement and plenty of affection. Trying new tasks in different orders to keep them interested is the best way to have an obedient companion. Collies absolutely love kids and are a wonderful playmate for them, but these natural herders should be supervised around small children and other pets to correct their tendency for nipping at their heels. Although not as intense as the Australian Shepherd or Border Collie, these shepherds are still quite active. Having a large fenced area to run around in and participating in games that challenge their mind will ensure that your Collie is receiving the proper amount of exercise required for the breed. If you are looking for a smart, lovable, and energetic companion that enjoys the company of children, stop right here - the Collie is the family member you are looking for!