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Collies are intelligent and friendly dogs that make very loyal companions. They are very affectionate with their families and sometimes foresee their owners’ needs.
15 – 30 kg
10 – 14 years
White, tri-color, blue merle, sable, sable merle, sable, and white
Active families, those who have time to train these active dogs
Intelligent, friendly, loyal, and active
Originally, Collies come from Scotland, particularly from the Highlands. Here, they were used as herding dogs. Whilst still sometimes used for this purpose, many are now much–loved family pets. They are sensitive animals and do not like to be left alone for long periods. They will treat the members of your family as their pack and show true loyalty.
Collies take well to training, however, you will need to have the time to dedicate to the task. They are very active, friendly and loyal. If you want a good family dog, you won’t go wrong with a Collie.
Temperament & Intelligence of the Collie
Collies are active dogs and love nothing more than having a ‘job’, whether that is retrieving a ball or herding sheep. They require a lot of exercise and get easily bored if they are not exercised enough. That being said, they will happily settle down for a cuddle once they have completed the days ‘work’.
Collies come in a variety of colors, have athletic builds, and can be short, long, or medium-haired. Their almond eyes, nicknamed the ‘herding eye’, are one of their most famous characteristics. Collies are amongst the most agile and nimble in the canine family and will think nothing of leaping over a fence or style when on a walk. Their intelligence makes them easy to train and they are motivated by both food and attention. The key to a happy, well-trained Collie is having a job to do.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Collies can be extremely well-suited to family life and will enjoy running around with energetic children. They are very loyal and will treat their family as their pack.
Collies can be nervous around strangers and will often bark when they are unsure or threatened. Similarly, it is worthwhile being careful when your Collie is meeting young children. Young children’s actions tend to be unpredictable, something Collies do not like. Collies have been known to nip at their heels as they try to ‘herd’ them much as they would do sheep.
Collies like to have company at all times, so are best suited for those who work from home or don’t work. Collies love learning new tricks and will easily grasp new commands or skills.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
If socialized from a young age, Collies will get along well with other animals. Their favorite people will be their owners, so when out on a walk they won’t show that much interest in other dogs. That being said, if you already own another dog or animal, a Collie will easily learn to live alongside them if introduced from an early age. The more exposure to different people, environments, and animals – the better.
Like with small children, Collie’s herding instincts can take over when around other animals so you may find them trying to ‘round-up’ your other pets. To be safe, it is best to supervise them at all times.
Things to Know When Owning a Collie
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
This will vary depending on their age. They are active dogs so most will require two meals a day of complete, balanced dog food. You can also feed them occasional treats as rewards. Remember, treats shouldn’t take up more than 10% of their daily calorie intake.
Collies are very energetic, active dogs. The average Collie will need an hour-long off-lead walk twice per day.
Collies react very well to training and can be easy to train for experienced owners. The easiest way to train a Collie is through positive, reward-based training. The earlier you begin training your Collie, the easier it will be.
Collie’s shed their fur in the Spring and Autumn as well as minimally all year round. Brush their coat a few times a week to keep it shiny and healthy as well as removing dead skin and hair cells. Long-haired Collies will naturally be higher maintenance on the grooming front than short or medium coated ones.
Health and Conditions 🏥
As is common with purebred dogs, Collies are susceptible to certain health conditions.
Male vs Female
When first getting a puppy, there won’t be much difference in the behavior between male and female dogs. However, the older they get the more marked these differences will become.
Physically, male dogs will be taller, weigh more, and have an overall chunkier appearance than their female counterparts. Male Collies have broader heads and deeper chests, their tails are also ‘fluffier’ or distinctively ‘feather-duster-like’. Male dogs often want more attention than females and might be keener for cuddles.
Physically, female dogs will be of smaller stature. This stature often makes them more agile. Female dogs will come into heat for 3-4 weeks twice a year until/if spayed. You should avoid taking your dog out in public when she is in heat. Female Collies can be more aloof in temperament and are independent. They are also more territorial than males.
3 Little-Known Facts About the Collie
1. Queen Victoria loved them.
Queen Victoria was a lover of all dogs but in the 1860s, she declared herself to be a particular fan of the Collie – favoring the working Collie above all. She is often blamed for having ‘spoiled’ the breed due to her soft touch with them. Her fondness for this breed encouraged women to take an interest in dogs in general, leading to the formation of the Ladies’ Kennel Club, whose goal was to prevent cruelty to animals. They particularly wanted to stop docking tails and cropping ears as they felt this was both unnecessary and unkind.
2. Collie’s break all the records.
Collie dogs have broken several world records. Chaser, a Border Collie is known to be the world’s most intelligent dog. She knows the names of and can distinguish between 1,000 different objects. Aptly named Border Collie, Jumpy, lays claim to the title of ‘Best Skateboarding Dog’ – setting a Guinness World Record when he skated 100m in under 20 seconds.
3. They have jobs.
As well as being popular family pets, Collies have worked as actors in several famous films, including Babe, Snow Dogs, and Animal Farm. Some Collies work as ‘goose masters’ – their job is to scare geese away from people’s homes. A Collie called Bee is the goose master for The University of North Florida and keeps geese away from areas with lots of traffic. Bred for herding, many Collies work on farms and work with the farmers to herd the sheep. Another popular job for Collies is as part of search and rescue teams. Their agility, speed, and keen sense of smell make them perfect for this job.
Collies are wonderful dogs who can make great pets or working dogs. Their energetic nature and natural inclination to be on the go means you should only consider a Collie if you are prepared to and can give them the exercise they need. Without this, your Collie will soon get bored and will be ‘naughty’. A Collie with a job is a happy Collie. This job could be herding sheep or fetching a ball on a walk. Training a Collie to compete in agility courses is a fantastic way to keep your dog entertained, having fun, and behaving well.
Fiercely loyal, Collies make fantastic companions and will become valued members of your ‘pack’. Once you’ve had a Collie as part of your family, it is hard to choose any other breed of dog.
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Featured Image Credit: SGracheva_2610, Pixabay