Collie Breed Guide
Health Issues Associated with this Breed:
Collie Background Info & History
The exact origin of the Collie breed remains unclear even to this day. It wasn’t until the 18th century that this breed was used as a shepherd dog along the Scottish highlands. During this time, Collies were commonly black in color and smaller in size. Collies were then brought to England where they became stronger, bulkier, and heartier in order to herd all types of farm animals.
During the late 1800’s Queen Victoria was visiting her Scottish estate when she first came across the Collie breed. She immediately fell in love with their majestic appearance and loving personality. After her visit, she brought a few Collies back with her to England, leading to a new trend of this breed outside of Scotland. Right around this time, the first Collie was brought to America.
At this point in history, Collies were more praised for their appearance rather than their herding skills. It wasn’t until 1885 that the American Kennel Club recognized Collies as an official breed in the United States. Once these dogs made their way to the U.S., they quickly became a family favorite. A Collie was even the star in a few popular TV shows and movies. Lassie, who played a fearless companion, encountered endless adventures. This character showcased the endearing qualities the Collie breed possess, leading to an increase in their popularity through America.
Collie Temperament & Personality
The Collie breed is kind, patient, and gentle. They like to act as just another member of the family and will step in as protector when needed. Even though they are a great watchdog, they are not an aggressive breed. Collies are at their happiest when they are surrounded by people and other companions. A Collie can be needy at times, and should never be left alone for long periods.
Their loneliness can lead to excessive barking or chewing of your living room furniture, so an active family is best for the Collie. To avoid any behavioral issues in your Collie, make sure to walk them daily and give them plenty of love and attention. Because they are such a gentle breed, some can turn shy or timid if not properly socialized.
Start the socialization process as young as possible. This will help them feel more comfortable with strangers and other pets later on in life. They also have a tendency to be very sensitive, which you should be kept in mind during training. Make sure to never scold your Collie or act harshly with them. All they need is calm commands, positive reinforcement, and food incentives in order for them to listen.
Even though a Collie can have a stubborn streak, they are still a fairly easy breed to train. Owners need to be patient and sensitive to their pet’s feelings. Harsh training tactics can easily cause emotional instability for a Collie. At the end of the day, this breed strives to please their owners, which makes training efforts easier. As long as you start at a young age, training should not be too extensive and challenging. The sooner you begin this process, the more well-behaved your Collie will be later on.
Exercise Requirements for Collies
Even though this is an athletic breed, the Collie does not require hours of exercise on a daily basis. When given the chance, they love to run around and burn off some extra steam, but they also enjoy lounging on the couch with their family. Make sure to still take them for a walk at least once a day for at least 30-60 minutes.
This will help to keep them in great physical and mental health. Due to their instinctive qualities and athletic built, this breed excels in competitions and courses. A Collie is happiest when they are active in agility training, obedience training, or herding. Not only are they getting a physical workout, but they are also spending quality time bonding with their owner. These courses are a great way to strengthen the relationship between you and your pet.
The average lifespan of a Collie ranges anywhere from 14 to 16 years.
Popularity of Collies
Collies have always been a highly sought after breed. Not only do they make for great companions, but they also have an athleticism that is perfect for active families. As previously stated, the Collie saw an increase in their popularity after the Lassie movie and TV shows were produced in the United States. Today, this breed is ranked as the 37th most popular breed in the United States by the AKC. Owners admire this breed for their gentle heart and faithful companionship.
Feeding Recommendations for Collies
The first step in helping your pet live a long and healthy life is to provide them with the proper nutrition. The Collie should consume anywhere between 2-3 cups of high-quality food, split into two separate meals a day. The amount of food depends on their size, metabolism, age, and activity level. Before creating a set feeding regimen for your pet, consult with your veterinarian for professional advice.
Also be sure to provide fresh water at all times. Clean the bowl once a day and top off with water when needed. When choosing the right food for your dog, try to avoid brands that include soy, corn, or preservatives in their products. Carefully read the nutrition labels and look for all natural ingredients that can supply your dog with the nutrients they need to live a long and happy life.
Grooming a Collie
The Collie comes in either a smooth or rough coat. Both coats come in tricolor, sable, white, and blue merle. The grooming strategies will vary depending on the texture of their coat. For both types, make sure to brush their coat several times a week to keep it soft and healthy. This will also help to reduce their shedding and prevent mats from forming.
Since the Collie has such a thick coat, brushing can be a very tedious and time-consuming task. Some owners result to getting their Collie professionally groomed every 2 months. If you decide to do the grooming yourself, make sure to bathe them every 6-8 weeks. Use a veterinarian-approved shampoo that is sensitive on their skin.
Aside from their coat, check their ears weekly for wax build-up and infection. You can use a dampened cotton ball with a pH balancing cleanser to clean their ears. While you are checking their ears, check their nails and trim them every couple of weeks to prevent overgrowth or infection. Lastly, when grooming a Collie, brush their teeth weekly to prevent tartar and bacteria from accumulating.
Are Collies Good With Kids?
Collies are known to be a great breed for children. They are playful yet gentle, perfect for any size family. They also love the attention they get from a full household. A Collie is happiest when they are surrounded by loving and attentive owners. However, it’s important to note that Collies will become anxious if they are in a loud and busy home.
A Collie can quickly become overwhelmed if there are too many children running around. That’s why this breed does best in a household with only older children. Early socialization will help this breed feel more comfortable around children and strangers. If there are children present, make sure they know how to properly interact with a Collie in order to not scare or intimidate them.
Health Problems of Collies
Collies tend to be a fairly healthy breed, however, they are still prone to several health issues.
Collie Nose: Collie Nose, or nasal solar dermatitis, is a condition where the nose, changes color or peels. This condition occurs from overexposure to the sun and can be prevented by limiting their time outdoors or using protective sunscreen recommended by your veterinarian.
Collie Eye Anomaly: This inherited disease causes abnormalities in the eye that can affect the vision of a Collie. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this condition. Collie eye anomaly can lead to several eye complications, and in severe cases, it can lead to blindness.
Dermatomyositis: this inherited disease affects blood vessels, muscles, and the skin and occurs when there is a lack of blood supply to the skin. Dermatomyositis can cause lesions on the skin and severe muscle problems.
Drug Sensitivity: The Collie is one of many breeds who are sensitive to certain medications. Always consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet any type of medicines for heartworm, fleas, or any other minor health problems.
Hip Dysplasia: This occurs when the thigh bone doesn’t fit inside the hip socket. Hip Dysplasia causes inflammation within the hip joint which can lead to lameness, pain, or arthritis in serious cases.
National Breed Website: Collie Club of America
Collie Rescue: Collie Rescue Foundation