By Terri Estes
There are several types of Collies. In this article, we will focus on the Rough Collie, better known, simply, as the Collie. The Collie is arguably one of the most beautiful dogs on the planet. They also happen to be very intelligent and extremely gentle. They were a very popular breed for a long time, but their popularity has dwindled drastically over the last 10 to 25 years.
The Collie is a very old breed, originating as a shepherd’s dog in Scotland centuries ago. These dogs were prized for their herding instincts, intelligence and agility. Over generations, breeders selectively bred dogs with desirable traits to create the consistent and recognizable breed that we know of today as the Collie. In the late 1800s, the Collie became popular in U.S., partly because Queen Victoria’s (history’s ultimate crazy dog lady) love of this breed made them very popular in England in the 1860s. It didn’t take long before they were imported to the U.S., where people were enamored by these gorgeous, elegant creatures. The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized the breed in 1885, solidifying its presence in this country.
According to the AKC, the Collie is a medium sized dog standing 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighing 50 to 75 lbs, with females slightly smaller than males. The most common color is sable and white, but they do come in a variety of other colors such as black, white and tan and blue merle.
The popular television series “Lassie” premiered in 1954 and continued its run for 19 seasons until 1973. The show featured a Collie named Lassie, who would find herself in various situations and adventures and her heroic deeds would always end up helping people and saving lives. Lassie captured the hearts of audiences all over the country. The show popularized the Collie breed so much that it caused their popularity to explode in the U.S. and in many other countries as well. Today, a Collie is not a common sight, especially in the New York City area.
There are many reasons that this breed has lost popularity over the years. One of the reasons may be the time it takes to care for their coat. While a well-groomed Collie is a majestic sight to behold, their double coat mats easily and needs plenty of brushing and grooming, especially in the summer when they shed their undercoat. Another reason for their population decline was the development of designer, hypo-allergenic dog breeds. Also, a young Collie has a lot of energy and exercise needs. They are active and intelligent and need to be engaged in activities to keep them content.
In my opinion, these are all minor flaws in an otherwise wonderful breed. The Collie has so many good qualities that far overshadow the extra grooming and exercise needed. This dog has been a staple in families all over America for decades because of these qualities. They are the quintessential companion, exercise partner, babysitter of small children and all-around model canine citizen. Maybe Disney will decide to do a remake of Lassie and bring the Collie back into our hearts and living rooms where this wonderful dog belongs.