The Bearded Collie is a medium sized sheep herder and cattle drover well known for his clownish and enthusiastic attitude. This athletic, affectionate and happy dog gets his name from hair flowing down from his chin to form a beard.
The origin of the word Collie is Scottish and used to describe the various sheep herding dogs like the Bearded Collie, Border Collie, Smooth Collie and Rough Collie. (Lassie was a typical Rough Collie). It’s possible the word was derived from “coaley” which was used in Scotland to refer to their black sheep, although it may have come from the Gaelic word Colly which means useful.
The Bearded Collie, or Beardie, originated in Scotland sometime in the 1600s, possibly earlier. Like other working breeds used by shepherds and farmers, there are few records to trace the early years of the Bearded Collie. One common belief is that in 1514 a Polish merchant arrived in Scotland to trade grain. He had what is believed to have been Polish Lowland Sheepdogs with him and traded them for two sheep. The farmer who made the trade bred the Polish dogs with local Scottish herding dogs.
While most people think of the popular television show “Lassie” when they hear the word Collie, this breed of dog deserves attention unrelated to television popularity.
The Collie is a very intelligent dog, as well as beautiful, loyal and useful. Originating in Britain, the Collie has become a common breed in the U.S. and other countries as a working dog and as a family pet.
The size of a Collie may lead you to think they are outdoor animals. They do live active and energetic lives outdoors, but the behavior and easy training also makes a Collie the ideal indoor pet as well. An average Collie weighs anywhere between 50 and 75 pounds, with the female weighing on the lower end of that range. While the Collie is an energetic dog breed, if he isn’t exercised regularly he will quickly become lazy and lethargic, so even if your Collie is an indoor pet, make sure to take him for a daily walk or run.
The Collie is a loving dog with an even temperament. They learn quickly and are eager to please. Because of their obedience and friendly nature, along with their prey drive, Collies are naturally good at herding livestock and working with other animals.
Because of the very sensitive nature of a Collie, it is important that a responsible pet owner always offer praise and correct their Collie gently, showing the dog instead the proper action. If a Collie is rebuked sharply his feelings may be hurt and he could shy away from you until you show him that you aren’t angry. While a Collie will protect his family from danger, they do not respond well to loud or violent behavior.
Collies are cautious of strangers and protective of their home and family, so they may bark more than other breeds. This can be dealt with by socializing your Collie and training him not to bark at some everyday things. However, the natural instinct to alert the family of potential danger makes the Collie an ideal pet to have around small children and to alert you if someone is trespassing too close to the family home.
When it comes to the appearance of a Collie, there are many different options. Rough and smooth Collies are available in four basic colors: sable and white, tri color (a mix of white, black and tan), blue merle and white. The difference between rough and smooth Collies is really no more than the grooming that will be required. Rough Collies have coarser fur that keeps mud and dirt from sticking and is easy to keep clean, but requires more brushing to keep from matting and tangling. The smooth Collie has finer hair that is easier to care for, but will need to be washed more often.
One thing that is common for all Collies is the extreme shedding. These dogs shed out twice a year, and will require extra grooming at that time to keep loose fur from becoming entangled and creating mats and lumps in the coat.
Collies are known as a hearty breed and are generally healthy dogs, but there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to the health and well being of your Collie.
• Collies are very susceptible to heat. On hot days they need a lot of cool water and a cool place to lie down.
• Collies are known for their sensitive Collie noses which are susceptible to sunburn.
• Collie eye anomaly (or CEA) affects almost 85% of Collies in the U.S.
The Collie is a great breed to have as a pet or as a working dog, and will serve either function happily. So, while your Collie may not rescue people like Lassie did, he will love you and seek to please you every day.
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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, firm, corporation or brand names, in this blog is for the information and convenience of the reader. Such use does not constitute an official endorsement or approval by CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company of any product or service to the exclusion of others that may be suitable. All opinions in this blog are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® Natural Pet Food Company.