What Are Collies Known For

You are currently viewing What Are Collies Known For
We may earn a small commission if you make a purchase through an affiliate link in this article. Thanks.

Collies are a popular and highly adaptable dog breed that has won the hearts of many dog enthusiasts worldwide. From their striking appearance to their impressive brain power, these dogs have made a name for themselves through their unique traits and talents. 

In this article, we will delve into the world of Collies, exploring their physical characteristics, temperament, history, role in pop culture, and more. By the end of this article, you will have a thorough understanding of what Collies are known for and whether they might be the right breed for you.

Table of Contents

Physical Characteristics of Collies

Collies are a medium-to-large sized breed, with males typically weighing between 60-75 pounds and females weighing between 50-65 pounds. 

They stand at an average height of 22-26 inches at the shoulder. Their bodies are well-proportioned, with a strong and muscular build that enables them to carry out their herding duties with ease.

Collies come in two distinct coat types: the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie

Rough Collies have a long, abundant double coat that requires regular grooming to maintain its plush appearance. On the other hand, Smooth Collies feature a shorter, dense double coat that lies close to the body and requires less grooming. Both coat types come in a variety of colors, including sable and white, blue merle, tricolor, and white.

One of the most notable features of Collies is their distinctive “mane” of fur around the neck and chest area. This mane is more prominent in Rough Collies, giving them an elegant and regal appearance. 

Collies also have expressive almond-shaped eyes, which can be brown or blue, depending on their coat color. Their ears are medium-sized and typically stand erect with the tips folding forward, adding to their alert and intelligent look.

Two tricolor rough collies in the grass

Collie Temperament and Personality Traits

Collies are known for their friendly, gentle, and intelligent nature. They are easy to train, making them a popular choice for obedience, agility, and other dog sports. 

Their strong herding instincts and keen problem-solving skills make them a valuable asset in working environments, as well as in the home.

These dogs are also incredibly loyal and affectionate with their families, forming strong bonds with their owners. They have a natural instinct to protect and care for those they love, making them excellent family members. 

Collies are known to be good with children and can be patient and gentle with them, although they may try to herd them occasionally!

One potential challenge with the Collie dog breed is their sensitivity. They are known to be in tune with their owners’ emotions, which can make them prone to anxiety or stress if not properly managed. 

It’s important to provide Collies with a stable and loving environment, as well as consistent training and socialization, to help them thrive.

Collies Working History

Collies have a rich history as herding dogs, dating back to their origins in the British Isles. They were initially bred to herd sheep in Scotland and Northern England, where their intelligence, agility, and stamina made them ideal for the task.

Collies have a unique herding style, using their gaze and body language to control the movement of livestock rather than relying on physical force.

Over time, Collies’ herding abilities gained recognition, and they became a popular choice for farmers and shepherds worldwide. The breed’s versatility has also seen it used in other working roles, such as search and rescue, therapy, and service work.

Today, many Collies still work in herding on farms and ranches, while others participate in herding trials and competitions to showcase their skills. Even Collies kept as pets often retain their innate herding instincts, which can sometimes be seen when they try to “herd” their owners or other household pets!

cute rough collie puppies at a lake

Collies in Popular Culture

During the middle of the 19th century, Queen Victoria developed a fondness for the breed when she visited Scotland and observed them in action.

This fascination made them popular among the aristocracy, resulting in their participation in canine exhibitions. It was during this period that the initial criteria for evaluating the physical traits of Rough Collies were set.

Collies have long been a popular choice for representation in film, television, and literature, with their endearing looks and remarkable intelligence making them natural stars.

The most famous Collie of all time is undoubtedly Lassie, who first appeared in the 1940’s novel “Lassie Come-Home” by Eric Knight. Lassie’s story was later adapted into a series of successful films and a long-running television show, cementing her status as a beloved icon.

The impact of Lassie on the Collie breed cannot be overstated. The character’s popularity led to a surge in demand for Collies as pets, with many people wanting a loyal and intelligent companion just  like Lassie.

This fame also helped to solidify the breed’s reputation for heroism, as Lassie was often depicted saving the day through her bravery and quick thinking.

Collies continue to feature in various forms of media today, showcasing their unique talents and winning the hearts of new generations of dog lovers.

Founded in 1886, today the Collie Club of America (CCA) is one of the oldest specialty clubs under the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

The primary purpose of this prestigious club is to promote the welfare and advancement of the Collie breed in the United States. 

The CCA serves as a central hub for Collie enthusiasts, breeders, and owners who share a common passion for these loyal and intelligent dogs. 

As an organization that is deeply committed to preserving the rich heritage of the breed, the Collie Club of America has played an integral role in shaping the future of Collies by setting standards, organizing events, and providing valuable resources to its members.

Whether Collies are playing the role of a hero, a faithful companion, or a skilled working dog, they remain a symbol of loyalty, intelligence, and beauty in popular culture.

Collies as Family Pets

When considering a Collie as a family pet, it’s important to understand their unique traits and requirements. While these dogs are known for their loyalty, gentleness, and intelligence, they also have specific needs that must be met to ensure their happiness and well-being.

Collies are high-energy (Border Collies have even higher energy levels than Smooth or Rough Collies) dogs that require daily exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Long walks, play sessions, and opportunities to run off-leash in safe environments are all essential to a Collie’s happiness. 

Additionally, engaging in dog sports or training activities can help to channel their natural intelligence and problem-solving skills.

Grooming is another important consideration, particularly for Rough Collies. Their long, thick coats require regular brushing to prevent matting and keep them looking their best. Smooth Collies have lower grooming needs but will still benefit from regular brushing to remove loose hair and maintain a healthy coat.

Both Rough and Smooth coat Collies are generally good with children and other pets, but early socialization and consistent training are crucial to ensure they develop into well-rounded, well-behaved adults. 

As other herding dog breeds, Collies may have a natural instinct to chase or herd smaller animals, so supervision and training are necessary to prevent this behavior from becoming problematic.

two cute rough collie puppies on the floor

Health Issues Commonly Found in Collies

Collies are generally a healthy breed, with a lifespan of around 12-14 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the most common health concerns in Collies include:

Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA)

A genetic eye condition that can lead to vision impairment or blindness. Regular eye exams and responsible breeding practices can help to minimize the risk of this condition.

Hip Dysplasia

A genetic condition in which the hip joint does not develop properly, leading to arthritis and mobility issues. Responsible breeding and maintaining a healthy weight can help to reduce the risk of hip dysplasia in Collies.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

A degenerative eye condition that can lead to blindness. Regular eye exams can help to detect this condition early and manage its progression.

To maintain the best possible health for your Collie, it is important to provide them with regular veterinary care, a balanced diet, and a healthy lifestyle.

Choosing a Collie Breeder or Rescue Organization

If you have decided that a Collie puppy is right for you, the next step is to find a reputable breeder or rescue organization. 

When choosing a breeder, it’s important to look for someone who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. This includes testing for genetic health conditions, providing appropriate socialization and care, and adhering to responsible breeding practices.

It’s also crucial to ask questions and request references to ensure that you are working with a reputable breeder who genuinely cares for the welfare of their dogs. Meeting the puppies and their parents can provide valuable insight into the temperament and health of your potential new pet.

Alternatively, you may wish to consider adopting a Collie from a rescue organization. Many Collies end up in shelters or rescue groups due to various circumstances, and these dogs can make wonderful companions with the right care and support. 

Adopting from a rescue organization can provide a loving home to a dog in need while also offering a rewarding and fulfilling experience for you as an owner.

Gorgeous Rough Collie side portrait

Conclusion: Are Collies the Right Breed for You?

Collies are a truly remarkable breed, known for their intelligence, loyalty, and versatility. Their unique traits and talents have made them beloved working dogs, pets, and pop culture icons. 

However, it’s important to carefully consider the needs and requirements of this breed to ensure that they are the right fit for your lifestyle and home.

If you can provide a Collie with the love, care, and mental stimulation they need, they can make a wonderful family dog. Their gentle nature, strong bonds with their owners, and impressive skills make them an unforgettable breed that will undoubtedly enrich your life in countless ways.

Collies are an exceptional dog breed with a rich history and a wealth of remarkable traits and talents. By understanding what Collies are known for and considering your own lifestyle and needs, you can make an informed decision about whether this breed is for you.

For more Collie dog breed information, see our post “What is a Rough Collie”.

*This article was written with the help of Chatsonic.