WHat are collies?
If you're looking for not only a herding dog but a great family companion then Collies are where it's at. Not to be confused with their smaller relative, the Sheltie, the Collie dog breed is native to the Highland regions of Scotland. Bred in the Scottish Lowlands and northern England, Collies were originally used as herding dogs. Sensitive and intelligent, Collies are known for their undying loyalty and incredible ability to foresee their owner’s needs.
No wonder someone created a fictional hero after the Collie. But wait--wasn't Lassie a Sheltie? Nope! Our beloved TV star, Lassie, was a Rough Collie, also known as the Long-Haired Collie. There's also a short-haired version of this Collie, and it's called the Smooth Collie. Real smooth, huh? Well, let's not get them confused with the Border Collie, another short-haired sheepdog breed resembling the Smooth Collie. Collies come in a huge range of coat colors! Just a few of the colors are Sable, TriColor, Blue Merle, Color-headed White.
Although, Rough Collies usually come to mind, both Smooth Collies and Rough Collies are Purebred Collies. A matter of fact smooths and roughs can be born in the same litter!
Overall, collies are a relatively healthy breed. In terms of nutrition, collies should be fed a good-quality dog food. Collies are susceptible to bloat so it is important to allow multiple feedings a day as opposed to one big meal. With proper care, collies usually live to be between 10-14 years old.
Collies have a double coat so it is important to regularly groom your collie. Rough Collies are prone to matting, so it is important to brush especially behind the ears and elbows to avoid any issues. Weekly brushing enables the coats to be smooth and healthy.
Collies and many other herding breeds are sensitive to certain drugs, some with normal doses that can be fatal. Washington State University has developed a simple testing kit to screen for the mutant MDR1 gene. For more information please go to their site at www.vetmed.wsu.edu/VCPL.
Collies love to be active with their family members, and your collie is likely to enjoy any type of training you decide to pursue because it gets to be with you. Due to the active nature and high intelligence of this breed, many collies do very well in dog sports and competitions such as obedience, agility, rally, and herding.
The time you spend with your dog deepens the bond between the two of you, and collies that are given activities to occupy their time and use up their excess energy are less likely to find ways to get in trouble. Bored, lonely collies often bark incessantly and may become a serious nuisance to their owners and their neighbors.