Unfortunately, the Collie's exact
origins are shrouded in obscurity. It has been the subject
of much research and speculation. The word "Collie" is
as obscure as the breed itself. The name has been spelled
many different ways: Coll, Colley, Coally and Coaly. Generally,
the most accepted origin of the word is "Coll"
- the Anglo-Saxon word for black.
In the 18th century, the Collie's natural home
was in the highlands of Scotland, where he had been used for centuries
as a sheepdog. The dogs were bred with great care in order to assist
their masters in the herding and guarding of their flock.
While the breed as we know it may have originated
in Scotland, invariably we think of England as the true home of the
breed. Without a doubt, it is to the English fancy of the late 1800s
that the breed owes its development as a popular show dog. Collies were
first exhibited in 1860 at the Birmingham, England dog show, in the
generic class "Scotch Sheep-Dogs."
In 1879 the first English Collie was imported to
this country. It is from England that we find the famous pillars of the
breed, from which the American fanciers sought not only their next big
winner, but also their foundation stock.
By the turn
of the century, the American Collie was in a state of
continued development. The breed continued to flourish
in England. American show prizes were dominated by the
British imports. As a result of the imports, the breed
made rapid progress between 1900 to 1920. These dogs built
the foundations upon which the present day Collie is based
and paved the way for the emergence of the great American
kennels of the 1920s and 1930s. Names such as Alstead,
Arken, Arrowhill, Tazewell, Tokalon, Hertzville, Lodestone,
Noranda, Sterling, Bellhaven and Honeybrook began to dominate
the American dog scene. This signaled the true emergence
of the golden age of the American Collie. Our Collie legacy
since that time has been rich and varied. For more detailed
information regarding the history of the Collie, contact
the Collie Club of America, Inc., for various books and