The Collie as a Family Dog
The Collie has a longstanding reputation as one of the most beautiful of dog breeds. Though many people may have a mental picture of the Collie as looking like Lassie, or Lassie-colored, the Collie is actually bred in two different coat types and four different color variations that add to the breed’s great beauty and appeal.

The overall “look” of the Collie is defined by The Collie Standard—a specific set of required breed characteristics developed over the past 120 years and perfected by breeders ever since.

There are two types or varieties of Collie: the ROUGH Collie and the SMOOTH Collie. Both varieties are the same except for the length of their coats. The Collie is a double-coated breed with a harsh outer coat beneath which lies a downy undercoat.

Rough and Smooth Collies both come in the same four color combinations:

  • Sable and white, which is shades of brown ranging from light straw to dark mahogany with white markings;
  • Tri-color, which is black with tan and white markings;
  • Blue merle, which is gray to silver with tan and white markings; and
  • White, which is predominantly all white with a sable, tricolored, or blue merle head and body markings.

Note: The smaller Shetland Sheepdog is sometimes referred to as a “Miniature
Collie”when, in fact, the Shetland Sheepdog, or “Sheltie,” is a separate breed,
originating in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, with its own breed Standard.

Beauty is not the only reason to choose a Collie selected dogs strong in this nature, thus ensuring that the breed would remain not only highly intelligent and trainable, but able to have a strong, ongoing relationship with their

As the breed’s primary focus is people, a Collie is equally happy to run in the woods with its family, walk on a lead with them in town, or herd a gaggle
of geese on the farm and can adapt to suburban yards or large rural spaces.
Collies bond easily with their families whether they are acquired as puppies or
as older dogs. They are joyfully affectionate and playful, with a great sense of
humor. With strangers they can be more dignified and reserved, a throwback to
their herding origins in isolated parts of the British Isles where it was not common to see other people.

Collies have a well developed sense of “home” that revolves around the family, their schedules and routines, and the home’s physical surroundings. In fact, the breed is well known for its intuitive awareness of family activities, to the point where the Collie often senses what is going to happen before it actually does. The dog can recognize things like the step of a family member at a distance or the unique sound of an individual vehicle—even the approaching time when a family member is due home. The breed’s sensitive nature descends from its herding heritage, making the Collie a wonderful housemate, ever watchful and protective of the homefront.

Since the nature of the working Collie’s relationship with the shepherd involves
dialogue, the Collie is quite vocal with a large–and interesting!–range of sounds, from barks of various pitches and intensities to grunts and the famous Collie “singing,” coupled with many facial expressions such as the head
cocked to one side and the other, puffing cheeks, nods, smiles, nose nudges or even gator-like teeth snapping—all are ways which the dog communicates
what is going on.

Collies and Other Dogs
Another benefit of the Collie’s shepherding heritage is the breed’s ability to get
along with other dogs and other animals in the same household. The Collie’s original job often involved multiple dogs who had to work together to care for a flock of animals. This translates into a breed which tends to get along well with other dogs, and also tends to be tolerant of other family pets in the household.

As a family dog, the breed character of the Collie is that of an intelligent and fully
participating family member with a strong desire to please. The breed is a wonderful choice for those who want their dogs to be fully engaged in their family lives.

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