Is there any more elegant, beautiful, graceful dog than the Collie? Lassie, famous dog of silver screen, was a Collie, after all. But did you know that not all Collies have that long, flowing mane of fur?
While at the AKC National Agility Championships here in Tulsa last month, I met several sleek coat Collies. Beautiful creatures. It took me a moment to realize their breed, since I always associate the Collie with a full coat of fur. Let’s begin with what the AKC Breed page says about the Collie:
[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]Although a large, active dog, the Collie is both elegant and graceful, appearing to float over the ground as it runs. Loyal and affectionate, the breed is naturally responsive to humans. Marked characteristics include the beautiful coat of the rough variety and the breed’s lean wedge-shaped head. The coat can be rough or smooth and the four accepted colors are sable and white, tri-color, blue merle and white. The best-known Collie is, of course, the famous Lassie.[/quote]
Collies have been working dogs in Scotland and England for centuries, herding sheep and cows for a living. This explains why the breed is perfect for agility. The herding breeds do extremely well at agility, naturally having the ability to weave, tunnel through, obey complex commands, follow their master and respond with lightning speed.
The smooth coat Collie intrigues me. One site describes it as “Lassie in a gazelle suit”. According to this site, the smooth coat Collie differs from the fluffy Lassie type in its lack of understanding its own strength. In other words, the smooth coat Collie ain’t your dainty princess. All other attributes aside, this dog can PLAY. Sweet.
Let’s walk through the pros and cons of owning a Collie.
- Brilliant – this intelligent breed is smarter than you are, but easy to train
- Loyal – the Collie is a great family and watch dog, great for families
- Other dog and pet friendly – it probably won’t eat your guinea pig or your cat, and the dog’s disposition is sweet and loving
- Generally healthy – the Collie seems to be prone to hip issues, but I’m seeing that in a lot of the herding breeds – otherwise, the Collie isn’t predisposed to much
- Yes, the Collie typically has a ton of hair, but grooming isn’t too bad for this breed, requiring a weekly brushing most of the year, more when it’s blowing the coat in spring and fall
- The Collie lives a long time – for a larger dog (50 to 70 pounds and about two feet at the shoulder), Collies live considerably long, about 14 to 16 years
Those are all great reasons to own a Collie! I’m asking myself why we don’t have one. And why I don’t see more of them in my travels. Let’s check out the cons and maybe we’ll understand a bit more, though I doubt we will.
- Naturally energetic – the Collie needs exercise, a good daily walk outdoors, a romp with the kids, hiking in the woods – daily release of all that herding dog energy
- Not a water dog – evidently the long fur gets really heavy when the dog is wet, so they don’t care for water – I wouldn’t either if that was the case
- Sensitive to heat – the Collie is not an outside dog, as to living outside full time, especially in an southern climate, and their noses sunburn easily
- The Collie needs a firm, gentle trainer – like so many other dogs we’ve discussed, the Collie needs a pack leader, someone who will train consistently, firmly, but gently – the owner must be in charge and must socialize the dog early and always
- Matting – rough coat Collies are prone to matted fur if they’re not brushed at least once a week – getting through all that fur regularly may be a bit daunting
Really? That’s all the cons? Lame sauce. This is a great dog. Medium in size, easy on the eyes, loyal and sweet, easy to train – what’s not to love?
Keep in mind that if you’re buying a young Collie, all dogs, early on, chew. They chew everything. EVERYTHING. I don’t know how many people get rid of adolescent dogs because they chew everything and the owner doesn’t know how to channel that chewing or properly train their puppy, but I’m guessing it’s a lot. We’re seeing a TON of Craigslist ads this last month for free young dogs. Sad.
So. What do you do with a chewing pup? Jones Natural Chews, of course! As with a teething toddler, you’ll need to monitor your puppy’s chewing of any bone or toy or treat. A friend of mine got a puppy this weekend and he’s chewing the legs of the table and the couch and everything else in sight. She brought home an armload of Jones bones, things like the rib bone and center bones – a Jampacked Jawzer or a knuckle bone would keep a little guy busy for awhile – and he’s settled down quite a bit. You want a bone that is too big to fit in his mouth and will keep his needle puppy teeth gnawing for awhile. And keep an eye on your teether!
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Until I write again …