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Collie

Tags: herding, Large-sized, Kid-friendly, Protective guardian, Requires firm, dedicated training

We've been sheep and cattle drovers for centuries, guiding them (including the lowland Scottish sheep called colleys) to market. My really ancient ancestors were Roman dogs, brought over with the legions and crossed with native Scottish dogs. We were hard-working dogs all our times -- until the 19th Century, when Queen Victoria took a fancy to collies working at Balmoral (her Scottish estate) and took us back to Windsor Castle. We really entered the popular culture with "Lassie" (who, gender-wise, was almost always a lad). Today, not all Collies are coated in the Lassie color scheme (sable-and-white) because three other flavors are permitted (tri-color, blue merle and white) in two finishes (rough and smooth). All of us are epitomes of elegance and grace in a medium-size (22-26 inches at the shoulder, typically 60-75 pounds) package with that furry collie collar.

Rave review

  • Affectionate, devoted, loyal family friend
  • Born to run, happy to walk
  • Courageous canine
  • Easy going
  • Even-tempered, good-natured
  • Intelligent and ready to learn
  • Loves kids and vice versa
  • Outdoor enthusiast
  • Perfect protector
  • Ready to romp
  • Sweet disposition

Report card

  • Coat needs maintenance
  • Never aggressive
  • Shy by nature
  • Steadfast and strong
  • Training must be firm but gentle
  • Wary of strangers

What to expect

Just one look into my eyes should tell you I'm the sensitive sort. So my training (begun as early as possible with -- hint, hint, hint -- Puppy Kindergarten) needs to be as gentle as it is firm and consistent. For gosh sake don't shout -- except "Lassie, come home!" if that's my name. When I do come home -- after a joyous run or a healthy walk -- please don't let me become a couch potato, because we collies tend to put on weight. When you're giving that weekly brushing, bury your nose in my abundant fur. No yucky "doggie smell," eh? That's another thing we Collies are known for.

Watch for

Possibility of dental problems, eye disease (including PRA), deafness, skin (mange), heart disorders, and epilepsy.

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