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Facts About Collies
Collie Facts


Just about everyone associates  the Collie with the classic television show Lassie…they may think that the close bond that the dog had with its family was all just a story, however it is very true that this breed bonds closely with its human family members and is as loyal as any dog can be.

This breed is a medium sized dog that is very graceful, both at rest and in motion.

They originated in England and N. Scotland.

They are in the AKC Herding group, recognized in 1885.

Weight will range from 22 to 80 pounds (10 to 36 kg) with males generally being larger than females.  However AKC standard calls for a weight no more than 75 lbs. (34 kg).

Height for males will range between 22 to 26 inches (55 to 66 cm) from floor to shoulder.

Height for females will range between 21 to 26 inches (51 to 61 cm) from floor to shoulder.

Life span is 15 years on average with a range of 12 to 17 years being common.

Litter size is an average of 6, with a range of 4 to 8 being expected and normal.

There is no such breed as the Miniature Collie.  There is a breed that looks like it could be called that and it is the Shetland Sheep dog, a completely different breed.

Facts About Collie Behavior and Temperament

This is a very friendly breed, they are known for their extremely close bond with humans.

They are loyal and very affectionate.  They are happy and behave best when they receive attention from all members of the household on a regular basis.  They are definitely a people oriented dog.

They tend to become depressed and /or display boredom related behavior when left alone for too long of a time…For this reason is owners must be away for the day it is highly suggested to have a dog walker come to the home for at least an hour for stimulation, interaction and activity.

They are simply wonderful with children of all ages.

They generally get along just fine with other dogs and with cats. In some cases, a slow introduction will be needed.

Many tend to be quiet when indoor and bark quite a bit when outside.

They have a deep herding instinct and for this reason they may try and round up just about anything, from children to other animals and even chase cars in a fruitless attempt to control their destination.  They mean no harm and many find it quite amusing.

Some do not do so well in hot temperatures. This is partly due to the thick fur.  For those who live in areas that receive hot weather, care should be taken to limit the amount of time spent in the heat and to offer cool, fresh water at all times.  Over-exercising must not be done when the thermometer soars. If you are out and about with your Collie and they start to pant and slow down, this means that it is time to head inside or at least take a break in the shade and have a drink.
They are typically very easy to train and most owners find that they can have their puppy housetrained within just weeks.

An interesting Collie fact is that the majority of them display a behavior that is sometimes misinterpreted.  They nibble to show affection and this is not the same behavior as nibbling in regards to nipping, biting or teething.  They will be gentle when they do this and it is a show of friendliness.

It is not uncommon for a Collie to overreact somewhat to loud noises. They are also very perceptive in regard to the weather, most often displaying unusual behavior when a thunder storm or heavy rain is due to hit.

Color and Appearance Collie Facts

One of the Collie facts regarding appearance is that they have one of the most beautiful coats of all breeds.

They have a very full mane and frill.

The coat actually can be found in 2 different varieties: Rough or smooth. It is the rough that most people are familiar with.  A smooth coat may appear to be a Collie that has been shaved or trimmed, however this variety simply has short fur that lays close to the body.

Both types have 2 layers of fur also  known as a double coat. 

Colors are:  Sable (a fawn sable color that varies from pale gold to deep mahogany) and white, Tri - color (most often black, tan and white), blue merle (spotted or marbled bluish grey color with black and white markings) and white (white will be the most predominant color with other colors secondary).

The eyes are dark and almond shaped.  Only with blue merles you may see merle or cream colored eyes.
Ears will stand erect and the top of them will fold over forward.


This is one of the dog breeds that is known for not having that distinct doggie odor.

Never brush the fur when it is dry.  It should be spray-misted with a solution of 50/50 canine conditioner and water or canine leave-in conditioner, spritzing each section as you go along.

The thick double coat requires a full brushing at least 1 time per week, this is to prevent matting (tangles) in the long hairs.
One should first go over the entire coat with a pin brush and then go over the body again with a slicker brush.

If a mat is found, it should be gently worked out by hand and it helps greatly to first coat the hands with conditioner.  This breed tends to mat on the legs and in the armpits…however one may find a knot anywhere on the body while brushing.

The face should be carefully combed with a fine toothed comb.

Ears should be cleaned on a regular basis with a clean cotton swabs.


Yhere is a condition called Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA for short) and this is a genetic disease that is specific to the Collie breed.   If this is to occur, it affects the natural development of the eye lens and can cause blindness in some cases.  A puppy should be checked for this by an experienced, reputable veterinarian when he or she is between 6 and 8 weeks old.

There are other eye issues such as PRA (progressive retinal atrophy) that this breed is more prone to than some other breeds.   Careful breeding eliminates this issue in many cases, particularly with pups who are AKC registered as testing is required before breeding.

There is an issue that only affects young pups that is called canine cyclic neutropenia and is often called Gray Collie Syndrome.   If this is to occur it signs will usually develop during puppyhood and the dog will have a grayish colored coat.  It is usually fatal, however some Collie can live up to 3 years with this condition.

A Collie fact that owners must be aware of is the possible sensitivity to Ivermectin, an ingredient in many heartworm medications….These dogs can have extreme reactions to this and it can be fatal in some cases.  A veterinarian can test the dog to see if he or she would have a triggered affect. If so, other alternatives will be presented.


For good health, this breed should be walked at least 1 time per day for approximately 30 minutes.  Many tend to enjoy relaxing…Just laying down and watching the family, however offering exercise both by taking walks and by playing outside is important.


Rough coated Collies will shed very heavily 2 times per year.  Smooths will shed year round.  During the times of heavy shedding, one will want to use a rake brush ….it is a canine grooming tool that reaches down to the inner coat and is able to pull out large amounts of loose fur.

Females may have a heavy shed after delivery of a litter.


While they do enjoy playing outdoors with other dogs or with their owners, they are an indoor dog…They thrive when they are in the company of their human family members.  If left alone outside for long periods of time behavioral problems often will develop.

It is a Collie fact that they not only are very active and are high energy, but also that they are excellent jumpers. For this reason, fences in yard may not be enough to stand between a Collie and the rest of the neighborhood.   Since they do not like being chained up or tied up, it is suggested to accompany them when it is time to run and play outdoors.

in the News

A collie name Vicious, saved her owner from a cougar. Authorities believe the cougar entered the woman's house in search of food. The owner, a 35 year old woman suffered 3 puncture wounds on her thigh, when the Collie chased the wild animal out of the house and up a hill.  The Collie did not suffer any injuries.

A Border Collie named Sammy saved his owners life after a car accident. After crashing his truck into 2 parked cars, the owner stumbled into the woods, with his Collie close by. Once police came onto the scene, they were unable to locate the injured man, however Sammy ran out of the woods and led the police to his owner. 

For 6 months in Brampton, Cumbria (UK), tires were being slashed on cars.  People in the neighborhood were so frustrated that they set up cameras. Finally, the culprit was spotted in the act... and his owner was not too happy. A Border Collie named Jess had been ripping car tires. While it is unknown why the dog did such a thing (over 10 cars were vandalized), it is known that it happened while the dog was allowed to be "off leash" on walks. His owners, an elderly couple in their 70's reimbursed the owners of the damaged cars.

A Pug named Daisy had been lost since her owner had been in a car accident and the scared dog ran away. Several days later, a Collie relentlessly barked at a wooded area until his owner finally trekked through the snow to see what the Collie was barking at. Low and behold, it was the lost dog, that had almost succumbed to Wyoming's freezing weather. Daisy was saved and fully recovered.

A Collie named Max is credited with alerting his owner that she had breast cancer. The normally playful and energetic dog had been behaving sullen and repeatedly nudged at his owner's right breast. Finally, the woman gave herself a breast exam and noticed a lump that turned out to be cancerous. The owner is now in remission and the Collie is back to acting happy.



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