Facts About Rough Coated Collies Dogs

  • 06/04/2013

We are all familiar with Lassie and the iconic Collie breed. This classic breed has been herding for centuries, and now is one of the most popular breeds for family pets.

The rough-coated collie originated in Scotland, Ireland and northern England. Most Collie historians date the Collie's arrival to approximately 2,000 years ago, with the invasion of the Romans into the British Isles. Collies have been officially recognized as a herding breed since the 1700s, although they were not exhibited at dog shows until 1860 in the class "Scotch Sheep-Dogs."

The first Collie in the United States arrived in 1879. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. The Collie Club of America was formed in 1886 and joined the American Kennel Club, gaining official recognition for the Collie in the United States.

The rough coated Collie was bred to guard sheep in the hills of the northern British Isles. In contrast to the smooth coated Collie, which was bred to move sheep to market, the rough coated Collie had to withstand harsh weather. As a result, the thick, long fur and a full undercoat became desirable traits. The long fur also helped protect the dogs from injury if they were attacked by roaming dogs or other predators. The Collie's fur serves as both an insulator against cold winters and hot summers, so a rough coated Collie's coat should never be shaved.

The American Kennel Club recognizes four colors of Collies: sable and white, tri-color, blue merle and white. All four colors are equally valued. Male dogs stand 24 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 60 to 75 pounds. Female dogs are slightly smaller, ranging from 22 to 24 inches tall and weighing 50 to 65 pounds. Rough coated Collies have coarse, long fur and a soft, thick undercoat.

Collies first became popular outside of farms when Queen Victoria became infatuated with the breed in the early 1860s. Her Collies, both Scotch and Border, were her constant companions from the death of Prince Albert in 1861 until her death in 1901.

The most famous rough coated Collie is Lassie. The story of this familiar family dog was first written in England in 1938, and became a television series that ran from 1954 to 1971. All of the dogs that starred in the series were male -- they had thicker coats and were larger, so they had a bigger presence on screen.

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