Origin and brief history:
The collie is a breed of dog specifically bred to work as a herding dog; Originally, the collie comes from the North of England and Scotland and is still used there (as well as most other parts of the world) as a working dog for herding most types of livestock including sheep and cattle. The breed has been around for over a hundred years. Although originally bred for a working role, many collies today are also kept simply as pets as well as for various sports because of their agility, frame, and temperament conducive to an active lifestyle.
Because of the collie’s history as a working dog, collies typically are most at home in a very active lifestyle. They can be extremely energetic and possess great stamina. They are alert, interested dogs and are very responsive to command. In the case of a working dog, it is very unlikely the collie will tire despite a full day’s work. As a herding dog, collies are very aware of their surroundings and the task at hand and are very motivated to complete it. This strong instinct can even go so far as to be obsessive at times. They are very trainable and intelligent, particularly the Border Collie.
Most collies have long, full coats of hair (typically a double coat of straight long hair on top and an undercoat of soft furry hair.) Lassie, the poster child of the collie breed, is a perfect example of a typical collie’s fur. Collies typically take a moderate amount of time for brushing and grooming and require more attention to maintain a healthy coat than shorter haired dogs. Collies are also, because of their long hair and double coat, fairly moderate shedders year-round, sometimes requiring extra brushing in the spring and fall times.
Specification of breed:
The collie is a medium-size dog with a light,agile frame typically weighing from 10 to 25 kilograms (22 to 55 pounds) with the herding varieties being slightly stockier. They range in size from (at the withers) 19 inches to 22 inches for males and from 18 inches to 21 inches for females. They typically have long hair but can also be short and flat depending on the type, with either smooth or bushy tails. Coloration can range from black (usually with patches of white on the chest or belly) to red to sable. The most common colors are black-and-white and sable.
Some collies are affected by a gene defect causing them to be very sensitive to many different types of drugs. Collies should be tested for this genetic condition in the event they need to be administered certain medications. Collies are also vulnerable to another genetic problem, a disease known as canine cyclic neutropenia. It is a stem cell disorder and affected puppies rarely live past six months. It is fairly rare, however, as both breeding partners must be carriers for the disease to be present. Collies are also at risk of several eye conditions (including a genetic fault called Collie Eye Anomaly or CEA which can cause blindness) and, as is typical of many larger breeds of dogs, is vulnerable to hip dysplasia later in life. Overall, however, the collie is a very healthy breed likely to live a long, active life.
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