When I was a little girl, the famous collie Lassie, was on TV and of course that made collies very popular. There wasn’t a family in America that didn’t know who Lassie and Timmy were! But now, times have changed; so ask yourself, “when was the last time I saw a rough coated collie?” You may actually own one, or live close to someone that does, so it may be a common sighting for you, but I will dare to say that the majority of people haven’t seen one for a very long time.
Five years ago on July 14, 2011 our sheltie, Mattie, had to be put to sleep because she had lymphoma. It broke our hearts to see her in pain, she had no quality of life and the decision was made. It was the first time that either myself or my husband, Paul, had been with a dog as it quietly breathed it’s last breath. It was heartbreaking!
I knew in only a few weeks that I wanted another dog in my life, but I wanted to put some research into the right kind of dog breed for us. One day while looking at dog breeds on the Animal Planet site on the internet I saw they had a test you could take to determine the right dog breed for you. I took the test and the #1 breed for me was a collie, per the test. I told Paul I had taken the test and asked him to take it, with no influence from me. I told him nothing about how I answered the questions or my results and I didn’t even go in the room with him as he took the test. His results, #1 breed for him… collie! It was a sign!
A long story short, I did lots of research on the rough collie breed and spoke to an expert in the field. We found a breeder we felt good about in Pennsylvania, scheduled an appointment and made an overnight trip to pick our puppy. And that’s how we got our Gunnar!
About the rough (long haired) collie breed…
Collies are intelligent, loyal, friendly, playful, loving and sensitive. And for these reasons and more they are the perfect dog for us!
- Collies are beautiful! At least I think so, I love the long flowing coat and intelligent face. My son’s nickname for Gunnar is “Squints” because collies have smaller eyes than some breeds!
- Collies are intelligent and easy to train. They enjoy working with people and want to please.
- Collies are one of the easiest breeds to housebreak. Very important to me!
- They are very clean dogs and normally do not have a doggie odor as some dogs do.
- Collies are very family friendly and are known for wanting to be a consistent part of the family. They would not do well being left in the backyard all the time and should never be chained up.
- They are excellent watchdogs, but not aggressive. Gunnar lets us know if anything is out of order in his backyard. He will stand at attention barking at it until we acknowledge it. He keeps looking back at the house to see if we are looking!
- Even though they love to play and should have a daily walk, they make great couch potatoes. Which works well for my husband and I!
- Collies are known for their natural love of children. Even if they aren’t raised with them they are usually playful and protective of most well behaved kids. This was an important attribute for us because we have young grandchildren.
But rough collies aren’t for everyone…
- They are a large dog with a lot of hair and they shed. They don’t require daily brushing, but should have a thorough brushing once a week.
- They are a sensitive dog and do not react well if treated roughly or yelled at.
- They are a herding dog and therefore will sometimes try to herd kids and nip at heels. Gunnar has never nipped at heels, but he does do another little nippy thing, which is generally a herding dog trait. I say “nippy”, but it’s something he does in play that is completely painless.
- They need to be included as a part of the family.
Do your research…
We often make the mistake of getting a dog without doing any research of what the dog breed is actually like or what they were originally bred to do. Then we’re unhappy with the dog, at no fault of the dog. Once you’ve done your research on the breed, it’s very important to find a reputable breeder. There are rescue organizations for most dog breeds so that’s always an option too.
I am a big believer in adopting dogs from local animal shelters and I do advocate for that. I also know that mixed breeds often make the best dogs.
Wherever we take Gunnar, we’re stopped with comments of “beautiful dog” and requests to pet him, which he loves.
And from people old enough to remember Lassie we frequently hear, “Lassie, did Timmy fall in the well?” It’s from these kind people that we also frequently hear, “I had a collie when I was growing up”. Aw, the baby boomer generation!
Something else that was a bit unique, coincidence I know, but still thought provoking. Mattie passed away on July 14, 2011 and Gunnar was born on July 14, 2011!
Thank you for reading about our four legged companion today. I hope you gained a little more insight into the character of collies!
P.S. Did you notice that Gunnar’s ears don’t tip? It is the breed standard and to be a show dog they have to tip, but did you know that the majority of collie’s ears do not tip on their own? They are helped to tip by various methods. Gunnar’s couldn’t decide what to do when he was a puppy. They tipped some and then stood up, tipped a little again and then stood up. Since we weren’t planning on showing Gunnar, we allowed his to do as they chose. I actually prefer the look of the erect ear.
Feb. 2018 – Gunnar loves to go everywhere with us and recently went along on a trip to Oak Island, North Carolina. Read more here.
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