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CollieWhen 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!


Gunnar with two of our grandchildren.

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!

  1. 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!
  2. Collies are intelligent and easy to train.  They enjoy working with people and want to please.
  3. Collies are one of the easiest breeds to housebreak.  Very important to me!
  4. They are very clean dogs and normally do not have a doggie odor as some dogs do.
  5. 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.
  6. 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!
  7. 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!
  8. 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.

Helping the grandkids out at the birdfeeder.


Patience with children.

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.

Gunnar doesn’t like riding in the back of the SUV, so on this particular day he decided to climb over the seat and sit in a car seat! Needless to say, we usually take the truck when he’s going.


Happy the “pack leader” is home!

Rough coated collies... beautiful, intelligent, loyal, friendly, and loving. #NationalDogDay #collie Click To Tweet

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.


Taking it easy amidst all the side walk chalking going on.

Our Gunnar…

Wherever we take Gunnar, we’re stopped with comments of “beautiful dog” and requests to pet him, which he loves.


Patience with puppies.

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.

Gunnar updates:

Feb. 2018 – Gunnar loves to go everywhere with us and recently went along on a trip to Oak Island, North Carolina. Read more here.

This post will be shared on the lovely link parties and blog hops found on my “Where I Party” page.  Check them out to find lots of good things.

Grammy August 27, 2016, 11:56 am

We had a collie when I was a child. He was the sweetest dog ever and so protective over us kids.

Teresa August 27, 2016, 6:48 pm

I love the fact that they are protective of children; I’ve read stories of times collies have saved children’s lives. Gunnar is very sweet, we really enjoy him. Thank you for stopping by!

Vernay Dabney June 27, 2022, 4:42 pm

I finally have my own Lassie, and that’s what I named her. Her full name is Lassie Kenly Marie Dabney, and she’s 4 years young. I grew up watching Lassie on TV, too, and dreamed of having my own. Now, I do.

Kris August 30, 2016, 4:17 pm

The picture in the car is so beautiful!

Teresa August 30, 2016, 10:13 pm

Thank you! He looked like he thought he belonged there didn’t he!

Melissa Ruddy August 30, 2016, 8:05 pm

Oh I would so love a Collie. They are beautiful, intelligent and sweet natured but the hair.. I know at this season of my life I can’t do the hair but would love to have one in the future for all the reasons you mentioned. Love the pictures.

Teresa August 30, 2016, 10:16 pm

I truly hope that you get to have a collie one day. They are a pleasure, but yes, you have to deal with that beautiful long coat!

Lucie August 31, 2016, 11:06 pm

Teresa, I love this post…looking at the pictures makes me want to cry! The first dog that I ever loved was a collie and I have never forgotten her. Collies are the sweetest, gentlest dogs… all the children in the neighborhood loved and respected our collie and are probably better adults today partly because of this! In my opinion, there are not many things better than the love of a dog. Thanks for sharing.

Teresa September 3, 2016, 12:50 pm

Thank you Lucie for your kind words. Gunnar has been my best dog ever; very special and sweet. I hope you are able to get another collie one day. Thank you for reading and commenting.

Adrian G September 10, 2016, 10:23 pm

I’ve always thought that collies were such beautiful dogs and they seem calm and intelligent, both great traits for dogs. We’ve had St. Bernards for the last couple of decades for many of the same reasons – intelligent, friendly, easy to train, etc. But I would like to downsize a bit. Maybe not a collie, but a sheltie would be a nice change.

Teresa September 11, 2016, 9:10 am

Gunnar gets lots of attention everywhere we go because he’s so handsome, but I love the calmness! Of course he’s 5 years old now, he was more rambunctious as a puppy. Good luck in your search for the right dog. Thank you for reading and commenting!

Hans Aberg March 21, 2017, 6:28 am

Teresa, I loved the post. I never thought about this concept earlier. I have Jack Russell Terrier, he is so intelligent and fun loving dog. Next time, when I’ll make my mind to get another dog. I will surely get Collie.

He is looking so cute.

Teresa March 21, 2017, 8:50 pm

Thank you Hans. I think you would enjoy a collie very much, just be prepared for lots of hair!

Becky September 4, 2017, 8:06 pm

When I was a baby 60+ years ago, my father said that every girl needs a dog and brought home a collie puppy. Her name was Lady; my first word was not mama or dada but “Yady.” I had a few more collies growing up and introduced the breed to my husband who would now never consider another breed. Over our 43 years of marriage, we have had 8 collies, always 2 at a time. We raised our 4 children and now grandchildren with collies. Everything you have said is so right on. Among the traits I so appreciate is their sensitivity and INTUITIVENESS. How they pick up on moods and feelings is just beyond me. They are so eager to please and just want to be with you. Sometimes it drives me crazy. If I don’t shut the bathroom door tight, Derby will get it open and then sit on my feet while I’m sitting in the throne! And you cannot raise your voice – I guess that’s why they are so easy to train. I could go on and on. They are just amazing dogs.

Teresa September 5, 2017, 6:03 am

Hi Becky, Thank you for your comments! Collies are truly amazing. I am so glad we have Gunnar, he is easily the best dog I’ve ever had. He is underfoot a lot because everywhere I go he follows and lays down. I like that name, “Derby”. I can just imagine him at your feet while on the throne! I would hate to see a collie in the hands of someone that did not appreciate their sensitivity; that could be devastating for the dog. Are your collie’s sables like Gunnar or one of the other colors? Teresa

PMP-F December 2, 2017, 9:07 am

Thank you for this after having all sorts of breeds my husband and I decided on two rough coat pups.. which we bring home soon, this was a great blog article and very helpful to me! I hope our Surya and Merlin bring us as much joy as Gunner has brought to you and your family.

Teresa December 3, 2017, 11:11 pm

I’m glad the article was helpful to you and I hope you truly enjoy your new puppies! Thanks for stopping by!

Murray December 21, 2017, 6:18 pm

I have had a rough collie in my life for over 60 years. Our four kids were raised with them. Three years ago when our big tricolour passed away at almost 13 we made the decision to rescue. We found a senior male sable on the collie rescue network who had had a very sad life. After being approved we welcomed this sad boy into our home. He had been a chained dog and was not housebroken. He was underweight and his anxiety levels were skyward. After six months of dedicated work, good food, and lots of love, he proved that a collie’s spirit could not be broken forever. He is just a sweet loving family member.

Teresa December 21, 2017, 10:13 pm

I am so glad to hear that your rescued collie went from such a sad life to a very loving home! It just breaks my heart to see any dog chained up, especially one with the sweet, loving temperament of a collie. They just want to be one of the family. Thank you for sharing your story!

Dana April 24, 2019, 9:57 pm

I too have a collie! Reggie is turned two in November. He was a great help when we had to watch as one of my smaller dogs had to be put down because of illness. He is a rough collie as well. I always thought it would be great to have a collie now I have one.

Teresa August 7, 2019, 8:30 am

Thank you for stopping by and reading about our Gunnar. I am happy to connect with another collie owner, they are such terrific dogs! I am sorry about the loss of your smaller dog. We have been in that place and it is very difficult.

Rhonda September 21, 2019, 10:23 pm

For those that would like to have a Collie but not all the hair… there’s the smooth version. They have all the same wonderful qualities of the rough without all the coat. I love and show both. The smooth collie is becoming very popular in the northeast.

Teresa October 5, 2019, 4:13 pm

That is great to hear! I have wondered if the personality of the smooth is basically the same as the rough. Our Gunnar is such a precious dog!

Nicholas Burrows September 30, 2019, 8:40 am

Collies are a “Cut above the Rest !”………Golden Retrievers are a close second ,but Collies are special . So loving ,kind and loyal.All they want is to hang out with their Family. Majestically beautiful especially when it is windy, I am often Stopped to hear ,”What a beautiful Dog!” by on lookers.They love going for rides and long walks, our Baylee is training to be a therapy dog for Kids with Cancer..she has the perfect Temperament……Nick Burrows Sept 30 , 2019

Sue November 8, 2019, 1:53 am

Beautiful collie you have!! I currently have a tri colour collie, she’s so sweet! Before her, I had two sable and white collies as well. One look at them and I fell in love! Just like you, we did a lot of reading and researching before getting a rough collie. Best choice I made!

Brent December 25, 2019, 11:43 am

We were looking for our first family dog. We wanted a fluffy dog that was good with kids, other pets (we have 2 cats) and something medium sized or larger. We took similar tests and were suggested a collie. We tried the shelters and rescues but ultimately found a nice tri-colored female from a breeder 6 hours away.
She is everything you say. We gets lots of “Beautiful dog” and “Wow she is so friendly”. Definitely wants to be part of the family. Super smart (sometimes in a naughty way). Love her!

Linda February 8, 2020, 7:33 am

Thank you for your article. We live in PA and we are looking for a collie puppy. We lost our collie/golden retriever rescue to cancer in the fall and our dog before her was a rough collie. This is the longest let we have been without a dog and I really miss coming home and not receiving that wonderful furry “welcome home” greeting! Where did you find Gunner? (We have an appointment with Brookwood collies in 3 weeks). Thanks!

Bobbie June 1, 2020, 4:15 pm

I have had a collie since I was old enough to have my own, I am now almost 80 years. My Beautiful girl Summer is 10 plus years and in good health, but I know she will be my last one because I can no longer care for her as well as I would like to. Biggest problem is I can’t lift her when she gets sick and Needs to go to the vet. It is going to break my ❤️ to not have another collie in my life. Collies have been a life long love affair for me , all you say about them is true. Loving sensitive smart can even spell (Walk, bye bye, car, goodies and the list goers on) etc.. Love your article about Gunner, enjoy many others as life will permit. Once a collie owner always a collie owner. 🙏 thank you and God bless

Faye June 27, 2020, 7:44 am

My husband and I had a rough collie. He was so majestic,smart, sweet and the best dog I’ve ever had. He enjoyed a walk around our small Indiana town ever day. The whole town loved him. People would tell out of their car windows “beautiful dog”.


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