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Discussion Starter #1
Everybody seems to know Lassie. That loyal and diligent dog always at the ready to rescue. But what is it like to own a Collie for real? This should be a great thread for discussion about life with these herding dogs.


Generally, it needs to be kept in mind that Collies are a herding breed. They were designed to watch over flocks and alert the shepherd to trouble--they have that alert bark for a reason and feel that their owners need to know if something in the environment has changed. This is instinctual and can make for a very vocal companion that lets you know when a leaf blows by outside. Breeding has also selected a drive to group things together, these livestock can include other pets and people especially small children.

So what does this mean? It means you have a breed in your house that wants a job or the Collie will likely create one. As with every breed the energy level and interest in these natural activities will vary. It will also vary by age. The key to these dogs is remembering that they were breed to work with their handlers making split second choices out in the field. They are not meant to be left outside--they are meant to be with the family. They are exceptional at reading cues and motion and are awesome problem solvers. They are generally soft, and require a motivational approach to keep them from shutting down. Trust can be easily broken with these dogs, and once offended it can take a long time to repair the damage to a bond. That is NOT to say there should not be rules! Just that they need to be fair and clear, inconsistency with this breed in particular can lead to the Collie become nervous or timid. Clear rules help them to be confidant and place trust in their owner to guide them through the world. (Generally speaking this is true of every breed anyway). Utilize their brains early and often, play brain games to keep them mentally exercised and your dog will snuggle up without a care in the world. Unless you own a pasture with sheep there is not much of a chance you can physically wear out a Collie with exercise! But the mental games effects last longer.

Socialization is highly important for this potential barker. The more the dog is positively exposed to the more they recognize as 'not strange'. This will make them less prone to barking fits. It is wise to teach a 'quiet' command early! This way your dog can still 'fulfill' the role of alerting you, but you can let them know when it is enough!

Young Collies with high chase drive should NEVER be let off-leash near traffic! EVER! Until you have a solid recall on a long line be extra special careful around cars, and even after you have a solid recall. It only takes one accident to cross the rainbow bridge. Young high drive dogs have not developed the ability to control their impulses, it is unfair to expect them to be able to.



Often a Collie in a fenced in yard will do perimeter checks and bark at anything that goes past. Again, this is instinct acting. Think if that stroller being pushed down the street was a wolf... the Collie just wants you to be aware something is coming! Again this is where socializing helps, the more the Collie sees as typical and normal the less reactions will occur when something walks by.

A Collie's herding drive can be focused into a number of sports. Herding is a great thing for them to do, and they can title in what they were breed for. They also can make excellent Agility dogs if you train their focus to follow and chase directly on you. Since they are bred to follow motion this works in your favor. Sports such as these work the dog's brain and give them something to do, taking those natural skills and focusing them on something you want them to be doing.

Behavior wise they can be a little high maintainance, but knowing what you have helps in being able to fulfill their needs. Compared to my two Border Collie, my two Collies are laid back. :thumbsup:
 

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I've always loved Collies but they don't seem particularly common in my area so I've never had a chance to work with one personally. I think I'd like to have a smooth collie someday.
 

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Like Cali, collies/herding breeds in general aren't common around here so I was so excited when I got to meet my very first rough collie a few weeks ago! He was an older dog and was just soo sweet! He was off leash and as they were leaving he stopped and looked back, I wanted to shout "yess, come home with mee!" :p
 
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I know a lot of herding breeds and 3 of my 4 are herders, I am always amazed at how calm collies seem in comparison to aussies and BCs
 

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We had 2...Lassie and Callie (we are original!)

Lassie was a great dog and would not allow my mother to enter the home until everyroom and under beds was checked. My mother was his favorite person. Or hers...I don't remember! One time Lassie got sick and we thought she was missing. It turned out she was ill and had crawled under my mother's spot on the mattress, despite being an outside dog who theoretically shouldn't know where my mom slept.

The second dog had a brain tumor and while a puppy we found this out. The breeder offered a replacement but my mother refused. I think it was too hard on her and she never seemed to want another dog after that. She loved Lassie so much and I guess she felt when the puppy died she could not recapture that.
 

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Love the photos and information,your descriptor of nature etc.is sooo Jesse!He was great yesterday with very little patrolling.A lot of people think he is timid but I think this will improve with age and experiences.Thank you for the thread it is great to talk to other collie lovers.Take care all.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
LOL! Yes indeed, my two Collies might add up to the craziness of one of my two Border Collies... but that would not be very often. There is of course a difference once in the breeding. Borders were bred to more or less handle the herds solo without a shepherd controlling them. So the Borders have a lot of individual spirit and needed to have drive on their own. Collies usually assisted with the livestock droving them through roads and such when not watching the flock on the hillsides. Kinda explains the OCD of the Borders. My two are fortunately a little lower drivey, which I LIKE!

We do have races around the house every now and again... tag is amusing to watch. What Ion lacks in speed he makes up for with some incredible manuverability.

However, they must all obey mother!
 
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I love collies, but couldn't take the hair. I like wash and wear breeds!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I love collies, but couldn't take the hair. I like wash and wear breeds!
That amuses me... cause I think of mine as wash and wear since all they require is a brush out with no hair trimming involved. :D I prefer the long coats to the shorter--easier clean up as the fur gathers in corners rather than sticks to things.
 

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LOL! Yes indeed, my two Collies might add up to the craziness of one of my two Border Collies... but that would not be very often. There is of course a difference once in the breeding. Borders were bred to more or less handle the herds solo without a shepherd controlling them. So the Borders have a lot of individual spirit and needed to have drive on their own. Collies usually assisted with the livestock droving them through roads and such when not watching the flock on the hillsides. Kinda explains the OCD of the Borders. My two are fortunately a little lower drivey, which I LIKE!

We do have races around the house every now and again... tag is amusing to watch. What Ion lacks in speed he makes up for with some incredible manuverability.

However, they must all obey mother!
Beautiful pic!!
 

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That amuses me... cause I think of mine as wash and wear since all they require is a brush out with no hair trimming involved. :D I prefer the long coats to the shorter--easier clean up as the fur gathers in corners rather than sticks to things.
I love the look of the rough collies.. how is their hair to deal with? I'm not talking shedding, I mean more of how much maintenance/brushing do you have to do? All of my dogs have very non-typical coats for their breeds except the Chinese Crested. He is a holy terror to groom, mats if you look at him funny. The others don't mat at all. I have always thought if I got a collie I would go with a Smooth just so I didn't have to brush so much.
 

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Rough collies are gorgeous, but I'm not sure they'd be drivey enough for me! My border is nuts and I LOVE that about him. I love how energetic he is and the way he thinks on his own.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I love the look of the rough collies.. how is their hair to deal with? I'm not talking shedding, I mean more of how much maintenance/brushing do you have to do? All of my dogs have very non-typical coats for their breeds except the Chinese Crested. He is a holy terror to groom, mats if you look at him funny. The others don't mat at all. I have always thought if I got a collie I would go with a Smooth just so I didn't have to brush so much.
If you keep up with up with the proper tools which include a non-headed pin brush and a fine toothed comb, it's not too bad. Once a week I lay them on out in front of the TV and give them a thorough comb/brushout. Depending on how active they have been it varies in time, and when they blowout it takes longer. But it doesn't take that much longer than the Border boys do. Smoothies still have the double coat, and still shed as much as the roughies do. They can mat during a blowout as well. I have a friend who has a smooth and a rough. ;) She prefers the rough coat for maintaining.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Rough collies are gorgeous, but I'm not sure they'd be drivey enough for me! My border is nuts and I LOVE that about him. I love how energetic he is and the way he thinks on his own.
The drive is indeed different between the breeds. However, you can foster a little border-like behavior... Ion has taken on some Border-like qualities just be hanging out. I have to say that Ion also is a thinker! (Yes, that is something I was SURE to bring out in him at an early age by engaging his brain.) Parker, his grandpa, isn't terribly interested in anything that requires problem solving. But he is a low drive coach potato. ;)
 

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The drive is indeed different between the breeds. However, you can foster a little border-like behavior... Ion has taken on some Border-like qualities just be hanging out. I have to say that Ion also is a thinker! (Yes, that is something I was SURE to bring out in him at an early age by engaging his brain.) Parker, his grandpa, isn't terribly interested in anything that requires problem solving. But he is a low drive coach potato. ;)
Are there very many working/sport line rough collies? I'd probably have to meet some to decide for sure. From the vids I've seen of Ion, he does seem to be quite an active, alert fellow. I always wanted a BC and so far, he is everything I could want in a dog aside from being a little wussy lol. But he trusts me, so it's never been a real issue. When he's working, he doesn't have a care in the world, he's all focus and drive.
 

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Since I've been looking into a BC in the future (possibly, need to research the breed more as a whole), I'm glad to see this thread. I'll stick around just to glean some knowledge from the Collie owners here. ;)

I do have a small question -- how are your guys' BCs with other dogs? Not so much whether they're aggressive or not, but do they like to play with other dogs or rather focus on your/an object? I've met several herding dogs (mostly Aussies and ACDs which are very popular here) and lots of them seem to completely ignore other dogs and either focus solely on the owner or, in a lot of cases, on the ball. There was a Mini Aussie and a Mini Aussie/BC cross at the dog park earlier, and both were hyper-focused on the ball. I'm just wondering how your dogs are. :)
 

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Since I've been looking into a BC in the future (possibly, need to research the breed more as a whole), I'm glad to see this thread. I'll stick around just to glean some knowledge from the Collie owners here. ;)

I do have a small question -- how are your guys' BCs with other dogs? Not so much whether they're aggressive or not, but do they like to play with other dogs or rather focus on your/an object? I've met several herding dogs (mostly Aussies and ACDs which are very popular here) and lots of them seem to completely ignore other dogs and either focus solely on the owner or, in a lot of cases, on the ball. There was a Mini Aussie and a Mini Aussie/BC cross at the dog park earlier, and both were hyper-focused on the ball. I'm just wondering how your dogs are. :)
Mine mostly pretend other dogs dont exist. If they decide they exist its usually for the purpose of bossing the other dog around.
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Discussion Starter #18
Yup Tiggerbounce, Ion is rather athletic. I do not see a huge number of full collies in my area running agility, but they are out there. Most do not run silent like Ion does, most bark for the majority of their run. I don't pay a lot of attention to other team times as I am really only focused on my own runs and goals, however Ion does seem to have an edge when it comes to speed. That might be perspective, though. Adrenaline has a lot of effect on how we perceive things. ;)

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I do have a small question -- how are your guys' BCs with other dogs? Not so much whether they're aggressive or not, but do they like to play with other dogs or rather focus on your/an object? I've met several herding dogs (mostly Aussies and ACDs which are very popular here) and lots of them seem to completely ignore other dogs and either focus solely on the owner or, in a lot of cases, on the ball. There was a Mini Aussie and a Mini Aussie/BC cross at the dog park earlier, and both were hyper-focused on the ball. I'm just wondering how your dogs are. :)
Mine get along alright with other dogs outside the household. Ashenpaw has a controlling streak in him and runs himself beyond exhaustion trying to keep the other dogs in his version of inline. All the while he maintains the ability to respond to me. Presto is still young and extremely impulsive, but he does like to roughhouse and play with other dogs. Both LOVE tennis balls! and yes, when one is present that seems to be all they have eyes for! :D That is a part of these kinds of dogs, and it is also why they make excellent athletes once you channel that focus. I have had all four of my boys out in a group of active dogs and there were some rounds of good play. It is absolutely situational.
 

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