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Collie Colors Explained

Collie Colors Explained

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The Collie has been a herding dog for centuries in both England and Scotland. He was used as a droving dog to help guide the sheep and cows to market. During the 1860s, he became more popular because Queen Victoria paid a visit to the Scottish Highlands and quickly fell in love with the Collie.

Known for its long, slender and wedge shaped face that resembles the face of a sheep, Collie is a superstar dog. The distinctive Collie colors and a thick, long fur coat makes it a unique dog.

Collie is known for its intelligence, trainability and companionship. It is a loyal family dog that takes pride in being the guardian and protector of the members of its human family.

This article is all about this outstanding dog breed and it’s colors, traits and characteristics.

History and Origin of Collie

Collie is native to Scotland where it is commonly found in Scottish highland regions. It is thought that the name of this dog ‘collie’ comes from ‘colley’ – the name of the sheep it used to guard. Others think that ‘collie’ might have originated from ‘col’ or ‘coll’ which means black in Anglo Saxon.

There may be disagreement as to how the name of this cute dog originated. There is no disagreement, however, about the fact that it was used to herd the sheep in Scottish highlands and Southern England.

There are two traditions as to how the ancestors of modern day Collie arrived in British Isles. Some dog historians believe that it was Stone age nomads who brought them to the British Isles. Yet others believe that the Collie ancestors were brought to the British Isles by Roman conquerors.

It is Queen Victoria who is credited with introducing Collie to the world. On one of her Scottish retreats to her estate in Balmoral, the Queen caught the glimpse of this lively farm dog and fell instantaneously in love with him. The Royal favor brought Collie into the limelight and it was not long after it was owned by the courtiers, aristocracy and the British gentry.

The first Collie arrived in the United States in 1879. It was recognized as a breed by American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885 and since then it has become a trusted family dog.

The Most Famous Collie Dog

The most famous Collie dog of all time is a fictional dog called Lassie. Lassie was a Rough Collie dog who featured in a TV series. Lassie was played by a dog called Pal in the movie. Pal was also the sire of many Collie dog’s who later portrayed the fictional dog Lassie.

Lassie propelled the breed into the spotlight and many decades later people still know what dog breed you are talking about if you mention a “Lassie dog”.  As a child I adored the TV series and dreamed of one day owning my own Lassie dog.

Collie Colors Explained
Collie Colors Explained

Collie Colors

Collie colors are many. The dog is found in many colors. The most common Collie colors are blue, sable and merle and they have many variations. American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes ten different Collie colors.

This section deals with Collie colors and everything about them.

Collie Color Chart

American Kennel Club recognizes ten different standard Collie colors. The details of which are described below in the table.

Collie Color

Registration Code

Blue White and Tan 34
Blue Merle 50
Blue Merle and White 51
Blue Merle White and Tan 52
Sable 164
Sable and White 165
Sable Merle 166
White 199
Sable Merle and White 277
White Merle 311

Rough Collie Colors

There are two different types of coats that are found in Collies.

  • Rough Collie
  • Smooth Collie

Rough Collie is the long haired Collie with a double coat. It has abundant hair on the outer coat which is harsh to touch. The under coat is soft and so thick that it is unable to see the skin through it. The other is the short haired Collie known as smooth Collie. It has a short, thick and dense outer coat and an equally thick under coat.

Rough Collie Black

Rough Collie Black has a double coat that is black in color. Generally, rough Collie black is never black throughout. It is basically a tricolor. A tricolor is predominantly black with white markings and tan shadings.

Sable Merle Rough Collie

Sable Merle Rough Collie is a double coat dog that has a mixing of sable and merle at the same time. Sable is a shade of brown whereas merle gives shades of black and blue. Sable merle rough Collie is a unique Collie color and loved by dog owners.

Traits and Characteristics of Collies

He’s a big, active dog but is also graceful and elegant. He seems to float when he runs. He’s very affectionate and loyal and responds well to people.

He especially loves children. Lassie is the most famous Collie. His colors can be tri-colour, white and sable or white and merle.

He does need to be walked every day but he also loves sleeping. He only needs brushing once a week except in shedding season. He’s clean and generally doesn’t have a “dog smell.” He’s 22 – 26 inches high.

AKC Size Specification

The height of male Collie is slightly more than a female Collie. A male dog reaches up to 24-26 inches while a female Collie is 22-24 inches high.

Also, the weight of a male dog is more than that of a female dog. A male Collie can weigh somewhere from 60 to 75 pounds. A female dog weighs 50-65 pounds on an average. The average life expectancy of a Collie is between 12-14 years.

  Male Female
Height 24-26 inches 22-24 inches
Weight 60-75 pounds 50-65 pounds
Life Expectancy 12-14 years
Collie Dogs
Collie Dogs

Adaptability of a Collie Dog

●       Collie is well suited for apartment life

Collies are loyal and friendly. Owing to their small size, they are well suited for living inside an apartment. It can be difficult for dogs to live comfortably in a high rise apartment but it is not the case with Collie.

Dogs are full of energy and there is not much space in an apartment. Hence, due to their high energy, they do crazy stuff and might break things. However, the energy level of a Collie is not out of control.

It is playful but knows its limits well. It is usually quiet and remains calm in an indoor apartment setting. These traits make the Collie a perfect dog for the apartment living.

●       Perfect for novice dog owners

Collie is a low maintenance dog. It is intelligent and understands the needs and requirements of its human owner. Because of this, even a novice owner who has no prior experience of owning a dog, can pet a Collie.

Collie belongs to those dog breeds that are easier to keep. They are better at training and easy at handling. Once commanded, they would never defy.

Even if there is a change in their routine, they respond fairly well to the change and adapt it. Also, they are never stubborn.

These are the desirable traits that make owning a dog a delightful experience. The easy going nature of Collies make them suitable for novice owners.

●       Tolerance to hot and cold weather

Collie has a thick double coat that protects it from the colds. It is native to Scottish highlands and there occurs extreme colds.

The double coat protects it from the winter winds. It means that it can stay well outside in the cold.

However, the double coat that protects it from the cold, traps the heat inside in summers. Dogs with double coats get hot easily even in a mild heat.

Hence their resistance to withstand summer heat is low. They should be kept indoors in summers to avoid catching heat stroke.

●       Tolerance to being alone

Collies may be good on many counts but they don’t like to be alone. Their tolerance to being alone is minimum. They need company all the time and they don’t respond well to being alone.

Lack of tolerance to being alone makes them somewhat difficult to handle. It is because they are inclined to bark and misbehave when left alone. Because of this, it is advised that they may not be left alone for longer periods of time.

Collie Behavior

●       Behavior with humans

Collies are affectionate, kind and friendly to the members of its human family. They like to be in a family and enjoy being with humans. This is the sole reason why they don’t like to be left alone even for some time.

Some dog breeds are aloof and independent. They would recline all day in their bed and wouldn’t want to come out.

Collies are not one of them. They have energy and they like to display it by being close to their family.

●       Behavior with Children

Collie loves kids and it is loved by kids. It has a thick fur coat and it is a joy to cuddle with this dog. It takes care of the children and protects them from any harm. However, it is generally advised that the dog-children play time should always be supervised by an adult.

●       Behavior towards strangers

Collie is also kind to strangers. It is a gentle dog and behaves well with the strangers that often visit its owner’s home. It is not suspicious of strangers in general.

However, Collie has an instinct that alerts it of any dangers. It reacts if it senses any danger and protects the members of its human family from harm.

●       Behavior with other dogs

Collie tolerates the presence of other dogs around him. It is one of those dogs that does not fiercely react whenever a dog enters its territory. They are neutral to other dogs.

If the dog is groomed from the beginning to tolerate other dogs, it feels no danger in the presence of other dogs.

Grooming Requirements of a Collie

Collies have a double coat and they shed a lot of hair. It is another disadvantage if you are planning to own a Collie. The rough Collie has long hair and the shedding is very difficult to clean from the carpet and couch.

However, Collie comes clean when you consider its drooling levels. It is a dog that has a minimum to no drooling level.

Drooling makes it difficult to own a dog in an indoor environment. You always have to carry a towel around your dog for cleaning. But it is not the case with Collie.

Grooming a Collie is relatively easy. It is an intelligent dog that has a lot of potential to learn and understand commands.

Moreover, it is not a stubborn dog which makes it easy to groom this dog. Grooming requires brushing the coat to keep it clean and healthy.

Regular bathing is also essential to keep the dirt and mud out of the coat. A healthy coat and skin would prevent many dog diseases.

Health Requirements of a Collie

Collie is generally a healthy dog. However, it is vulnerable to certain dog ailments. It must be given special attention to avoid catching a disease.

This breed is vulnerable to skin infections, nasal ailments, eye diseases and immunity problems. The details of these ailments are described below.

●       Skin disorder

Collie can develop a skin disorder. The skin disease can cause itching, pain and swelling. An autoimmune skin disease that is common to Collies is Dermatomyositis. This disease not only infects the skin but also hurts muscles and deteriorates joints.

Other than that, if the dog coat is not kept clean, it can lead to multiple parasitic, bacterial and viral infections because of the fleas, ticks and burrs that stick to the skin and cause illness.

●      Nasal Conditions

Collies can develop nasal conditions in which the nasal cavity gets sensitive. The skin of the nose starts peeling off. The nose gets extra sensitive and nasal secretions flow out of the nose. In severe cases, it can even lead to cancers.

This condition is mostly caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. Protecting the nose from direct sunlight can help alleviate this condition.

●      Eye Diseases

An inherited eye disease in Collies can make them blind. It is commonly known as Collie Eye Anomaly. Changes and abnormalities occur in the eyes.

The changes include thinning of the outer layer of the eye and abnormalities in the inner layers. Unfortunately, there is no cure of this eye disease.

●      Gradual deterioration of Retina

Another eye infection that is common to Collies is the gradual deterioration of the sensitive layer retina. Retina is the layer of the eye that is crucial to your dog’s sense of sight. A gradual deterioration means compromised eye performance. It is an old age disease common to Collies.

●      Food Allergy

Food allergies are quite common in Collies. There are certain foods that Collies are sensitive to. Consumption of such foods leads to food poisoning. If treated immediately, the health condition gets better. If left untreated, it can lead to bigger digestive concerns.

●      Contact Allergies

Collies are also sensitive to certain contact allergies. These allergies are caused by a reaction to any particular substance. It may be caused by dog grooming products such as shampoos and dog lotions or other chemicals. Sometimes, dog bedding is infected and causes contact allergies in your dog. Contact allergies cause discomfort and skin diseases.

Conclusion

Collie is a Scottish dog that is known for its looks and beauty. The long and thick outer coat makes this dog look beautiful.

It goes to the credit of Queen Victoria who introduced this dog to the world. Before the royal favors, it used to be a farm dog capable of herding farm animals.

Collie colors are beautiful and light. Sable, merle and black are the colors that occur in combination on the dog coat. There are ten Collie colors that are recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Collie is a loyal, friendly and trusted companion of humans that stays around and protects the members of its human family. It is a much loved dog and rightfully adored by dog lovers.

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References and Further Reading:

[1] American Kennel Club, Collie Dog Information.

 

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