Both Rough and Smooth collies are descended from a localised variety of herding dog originating in Scotland and Wales. The Scottish variety was a large, strong, aggressive dog, bred to herd highland sheep. The Welsh variety was small and nimble, domesticated and friendly, and also herded goats. When the English saw these dogs at the Birmingham market, they interbred them with their own variety of sheepdogs, producing a mixture of short- and long-haired varieties. After the industrial revolution, dog ownership became fashionable, and these early collies were believed to have been crossed with the Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) to get a more “noble” head (longer muzzle), which is today one of the true characteristics of the Rough Collie. It is not known conclusively if the Borzoi cross made it into the mainstream of the breed.
When Queen Victoria acquired a Rough Collie, after seeing one at Balmoral Castle, they were transformed into something of a fashion item. Continued breeding for show purposes drastically changed the appearance of the dogs; in the 1960s, it was a much taller dog than it is today (in the UK; in the US, the size standard has not been revised downward and dogs have remained between 24-26″). Earlier dogs were also more sturdy in build and reportedly capable of covering up to 100 miles in one day. In the UK the Rough Collie is no longer used for serious herding, having been replaced by the Border Collie, though in the United States and a number of European countries, there has been a resurgence in the use of the Collie as a working and performance dog.
The Collie Club of America is one of the oldest breed-specific clubs in existence in the United States (founded in 1886). The Collie Club in England dates from 1881.
Quoted from Collie Club of America:
Unfortunately, the Collie’s exact origins are shrouded in obscurity. It has been the subject of much research and speculation. The word “Collie” is as obscure as the breed itself. The name has been spelled many different ways: Coll, Colley, Coally and Coaly. Generally, the most accepted origin of the word is “Coll” – the Anglo-Saxon word for “black”.
In the 18th century, the Rough Collie’s natural home was in the highlands of Scotland, where he had been used for centuries as a sheepdog. The dogs were bred with great care in order to assist their masters in the herding and guarding of their flock.
Without a doubt, it is to the English fancy of the late 1800s that the breed owes its development as a popular show dog. Rough Collies were first exhibited in 1860 at the Birmingham, England dog show, in the generic class “Scotch Sheep-Dogs”.
In 1879 the first English Rough Collie was imported to this country. It is from England that we find the famous pillars of the breed, from which the American fanciers sought not only their next big winner, but also their foundation stock.
By the turn of the century, the American Rough Collie was in a state of continued development. The breed continued to flourish in England. American show prizes were dominated by the British imports. As a result of the imports, the breed made rapid progress between 1900 to 1920. These dogs built the foundations upon which the present day Rough Collie is based and paved the way for the emergence of the great American kennels of the 1920s and 1930s
The word may trace to Gaelic or/and Irish – in which the words for “doggie” are, respectively, càilean and cóilean. This would be more consistent with the breed’s origin in the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlands than an Anglo-Saxon term.
The Collie was bred to be a herding and working dog, not for guarding but instead to manage, drive and herd livestock to market. Their exact origin in unknown, but they are believed to have arrived in the British Isles with the Romans about 2,000 years ago. The breed we know today probably originated in Scotland and Northern England, centuries ago. Pride of ownership of these working dogs took priority over written records, so the precise origin of the breed will never be known. Dog fanciers took interest in the breed in the early nineteenth century and began keeping records of pedigrees and promoting the breed.
In 1860, the first classes for “Scotch Sheep Dogs” were offered at only the second dog show ever held in England, that of the Birmingham Dog Society. Both varieties of Collies competed in the same classes. In 1867, Old Cockie was born. He is said to have stamped the characteristic type into the Rough Collie and also to have introduced the genetic factors that led to the development of the sable coat color that is so popular in the breed. The smooth-coated Collie is said to descend from a dog called Trefoil, who was born in 1873. On a visit to Scotland, Queen Victoria was captivated by the Collie and enthusiastically sponsored them in both varieties, creating a surge in the popularity of the breed in the 1860s and 1870s. The breed standard in England was fixed in 1886.
Blondiepie’s Best Collie Ever! But us Collie parents ALL think the Same. The Breed is so laid back, and knows when you’re upset, knows when you’re happy, it is a very empathic breed. If you’re single and lonely this breed will be forever there for you. Never, ever, ignore your collie.
I love my “Hansburger”, “Hanseyscheme”, ” pterodactylface” (Nicknames) so much I thought I’d give a little info and show him off a bit on my site. All I can say about Collies are that they are gentle, Empathic, Smart, and can even pull a joke on you, they know humor, their total laid back attitude is the most awesome attribute. My experience with my Mom’s Collie Isis, and my collie Hans, has been that, yes they need exercise but they are also fine with just hanging out, if you have LOTS of time and just need a companion the Collie is the best by far. They will be up your ass, literally with their nose. They must and it’s a requirement to allow your collie to inspect EVERYTHING that passes through your door, including all visitors. If you really watch your collie you’ll see, he/she will watch everything you do, it’s like they are soaking in the knowledge. That is what makes them so unique.
I’m posting this on some Collie Groups, I hope you’ll leave me some stories about your collie, I’ll write you up in my blog, with your permission, please include your FB link so I can contact you to get some pics of your collie. Your collie story would be a great addition to my blog. If I get enough I’ll add a page just for Collies. LET’S DO THIS! 💯💯
Now I’m going to show off my Hans. Do you blame me?