Collie Dog Breed Origin and History

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Collie Dog Breed Origin and History

by John Hinkley


The origin and history of the Collie dog breed is not entirely known, but we do know that the Collie originated in Scotland and flourished in England since the 1800s. Before this time, however, the breed has an ancestry that spans thousands of years as the Collie's ancestors had been used to shepherd sheep and cows for many centuries prior in both the Highlands of Scotland and throughout early England. The etymology of the word Collie stems from the word black in Anglo-Saxon. Thus, we can speculate the breed was originally much darker than today's sable and white Collie dog breed.

The Collie breed consists of both the rough and smooth Collie, and this division has been evident in the 1800s as well. However, it is apparent that at one point the rough Collie was much smaller and less refined than today's much larger dog It is probable that the smooth Collie has descended more from the mastiff group. The rough Collie was short, somewhere around 14 inches or so at the shoulders with a broader head, and black or black and white. Regardless of these differences, the dogs that came to be the Collie were always used to herd and guard the flocks and herds of their caretakers.

Collie Dog Breed History Although the Collie and its ancestors had been used for several centuries as a working dog herding sheep and cows, it was in England in the 1800s that the dog became popular as a pet and show dog rather than just a working dog breed. Queen Victoria took an interest in Collies and the rest of the country soon followed suit. It was also at this time that the dog became larger and more refined.

At this point, Collie breeders began to standardize the breed and keep written pedigree records. Collies were shown in dog shows in England as early as 1860 and made its way to the United states by 1880. By about 1886, the the Collie dog breed was fully standardized and remains roughly the same today. It was in this same year the the Collie Club of America was formed and around this same time became one of the first parent breeds of the American Kennel Club.

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