7 Things To Know Before Getting A Collie Puppy
Collies are one of the most unique and easily recognizable dog breeds in the world. They are sometimes confused with Border Collies by name only but the two breeds are very distinct physically and in some of their personality traits.
What makes Collies special, however, and are they a good option for your family? Let’s take a look!
What are the key characteristics that make Collies special?
Native to Scotland, the Collie breed has a similar origin to the Border Collie breed which originated on the border of Scotland and England. Both breeds are herding dogs too so they share similar levels of intelligence, physicality, and social traits.
The coats of both Collies and Border Collies also include a mixture of white and black colors but that’s where the similarities end. Collies tend to have a much longer, smoother, and straight coat and they often include brown, light brown, and beige colors too.
Collies are also a bit bigger than Border Collies with a height of 22 to 26 inches (56 to 66 cm) and a weight of 50 to 70 pounds (23 to 32 kg). Collies also have a very different facial structure with a longer and narrower snout that’s very unique to the breed.
All this is nice and all but is the Collie breed suitable for you? Here’s a breakdown of the 7 main things you’d want to know before getting a Collie.
The 7 things you should know before getting a Collie
1. Collies are exceptionally intelligent
Yes, dogs are intelligent in general. Herding breeds, in particular, are always intelligent as they have been bred specifically to perform complex tasks with no supervision.
Not all dogs are created equal, however.
Collies are inarguably one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. In fact, many Collie owners believe that their dogs have an almost supernatural level of intelligence!
Have you watched the 1950s Lassie TV series or the 1943 Lassie Come Home movie? Both of them tell the story of a family Collie dog called Lassie who is so intelligent and fantastically sensitive that she can sense when her owner’s child is in trouble and runs off to find and save him.
And that tends to be the experience shared by most Collie owners – these dogs are extremely intelligent, very intuitive, and outright wise in their later years in terms of understanding our thoughts and feelings.
What does this mean for you, as a Collie owner, however?
It means that the Collie is the perfect breed if you want a smart pet that you can teach and interact with.
However, it also means that you have to do those things – smart dogs like the Collies need to use their very capable brains for new mental challenges every day or they can grow bored, depressed, and unruly.
2. This breed is very easy and fun to train
High intelligence means that the dog is going to be easy to train, right?
Not really, many intelligent dog breeds are actually a pain to train because they’re also stubborn and self-determined.
That’s not the case with Collies, however!
Collies offer the near-perfect balance of intelligence, trust, obedience, and loyalty. This makes them a very fun and easy dog breed to train and play with, as well as a fantastic herding dog.
3. Collies are very gentle, loving, and protective toward their families
We often view all dogs are gentle and loving but there’s a scale to that – some dogs are very much individuals and love their personal space.
Not the Collie.
These large furry beauties love their human families and want to always be in our presence! Actually, scratch that, they need to always be in our presence.
And while that is absolutely awesome for people who want to spend time with their pets, it also presents a problem – Collies don’t do well when left alone at home or in the yard for extended periods of time.
So, if you work outside of the home and there are no family members that stay at home at that time, your Collie won’t be happy. There are several things you can do to try and mitigate this problem:
- Hire a dog walker to walk your Collie when you’re at work.
- Get a second dog or another pet for your Collie to interact with.
- Get your Collie lots of interesting and complex puzzle toys to play with while you’re at work.
- Give your dog a ton of attention and playtime while you’re home so that he or she can just nap happily when you’re away.
- All of the above. No, really, Collies are so social that you might have to do all of the above to keep them calm and happy.
Or, just go for a different breed if you don’t spend enough time at home every day.
4. This breed gets along perfectly with kids and other pets
All of the above should have made this clear but it bears pointing out – Collies are phenomenal with kids, other dogs, and even other pets.
Their intelligence, social character, and gentle, loving temperament make them the ideal dog for toddlers, small children, and playful teens. Plus, their gorgeous furry coat is also something most kids tend to adore.
To make things even better, Collies aren’t overly competitive with other dogs. So, if you want to get a second pup to keep your Collie company, you can do so.
Of course, when it comes to both kids and other dogs, proper socialization is very important. Collies may be a social breed but all dogs need to be well-socialized when they are young if you want them to have healthy and safe interactions with other pets and people.
Socializing a Collie is easy but it should still be done as early as possible. There are many resources for proper dog socialization online but the gist of it is to just make sure that your young Collie pup meets plenty of other dogs, animals, and people on a daily basis and has positive interactions with them.
And, to make things even better, Collies also tend to get along with cats. That’s not very common among herding breeds as most shepherds tend to bother cats too much. Collies are so gentle and sensitive, however, that they quickly learn to respect the cat’s personal space and preferences. Again – all your Collie needs here is just a bit of socialization and training.
5. Health and temperament can be an issue if you buy your Collie from the wrong breeder
Collies are an overall healthy breed which is great for both you and the dog. However, there’s one major issue that you need to keep in mind – because of the breed’s popularity, there are many unethical Collie breeders who breed their Collies with no regard for health and temperament.
What does this mean, exactly?
It means that if you get your Collie pup from the wrong breeder, from a puppy mill, or from a pet store, you risk getting a sickly Collie pup with a bad temperament.
That’s why it’s crucial to always get your dog from reputable breeders only and to always ask for a health certificate! If possible, always check out at least one of the pup’s parents too. And when you have a choice among the litter, pick an even-tempered pup – one that’s neither the bully nor the bullied among the pups.
Alternatively, you can also consider getting a Collie from a shelter or a rescue. Because of the breed’s popularity, there are an awful lot of abandoned Collies from bad owners that need rescuing.
Just make sure that you’re given adequate health information.
With all those considerations in mind, a well-bred Collie is almost likely to live a long and healthy life. The few possible problems you might encounter include:
- Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
- Hip dysplasia
- Drug sensitivity and allergies
- Inherited eye anomaly
- Nasal solar dermatitis
6. As a herding dog, the Collie is quite energetic and needs a fair amount of daily outdoor exercise
Collies are not the most energetic breed out there but they’re still an outdoorsy herding breed so they need exercise.
How much exercise, you ask?
Let’s just say that two quick walks a day are not enough for a Collie. Nor is just leaving the dog in the yard for a couple of hours. Collies need to run and play in the park for at least an hour or two a day every day.
7. You better love grooming your pet if you get a Collie
Collies look a bit difficult to groom, don’t they?
Indeed, this breed needs to be well taken care of so you’d better enjoy brushing your furry pal’s coat.
Whether your Collie has long or medium-long hair, brushing it at least twice per week is a must. On the bright side, Collies have a very light odor for such a long-haired breed.
Baths are also needed, however, especially if the dog gets dirty when running outside. Ideally, a monthly bath can be enough but you might have to do it more often if your pup just can’t stay clean when playing in the dog park.
Trimming your pup’s nails and cleaning their ears every week or two is also advisable.
Who are Collies “right” for?
Like most herding dogs, Collies are perfect for families with kids who like to play outside and who always have a family member at home. If you don’t have enough time for daily trips to the park, however, and if you intend on leaving your doggo home alone all day – it’s smarter to pick a different breed.
How to prepare for getting a Collie?
Prepping for a Collie is quite simple – just clear your schedule and have fun with your pup!
Naturally, you’ll need to stock up on the standard dog items such as food bowls, toys, dog bed, a leash, and so on, but there isn’t anything overly specific for this breed. Just make sure you socialize and train them well and that you have enough time for them and everything should go just swell.