Greater Brighton Collie Club
Frequently Asked Questions:
Collies are not only beautiful, they are intelligent, friendly, loyal, loving and sensitive. They are genuine family dogs and their favorite place to be is with people. Their easy-going nature and fun-loving personality is suitable for children of all ages and they make great companions for young or old. Typically, they do not demand constant attention, but are content just to be in the company of their family. Social animals, they usually get along well with other family pets
They are easy to train, clean dogs, and are one of the easiest breeds to housebreak. Generally speaking, they do not usually stray far from home, preferring their own yard. Like people, dogs have unique personalities. Some Collies are more energetic while others are very mellow. We will be honest with you and help you choose the puppy that best fits the pace of your lifestyle.
If your Collie is not going to be shown or bred, it is highly recommended that you spay or neuter him/her, not only to reduce the amount of unwanted animals, but also for the long-term health of your pet. Most reputable breeders sell non-show puppies on a spay/neuter contract.
What colors do Collies come In?
The American Kennel Club and Collie Club of America recognize 4 colors. The one most people associate with a Collie is SABLE AND WHITE, which was the color of Lassie. Sables can range from light, golden brown, to a dark rich mahogany, tinged with black and usually have a white collar and legs. TRI-COLORS are very striking, as they have a black body, a white collar and legs, with tan markings about the face and above the eyes. BLUE MERLES are somewhat less common, but are becoming more popular. Their bodies are a silver/grey with some black patches, a white collar and legs, and like the tri-colors have tan markings about the face and above the eyes. WHITE COLLIES are the rarest of the colors. These animals have white bodies with colored heads and patches on their body which can be sable, tri or blue merle.
How big are Collies?
Collies are a medium sized dog, ranging from 22" to 24" (females) and 24" to 26" (males) at maturity. Females are usually 45 to 60 lbs. while the males are 60-75 lbs.
Do they require a lot of brushing?
That depends on what you consider "a lot." A common misconception is that they need to be brushed every day. In truth, a Rough Collie should be brushed once or twice a week, and it will probably take you 10 to 20 minutes to do a good job, depending on the amount of coat your dog has, and the time of year. (Go to the Grooming Tips and Tools page, for step-by-step grooming instructions.) Collies have a double coat; a top coat and an undercoat. Females will "blow" their undercoat after each heat cycle (typically every 7-10 months), and spayed females and males will "blow" their undercoat once a year. More grooming will be needed when they are shedding. The nice thing about Collie hair is that it is easy to remove from furniture and carpets because it merely lays on top, as opposed to the short, sharp coat of a Lab for example. Collies are noted for not having a "doggie" odor frequently found with some other breeds, but a bath is recommended 4-6 times per year.
What supplies do I need for my Collie?
2 bowls - one for food, and one for water, (stainless steel is preferred, as a puppies love to chew plastic). A narrow, nylon web leash about 5-6 ft. long and a nylon slip collar which you can leave on your collie & attach license tags. Only use a metal choke collar during training sessions if you feel that you need additional control, but DO NOT leave a metal, linked collar on your collie as it will discolor and break the hair around the neck.
A crate is a good investment, as it provides a place for your Collie to sleep at night or when he/she needs a nap or a break from the kids. It is wise to crate the dog when riding in a car as it works as a "seatbelt" - in an accident this is the safest place your dog can be. When your puppy is teething, you can use a crate to confine him when you can't supervise him and re-direct his desire to chew. Money invested in a crate may save your more expensive furniture.
For Grooming, You Will Need:
A "slicker" brush - Removes small mats and tangles, and used for weekly brushing to remove any loose hair.
A "pin" brush - For overall brushing and "fluffing up" the coat
A wide-toothed comb - To prevent and remove mats, especially behind the ears. Also used during shedding time.
A "V-Rake" - This is an absolute necessity during shedding season. Nothing else works like a V-Rake to remove the loose undercoat, thereby greatly reducing the hair in your house.
Nail clippers, or a Dremel rotary tool, for grinding/trimming nails
A small pair of sharp scissors for trimming the hair between the toes and feet pads
Collies, like other herding breeds, can be yappy if they are left alone outdoors for long periods of time and become bored and lonely, or if they have visual access to activity of which they can't be a part. The normal, active Collie will bark when strangers arrive, at the neighbor's cat, and at strange goings-on in the neighborhood. You can reduce the amount of barking if you begin training them to be quiet when they are young. If barking is a problem, the dog can be "debarked" at the veterinarians. Debarking is usually a 30 minute surgery, done under anesthesia where the vocal chord is altered in order to significantly reduce the volume at which the dog can bark. They still make noise when they bark, but it is quite muffled, sounding more like a soft cough, and does not travel through the neighborhood.
Why are purebred animals more expensive than mixed breeds?
The old adage, "you get what you pay for" is true of purebred animals. The price you pay includes the stud fee that was paid, the transporting of the bitch, the cost of worming, shots, registrations, advertising, eye checks, feeding...plus you are paying for the generations of quality champions that are behind your dog. You are paying for a beautiful Collie that you can be assured will look like a Collie should, and act like a Collie does. You are paying for the time the professional breeder put into each litter and for the wonderful temperament they are producing. You are paying for a quality animal that you can be proud of for many years. You are paying for a heritage.
Are they good with children?
VERY! One of the Collies' greatest assets is his natural love of children. Even when not raised with children, they can be charming, playful and protective with most well behaved kids. Stories have abounded for years of children guarded and protected by the family Collie. While they are great companions for older children because they love attention, rough housing, and playing ball, they are equally content to quietly "babysit" younger children when indoors.
Are they "one man" dogs?
NO! When a Collie has a family, he loves the entire family. They are easily adaptable to new situations and new people. Collies are truly "people dogs;" they need companionship and are not happy without people around them. If raised properly and treated with respect, they make an ideal pet for the entire family.
Are Collies nervous or shy?
No. Collies are loving, outgoing animals that love people and have a zest for life. Some Collies may be a little reserved towards strangers at first, but to people they know, they are loving, and outgoing. A shy, nervous Collie is not typical of the breed.
I've heard that you should not buy a dog that is inbred.
What does that mean?
This is not true. Dogs are bred in three ways:
1. Inbred - Which means breeding mother/son, father/daughter, sister/brother.
2. Line-bred - Breeding a half sister/half brother, granddaughter/grandfather, niece/uncle etc. to one another.
3. Out-crossing - Which is having no related animals within three generations.
There is no right way or wrong way to breed dogs. Inbreeding does not make shy or sickly animals, nor do "mixed breed" or out-crossed dogs have more vigor than those that are line-bred.
What is a pedigree?
Your Collie's pedigree is his family tree. It shows three, four or sometimes five generations of his family. While it may not mean a lot to a pet buyer, to a breeder it is the blueprint of the dog's genetic makeup. The males are always on the top side, while the females are on the bottom. Some of the abbreviations you may see are:
AKC Conformation Titles: Obedience and additional AKC Titles:
CH. - Champion (or AM.CH. - American Champion) C.D. - Companion Dog
CAN.CH. - Canadian Champion C.D.X. - Companion Dog Excellent
INT.CH. - International Champion U.D. - Utility Dog
BIS - All breed Best In Show winner OTCh. - Obedience Trial Champion
BISS - Best in Specialty winner V.C. - Versatility Companion
ROM - Register of Merit HC or HIC - Herding Instinct Certified
NE - Normal Eyed
T.T. - Temperament Tested
Should I take my Collie to obedience class?
That's your choice. All family pets need rules to live by, but since Collies are generally compliant dogs, many people find they are able to easily train them without professional obedience classes. However, an obedience class may be a lot of fun, helping you teach your dog specific commands like sit, stay, come, lie down, and how to walk nicely on a lead, all of which will make him more enjoyable to live with. Besides, you might find you and your dog enjoy the challenge and choose to go on to competition obedience trials, which take place at most dog shows. Spayed and neutered dogs, as well as those that aren't necessarily show quality, are welcome to compete in obedience trials. You will be amazed at how quickly your Collie will learn with a little practice and patience.
Do Collies eat a lot?
Collies, when fed a professional quality food actually only need between 1 1/2 - 3 cups a day, a surprisingly small amount for a medium sized dog. It is very easy to overfeed a Collies as many are "good eaters" so you must monitor their weight carefully. If you try to feed a cheaper, grocery store type food, you will be feeding almost twice as much to maintain the same weight, so no money is saved with this practice, and you'll end up scooping twice as much poop.
Do Collies require a lot of exercise?
The Collie himself will generally tell you no; left on his own he is actually a fairly lazy animal. But taking them for a walk several times a week will keep them in good shape. Their favorite types of exercise are walks or playing with their family and some Collies enjoy retrieving. The Collie will be a faithful jogging companion if you wish but it is important to not over-exercise a young animal, as you can do damage to the skeletal development.
Do I need to fence my yard?
Yes. You should provide your Collie with a safe environment in which to exercise. Under no circumstances should a Collie be kept on a chain or tied out. Collies have an undercoat for warmth & an outer coat to repel weather and do enjoy being outdoors, however, they need a warm, covered shelter if they will be out for several hours at a time. If you are not home during the day, and especially if you live in the city, it is wise to keep them indoors where they are safe and have fewer opportunities to become barkers. Most Collies will be content indoors if you provide a properly-sized crate or confined area for them. Many Collies can be given the run of the house once they are mature. Typically, breeders will not sell a dog to someone without a fenced yard.
Tell me about the Collie eye problem
Collies have two different types of eye problems, the first and most common being CEA - Collie Eye Anomaly, or sometimes called CEP - Collie Eye Problem. It has been estimated that 90% of the Collie population is affected with CEA. Most "grades" of CEA will NOT affect your dog's vision in any way, now or later in life as it does not worsen with age. The other major eye problem in Collies is PRA - Progressive Retinal Atrophy. This is a progressive disease that occurs later in the animal's life. It is very rare today to see a case of PRA as breeders work very hard to avoid known PRA carriers in their breeding programs. For a further, detailed explanation about collies' eyes, go to Eye Disease in Collies > www.colliehealth.org
Will my Collie have to visit the vet a lot?
A normal, healthy dog only has to see his vet once a year for his yearly "booster" shots, health exam, and stool check. Your dog should be spayed or neutered at about six months of age, or when your vet recommends
Will my Collie's ears tip?
Maybe yes, and maybe no. Yes - if they are placed correctly on the head and if you are willing to "tape" the ears over while they are teething and throughout puppyhood. No - if the ears are not well-placed to begin with and you do not take the necessary steps to "tape" the ears during the first several months of his life. Few Collies today have "natural" tipping ears; most are formed (or at least helped along) by breeders taping or gluing them over during their puppyhood. Ask us to show you how to tape your puppy's ears while they are young if you want them to tip properly. Tipped ears help give a Collie his lovely expression.
Are Collies prone to hip dysplasia?
No, Collies today are relatively free of that disease, although it does occur in approximately 1% of the population. The term "X-rayed clear" means that the animal was x-rayed and found clear of hip dysplasia.
Sable & White Tri Color Blue Merle