theories have been put forward about the origins of the Collie
as a breed. But, it will remain a mystery whether the typical
sheepdog from the early 1800s, after cross breeding with Greyhounds,
as well as Gordon- and Irish Setters, led to the Collie.
the origin of the name of the breed is based on supposition. The
original name Colley could derive from the Anglo-Saxon word col,
meaning black, which was possibly the original colour of the breed.
It is also likely that the name derives from the black-faced sheep,
called colleys, that the Collie used to herd.
Collie herded sheep in the Scottish Highlands, sometimes without
the shepherd's guidance. In order to cope with this task, the
dog needed to be able to act on his own initiative, a fact which
causes the Collie to differ in mentality from other breeds. The
Collie does not serve blindly - he loves his family, but there
are moments when, due to his personality, his own initiative shines
1871, Old Mec, a black and tan dog and Old Cockie, a sable and
white dog, made their appearance during the Birmingham show. All
show collies can be traced back to their ancestor Old Cockie.
after 4 generations, Metchley Wonder resembled more the type we
know today, staying practically unchanged over the decades.
the beginning of the 1900s, the Collie was bred as a working dog
and a show dog. As shepherds continued contributing towards the
breeding of Collies, these two elements were fortunately not separated.
Victoria was so struck by the working Collie's capabilities when
she watched the royal shepherds and their dogs doing their work,
that she decided to keep Collies herself. From then on the Collie
grew in popularity. Breeders decided to buy up the best species
from the farmers and created a breed that started its triumph
around the world.
is well known that Scottish sheepdogs were used as war- and rescue
dogs. The Collie was very popular as a military rescue dog and
messenger. During the war, the British used Collies world-wide
in military service, which triggered off the strong competition
with the German Shepherd dog. For patriotic reasons, only dogs
of German origin were used for military and police-force purposes
in Germany, resulting in the fact that the GS took over the Collie's
place as the working dog. At this period it became the aim of
Collie breeders and Breed clubs, to focus more on appearance and
beauty in order to create show dogs, which made the Collie gain
enormously in popularity again. Those who know the breed will
understand why the rough Collie, especially, became a fashionable
dog in the following years. Its appearance has changed considerably
over the last years. It is almost unthinkable that today's Collies,
with their abundant coats, would be able to herd sheep.