I have owned collies since 1972, when after careful research, I discovered that this breed possesses qualities with which
I felt most comfortable.
For those who have not experienced this breed, I urge you to go to the "collie"
section at the "American Kennel Club's" website at www.akc.org where a history of the collie is provided as well
as the "breed standard" which is a description of the perfect collie, to be used by judges at dog shows.
Collies make excellent companions. In general, this breed is very social with humans, dogs and most other animal domestic
animals. I have never met a mean collie. Not only do they tolerate sharing their lives with us humans (including the occasional
tail tugging by toddlers), but they really want to be nearby to observe and monitor their human family. This is understandable,
as collies were bred to be herding dogs and farm sentinels. I have never been able to teach one of my collies to tell time,
yet they make the best watch-dogs! They sleep lightly and upon hearing or smelling anything unusual, will give voice as warning
or go directly to the person in charge. (Thanks, Lassie, I'm glad you TOLD me that the dark-suited man was from the I.R.S.
On the other hand, you will never have to worry about the liability of a collie "crossing the line".
These dogs sound the alarm, but to not rise to the battle-cry.
Although our domesticated dogs "know where
their bread is buttered", and solicitously wag their tails at our worst jokes, collies are more likely to be "canine
free thinkers" and may even be quicker at the punchline!
Collies are an intellegent breed, but being smart
is not the same as being blindly obedient. They will size up a situation and act accordingly. Collies seem almost psychic
in these abilities. I do think that collies may be considered somewhat lazy in the obedience arena- and this is because of
their ability to make their own decision. I give you this example:
Danging my car keys and dressed for work on
Thursday morning, I may command my collies to go outside and they all slink through the door. On Saturday morning, dressed
in play clothes and in between trying to feed and dress the keds, I again order my collies to go outside.
time, they look up from their different areas of the floor and watch me, without moving. I stamp my foot and point to the
open door at the same time that I stamp my foot and implore my son not to toss his breakfast on the floor. They dogs look-on,
perhaps slightly anxiously. They realize that the routine is more likely to be lax on this day, than on a day that I must
be at the office. They also understand that part of my energies are invested in feeding these children.
they DO know what "GO OUT!" means, and they almost feel bad that their decision has been made instead to maintain
their positions and hope that my son's food will end up on the floor where it rightfully becomes their property (another rule
scripted by dogs). They don't want to be accused of misbehaving, but clearly, they see a greater benefit in ignoring my orders
and remaining in the house, near the children.
While collies are very congenial, they are not timid. Shyness is undesireable in any big breed of
dog, and it is strongly worded against in our "collie breed standard". In the early days of our breed,
a shy dog would have allowed the flock (the sheep entrusted to its care by the farmer) to scatter and allowed preditors to
gain access to a free meal. In any home, shyness may lead to a dog snapping, out of fear. A timid dog
will be a miserable dog, as such a dog will quiver at mundane occurances such as house-hold guests, a car horn, and
thunder. Thankfully, I have rarely met a shy collie.
While the collie's personality makes this breed a great companion, it's this breed's noble appearance which makes it
a delight on which to gaze. Collies come in the usual hairy ("rough") coat or a shorter flatter dense coat ("smooth"). In
either coat type, the well-bred collie should look more like a fit worker than a pumped athlete.
Although most collies
today have never worked a day in their lives, the breed standard encourages an operator's well-balanced look and an active
gait. They collie should naturally stand square, with all four legs parallel when viewed from the front or rear. The shoulders
should be sloping and the chest deep. The wedge-shaped head should be balanced atop a very slightly arched neck. A well-bred
collie should be able to get points in the confirmation arena or on the farm.
My personal belief is that the rough
coated collie gets to wear the emperor's new clothes! What woman wouldn't look a little bit classier wearing a fabulous (fake)
fur cape over a slinky "little" cocktail dress? Both smooth and rough coats are "dense" so that they act as a cold-wet weather
barrier. Such protection is important to our collie's working ancestors. Now adays, the rough coat is an ornament which "frames
the head in a frill" or makes the male dog look as proud as the similarly maned lion. A rough coat will require additional
duties by you to keep out the knots and burrs- but it's all worth it.
Much has been written about an esoteric feature
of the collie breed- it's EXPRESSION. A well-bred collie should have a very attentitive and almost quizzical look, virtue
of the before-mentioned personality traits of both a watch-dog and a prankster. The breed standard already describes the outline
of the head, the shape of the eyes, the prick of the ears, but it is quite difficult to describe how a collie wears his character
on his face. A collie should look noble, and in quiet control.
You will find that Cadence Collies possess all these
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