Everything about Collies in a Nutshell!

Is the Collie the breed for you.....
All prospective buyers need to do their homework ahead of time before purchasing a dog or puppy. This can be done by reading up on the breed and talking and visiting with various breeders. Most importantly, see the dogs. This can either be done at dog shows or performance events or by visiting a breeder's home or kennel. The Collie is not for everyone, but I have noticed that they have a rich and loyal following. People who love Collies for all the reasons the breed is famous for, usually do so for life! Once they become enamored, they are hooked and will generally settle for no other breed! Once you have determined what you want in a dog and evaluated your life-style, make sure you have the desire and ability to commit to the lifetime of the dog. The Collie is the most beautiful and most noble of all the breeds and they deserve only the best! No other breed has had a "Lassie" or an Albert Payson Terhune"!

To find out about Collies, click on the blue text below for a particular subject. Or read through the entire article. To return back to this section, hit the "Back" button on your browser.

 Collie Origins.....  Collie Varieties....
 Collie Colors.....  Collie Size....
 Collie Longevity....  Collie Character.....
 Collies and Children....  Collie Coat Care.....
 Collie Feeding....  Health and Veterinarian Check....
 Multi drug Sensitivity....  Collie Eyes....
 Collie Health Issues....  Collie Ears....
 Collie Training....  Male or Female....
 Purebred vs Mutt....  AKC Registration and Pedigrees.....
 Selecting a Breeder....  Buyer Beware....
 Collie Purchase Price....  Age of Puppies Sold....
 On Buying a Show Puppy....  On Breeding Your Collie....
 Equipment Needed....  Additional Information....

 

Collie Origins.....
The Collie's exact origins are shrouded in mystery. Over the years, it has been the subject of much research and speculation. The famous 18th century naturalist Buffoon, was of the opinion that the Collie was one of the oldest breeds in the canine family. However, it has never been proven that the Collie was in fact a descendant of the ancient sheepdog he refers to.

The origin of the word "Collie" is as obscure as the breed itself. Though several new theories have recently been advanced, on the origin of the breed and its name, due to the lack of irrefutable data, nothing can be proven without a doubt. What we do know, is that in the 19th century, the Collie was used extensively as a herding dog and hailed from the highlands of Scotland and Northern England. Some sources claim that the Collie's original ancestors were brought to the British Isles by Roman conquerors in the middle of the first century. Whatever the origins, by the late 1800's the Collie was firmly implanted in the British Isles as the Herding dog of choice! However the true popularity of the breed came about during the 1860's when Queen Victoria visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in love with the breed. Several Collies returned with her to her Balmoral kennels. From that point on Collies became very fashionable. The show Collie as we know it today, was developed by a handful of dedicated English breeders during the late 1880's in the district of Birmingham.

Collie Varieties.....
The Collie breed comes in two different varieties......the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie. Although some differences have been noted in temperament, the two varieties are otherwise one and the same, with the exception of the coat. The Smooth has a short, dense and flat coat, while the Rough Collie has a long, well-fitting, harsh-textured coat. It is abundant everywhere except on the head and legs. It is the crowning glory of the Rough variety of Collie. In the United States, these are not two separate breeds and inter-variety breeding is allowed. In England the two varieties were made separate breeds in 1994 and they cannot be interbred.

Collie Colors.....
Per the official Collie Standard, as approved by the Collie Club of America and the American Kennel Club: Collies come in (4) different colors. The most common color, (long associated with the breed thanks in part to Lassie), is the sable color. This color can range from a light golden tan to a dark mahogany color, laced with a black overlay. The next most common color is the tricolor: or black, white & tan. Blue Merle is the third color and is mostly popular amongst breeders and exhibitors. It can range from a pale, silvery blue coloring, to a darker gray color, with or without black body spots. The fourth color is white, which is predominantly white and is comprised of a white body, with either sable, tri or blue markings, usually on the head. Body spots are allowed.

There are also other color variations (not currently recognized in the American Standard) such as Sable Merle and Double Dilute (homozygous). Often times a Sable Merle can be mistaken for the sable color. However, sometimes they are readily apparent since they can have a blue cast to the coat or slight merling color throughout the coat or blue tipped ears, along with one or more blue eyes or just blue flecking in the eyes. They are a product of a blue to sable breeding and can produce either color when bred (unless they are a pure for sable merle). Contrary to a popular myth, especially held in England and some European countries, the white Collie is not defective. The only color that can occasionally result in a defective dog, is the double dilute. The double dilute lacks color pigmentation and sometimes can be deaf or blind or both. They are a result of breeding two blue merles together, thereby doubling up on the merle gene.

Almost all Collies are marked with the traditional white collar, chest, legs, feet, tail tip and sometimes white facial markings, called a blaze.

Collie Size.....
Collies are a medium sized dog, with females ranging from 22" to 24" and males ranging from 24" to 26" at maturity. Traditionally Collie bitches are smaller than their male counterparts and can weigh from 50 to 70 pounds. Males have been known to weigh from 55 to 90 pounds.

Collie Longevity.....
Typically Collies live 10 to 14 years, with the median age being 12, although some have gone well into their 15th or 16th year.

Collie Character.......
The Collie is a hardy and healthy breed. Not only are they beautiful, but they are intelligent, friendly, loyal, loving and sensitive. They are real family dogs and are noted for being very people-friendly. Likewise, they are easy to train. In addition to being a very clean dog, they are one of the easiest breeds to housebreak. Most become housebroken at an early age, with very little effort. Collies are almost never a one-man dog. If raised properly and treated with respect, they make an ideal family pet. They are not recommended as a complete outside/backyard dog and under no circumstances should a Collie ever be chained or tied up. A word of caution......you can't just buy a Collie, and stick them away somewhere, only to be taken out when it suits you! They are notorious people dogs, known for wanting to be with their owners, interacting with people and lounging around the house (they make excellent couch potatoes!). If kept outside for long periods of time, they can become easily bored, as well as lonely. This can result in a noisy, unhappy dog.

Collies, along with many other herding dogs, have long been known for their barking tendencies. While they are excellent watch dogs, they are not known for attacking or biting. So if someone is looking for a guard or attack dog, better look at a different breed. As a rule, Collies are not a destructive breed, although on occasion, one can come along that seems like they want to demolish everything in sight! This can sometimes occur during the teething stage of puppy hood. This frustrating period can sometimes last until a year of age. Thankfully, it is not a typical breed trait! Collies also usually blend well with other animals and are known for their sensitivity with other little creatures. As a rule, Collies do OK with obedience training, but they are not like some breeds that do well with repetitive training and commands. Oftentimes the Collie can become easily bored with the routine over and over again. Thanks to the breed's long time association as a herding dog, living out on the moors with only their master, they have learned to think for themselves. In the house, they can either be couch potatoes or very active depending on the situation. A Collie should never be nervous or shy. Some may be reserved, but they should never be fearful. They love to play and retrieve. They also love going for long walks. In essence, they make great companions for young or old.

Collies and Children.....
One of the Collies' greatest assets is his natural love of children. Even when not raised with children, the Collie can be charming, attentive, playful and protective with most well behaved kids. Stories have abounded for years of children guarded and protected by the family Collie. They make great companions for almost any age of children and will put up with just about any form of behavior or abuse. They also love playing and rough housing, including retrieving a ball or toys.

Collie Coat Care.....
Collies require no more personal care than any other long coated breed of dog. A common misconception is that the Collie needs daily brushing or frequent bathing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The amount of coat care is necessarily dependent upon the amount of coat a dog may have and the time of year. A Rough Collie in full coat should be brushed once a week or every two weeks. A dog that is noticeably out of coat or in summer coat is going to need less grooming than a dog in full winter coat. Female collies will shed their coat once or twice a year, approximately 4 months after each season. Males will usually shed once a year, generally around their birthday or in the summer. When a Collie begins to shed their coat, it may become necessary to brush the coat on a daily basis, combined with a possible bath, to help the shedding process. Shedding can span a period of two to four weeks. Collies are well worth the extra effort it takes to groom them, but grooming is not for everyone. If an owner is not able to keep up with regular grooming of the coat, I recommend having the coat professionally groomed. However, professional grooming is not a necessity the way it is with some breeds, like the Poodle. Obviously, the smooth coated variety will require less brushing and maintenance than the rough, but both varieties do shed. Collies are a very clean breed and are noted for not having a doggie odor, frequently found with some other breeds.

Collie Feeding.....
Collies can do well on a variety of different foods, ranging from premium dog foods, to home cooked meals. The best advice is to follow the breeder's recommendations. The primary diet should consist of a good quality kibble (dry dog food) either fed alone or in combination with a small amount of canned dog food or meats. Table scraps may be added, but they should be added carefully. Not only are they not needed, but can cause stomach upsets. Avoid rich meats and sauces or highly-seasoned foods. Collies seem to do better when fed twice a day and actually eat a fairly small amount of food considering their size. Oftentimes on bags of dog food, it is suggested that a Collie (or similar size) be fed 6-8 cups of food a day. Actually 2-3 cups is more like it. Most Collies are easy keepers, with the tendency to put on a few pounds, so the diet should be watched and carefully regulated. Every dog is different and some may do well on a very small amount of food, while others need greater quantities. It is a standard rule of thumb, that the higher the quality of food, the less you will have to feed and pick up in the yard! Collies are not known for being ravenous eaters, but neither are they picky. Most are good eaters, but may take their time.

I have fed Iam's/Eukanuba dog food products for almost 20 years and have had great results! Currently I feed and condition all the dogs and puppies on Eukanuba Lamb & Rice. The adults get the Adult Lamb & Rice and the puppies get Puppy Lamb & Rice. I love the results and the condition and health of my dogs validate my confidence in this product. Stools are good, skin is good and coats are wonderful considering we live in a mild climate and many of the dogs live indoors! I don’t add any vitamins or coat supplements. However, for puppies, I pressure-cook chickens and make a gruel - bones and all - and add this to the food until a year of age. Just for variety or a treat, occasionally I add scrambled eggs or plain yogurt to the adult dogs food.

Everyone has to do their own thing and base it on what works for them. BUT.......personally I do not recommend any kind of a home cooked diet. I think a person is opening the door to malnutrition and a myriad of other health problems, that can result from feeding an unbalanced diet. There are various home cooked type meals, such as the BARF diet. Here is a link to a great article written by a Vet, on the hazards of the BARF diet........ Not only do I NOT recommend anything of this nature, I have to wonder why anyone would be bothered in this day and age when there are so many great premium dog foods on the market. The risks (salmonella, E-coli) of feeding such diets are not worth the time and effort it takes to prepare such a meal! Recently, the Canadian Veterinary Journal published findings that 8 out of 10 stools from dogs fed a BARF diet, tested positive for Salmonella. Shedding Salmonella in stools should not be taken lightly for those with children or adults with compromised immune systems. If anyone would like the name and address of a person who lost their 5 year old Collie from Salmonella poisoning, I would be happy to provide them with same. And frankly, the bottom line is condition. I have yet to see any dogs or puppies fed a BARF diet that look in good condition or bloom. NOTE: A friend recently got puppies back from a breeder feeding the BARF diet. They looked to be runty, bony and overall were in crummy condition compared to another litter of the same age that this breeder had raised on Eukanuba. I could tell the BARF puppies from pictures! Today's premium dog food companies put a lot of study and research into the making of present day foods. When there are so many good dog foods to pick from, it is foolish to think that home-cooked efforts can match any of the premium dog foods available!

Health and Veterinarian Check.....
Collies as a rule, are a healthy/hearty breed. Chances are, a normal, healthy Collie will only require a yearly health exam that should include booster shots, and a stool check. Your Collie should be spayed or neutered at an age recommended by your veterinarian.

Multi drug Sensitivity in Collies........... Collie breeders and owners have known for years that certain Collies can be sensitive to certain drugs. This was recently proven at Washington State University. Due to a mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (mdr1), in some instances, Collies have been known to have a sensitivity to certain pharmaceuticals, such as Ivermectin (for Heart Worm control), Imodium A-D, Flagyl and certain anesthetics. For more information, please visit the Collie Health Foundation's page on Ivermectin or the Washington State page on Multi drug Sensitivity. For a nominal fee, Collie owners are now able to test their Collie for the mutated gene. It is estimated that approximately 3 out of every 4 Collies in the U S have been found to have the mutant mdr1 gene. Deaths have been known to occur and clinical signs of toxicosis have occurred at lower doses of Ivermectin than in other breeds.

If you live in an area prone to Heartworm, check with your Veterinarian or breeder regarding what Heartworm preventative to use. Or have your dog tested. Please do not use any heartworm preventative containing Ivermectin as the active ingredient.

It is recommended that the puppy or adult dog receive a Microchip implant or a tattoo for future identification purposes.

Collie Eyes......
The Collie, like all breeds of dogs, have certain health issues which the potential buyer needs to be made aware. First and foremost is the Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), an inherited eye disease that is present at birth. When the eye problem was discovered more than 40 years ago, it was estimated that 90% of the Collie population was afflicted with some form of eye disease. Over the years, with selective breeding and eye checking of breeding stock, the numbers of affected Collies have been greatly reduced. ALL reputable breeders eye check not only their breeding stock, but all puppies that are offered for sale. If any breeder tells you there is no need to do eye checks, that all of their dogs see just fine, run to the nearest exit!

Collie Eye can be easily checked when the puppies are 5-6 weeks old, by a qualified Board Certified Ophthalmologist. It is something that your average Veterinarian is not qualified to diagnose. The eyes must be dilated and checked with an ophthalmoloscope by a qualified, Board Certified eye doctor. A dog is either given a “Normal” or "Affected" rating. It used to be popular to use a Grading System and still is in certain parts of the country. Currently there is no universal, standardized grading system. A “Normal” eye rating is of course the best grading there is. (There are also "Go Normals", which are so mildly affected at a young age, that later, the pale areas disappear, leading to what is termed a "Go Normal". Keep in mind that these are still in fact affected with CEA). There are various degrees of affliction and it has been estimated that 75% of Collies are affected with the mildest form of CEA, called Choroidal Hypoplasia (or unpigmented areas). For years it has been a breed standard that Choroidal Hypoplasia ("pale areas") is a perfectly acceptable eye check, with no loss of vision or the threat of future deterioration. It is generally felt that anything worse than Choroidal Hypoplasia should be avoided not only for breeding stock, but for pets, as well. Other eye problems include Coloboma/Staphyloma, terms that refer to a bulge or a hole in the eye, usually in the region of the optic disc. These are also called “pits” by breeders and depending on the severity or location, are something to stay away from. In the worst case scenario, there is Retinal Detachment, which basically means the retinal layer has separated from the wall of the eye. This can be either a partial or total detachment, with the latter resulting in blindness. It is estimated that roughly 2% of all Collies can and do go blind. Thankfully it is a rare occurrence. CEA is a recessive gene, and ideally the breeding of normal, non-carriers is the perfect solution to conquering this disease. Thanks to years of careless breeding, CEA became so widespread throughout the collie gene pool, that it became impossible to breed away from it. As a result, progress to eradicate eye disease has been slow. Further compounding efforts to clean-up the breed's eye ratings, has been the fact that most forms of CEA are so mild and non debilitating, that the dog can function normally, so breeders have concentrated on other criteria, as well as eye checks.

Regrettably, there persists a fringe element in the Collie breed community that have an unfortunate tendency to overrate the singular value associated with being a normal eyed dog. These same people have also downplayed or misrepresented the number of normal eyed dogs that currently exist in the Collie gene pool. It is possible to find normal eyed Collies and no one breeder or family of dogs has a monopoly on normal eyed dogs!

The bottom line is, know the breeder you are working with and make sure ALL stock is eye checked. There should be no exceptions!

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON COLLIE EYE ANOMALY, CLICK HERE

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HISTORY OF COLLIE EYE, CLICK HERE

HERE'S A LINK FOR A New Genetic Test for Collie Eye Anomaly / Choroidal Hypoplasia, CLICK HERE

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - The other Collie eye problem that can occur in rare instances is Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). This is completely different and not related to CEA. As the name indicates, PRA is a progressive disease which refers to retinal degeneration. It may not appear until later in life and it can result in complete blindness in one or both eyes. Collies appear to be blessed with the fact that PRA in the breed seems to have an early onset. Fortunately, this eye disease was largely eradicated thanks to breeders who test bred potential carriers, but there are carriers still out there. The really big news is......thanks to years of research sponsored by the Collie Health Foundation, there is now a DNA test available for PRA. It is a very simple test. Currently the Collie Health Foundation is sponsoring discounts in testing for Collie Health Foundation members. Please see their Collies Online ad for more information. Please visit the OPTIGEN website for more information on testing: http://www.optigen.com/opt9_rcd2testpage.html

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE HISTORY OF PRA.

If a dog is determined to be "Normal" eyed, (free of all eye diseases), they can be registered with the organization called Canine Eye Registration Foundation. For more information on (CERF), visit here!

Collie Health Issues......
Other health problems that can occur in Collies are Dermatomyositis (DM), a hereditary skin and muscle disorder that runs in certain bloodlines. Bloat which affects many large deep-chested breeds, can also run in certain Collie families. Another health issue that seems to becoming more common in all breeds, especially Herding breeds, is Epilepsy. Fortunately Collies have a low incidence of hip dysplasia. Some breeders routinely check their stock, trying to keep it that way. There is a registry (OFA) that provides a standardized evaluation for hip x-rays and offers a data base for dogs that are currently registered, as having good hips. The OFA website also lists other health tests and screening (DNA).

Here is a link to a web page that lists all the current DNA tests available for Collies.

It is important to remember that as long as living animals are bred, the potential exists for producing a little bit of everything and anything. And by the way, purebred dogs are no less healthy than mongrels or mutts. Mongrels have the same potential for any and all health problems.

Collie Ears.....
As long as there are Collies, there will always be ear problems. The majority of Collie ears, if left on their own, will go prick (straight up in the air). The Collie ear is an enigma....that of being 3/4’s erect, with the upper 1/4 part tipping over. Historically, there was a reason for this particular type of ear. The tulip-tipped ear with a cupped base provides an amazing sensitivity to sound. This was especially important in the Collie's early sheep herding days, when it was extremely important to listen for predators or lost stock. Unfortunately ear problems even 100 years later, continue to be a source of frustration for most Collie owners. Most breeders have a preferred method of training the ears, depending on their experience and the family of dogs they are working with. Amazingly there are still some lines noted for a wonderful natural ear. They may not be exactly on top of the head as alert as desired for the show ring, but they can easily be trained. It is the owner's preference if they wish to worry and work with ears. A Collie is a collie, regardless of the ears, but there are those who feel the completely erect ear ruins an otherwise good Collie expression. If you plan on showing your Collie, you need to keep the ears over! The best advice on ears is to talk to the breeder regarding their method of training.

Collie Training.....
Obedience training can do wonders for most dogs. Some people feel that Collies don’t need a lot of obedience training or even that they don’t do as well as some other breeds. This is simply a matter of opinion and if the desire to train your Collie is evident....do it. They will at the very least love the class and the resulting attention.

Male or female.....
It really comes down to a personal preference because in Collies there is not as great a difference between the sexes as there might be in some of the other breeds. In Collies, either sex can make equally good pets. There are some people who think males are sweeter but females are smarter. In Collies, it seems to be more relative to the particular dog than anything else. Personally I have had my favorites in either sex and find both to be equally appealing. The most noticeable difference between the sexes, is one of size and amount of coat, with the females being smaller and generally carrying less coat. They are definitely easier to groom. Plus remember, until your female is spayed, she will come into heat every 6-12 months (or thereabouts!).

Purebred vs Mutt.....
The obvious reason for selecting a purebred is you can be relatively certain of the general size, appearance and personality characteristics. Each breed of dog was developed and refined for a certain purpose. Thanks to this, you can also be fairly certain that specific traits will develop in the purebred puppy and generally (if purebred) they will look like a certain breed of dog. There are always exceptions to this rule, but just think of the average mutt. Many can and do make wonderful charming pets, but there is no degree of certainty regarding, appearance, temperament, size and/or health. A purebred dog is always going to cost more. There is much greater expense in breeding dogs carefully, vs. the careless propagating of dogs running the streets. The purebred dog breeder has the initial cost of their stock, health clearances and checks, premium food, health and Vet care, stud fees, shipping, health checks of puppies, advertising, etc. There is an old saying in dogs, “I know there is money in dogs, because I put it there!”

AKC Registration and Pedigrees.....
Ethical and responsible breeders breed only purebred dogs that are eligible for registration with the American Kennel Club. This does not guarantee quality or health, but only guarantees the purebred nature of the particular animal. A pedigree is provided by most breeders. It is nothing more than your dog's family tree or family genealogy. Other than showing the Champions, highlighted in "red", it will mean nothing to the average pet buyer, but it can mean everything to the responsible breeder, who hopefully will see past the red ink and be familiar with all or most of the dogs in the pedigree.

Selecting a Breeder.....
This is probably the single most important thing you will do in selecting a puppy and you should do it wisely. Don’t be offended by the breeder who asks you a million questions. It only means that they care about where their puppy is going and the kind of life it will lead. A breeder should be very knowledgeable in all facets of the breed. Find out how long the breeder has been around. There is no substitution for longevity and experience in the breed. Check health guarantees. Question the breeder on their goals and accomplishments. Most breeders are very proud of their accomplishments. Will the breeder take the puppy back, regardless of age or situation or circumstances, if the buyer is no longer able to keep or care for the puppy? Finally, check the breeder's environment. What are the conditions of the house and kennel, and how are the dogs kept? While every setup will vary in general appearance, the dogs or puppies should never be kept in dirty, filthy surroundings. Some warning signs are matted, dirty, smelly coats, overgrown toenails, inflamed, matter-filled eyes, flea and fly infestation, and/or scars on the faces and ears. The condition of the environment says a lot about the breeder and there is no excuse for a dirty place, overloaded with dirty dogs. Opinions will vary on the right and wrong way to keep dogs, but the bottom line is the dogs should be clean and well cared for. If you have any doubts, don’t do it! Also a reputable breeder should answer any and all questions up front and honestly. If you think something is being hidden, go somewhere else! And most importantly, stay away from pet shops, puppy mills and run-of-the-mill backyard breeders.

BUYER BEWARE -- Please be careful of Internet puppy sellers. Many people ignorant of breeding quality dogs, have set up shop on the Internet, making money by selling pet puppies all over the world. In many instances, this is being done with no concern of health, looks or temperament. In some cases, bitches are bred to the same stud every season regardless of compatibilty. These breeders almost always have multiple litters available (sometimes multiple breeds) and will sell indiscriminately to anyone and everyone, and will ship puppies all over the world, with no questions asked! These websites have charming pictures showing children and puppies playing on grassy areas, etc. Typically these breeders have poor breeding stock. They make sweeping generalizations that most "show breeders" do not care about health or temperament and they claim "show breeders" are willing to sacrifice everything for a win in the show ring (not true!). They further claim they are the only ones that care about health and they are the only ones that have REAL Collie temperament. Beware of any website making such broad, inaccurate generalizations! I can't tell you how many calls and emails I receive weekly from innocent people that have purchased family pets from these "so-called" breeders. Some of these Internet puppy sellers have taken money beforehand, with no delivery of a puppy. Other times, when health problems develop in the newly purchased puppy or the puppy arrives sickly and in poor condition, the breeder cannot be reached! Usually once the sale is completed, the buyer is on their own! Ideally you should try to buy a puppy locally where you are able to see the litter, the relatives and the conditions in which the dogs and puppies are kept. The more relatives you can see, the better. And look for older dogs.

While the Internet is a wonderful and informative place, be cautious. After many years in the breed, I am leery of the overnight experts that have developed as a result of the Internet. These people are mostly interested in just making money and typically do not have years of experience in the breed. Conversely many reputable breeders have websites and will stand behind their dogs. There are reputable Collie breeders in all parts of the country and I would highly recommend that you do not buy sight unseen over the Internet. Unless you know the breeder in question (and they come with recommendations), it can be a highly risky proposition at best. If you need help finding a reputable breeder in your area, please email me.

Collie Purchase Price.....
The price of a well-bred, healthy puppy from good bloodlines will vary, depending on the area of the country, the breeder and the circumstances. On an average, a well-bred pet puppy in California will cost $800 to $1200. Show puppies, depending on the breeder and area, can be in excess of $1000. Of course, K-Mart specials can be found anywhere and should be looked upon with great suspicion.

The exception to this would be the Rescue Collie. Under normal circumstances, a rescue Collie is looking for a home due to circumstances beyond his control. Most areas of the country have Rescue organizations that are looking for permanent and foster homes. These dogs can be a variety of ages, sex and colors. Normally they are screened by the Rescue organizations for potential problems or unsuitability for adoption. Many of them are turned into Rescue through no fault of their own and once placed, live normal healthy lives. The real heartbreakers are the older dogs that are turned into Rescue. Those are the dogs that I wish I could adopt every single one of them.......

Age of Puppies sold.....
Most breeders feel the best age for putting a puppy into his new home is between 8 to 10 weeks. There are always the exceptions, but this is a good rule of thumb. Anything earlier can be detrimental to the puppy's health and well being. Not only does a puppy need the proper socialization with the dam and litter mates, but he/she needs to be eating with no problems for at least several weeks. Plus, puppies need to be wormed and beginning vaccinations should be started, prior to their placement. Some breeders also have a Veterinarian check, so that obvious problems can be spotted prior to the placing of the puppy in a new home.

Because most breeders do the breeding for a particular purpose of wanting to keep something for themselves, sometimes they will want to keep the puppies even longer, trying to be sure of their selection. This means that sometimes an older puppy will be offered at around 3 months. This is actually a very good age to purchase a puppy. Typically the normal housebreaking is begun or even finished by this age. Personality traits are usually more evident. There is nothing wrong with the older puppy. The problem is because most people want them when they are small and cuddly, they will turn down a bigger, gangly puppy, that is maybe better suited to their situation or needs. Actually in the case of small children, the older puppy will fare better and be on his way to less work! An older puppy or for that matter an adult dog, usually will have no trouble adjusting to the new home. In the case of an adult dog, it may take a week or two or even longer.

On Buying a Show Puppy.....
Anyone can sell show puppies, especially over the Internet. If looking for a show puppy, it pays to do your homework..... There are breeders and there ARE breeders. If a breeder does not have champion stock and/or if they have never finished a champion themselves, how can they expect to sell anyone else a show puppy?? It helps to find a breeder that has made a practice of selling show puppies that have finished for others. Also beware of newbies giving advice and recommendations on picking a show puppy when in fact many of them have never finished one single homebred champion of their own! I find this totally amazing!! Then there are other breeders who have never sold a single dog that has finished or gotten points for other people! Buying a show puppy from a reputable breeder who has made it a practice of selling good dogs or bitches to others, is the only way to go! Question a breeder about their successful sales. Most breeders that have sold dogs that went on to become champions for others, are very proud of that fact! But beware......many experienced breeders will not sell their best show puppies to people they do not know!

On Breeding your Collie.....
My advice unless you are thinking of becoming involved in showing and breeding, is to forget it. Why anyone in their right mind would want to do this for the simple fun of it, is beyond me. People purchase a purebred dog and then think either they will get their initial investment back by breeding the dog or they want to show the children the miracle of birth or they have a waiting line of relatives, neighbors and friends, eager to add a Collie to their home or they have heard that a bitch needs a litter before being spayed. For starters, rarely does the true breeder, breed puppies to get back the original investment and rarely does it happen. The fact of the matter is, that the breeding itself can cost so much money if you do it properly, that you end up spending much more than the initial investment. Secondly, if you wish to "witness the miracle of birth", then you also need to "witness the miracle of death" at your local SPCA. Regarding the neighbors and relatives, generally when it comes time to purchase a pet, they quickly change their mind! Bitches DO NOT need to have a litter before being spayed. It may in fact, be harmful to their health to do so! Many incorrect notions go through the potential breeder's head...........a wonderful, content litter where everything goes perfectly and lots of money is made. The reality can be quite different! The blood, sweat and tears, the dollars, the commitment, and responsibility are the things the potential neophyte never dreams of. The amount of work preceding the breeding and the pending litter, not to mention the actual arrival of the newborn litter, is never ending. In fact an entire book could be written on the subject. Suffice it to say that breeding is not for the "faint of heart". Plus, I forgot to mention that having a sizable bank roll helps! My advice......skip the litter and leave the breeding to the professionals!

Equipment Needed.....
Prior to the purchase of a dog or puppy, certain equipment is needed, especially if this is a first time dog owner. Grooming equipment should include a slicker brush and a pin brush, a comb and nail clippers. A collar, with leash is needed. A dog crate for training. Bowls for food and water. Toys for the puppy to chew on and play with. Most breeders are more than willing to help new puppy buyers in any way they can, so consult with the breeder of your puppy as to what equipment you will need prior to bringing the puppy home.

Additional Information on the Collie.....
There are numerous excellent books on the market to help the novice learn about Collies. The Magnificent Collie and Collie Concept are two of the best. Ditto for good magazines, that include Collie Expressions and Dogs In Review (one of the best of the all-breed magazines). I recommend that the new person seeking further information, join the Collie Club of America. As a member, you will receive a bi-monthly Bulletin and an annual Yearbook. Attend all the local dog shows that you can. Read and Listen. For a complete list of Collie books and magazines, including current and out of print, click HERE.

Also visit The Collie Health Foundation's website for all kinds of information on Collie Health!

All material is copyrighted © by Gayle R. Kaye, Chelsea, 1997-2012.

Check out our page on common Misconceptions about the Collie Breed!

If this doesn't answer all your questions on Collies, please send me an email at Chelscolly@aol.com or call me at 760-749-1726.

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