Charming Collies!

A sight of great beauty, standing with impassive dignity, a Collie is a friendly and elegant dog. Here’s more on this wonderful breed.

The looks…



Here is the breed who is extremely elegant and glamorous when in full coat. Their head is in proportion to the size of the dog. Whatever the colour of the dog, the nose is black. The neck is muscular, powerful, of fair length and well arched. The shoulder is sloped and well angulated. The forelegs are straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with a moderate amount of bone. The hind legs are muscular at the thighs, clean and sinewy below, with well bent stifles. Hocks are well let down and powerful. They are available in three colours: sable and white, tri-colour and blue merle.


Queen Victoria had several rough Collies working on her estate at Balmoral in Scotland and it was largely through her patronage that did much to popularise the breed. The traditionally bred rough Collie of today is probably the most likely to resemble his sheep herding ancestors. Their construction is very similar – masculine and athletic in appearance, built on lines of strength activity and grace with a shapely body and sound legs and feet.

However, a very large percentage of the Collies in Britain today differ from the traditional Collie. The breeders have put great emphasis on prettiness and beauty. There are exceptions to the rule but in the main they are smaller than the traditional Collie. Many purists believe that this has taken away much from the breed and the Collie’s natural bent for sheepdog work and have now started importing Collies particularly from North America and Europe to maintain their type and size.

Sweet disposition…

The Collies have a friendly disposition with no trace of nervousness or aggressiveness. They are friendly and intelligent.

Living with them…

Collies are an ideal family and good guard dogs. They can be vocal if faced with strangers or anything they have not seen before. They are fine with children provided the pet parents are responsible owners and don’t let their children be too overpowering with them. “It’s always better to bring home a puppy rather than an older dog who may not be used to children,” advises David.

Exercise needs…

Collies need regular exercise; the best exercise for a Collie is free running and playing in fields. “I myself walk my Collies between three and four miles daily; this is because I have the freedom of the Cotswolds but it is not necessary to walk them that far,” says David.

Puppy rearing…

After Collie puppies are weaned from their mothers, they should be house trained, followed by lead training and gradually getting them socialised. Getting them used to going out in a car is always a good idea as it may stop car sickness as they grow older. Socialising with people and going to dog classes can only do good and be confidence building for them.


It is always a good idea to get them used to be groomed from an early age with a variety of brushes and combs available. “When Collies shed their coat usually for the first time at about 12 months of age, it usually comes out in handfuls and the quicker the dead hair is removed, the sooner the new coat will come through,” tells David.

Play time…

Collies like playing with a ball. They can be seen carrying sticks and where there are two Collies, they like to play hide and seek in the garden. “When out on walks, they like chasing birds that may settle on the grass fairly close to them,” adds David.


Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is widespread in the breed. “The only age at which CEA can be accurately and permanently diagnosed is at six to seven weeks. A puppy who is clear then is known to be clear for life and will be highly valued as a breeding proposition,” concludes David.

(David Abbott is a breeder who lives in Cotswolds, England. In 1986 he first purchased Stumps Cross Cottage for the purpose of breeding and raising rough Collies.)

Sky story…

David Abbott imported Sky from Europe during 2012 to strengthen his breeding team and has had a very successful puppy career since arriving in England with eight wins at Championship Shows and three wins at Open Shows.

Champion Ingledene Late Night Love ‘Shady’

Born on 4th October 2000 with two siblings, Shady was clearly bound for stardom and is surely ‘the dog of a lifetime.’ Slightly smaller but no less robust than her sisters Lacey and Blondie, she pushed her way through and was soon heading the pack. Always full of self importance, she had a way of ‘drawing’ the eye with her fabulous glamour, free movement and showmanship. Her show career was consistent from the time she started as a minor puppy, going on to win the prestigious ‘NI Pup of the Year’ at the end of 2001, with her first CC coming at the age of 13 months, till she retired in 2007, having won a total of 23 Challenge Certificates, 20 Best of Breed, 7 Championship Best in Show, 3 Res. Best in Show, 4 x Group 1 and numerous group placings. She was the first female dog of the breed to win Best in Show at a General All Breed Championship Show, holds the female dog CC breed record and was the UK Top Winning Collie (Rough) for three consecutive years – 2003, 2004 and 2005 with another highlight in 2005 when she won Best of Breed at Crufts and placed Group 3. She was fearlessly campaigned and won equally well under Breed Specialist and All Round judges alike.

Shady is the dam of several Champion/International Champion offspring and is now into her 13th year, she is quite well and active with excellent sight and hearing, though not without her old bones showing a little discomfort some days. We hope she remains well enough to enjoy another summer, watching and barking at her sons, daughters and grand children enjoying crazy chases in the paddock.

–Valerie and John Geddes, Ingledene Collies.
(Valerie is one of the top breeders of traditional Collies in the UK.)

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