Fur the love of pets

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Dog Breeds: Collie—Sweet Beauty

Renowned for its protective instinct, the Collie is friendly and playful, making it an ideal family pet. This good-natured dog is sensitive to your needs and eager to please. Highly intelligent, it's a natural guard dog and easily trained.

British native

Originally from Scotland and northern England, the Collie was used to herd sheep, cattle, goats and pigs. The name may derive from colley, a black-faced sheep it guarded. Some historians claim the dog arrived in the U.K. with Romans 2000 years ago, but Collies didn't reach America until 1879.

Pretty and elegant

Collies' lustrous coat is either rough or smooth. The classic Collie image is a longhaired rough coat with a thick collar and soft furry undercoat, feathered legs and fluffy tails. The smooth variety has short, flat hair. Rough coats require grooming a couple times a week.

The typical coloring is sable, in shades ranging from straw to fawn to mahogany, with a white collar, chest, legs, feet and tip of the tail, often with a white blaze on the face. Other colors include tricolor (black with white and tan), blue merle (silvery blue and black) or white. Markings feature a saddle and a mask on its long refined snout. Medium-sized, it's 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weighs 50 to 70 pounds.

The dog star

The breed bounded into popularity in the U.S. in the 1950s with the TV show Lassie, which portrayed a heroic Collie who always saved the day. Strong assistance and therapy dogs, they're known for coming to the rescue in real life. Collies require daily exercise and enjoy activity. Alert to their surroundings, they will bark, but are usually quiet unless left alone for long stretches. As a herder, they may try to gather children and pets and have been known to chase cars.