Acquired: Breeder (hobby breeder)
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Posted March 24, 2015
I had a collie as a child and absolutely loved her. We named her Shae and she was a medium sized dog with lots of hair, which was a burr and brush magnet. We lived in the country, so matting and tangles were a big problem. It took time to brush her out adequately, and then the shedding was not enjoyable. That hair got into EVERYTHING. She was an incredibly sweet and loving dog, though, especially for a household that had two young children. Never aggressive or snappish, she was always up to play with us and forgiving of children learning to be gentle with animals.
The biggest downside to having a collie was the barking. Shae was highly vocal, alerting us to visitors, cars and trucks driving by, Dad’s arrival coming home, and leaves falling from the trees. Mom used to say if a mouse farted Shae would let us know. Looking back now, it’s easy to see that Shae was bored and trying to entertain herself. We didn’t have any animals for her to use her herding instincts on with the exception of two toddlers, and my mom had her hands full enough without adding the training that Shae needed to expend her energy and intelligence on.
We ended up giving her to a cousin when the constant barking became too much to take. She was able to train Shae out of some of the barking with extensive work and training, but never could train her out of it completely. Shae lived a full and happy life with a series of chihuahuas and adopted mix dogs until she was sixteen or seventeen.
Collies are sweet and good family dogs, but the need a job to utilize their instincts and intelligence. If you find yourself without a herd of goats, sheep, or cattle, agility would be a great avenue to explore. And if you are up to extensive grooming on a daily basis this might be the dog for you. Though she was a great companion, the hair and the high demands for work are reasons I won’t go with this breed again.