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rec.pets.dogs: Collies Breed-FAQ

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Archive-name: dogs-faq/breeds/collies
Posting-frequency: 30 days
Last-modified: 10 Nov 1997

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This article is Copyright 1997 by the Author(s) listed below. 
It may be freely distributed on the Internet in its entirety without
alteration provided that this copyright notice is not removed.  
It may NOT reside at another website (use links, please) other
than the URL listed above without the permission of the Author(s).  
This article may not be sold for profit nor incorporated in other 
documents without he Author(s)'s permission and is provided "as is" 
without express or implied warranty.


   Marla Belzowski (formerly
   Editing, Cindy Tittle Moore
   Currently maintained by Cindy Tittle Moore. Marla lost net access
   sometime in 1992. Copyright 1992-1996 by Marla Belzowski and Cindy
   Tittle Moore. All rights reserved.
   Revision history
     * Marla Belzowski, Created 30 March 1992.
     * Updated information provided by Catherine C. Sims, Dec. '93
     * Addition of two new breed books & rearrangement of material by
       CTM, May '94
     * Additional information on heartworm medication, adapted from
       Kristen Thommes' ( article on the
       subject by CTM, June '95
     * July '95, added "online resources" section
     * Updated information provided by Leslie Mamer, Aug. '95
Table of Contents

     * History
     * Characteristics and Temperament
     * Description
     * Recognized
     * Special Medical Problems
     * Resources
          + Books
          + Magazines
          + Online Resources
          + Breeders
          + Clubs

   Most believe the Collie evolved in the highlands of Scotland and
   Northern England. Some claim that the Collie's ancestors were brought
   to the British Isles by Roman conquerors in the middle of the first
   century, A.D. But it is known that the earliest invaders, the Stone
   Age nomads also brought dogs with them to what is now Southern
   England. From these probable decendants came a hardy, quick-witted dog
   that was needed to handle sheep, cattle, goats, and pigs, and they
   were undoubtedly used for hunting along with their herding duties.
   English dogs were highly prized in Italy in the 11th century. The
   growth of the wool industry in the Middle ages was aided along by dogs
   known as the ban dog and the cur in 15th and 16th century England. Not
   until about the 18th century did the breeding of domestic animals
   begin. The rough Collie was virtually unknown in London as late as
   1860, while a bob-tailed smooth sheep dog was more common to that
   area. The rough Collie came down from Scotland and the border
   countries to farmer's markets at Birmingham, following the development
   of the railroads. The Collie most likely made his show ring debut in
   December, 1860, at Birmingham, the third formal dog show at which
   conformation of individual animals was judged. They were most likely
   shown in the group classified "sheepdogs" with combined different
   strains of rough and smooth Collies, bob-tails, and beardies.
   None of the sheepdogs were very popular at this time. They were
   generally working dogs, without pedigrees, and they were more of a
   farmers dog. They were small, weighing 25 to 45 lbs, relatively short
   legged, long-backed, short necked, and had unsightly feet and legs.
   Many were cow-hocked, fiddle fronted, overangulated, with a wide
   variety of tails lengths including no-tails, bob-tails, half-tailed
   and long-tailed dogs all occurring in the same litter. They had much
   heavier heads and had terrier like eyes. The coats were various
   lengths from smooth to extremely long and frilled, in one black and
   white Scottish strain. The color was origionally black and white or
   black and tan, but sometimes grey, dull brown or mixed brindle sable
   in color.
   The Collie's popularity began with Queen Victoria (1837-1901), who
   fell in love with the breed on visits to her Scottish retreat. It was
   then that the lowly farmers dog was elevated to a state of canine
   aristocracy. It then became more fashionable to own a Collie and show
   entries rose.
   One of the most important Collies, a dog named Old Cockie, became
   recognized in 1868. All show Collies trace back to Old Cockie through
   his sable and white grandson Charlemagne, whose pedigree shows the
   only two sables: Maude, his dam, and her sire, Old Cockie. Old Cockie
   live fourteen years as a cherished and pampered companion of Mr. James
Characteristics and Temperament

   Collies are very family oriented dogs. They love children, they are
   very intelligent, quick learners, very sensitive, playful, and great
   outdoors dogs. Collies get along well with other pets. Collies,
   however, are not for everyone. The do require a lot of exercise to
   keep them happy and fit. Collies are very energetic and will become
   easily bored if left alone for extended periods. They are very good at
   finding things to do if they are bored, which will often include
   digging, barking and other general destructive behaviors.
   Collies should not be tied up or chained. Because they are a herding
   dog they are able to run up to 40 miles a day. It is preferable to
   have a large fenced yard or a large kennel area. Collie are also great
   athletes and can easily jump a 4 or 5 foot fence when motivated to do
   so. A 6 foot fence is suggested for fencing off areas. Collies
   understand boundaries well and it is advisable to walk a new puppy
   around the yard twice a day for the first week, and once a day for two
   following weeks to teach them the yard limits. Collies can become car
   chasers and it is advisable to stop this at the FIRST sign of car
   chasing activity.
   Collies make excellent obedience dogs. The require a soft touch when
   initally learning the exercise and a quick correction once they do
   understand but just refuse to do the exercise. Collies can become
   stubborn and unwilling to learn anything if too much correction is
   used. They are also bright enough to figure out ways to avoid doing
   exercises. In general they are very intelligent and very sensitive
   dogs. Collies also retain many of their inherited herding abilities
   and make excellent working dogs. Smooth collies are occasionally used
   as assistance dogs for physically handi-capped people. Collies have
   also been known to be used as therapy dogs, Search and Rescue dogs,
   Avalanche Dogs, Water Rescue dogs, Drug-detection dogs, and Fire
   Rescue dogs. Collies have been decorated five times for Ken-L-Ration
   Hero Dogs.
   Grooming is a necessity for rough collies. Rough coats take some care.
   A good brushing one a week will take care of many mats and tangles and
   a bath every two months or so is ok. Smooths are much easier to care
   for. They have short hair like a shepherd, but still have the thick
   double coat. Smooths seem to shed a lot because the fur is more likely
   to fall out, where as in roughs, it is more likely to tangle up into
   hair balls. Collies shed about as much as any other dog. Their major
   hair loss is in the spring as the weather gets warm and in the fall as
   the new winter fur comes in. If you brush them out then, shedding
   shouldn't be a big problem. Large mats should be removed with thinning
   shears if they persist behind the ears, under the legs or around the
   neck. It is also advisable to remove the fur from the inner pads of
   the feet and the lower areas of the hock and pasterns. Those dogs with
   dew claws need them trimmed at least once a month.
   Collies live about 12 to 16 years on average. Males are a bit more
   rambunctous than females. Females are usually pretty reserved. Both
   are equally acceptable for children. All of the "Lassie's" were male
   collies. Females tend to have less coat than the males and are
   slightly smaller. Both are equally intelligent. Collies also "think"
   they are also great "lap" dogs.
   Get your collie puppy from a responsible breeder and you should not
   have any problems. Collies from pet stores and back yard breeders are
   notorious for eye and other problems. Get a guarantee of quality with
   your puppy and don't be offended by spay/neuter contracts for pet
   puppies (most pet puppies will have slight eye problems but are not
   serious for neutered pets). Pet puppies are about $250 - $400 and show
   dogs are usually $500 and up. You aren't getting a bargain at $150 or
   so, if the breeder doesn't check eyes.

   The Standard is the physical "blueprint" of the breed. It describes
   the physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed
   otherwise known as _type_. Some characteristics, such as size, coat
   quality, and movement, are based on the original (or current) function
   for the dog. Other characteristics are more cosmetic such as eye
   color; but taken together they set this breed apart from all others.
   The Standard describes an _ideal_ representive of the breed. No
   individual dog is perfect, but the Standard provides an ideal for the
   breeder to strive towards.
   Because of copyright concerns over the collection of all the Standards
   at any single site storing all the faqs, AKC Standards are not
   typically included in the Breed faqs. The reader is referred to the
   publications at the end of this document or to the National Breed Club
   for a copy of the Standard.

   American Kennel Club (Rough and Smooth collie)
   United Kennel Club (Scotch Collie)
   Kennel Club of Great Britain (Scotch Collie)
   Canadian Kennel Club
   Japanese Kennel Club
   and many other kennel clubs
Special Medical Problems

   The Collie Club of America Foundation is dedicated exclusively to the
   health needs of the Collie and supports ongoing research with grants.
   Current grantees are Dr. Aguirre at Cornell, working on a blood test
   for gene-identification of PRA; and Dr. Johna Veatch of Central States
   Pathology, for work in gene identification of dermatomyositis (the
   most destructive of the autoimmune skin diseases in the Collie).
   Research into this disease, an autoimmune skin disorder is under way
   at Michigan State by Dr. Johna Veatch, with help from Dr. John Gerlach
   (human molecular geneticist) and Leslie Mamer, caretaker of the
   research animals. The first stage of gene sequencing has been done. It
   is estimated that over 70% of the Collie breed (rough and smooth) are
   affected as carriers or otherwise with this disease. It's been
   recently proven that there are several genes involved as well as
   environmental, nutritional, and chemical influences. You can address
   questions about this research to Leslie Mamer at
  Collie Nose
   Depigmented ulcerated lesions of the nose.
  Collie Eye Anomaly
   Collies do have eye problems. Estimates are that 95% of collies are
   carriers of or affected with Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA). CEA can, but
   does not always, cause blindness as the severity of the condition can
   vary. Most responsible breeders will know and check their puppies for
   the problem with a veterinary ophthalmologist.
   CERF -- Canine Eye Registration Foundation -- registers "Normal-eyed"
   dogs. If you just want a pet, a grade 1 or 2 CEA (and even a grade 3)
   are just fine. Grade 3 and over should never be bred. Grades 1 and 2
   are still bred and shown, but breeders are making an effort to not
   breed any affected dog. Right now it is difficult to do with the high
   rate of affected and carrier dogs.
   CEA is the most common form of eye problem found in the Collie, both
   rough and smooth variety. It is also found in the Border Collie, and
   the Shetland Sheepdog. CEA is a simple recessive, as shown by research
   at Ohio State; however a cluster of genes controls the _severity_ of
   CEA in an affected dog and that can complicate diagnosis.
   There is no correlation between CEA and sex, coat color, type of coat
   (rough or smooth), or presence of the merling gene. Usually both eyes
   are affected, but not necessarily to the same degree. Those dogs with
   minor anomaly make fine pets and usually do not lose their eyesight.
   Those that are more severely affected can lose their eyesight within a
   few years of diagnosis if the retina is detached by a blow to the head
   or else they are born blind. These dogs usually do not make acceptable
   A recessive trait means there are three types of dogs: unaffected dogs
   that do not display the trait NOR have genes for the trait; carriers
   that do not display the trait, but DO have one of the genes for the
   trait; and affected dogs that have the trait and can only pass along
   genes for the trait. If a dog is "mildly affected", it is an affected
   dog and will always pass along CEA to it's puppies. So breeding two
   "mildly affected" dogs will never result in unaffected, or even
   carrier puppies. Breeding two apparently normal dogs may result in
   puppies with CEA if both dogs turn out to be carriers. If a dog ever
   produces a puppy with CEA, then that dog must be either a carrier or
   an affected dog itself.
  Progressive Retinal Atrophy
   PRA will result in blindness. A well known and widely used stud dog in
   the '70s was found to be a carrier and did produce blind puppies.
   While the breeder now test-breeds all their stock available for stud
   services, PRA is present in a number of lines. Most reputable breeders
   who know or suspect that PRA is in their lines do test-breed. Since
   PRA in Collies is a simple recessive, it has been easier to control
   than CEA.
  Nodular Granulomatous Episclerokeratitis (NGE)
   Sometimes called Nodular Fascitis, Fibrous Histiocytoma or Collie
   Granuloma, NGE is thought to be an immune mediated disorder in which a
   cellular proliferation occurs at the corneal scleral junction. This
   eventually causes damage to the cornea. Many collies with "Collie
   Nose" also have NGE. Treatment is with anti-inflammatories or
  Hip Dysplasia
   Collies have VERY low rates of hip dysplasia. Most breeders do not
   check or OFA their dogs. Collies and Boston Terriers are about equal
   in the number of hip dysplasia cases. It is still preferable to have
   the dogs checked before breeding.
  Heartworm Medication
   There have been numerous discussions about the safety, or lack of
   safety, of using ivermectin-based heartworm prevention in collies and
   other herding breeds of dogs. You should ask the breeder of your
   collie what they recommend for heartworm preventive.
   Much of the concern over the safety of ivermectin began when this
   medication was first tested in dogs for toxicity studies. In the
   initial testing of ivermectin, the drug was tested in Beagles to see
   at what dose clinical signs of toxicity would develop. Later, these
   same studies were performed on Collies and it was found that Collies
   had clinical signs of toxicosis at much lower doses of ivermectin than
   the Beagles did. Therefore, at the time, a warning was issued that
   collies and collie mixes should not be given the newly approved
   heartworm preventative containing ivermectin as the active ingredient.
   After these initial toxicity studies were done, further studies were
   done to determine if the dose of ivermectin present in the monthly
   medication would cause a problem in collies. As a reference, the dose
   of ivermectin in Heartgard is 6 - 12 micrograms per kg of body weight.
   In studies that have been done, doses of more than 50 micrograms per
   kg have been tested in collies to determine toxicity at many times the
   dose in Heartgard.
   The signs of toxicosis seen in clinical trials varied in their
   severity. Early signs of toxicosis included salivation, dilated
   pupils, vomiting, tremors, and difficulty walking (ataxia). Severe
   signs of toxicosis included weakness, inability to stand (recumbency),
   nonresponsiveness, stupor, and coma.(1) "Similar reactions have not
   been seen in the studies evaluating ivermectin efficacy as a
   preventative." (7)
   In one study, collies were dosed with increasing amounts of
   ivermectin, from 100 microgram per kg up to 2,500 micrograms per kg.
   In this study, the dogs that developed the most serious clinical signs
   were given supportive care (fluids), and even the most severely
   affected dog was normal within 9 days of drug administration. (1)
   In several of these type of studies, there were collies that seemed to
   react to ivermectin, and other collies that did not react to the
   ivermectin. It has been suggested that there are collies that are
   "ivermectin sensitive" and those that are considered to be "ivermectin
   non-sensitive" based on the results of these studies. Unfortunately,
   to date, no research has provided us with the ability to differentiate
   between the ivermectin-sensitive and non-sensitive collies.
   Two clinical studies showed that 200 micrograms per kg of ivermectin
   dosages resulted in 50% of the collies displaying severe toxic signs,
   and NO signs of toxicity when the dosage was below 100 micrograms per
   kg. "Because the 100 microgram per kg dose is nearly 16 times higher
   than the manufacturers recommended minimum effective dose for the
   prevention of heartworm (ie. 6 micrograms/kg), it appears that
   treatment with ivermectin for the prevention of heartworm disease
   would be safe in even the most ivermectin-sensitive dogs." (3)
   Despite the studies, Ivermectin is not considered safe for collies by
   most breeders. Although Merck has recently removed its warning, there
   are now several cases of toxicity reactions reported from collies
   given Ivermectin. There have also been numerous reports of subclinical
   toxic reactions from dogs given Heartgard preventative. It is thought
   that there may be a wider range of sensitivity than indicated by the
   trials. To be completely safe, Collies should be given either
   carbamazine heartworm preventative (daily dose), or the monthly
   Interceptor heartworm preventative. _
   References of interest:_
   (1)Paul AJ et al. " Clinical observations in Collies given ivermectin
   orally." _Am J Vet Res_ Vol 48, No. 4. April 1987. pp 684-685.
   (2)Pulliam JD et al. "Investigating ivermectin toxicity in Collies."
   _Veterinary Medicine_. June 1985. pp 33-40.
   (3)Paul AJ et al. "Evaluating the safety of administering high doses
   of a chewable ivermectin tablet to Collies." _Veterinary Medicine_.
   June 1991. p 623.
   (4)Clark JN et al. (title page lost). _Am J Vet Res_, Vol 53. No 4,
   April 1992. page 611.
   (5) Miller, JM. "Management of small animal toxicoses." In: The ISVMA
   111th Annual convention proceedings. page 45.
   (7)Rawlings and Calvert. "Heartworm disease." In: _Ettinger's Textbook
   of Veterinary Internal Medicine- diseases of the dog and cat_. Third
   edition, Volume 1. Copyright 1989. page 1182.
   Some collies tend to have skin problems. Hot spots are sometimes found
   in muggy summer months. They have also been known to have epilepsy.

   (_Collie Concept_ and _The New Collie_ are widely considered the best
   books on Collies.)
   _The New Collie_
   by: The Collie Club of America
   Howell Book House Inc,
   230 Park Ave
   New York, NY 10169
   copy right 1983 (approx. $24 )
   _Collie Club of America Book of Champions, Vol. I_ (1884-1961) (CCA)
   _Collie Club of America Book of Champions, Vol. II_ (1962-1976) (CCA)
   Rough Collies
   by Hunt
   Howell Books
   _Collie Concept_
   by: Mrs. George H. "Bobbee" Roos
   P.O. Box 7027
   Alpine Publications, Inc
   . Loveland, CO 80537
   (approx. $29 )
   _All About Collies_
   by Patricia Starkweather
   P.O. Box 297
   Starke, FL 32091
   _The Collie: A Veterinary Reference for the Professional Breeder_
   by: Dr. Sharon Lynn Vanderlip DVM
   Biotechnical Veterinary Consultants
   P.O Box 327
   Cardiff by the Sea, CA 92007
   (currently out of print?)
   _The Smooth Collie: A Family Dog_
   by: Iris Combe
   Kathleen Rais & Co., Phoenix-ville, PA
   1992, 270pp $35 paperback
   _Rough and Smooth Collies_
   by: Stella Clark
   Seven Hills Book Distributors
   Cincinnati, OH
   1993, 160pp $19.95 hardcover
   Collie Cues
   6200 Bay View Ave.
   Richmond Heights, CA 94806
   [no longer published]
   Collie Expressions
   Nancy McDonald, ed.
   PO Box 149
   Manassas, VA 22110
   703-361-9089, $39/year, 10 issues
   Collie Review
   Leslie Rugg, publisher
   3771 Longview Valley Road
   Sherman Oaks CA 91423
   818-990-7914, $30/year
   The Cassette
   Anne Lively
   2 Hemlock Cove Road RR#3
   Falmouth, Maine 04105 $7/year 4 issues
   collie and sheltie quarterly magazine
  Online Resources
   Web sites:
     * Email lists:
          + Send email to _collie-request@orcrist.oit.gatech.edu_ with
            subscribe in the subject line.
       The Collie Club of America does not recommend breeders. You should
       contact your local or regional club for help in finding breeders.
       The CCA can help you contact your local club.
       Collie Club of America
       Mrs. Larry Leonard (Carmen), Secretary
       1119 S. Fleming Road
       Woodstock, IL 60098
       American Smooth Collie Association
       Membership Chair: Dean Collura
       3926 Foskett Rd.
       Medina, OH 44256
       Collie Club of America Foundation
       Helen Denton, President
       5781 Hiway 85
       Riverdale, Georgia 30274
       Collie Club of America Bulletin
       Editor: Angela Gillespie
       Nonmember rate: $30/yr, $5/single copy
    Collies FAQ
    Cindy Tittle Moore,

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