So you think you want a collie?

A Quick Guide To Collie Ownership

  1. Collies require a high-quality diet. (Growing all that hair is lots of work.)
  2. Collies are not high-energy dogs but DO require regular exercise- a 30 minute walk at least once a day is adequate for most dogs, but a good romp is very much appreciated.
  3. Collies are not outside dogs in the main. Although many DO appreciate a nice fenced yard for romping and sunning, on the whole, they would rather live in a coat closet with you than on a thousand acres by themselves.
  4. Rough collies, while they DO fit most people’s daydream of their ideal collie companion, need a ton of grooming. If you don’t absolutely ADORE spending 20 minutes a night picking grass out of your dog’s legs and tail? Consider a smooth. Most roughs need upwards of 90 minutes of grooming per week- more if you take walks in any kind of brush often or if their coat gets soft and cottony as they age. The smooths DO look different, it’s undeniable- but they’re equally beautiful.
  5. Collies bark. While generally, they can be taught NOT to bark excessively, some of them can be VERY trying. If you have the type of neighbors who consider a single “WOOF!” after 11PM reason to call the police about a noise complaint, consider moving house before adding a collie to your family. Many collies are fairly quiet in the main, and they’re not barkier than shelties or American Eskimos- both very popular pets, including with apartment dwellers- but you should carefully consider both the individual dog you are planning to bring home AND how you will deal with any problems if they arise BEFORE you bring the dog home.
  6. 80% or more of collies are affected by or carriers for Collie Eye Anamoly, a collection of eye disorders which vary from minimal with no impact on the dog’s ability to function as a pet or performance dog (go normals and CRC) to detached retinas and malformed optic disks. Realistically, a puppy with CEA can make a perfectly acceptable pet, but this should ALWAYS be disclosed by the breeder prior to purchase, accompanied by a certificate from a veterinary ophthalmologist showing the results of an exam performed between 5-8 weeks of age. CEA is a simple recessive- Collies can be affected (in any of a number of grades), Normal Eyed (carrying a single gene for CEA and so not affected themselves- but they can produce affected pups), or Normal-Eyed Non Carrier (carries no genes for CEA; they do not have it and cannot produce it if bred.)
  7. Many (not all, but a significant number) Collies are sensitive to ivermectin and certain other drugs, sometimes called “Ivermectin Sensitivity.” These collies should not be given ivermectin or any related product or a number of other drugs. A DNA test is now available for this condition (called MultiDrug Resistance (MDR1).) Cloudix Collies intends to test for this in the future but does not currently- our top priority currently is eliminating CEA from our breeding program.
  8. Collies are blessed with a relatively low rate of hip and elbow dysplasia compared to many large breeds; however, breeders still frequently check ‘just in case’.
  9. Our scariest health problems in this breed are frankly the things that cannot be tested for- bloat and epilepsy. Dogs who have these conditions (and survive them, in the case of bloat) should not be bred, ever, and their offspring and siblings should be bred only with EXTREME caution. Talk to your breeder about these things before falling in love with a puppy.
  10. Collies are highly trainable, but they like routine, and respond best to gentle (primarily positive) methods. They can be emotionally sensitive and can be frustrating for people who get upset loudly.
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