The Rough Collie is a dog of great elegance
and beauty with its long, harsh and weather-proof coat. It is a strong,
active, alert and intelligent dog showing no signs of coarseness.
The technical description of the breed,
found in the Kennel Club's official Breed Standard, is intended as a
guide to breeders and judges and states that each part of the dog is
in proportion to the whole to present a truly well balanced outline.
Rough Collies make excellent family
pets being friendly, loyal and adaptable, and should show no sign of
nervousness or aggression. They are best suited to an active life, but
adapt well to modern living especially if adequately exercised.
Rough and Smooth Collies differ mainly
in respect of coat development. Rough Collies possess a long, dense
coat with abundant mane and frill, whilst Smooth Collies have short,
flat coats. Description & History Pastoral or shepherding breeds have
been used to herd, drive and gather in the flocks for centuries. They
often worked in very difficult conditions especially in the mountainous
regions in the far north of the British Isles.
Their ability and desire to work was
all that was needed by the shepherds who owned them. Mr S E Shirley
MP JP founded the Kennel Club in 1873 and in October of the same year
he organised the inaugural Sheepdog Trials at Bala in north Wales, bringing
over some of his working Irish Rough Collies to participate. These dogs,
and dogs from the north and north west of England, are the true forebears
of today's show dogs. This is confirmed by studying the pedigrees of
the early show dogs, which can be traced back to the 1860's.
In 1881, eight years after Mr Shirley
founded the Kennel Club, he helped to form the first official Collie
Club. With the increased interest in showing Rough Collies, the breed's
image gradually changed through selective breeding and some believe
that the Russian Borzoi was occasionally introduced into breeding programmes
to provide extra length and refinement of the Collie head.
Royalty made the Rough Collie fashionable
with both Queen Victoria and the Princess of Wales - later Queen Alexandra-
taking a keen interest in the breed, and this marked the beginning of
the breed's popularity on both sides of the Atlantic. The Rough Collie
became a show dog in the 1860's and, nearly a century later, a film
star! In 1943 the first 'Lassie' film was released further adding to
the popularity of the breed.
Currently there are fourteen Breed Clubs
in the UK for promoting Shows and Seminars, and a Breed Council for
discussing wider Breed issues, which comprises two representatives from
each Breed Club. For anyone interested in the history and development
of the Rough Collie check out 'Rough Collies of Distinction' (Published
by Iris Combe, Dareen Bridge & Pat Hutchinson in May 2001) on www.karibunicollies.com