Friday, August 24, 2012

Our collies...

Rough collies are easily recognizable, as just about everyone knows Lassie!  They are beautiful, sweet and loyal dogs.  They are easy to train, and excel in obedience, herding and agility, but then, so are the smooth coated collies.

When my uncle introduced us to his first smooth collie, I didn’t like the way they looked at all.  I was so used to seeing the beautiful rough coated collie, that at first glance,  a short haired collie looked very odd to me.  Over the years, the Smooths have improved a lot, they are now very beautiful dogs.  I think this is the direct result of our being able to breed smooth and rough collies together.  Unfortunately, in Europe they are considered separate dog breeds, and as such, they cannot be bred together.  While smooth collies are gaining in popularity here in the States, in Europe the smooth collie is on the “Vulnerable Breeds” list.  Which means there are so few of them, that the breed is in danger.

I’ve always known that I would have a collie in my life, one day. (If you’ve read my earlier posts, then you know all about my love of Lassie and the Sunnybank collies)  And the picture I always had formed in my mind was a sable and white or a blue merle ROUGH collie.  But when it came time to choose our first collie, out of a litter of five puppies, my daughter and I chose the only smooth puppy.  By this time, we had fallen in love with the smooth variety of collies.  This was because my daughter’s first junior handling collie, was a smooth collie named Mariah.  Mariah belonged to my sister, and most of her other collies are smooth as well.  So it wasn’t really a surprise that when it was time to choose our first collie, we decided we wanted a smooth collie.  And that smooth puppy boy grew up to be one of the best dogs we have ever known.  We named him Lad, after Albert Payson Terhune’s collie, Sunnybank Lad.

Lad with my daugter

He protected us, he loved us and he made us laugh with his antics.  He was also a clever boy, and learned at a young age, to pick up his dog bowl, and carry it over to us while we were eating.  We could never resist this collie, pleading with his eyes, holding out his bowl, asking us to share.

Lad August 2011

And while Lad understood a large amount of our words, he communicated with us without words, and always made himself understood.  His profound empathy, always ensured that he correctly interpreted our moods, and enabled him to comfort us in times of sadness.  He was everything a collie should be, and he was everything you could want in a best friend.  We lost him last September, when he was only 7 years old.  And we still miss him every day.

Lad September 2011

But Lad is not the only smooth collie who came into our lives.  Five years ago a little sable and white, smooth collie pup joined our family.  Her name is Abby, and she is truly one of the sweetest dogs.  Albert Payson Terhune called his collie, Bruce, “The Dog Without A Fault.”  He also called him, “Bruce the beautiful.”  I think Abby, who is a descendent of Bruce, takes after him.  Not only is she beautiful, she couldn’t do something wrong if she tried.  She is the dog who wants nothing more than to stay by my side.  If I am on the computer, she can be found sleeping next to my chair.  If I am in a room with the door shut, when I open the door she will be right there, waiting for me.  Abby also excels in herding, and could compete in herding events if we lived close enough to any trainers/facilities that specialized in herding.  We took her to a herding instinct test twice, and she earned her HIT with ease.  Since we can’t find any herding facilities nearby, and since she is already a champion, we are thinking of pursuing the new title of “Grand Champion” with her.

Abby 2010

When my daughter’s first junior handling collie, Mariah, was ready to retire from dog shows, she found a new partner in Holly.  Holly and my daughter have an amazing bond, that is clearly visible whenever you watch them in the show ring.  When my daughter moves even the slightest bit, Holly adjusts her own body.  And since we lost Lad, Holly has been taking over his duties as watch dog.  She lets us know when someone is outside our house, or if she hears anything suspicious she lets know immediately!  She has taken on the responsibility of stopping the younger dogs, if she thinks they are playing too rough.  Holly also has a sense of humor, and like Lad, she laughs with her eyes and body.  There is no doubt when you look at her wiggling body , wagging tail and happy face that she is laughing.  Her nickname is “Holly the happy collie.”  Holly is so eager to please, she has also earned her HIT and her CGC.  When Holly turns 8 years old, we are going to enter her in the veterans class at dog shows.  Even though she is a champion, Holly LOVES dog shows.  There is no place she is happier than in the show ring.  So to keep her happy, we will work on her Grand Championship in the Veteran’s class.

Last year Kori and Ryder joined our family.  They were born on August 30, right after a hurricane hit the East Coast leaving us without power for days.  Abby decided in the middle of the night, while we had no electricity, that it was a good time to have her puppies.  Ryder was the first puppy born, and he was actually stuck during the delivery.  All that was visible was his little nose and mouth!  We were on the highway, rushing Abby to the animal hospital, when Ryder was born, with a lot of help from my daughter.  That’s how he got his name, he was born while “riding in the car.”   We had decided to keep Kori, the smooth girl in the litter.  But her two rough brothers stole our hearts, and we decided to keep Ryder too.  After his dramatic entrance into this world, we couldn’t let him go.  He is just as sweet and gentle as his mother, Abby.  And Kori, our smooth girl is a sassy, challenging collie.  We hope to try agility and obedience with her, as she has a lot of energy and we think she would enjoy competing in those events.  The third puppy in the litter, Luke, went to live with a family who had recently lost their elderly collie.  The family has two young boys, who are Luke's best friends, and he goes everywhere with them.

Finally, a couple months ago, little Scarlett joined our family.  She is a smooth puppy too, and is becoming a beautiful young collie.  We are eagerly looking forward to discovering her talents and watching as her personality develops.

Scarlett 8-19-12

So that’s our family of collies, four smooth girls and one rough boy!

We took Ryder and Kori to the dog park this evening - the park was empty, but they still had fun!

Uh Oh - there be Pirates at the dog park!  :)


  1. Lad seems like he was an awesome dog! :-D I loved reading about all the other collies in your life too! There definitely be pirates in that there ship!

    1. Lad was what you would call, my heart dog. I love all my dogs, but Lad was just special.

  2. What wonderful furbabies to have in your family. Our Mom's brother use to breed smooth collies and he use to get asked all the time if he had shaved their fur off!!!

    1. Thank you!

      We get that too. We also get asked if they are greyhounds, or German shepherd mixes! It's funny how few people know about smooth collies, even though they have been around forever!

  3. Hi Y'all!

    Just hoppin' by to say "hi".

    What wonderful dogs Collies are. Was not aware that the US and Europe considered smooth and rough differently.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

    1. Both the smooth and rough collie are frequently bred together here. Although some collie breeders only like rough collies, so they will not breed to smooth collies, because they don't want any smooth puppies in the litter. When you breed rough and smooth, you may get all rough puppies, all smooth puppies, or some of each. :)

  4. Hi, fanks for poppin by to see's us..It's late now's in UK..and Humon has said I's gotta go to bed..So Wez will be over tomorrows to catch up on yor blog..I'm's a blonde Welsh Border Collie, a bit nuts, so Wez could be furriends and youz might be able to teach Mez some good manners, I'ms 15 mths old..and youz soo gorgeous xx00xx

    1. So you are close in age to Ryder and Kori! :) Is the blonde Welsh Border collie also called lemon? I met a Border collie at one of our dog classes, and the owner told me she was a lemon colored border collie.

      And thank you!

      Wags n woofs,
      the collies

  5. I love herding dogs. I've never had a Collie before but I had a Sheltie when I was a girl and have an Aussie mix today. In comparing the smooth and the rough Collie, I prefer the rough. When I hug a long-haired dog, it feels like hugging a teddy bear. (Shhh, don't tell my Lab Maya. I love hugging her too even though her hair is short.)

    1. We call Ryder our teddy bear, all the time! :) I love herding breeds too. But I did have a golden retriever who I adored. :)

  6. The Border Collie breed originated from landrace collies, an ubiquitous type found mainly along the British Isles. Many years ago, the first known origin of the Border Collie emerged from the border country shared between England and Scotland, hence the name. The original purpose was for them to work alongside sheep ranchers. In the year 1915, the term “Border Collie” was coined by James Reid, and served to distinguish the Border Collie breed from the Scotch Collie breed, as registered by the ISDS. Still, they are quite old as a breed, appearing in literature from as far back as the 16th century.

  7. Great Blog

    Thank You