Although we typically use this blog to keep you up-to-date on the education team, or provide information for our readers on how to be safe and responsible around dogs, occasionally we use this space to share information about different types of dogs we get in our rehoming centre in Dublin. We’ve done blog spots on Staffies, Greyhounds and Huskys, but we’ve yet to give any coverage on one of the most popular dogs we rehome. The wonderful Collie.
The lovely Blaise, who is currently looking for a home in Dogs Trust
Collie’s come in all shapes and sizes, and are most famous for their vocation; herding sheep. So famous are they for this task that they are often called sheepdogs.
If we look back to the origins of this breed we must go back in time, way way back to 9000 BC.
A cave drawing of early domestic dogs. in Turkey, roughly 6000 BC
At this time many tribes of nomadic humans, both in Europe and East Asia had a radical change of lifestyle. Instead of hunting and gathering their food, they began to capture animals like sheep and goats, and domesticate them in herds. This meant they had full control on the food they ate and they didn’t have to constantly move from location to location. Unfortunately, when you have a large herd of grazing animals, this will attract predators, and humans were constantly losing their animals to wolves and bears. So, a new domestication started to happen; Dogs.
Dogs, who had at this stage already been somewhat of a companion to man, started a new role. They would protect the herds of sheep for man, and in return man would give it food, water and shelter.
This continued for thousands of years and is really quite incredible if you think about it. Our ancestors were able to hone the dog’s ability to hunt, but take away the dogs’ urge to kill. This allowed us greater control on large groups of animals, and allowed people to move their animals from place to place.
Around 2,500 BC, nomads from France arrived in Britain, bringing with them the Mediterranean Neolithic culture that involved this unique relationship between shepherd, dog and livestock. This dogs that would have been used at this point would be ancestors of the familiar sheepdogs we see today at competitive trials.
If we jump forward a few hundred years to 1893 we will meet a very famous Collie called Old Hemp.
Old Hemp was a very successful herder whose techniques were admired by farmers across Britain. So successful was he that he sired over 200 puppies, and he is known as the father of the modern Boarder Collie breed today.
Of course boarder collie’s are not the only collies, we also have the rough collie, which was made famous by the book, and later the film, Lassie, come home.
Lassie has been such a successful advertisement for rough collies that they remain highly sought after to this day. We don’t get very many rough collies in Dogs Trust, but we get lots of boarder collies, and boarder collie crosses.
Why you might ask?
Well, as beautiful as they are, they may not be suitable for every home. A dog that has herding livestock in his genes was not born to live in a tiny flat in the middle of a city, and many people adopt collies underestimating just how much energy they have. A collie that is not walked enough will be a handful. They are also arguably the most intelligent dogs in the world.
That might sound fantastic, and it is, but an intelligent dog must be stimulated. They must have their brains activated, and if they grow bored, they will again become a challenging dog.
We love Collies at Dogs trust, but we implore people who are thinking of adopting one to make sure they have the resources, before rescuing this ancient and proud dog breed.
Below are some of the wonderful collies we have in Dogs Trust at the moment. Have a look, and don’t feel too melon-collie.
Does Blaise set your Heart alight?
Might Amy whine in your house?
Will Dolly be your Collie?
Will you be Chillin' with Dylan
Will you scratch Ellie's Belly
Will you be Ginger's Fred?
Issac, your chap?
Marley and you?
Lie low with Milo?
Oreo, the cookie collie
Phoebe will be there for you
Sally was a good old girl
Shep the shepherd's friend