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Collie Breed Information @ Rainforest

About the Collie

The Collie was originally bred for sheep herding and droving in Scotland and Northern England but today the Collie's primary role is that of companion dog supreme.   With the same instinctive vigilance his ancestors devoted to his flocks, the Collie watches over a modern family today.  A Collie wants above all else to be with and please his human family.  There is enough devotion for a single person or a large family.  Collies are equal opportunity lovers-no member of the family will be ignored!    The images created by Albert Payson Terhune and his Sunnybank Collies and Eric Knight's Lassie-loved in print and in film have drawn many people to our breed.  

The fact that quite a few of our puppy buyers come back for another Collie when their first one leaves them, confirms that Collies are everything that Lassie and Lad of Sunnybank embodied.

There are two varieties of the Collie-Rough and Smooth.   Here at Rainforest, we only breed Roughs but we love Sooths - everything you love in a Collie in the "wash and wear" variety.  Both varieties have a soft, furry undercoat for insulation with the difference being the length of outercoat. The Smooth's outercoat is sufficient length to cover the undercoat.  The Rough's outercoat is it's crowning glory-there are few things more beautiful than a Collie in magnificent, full coat.    The Collie's coat gives him the needed protection from harsh weather that was experienced when working those sheep.  The Collie's body structure allows for strength and agility, which enables him to work and play all day.   But, for a medium-sized Herding breed, the Collie does not have to be superactive.   He will gladly going hiking with his owner all day but is equally content watching the Stanley Cup play-offs on the couch.

Glacier (Rainforest Accumulation)
Rainforest Accumulation
(AmCan Ch Tallywood Exhilaration x BISS AmCan Ch Tallywood Rainforest Radiant ROMX)

Male Collies usually weigh between 60 to 75 pounds and stand 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder. Females weigh between 40 to 60 pounds and are 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder.  Aside from a size, there is little difference between the sexes.  Once neutered, and occupying a comfortable corner of your living room, their coats tend to keep a mid-range length.   If living outdoors, the coat will be fullest in the fall and winter, with a heavy shed as the weather warms in the spring.

The Collie's sweet expression is obtained by the perfect balance and combination of skull, foreface and size, shape and placement of eyes, as well as having the correct position and carriage of the ears. This combination gives the Collie a truly magnificent, noble and alert appearance.  The breed standard for a Collie places great emphasis on the qualities of a Collie head. A Collie's expression is truly a window to their soul.   And, rest assured, there is a plenty of space for brains in their sweet,  loving heads.


Temperament & Training

The Collie has a natural love of children-our dogs arrived before our son and we were always amazed at how quickly they accepted visiting children at our house.  A Collie's herding instinct is still very much alive.  Young puppies will often nip at legs in their excitement to keep their human flock under control.   It is very important to stop nipping right away.  Because Collies are sensitive and eager to please, the correction usually needs to be no more than a firm "no" and stern eye contact.  Harsh corrections usually accomplish nothing more than bruising that sensitive nature that truly strives to make you happy.  Collies are easily trained but also easily bored with repetitive exercises.   Unlike some breeds who will retrieve a stick all afternoon, after a couple of throws, a Collie will give you that look that says  "if you're dumb enough to keep on losing that stick, fetch it yourself".

Jackson (Rainforest Under the Influence)
Rainforest Under the Influence HIC
(Ch Rainforest Under The Lights x Ch Rainforest Exhuberant)

Collies are protective of their home and, like many Herding breeds, are quite vocal at the sight of strangers.  (Heck, they're vocal if an interesting leaf falls off a tree a block away!).   This is a breed that likes to bark but can be trained to behave in a suburban neighbourhood.   There are many stories of a Collie's valour and bravery but this is, in general, not a guard dog.  We have seen Collies will use their herding ability to protect a house and it's owners but they should not be aggressive.

The strong desire to please can carry a Collie far in events such as obedience, agility, herding and tracking.  (See "More than just a pretty face for some examples).  Collies are also used as service dogs and they are naturals at being therapy dogs.

Ch Rainforest Tallywood Nitelight
(Am Ch Gambit's Trick of Light x BISS AmCan Ch Tallywood Rainforest Radiant ROMX)


A full coated Rough Collie is not as much work as one might expect.  A correct, harsh coat naturally repels the dirt and rain.  Half an hour once a week is more than enough time to brush through the coat, take out any mats and clip nails.  Collies do not need frequent baths and should not have frequent baths, as that process strips the coat of natural oils that keep the coat healthy. A Collie who spends his night sleeping in the house will keep a medium coat, that will not shed profusely.   Dogs who sleep outdoors, where the elements influence their coat more greatly, will tend to have a big shed of undercoat in the spring.   A good brushing and a hot bath, done a couple of times during their shed, will quickly remove all the dead coat.

Ariel (Ch Rainforest Luminesce)
Ch Rainforest Luminesce
(Am Ch Gambit's Trick of Light x BISS AmCan Ch Tallywood Rainforest Radiant ROMX)


Collie Health

The most common health concern for our breeds regards their eyes.  There are two possible eye problems.
The more common problem is CEA  (Collie Eye Anomaly).   Most estimates are that 90% of Collies either have CEA or carry the gene for CEA.  This is a non-progressive anomaly which does not worsen with age and rarely effects vision.  A reputable breeder always has their puppies eye-checked by a certified canine ophthalmologist.   While the condition rarely impacts a dog's vision, and at Rainforest, our eye checks normally result in either no Choroidal Hypoplasia or very mild Choroidal Hypoplaisa, we still eye-check every puppy born at Rainforest.  

Because the gene for this anomaly is polygenic, and the degree of expression varies and can be hidden for several generations, all Collie puppies should have their eyes checked.   If you're looking for a puppy and the breeders tells you that eye checks are not necessary because their Collies eyes are fine, consider that to be a strong warning sign of a less than diligent breeder.

The second problem is PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy).   This is a progressive disease that cannot be diagnosed as early as CEA.  The simple recessive gene for PRA must be present in both parents, in order for a puppy to even have a chance to inherit the disease.   Thanks to many years of diligence by many fine breeders, the frequency of PRA has been greatly reduced in the breed.   Most breeders (including ourselves) have pedigrees with families which they believe to be free of PRA.

Occasionally, problems involving the immune system can be seen in the Collie.   We strongly believe that the vaccination protocol for Collies should be kept to a minimum, as vaccinations suppress the natural immune system. There is no need to give an adult dog annual booster shots.  Finally, veterinary colleges are starting to recognize what breeders have believed for awhile and are recommending a less frequent schedule of shots.  Rather than repeat information, please check out these websites for some very good information on vaccinations.   Just as human beings are realizing that modern medicine is sometimes too much of a good thing, the same can definitely be said for our canine friends.
Tallywood Collies - Health Info
Kinetic Vaccination Info

General FAQ's

Here are some more links that have great information and we recommend reading them to understand even more about our beautiful breed.   The FAQ section of Tallywood Collies is a great reference!

Tallywood Collies - FAQ's
AKC - Collie Info
CKC Collie Info

Ch Rainforest Pieces of April
(AmCh Southland's Bowen Island x Ch Tallywood At First Light)


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Susan, Jim & Kristopher Bertrand
Abbotsford, BC Canada

604 856-6438
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