Collies originated in Scotland & Wales. Scottish collies were large, aggressive, strong & bred to herd highland sheep. The Welsh collies were small, nimble, friendly & bred to herd goats. The English bred them with their own sheepdogs which produced the Rough Collie & Smooth Collie.

In the 1860's, Queen Victoria visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in love with the breed - from that point on Collies became very fashionable. It's believed they were crossed with the Borzoi for a more "noble" look. In the 1960s, it was a much taller dog than it is today. Earlier dogs were also more sturdy in build and reportedly capable of covering up to 100 miles in one day. Collies today aren't used for herding as much as they were replaced by Border Collies. Many have lost some of their herding instinct.

The word "Collie" has been spelled many different ways: Coll, Colley, Coally and Coaly. Generally, the most accepted origin of the word is "Coll" - the Anglo-Saxon word for black. The word may trace to Gaelic or/and Irish - in which the words for "doggie" are, respectively, càilean and cóilean. This would be more consistent with the breed's origin in the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlands than an Anglo-Saxon term.

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