Do you have a Collie? If so, put a pawprint on your calendar for July 21st: it’s Collie Day! These beloved, iconic pups are very, very good boys. A Wichita, KS vet lists some fun facts about collies below.
We know that Border Collies originated in Scotland, where they were bred for herding sheep, goats, and other cattle. The origin of Fido’s name isn’t quite as clear, though. There are several different spellings, including Coll, Colley, Coally, and Coaly. The most common one, however, is simply ‘Coll’, which means ‘black’ in Anglo-Saxon. Later on, the word ‘Collie’ was used by Scotsmen to describe sheep dogs.
Collies are extremely intelligent. The average dog can learn up to 160 words or commands. One Collie, Rico, learned 200 words. Another incredibly smart Collie, Chaser, learned a whopping 1022 objects.
Poet Robert Burns, who is credited with coining the phrase ‘The best-laid schemes of mice and men’ had a Collie named Luath. The pup’s unfortunate and tragic death inspired one of Burns’ most famous poems, The Twa Dogs, which speaks of that special, almost magical bond people can form with their dogs. Luath is also featured in many statues of Burns.
We really can’t talk about Collies without discussing the most famous one of all: Lassie. Lassie was a fictional dog that first appeared in a short story and later, a novel, by Eric Knight. The character became one of the most beloved animal icons of all time. There are, to date, a dozen Lassie movies, as well as several books and comics. Then there’s the TV shows. The original ran from 1953 to 1974. Since then, there have been several specials and animated series, as well as the current reboot, The New Adventures of Lassie, an animated series which is still airing. Collies also appeared in the movies Babe, Animal Farm, and Snow Dogs.
Many celebrities have taken a liking to these smart, lovable dogs. Fido’s fans include Anna Paquin, Jon Bon Jovi, Ethan Hawke, James Franke, Tiger Woods, and James Dean. Of course, their most famous fan would have been Queen Victoria. In fact, it became fashionable to have collies in the Victorian age, due to her enthusiasm for the breed.
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