Life

Everyone Can’t Have Grown Up with a Rough Collie!

Everywhere I go with my dog, I hear from people who say they grew up with a Rough Collie, then add it was the greatest dog ever.

I recently took my dog to the vet for an annual checkup. And it happened again.

It happens every time.

Someone will approach and compliment my dog, a Rough Collie, otherwise known as a “Lassie Dog” after the title character in movies and TV, and add that they (or their kids) grew up with a Collie.

They’ll usually point out that you don’t see Collies that often these days.

The latter seems to be true: Collies do stand out when you see one because it’s not that common a breed.

But as to the former, I just wonder.

I actually did grow up with a Rough Collie. My parents brought home a Rough Collie puppy for Christmas the year I turned 1. She and I grew up together, but it took her no time at all to take on the role of protector of me. As far as she was concerned, I was her puppy.

And she had great maternal instincts. My mom and I recently recalled a day in which a thunderstorm moved in within a couple of months of her having a litter of puppies. The dog carefully gathered up each puppy, placed them in the straw in her dog house and then lay down with her back to the door so that no puppy could escape and that she could keep her watchful eye on each one of her babies.

She treated me that same way for years until she figured I was able to take care of myself.

The question I keep wanting to ask.

An older lady approached me and my current dog in a pet store and told me she had one when she was growing up and that it was the greatest dog she ever had.

A man told me almost exactly the same thing.

Another woman once told me that she had a Rough Collie that watched over her kids and was so protective that it wouldn’t allow them to go to the mailbox because she was afraid they were headed for the road.

Collies, after all, are working dogs, bred in Scotland to herd sheep.

About 90% of the people who approach to compliment me on my dog (and pet him, of course) tells me they had one and they’re all unanimous in their love of the breed. (The remaining 10% ask, “What breed of dog is that?” — a question that I can’t imagine anyone asking: there are some dog breeds that even non-dog-owners should be able to recognize.)

I always want to ask them a simple question: If you are that fond of the breed, why was that one you grew up with the only one you ever had?

Honestly, I think some of them are suffering from false memories from having grown up with the television series Lassie, the Collie who was always getting young Timmy out of trouble. Maybe they somehow have convinced themselves that they actually had one of those dogs.

My first Collie died just shy of her 11th birthday. My current Collie is the fourth one I’ve owned. I’ve owned other breeds, including a “Heinz 57” mixed breed I adopted from a shelter. But in my experience, I’ve found there’s nothing quite like a Collie.

That’s why I can’t understand why people who seem to love them as much as I do haven’t had another one since.

What’s your favorite breed of dog? How many of them have you owned over the years?

10 Comments

  1. My first Collie mix was when I was a teenager. He was such a wonderful dog. The best dog we ever owned. I married and had a daughter. Sparky (the collie mix) was an excellent protector with my daughter. He was getting up in age and I bought another collie and my daughter named her “Lassie”. Sparky passed away and it was devastating. Lassie was my daughters best friend. They played together and loved one another immensely. She passed at 14… 💔😭. I waited for about a year and couldn’t resist and bought another rough collie. Her name was Allie… She was our princess. We found out two weeks ago that she had an aggressive form of cancer. The vet tried to do surgery to remove the mass but it was to big and had spread to her other organs. We had no choice but to let her go. We are still devastated over Allie. We have owned a rough collie for over 35 years. Home just doesn’t seem like home without that little snooter checking everything out. They are the best dogs ever. When we would take our collies out people would say the same thing to us… love your babies… we never know how long we will have them.

  2. I have had 2 collies in my life and they were the BEST dogs ever. I now have a Great Pyranees and there is a major difference between collies and Pyrs as far as training, obedience and just plain loving.

    1. Of the various breeds my family and I have owned over the years, I’ve never seen a breed more focused on trying to please than the Collie. I owned two Cocker Spaniels years ago and while I like the breed a lot, they were so stubborn and only wanted things their way. The Collie is so easy to train.

  3. Well just like you Patrick I grew up with a Zibeline Rough Collie named Sweety : I was 4 or 5 years old when my parents got her but she died at 3-4 years old from cancer… it broke my heart… I didn’t want to suffer again but at the age of 27 I decided to adopt one again: a gorgeous blue Merle male Vick. He died from DM at the age of 10… Now it’s has been 5 years since and even if I LOVE this breed so much, I can’t make up myself and adopt another one!!! I still miss him a lot and my heart is broken…again… So maybe I can understand why people don’t have another Collie : they are so close to humans that their memory still keeps on in our heart for years

    1. I can understand, Nadia. I lost my next-to-last Collie just shy of his 4th birthday. It was horrible. The current one was underweight when I brought him home and he’s so appreciative of everything. To me, he was a “rescue” and he acts like he knows it! 🙂

  4. I have heard the same things!! Over my lifetime I have had 12 Collies. And when some says they use to have one I always ask why they don’t have one now. They never know. It’s like it never occurred to them to have another. “Why would I have another one?” “Why wouldn’t you?”

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.