Scotch Collie

Scottish Collie is the name originally given to the two types now often divided into Rough Collie and Smooth Collie. They were derived originally from herding dogs from Scotland and northern England, with mixture from other breeds, particular the Borzoi. See Collie for other types of collie and related dog types.

Coat Colors of Scotch Collie

Both Rough and Smooth varieties are available in four distinct colors:

  • Sable collies are generally the most recognizable, the choice of the Lassie television and movie producers. The sable color on these dogs can range from a light blonde color to a deep reddish-brown, with any hue in between possible.
  • Tricolor dogs are mostly black and white with tan markings.
  • Blue merle collies are best described as tricolor or black-and-white dogs whose black has been diluted to a mottled gray-blue color.
  • White collies are usually mostly white on the body with a head coloration of any of the three previous.

As modern-day "Lassies", both Rough and Smooth Collies have become successful assistance, and therapy dogs. At least one guide dog school (Southeastern Guide Dogs in Florida) currently trains Smooth Collies as guide dogs, and a number of Scottish Collies are currently partnered with disabled individuals around the United States.

Health of Scotch Collie

The Scottish Collie is typically a very healthy breed, and is known to inherit few health conditions that are both serious and prevalent. Some health conditions of note include Collie eye anomaly, PRA (progressive retinal atrophy), gastric torsion, dermatomyositis, grey collie syndrome (a type of neutropenia), collie nose (discoid lupus erythematosus), and demodicosis. Seizures, canine hip dysplasia, microphthalmia, and cyclic neutropenia are also occasionally seen.

Some Scottish Collies (and other collie breeds) have a particular allele of the multi-drug resistance gene, MDR1. This is also known as "the ivermectin-sensitive collie", however the sensitivity is not limited to ivermectin, a common drug used to treat and prevent various ailments in dogs including heartworm disease. More than 20 drugs are expected to cause adverse reactions including milbemycin and loperamide. A study by the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at UC Davis concluded that all dogs with this mutation are descendants of a single dog which most likely lived in Great Britain during the middle of the 19th century.

The mutation of the MDR1 gene is found in Scottish Collies and related breeds worldwide and affects approximately 80% of Scottish Collie dogs in the United States. Dogs with this mutation are predisposed to various sensitivities and some may suffer a potentially fatal neurotoxicosis.

Ivermectin is a popular choice in the prevention of heartworm disease in dogs, an extremely serious and potentially fatal condition. Despite the high prevalence of sensitivity in Scottish Collies to this medication, the low dosage provided is generally considered safe and preventative drugs such as Heartgard are advertised as approved for Scottish Collies, having a wide margin of safety when used as directed. A simple test, recently developed at and provided by Washington State University, can determine if a dog is a carrier of the mutation which causes sensitivity.

Scottish Collies typically live an average of 12 to 14 years.

Temperament of Scotch Collie

Scottish Collies are known to be generally sweet and protective. They are generally easy to train due to a high level of intelligence and a willingness to please. Some are a bit clingy, but this is often seen as an overdeveloped sense of loyalty. They are excellent herding dogs and benefit from the companionship of a family or other dogs. Scottish Collies are very playful and gentle around children. They can also exhibit a strong herding instinct, especially around children.

Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. Scottish Collies exhibiting basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

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