There was once a man whose eulogy for a dog named Drum moved a courtroom jury to tears. This is what he said:
“The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous, is his dog….He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer; he will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounter with the roughness of the world….When all other friends desert, he remains.” –George Graham Vest – a former US Senator
I am a dog. More specifically, I am a Rough Collie. The above quote applies as much to me as to any other dog in the world. Here’s a little about me.
The Rough Collie was bred first in Northern Britain but we shot into prominence when we caught the eye of Queen Victoria. And yet, the credit for making the Rough Collie a household face, goes to the movie “Lassie.” We are intelligent, sensitive, and loyal. Because of our sensitive nature we are easy to train if given proper attention and corresponding rewards.
We are of gentle nature and this makes us excellent companions for children. Because we are sensitive, once a person loses our trust, we find it difficult to trust again. We are very patient and calm and this makes us excellent family dogs.
So far, we’ve been talking about our inner beauty. Let me tell you that in human parlance, you could say that we are drop-dead-gorgeous.
We are famous for our lustrous coat, which is very smooth – but this also means that our coat is high-maintenance. If you decide to take one of us home, be prepared for a daily or at most an alternate day brushing routine, or the coat of your Collie would become knotty. We need some exercise, but certainly not as much as a German Shepherd does.
Another thing. We are quite like people. We don’t like to be ignored and left alone – it makes us sad and depressed, and if you ignore us long enough, we also become aggressive. You won’t do it with a kid, don’t do it with us. We are just like them. We love attention, and when we do something to please you, we love to get a belly-rub, a pat, or a treat.
Rough Collies vs. Shelties?
We and the Shelties – cousins?! Absolutely not. There’s no connection whatsoever. They aren’t miniature collies. Nope. They developed separately, they are half our size, and their foreheads are shaped differently too. Shelties are actually Shetland Sheepdogs – and though they are cute in their own way, we aren’t related.
Here are our measurements (ahem!)
Let me begin with the obvious. We are super-beautiful. A few other details:
- Height: 20-24 in
- Weight: 45-65 lb
- Coat: Long and shiny coat in colors Sable White, Blue Merle, or Tricolor black. Generally a white-collar around the neck and tan marking around the eyes.
- Life Span: 12-14 years
You can read more about the physical and other characteristics of the Rough Collies here.
Let me tell you about Lassie.
Hollywood’s Most Celebrated Rough Collie – Lassie:
Lassie was a Rough Collie who could talk to humans – but that was in the movies. The real hero was Pal (1940-1958), the actor who played the female dog Lassie in the famous Hollywood movie Lassie Come Home produced by MGM Studios in 1943.
Believe it or not (I didn’t,) MGM auditioned around 1500 dogs before they selected Pal to play the role of Lassie. In the movie, Pal plays the role of Lassie who is an extremely intelligent dog with the uncanny ability to communicate with humans. Lassie’s ability to understand humans led to the famous catchphrase “What is it, Lassie?” Rudd Weatherwax who trained Pal for Lassie’s role worked as hollywood animal trainer. Later Pal also acted in pilots which were done for the television series Lassie.
When Pal became old, his son Lassie Junior took the mantle from him and acted in the Lassie TV series. However, Pal would come to the studio sets to watch his son play the role of Lassie and was given a bed behind the set. Everyone on the set called Pal “The Old Man”. When Pal died at the age of 18 (age the age of 126 in human-years), Rudd was devastated. He buried him in his ranch, and would visit the grave of Pal quite often. In fact, he never saw a Lassie movie again, the rest of his life.
Reveille – The Official Mascot of Texas A & M University:
Reveille VIII, is a female Rough Collie who assumed her duty of the official mascot of Texas A & M university in the year 2008. Reveille is officially care for by Corps of Cadets Company E-2 also called “Mascot Company”. The mascot dog has her own cellphone which is operated by mascot corporal and has her own student identification card. The university has a cemetery where all the past Reveilles are buried.
Quoting from the above page:
“Reveille is the most revered dog on campus. Company E-2 has the privilege of taking care of Reveille. If she is sleeping on a cadet’s bed, that cadet must sleep on the floor.”
I say Amen to that.
What do you say?
AKC Page for Collie: