High Country Collies
Breeding for Structure, Health, Temperament and Genetics
Breeding for Structure, Health, Temperament and Genetics
We just may have some exciting news coming our way! And yours too, if you've been waiting for a puppy! We've had several successful ties between Indi and Levi, and March 30 we have an ultrasound scheduled with our repro vet in Alberta to confirm pregnancy. If you want to be on our waiting list, there's a form on our site here you can fill out and send to us. We'll keep it on file, and once the puppies are born will contact those who filled out a puppy form and a deposit will be required at that time. Expected due date is April 27. Below are Levi and Indi as puppies! Photo credit: Berta Lilienthal, Buffalo Creek Farms
Our snow is leaving early this year, so that means lots of outdoor training! Indi is registered for her first CKC obedience trial at the end of March, and Levi is entering his first CKC Conformation show. He’s such a magnificent young collie! He carries himself well and has that regal, majestic look that collies are known for.
We’ve been working hard at this, and I expect the first trial/show to be a big learning experience rather than an awards ceremony. We’re also starting scent discrimination training with Indi - that’s different than scent detection. The dog will learn to identify the article that has its owners scent from among other articles it’s grouped in with. Indi will learn to pick that article out of the pile and return it to me holding it without mouthing it. It’s a necessary skill for the higher levels of Obedience trials.
And Commanche? The big boy? Well, he’s earned his retirement and he will be watching all the happenings from his perch on the hillside! With one eye open, no doubt!
Both Levi and Indi have been busy earning their Novice Trick titles from Do More With Your Dog, an international trick dog organization that CKC recognizes. Each Dog had to perform 15 tricks and the videos were sent in for evaluation. We practiced for about a week outside on the deck, and now they are starting on the Intermediate Trick Dog titles.
Both Indi and Levi are training in CKC competition obedience and rally, and Levi will be shown in Conformation as well. He has a pretty nice natural stack, as most collies do. Conformation sure looks easy, but there's a lot to it for a first time handler! Soon the Canada geese will be returning to the wetlands where we live, and that's going to provide a lot of excitement (and work) for our collies! They love to circle in behind the geese and run them forward into flight off the property. They chase away predator birds as well, and put ravens to flight. If we owned poultry, our flocks would be well guarded!
A well built and properly structured collie is a natural born trotter. They move efficiently, with a smooth gait that seems effortless. Their gait is balanced and designed to save energy, and they almost appear as they float over the ground they are covering. As the collie picks up speed from a walk to a trot, he will single track. He will bring his front legs inward in a straight line from his shoulder to the centre of the body, while the hind legs move inward from the hip to the centre of the body.
If you watch closely from the side view, or better yet, take a slow motion video and replay it, you will notice the left front and rear legs are under the dog supporting their weight, while the legs on the opposite side are both fully extended. The back foot will land in the same spot as the front foot. This is called single tracking, and the footprints of a collie who is single tracking will leave a single line of only one track in the snow. This effortless gait is inherited in collies, and allows them to quickly change their direction of travel, which is very useful in a herding breed.
If a dog is poorly structured, they will not display this beautiful, fluid movement as they should. Short steps taken with the front legs, or a lowering of the head while moving, both indicate a weak front structure. Watch too, for the front leg to be extended from the shoulder, not from the elbow, which would show a poorly structured front end which will prevent the dog from moving as it should.
1. All rough collies today trace back to one collie named Trefoil. A tricolour, Trefoil was born in Ireland in 1873. You can likely trace your collie back to Trefoil using online pedigree databases if your collie is registered. Unregistered collies of course won't show up in pedigree databases, so you would hit a dead end at some point. I've traced mine back to Trefoil. They take different paths, but they do lead there. It's a fun but time consuming exercise.
2. Did you know the skin on your collie's nose is called leather? It's true! While it's not technically leather, the word is used to describe the textured layers of skin that make up the nose. One more fun fact about your dog's nose - his nose print is as unique to him as your fingerprint is to you!
3. If you've ever wanted a merle collie with blue eyes, you should know you can't breed for blue eyes. If the pigment deletion caused by the merle gene lands on the eyes, or on one eye, the puppy will be born with blue eye(s). It's purely random.
4. Did you know that blue merle collies are genetically Tricolour? Technically, they are black merles and the merle gene causes random pigment deletion of the black hair (eumalanin) so it appears silver or bluish. If they didn't have the merle gene, they would be tricolour collies. Its like they're top dressed with a beautiful blue coat!
5. Every collie likely has two copies (homozygous) of the Irish spotting gene, which is why it always breeds true. It is not testable (yet), and it creates that symmetrical white pattern on our collies' neck, chest, chin, belly, lower legs and the tip of their tail, and creates the thin white snip or blaze some collies have on their face.
Welcome to High Country Collies! We've established this site to keep in touch with our friends and contacts who are interested in our collies. We plan an upcoming litter between our blue merle female, Indi, who is genetically clear for all collie diseases and Levi, our young Tricolour stud who is showing such promise! He's clear for the collie panel diseases as well, and carries one copy of the MDR1 gene. Both Indi and Levi are low risk DMS. Levi moves beautifully, so effortless and smooth, just like a collie should. He is training in CKC obedience and conformation and will be competing in 2023 trials and shows.
Indi is two years old, and is such a beautiful and gentle girl. She is also training for competition obedience and has trained in agility previously. I made the decision to sell all my agility equipment during Covid when we couldn't trial, so Indi hasn't completed her agility training and we've moved on to obedience. Further information will be posted here as well as our Facebook page High-Country-Collies as it happens.