Lassie is a well-known and loved fictional character female dog which has been around for decades. At first the dog appeared in a short story by Eric Knight, which he later then expanded into the classic novel which we know today as ‘Lassie Come-Home’. Lassie was later featured in many versions of the film, shows, television series, radio, stories, comic books, toys, and in all sorts of media, making her the pop icon we know today. So what type of dog was Lassie?
Lassie is a Rough Collie, a type of long-coated dog which descends from the herding dogs bred in the Highlands of Scotland and Wales in the 1700’s.
Great mystery surrounds the exact original of the Rough Collie, however it is believed that it came about after herding dogs of Scottish and Welsh descent were brought into England in the 1800’s and crossed with other varieties of sheep-dogs there, as well as with the Borzoi, which gave the Collie, both the Rough and the Smooth variety, its finely pointed long nose. In the 1960’s, these dogs first began appearing at dog shows, and even began to be kept as a fashion item after Queen Victoria obtained one of these dogs as such.
The Rough Collie was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1885. Later on, when the book ‘Lassie Come Home’ was published, the popularity of the Rough Collie grew massively, and it was then that Lassie became an icon to fans young and old.
The Rough Collie is a medium-sized, elegant, majestic, noble-looking dog, strong and lithe, with particular characteristics which make it stand out out among other dogs. The Rough Collie has a narrow, pointed muzzle, a light, smooth head, medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes, slightly tipped – or semi-pricked ears – a firm, muscular, well-proportioned body, and a deep, greatly-furred chest. These dogs come in four different colours, including tri-colour (black, white, and tan), blue merle, white, and most commonly seen, sable and white. The sable can range from shades of a lighter tan, red, or brown to a darker hue of mahogany. Lassie was a sable and white Rough Collie. These dogs have a beautiful, silky, thick long coat, and a light gait filled with grace as they move along.
Rough Collies are of a medium size. The male stands at the height of 56 to 61 cm, whereas the female stands at 51 to 56 cm. As for the weight of this dog, the male Rough Collie can weigh anywhere from 20 kg to 29 kg, whilst the female Rough Collie weighs around 18 kg to 25 kg. However, the American Rough Collie type is typically bred to be bigger and heavier than the British Rough Collies bred in England and Scotland, with a height that can go up to 66cm, and a weight that can go up to around 34 kg.
The Rough Collie is a gentle, mellow, and loving dog, with a friendly demeanour. They are affectionate and loyal to their family, and can form a strong bond and attachment with those they love. Rough Collies are moreover very intelligent and smart, so they can be trained easily and they learn fast. They also like to stay moderately physically active, hence their herding ancestry. They are sweet, as well as watchful and protective, and do great in families with children. They are peaceful dogs, typically never showing aggression, and they can be a little shy with new people. They are also sensitive dogs, taking on the mood of those around them. Some Rough Collies can be also be vocal dogs, and they will bark if distracted or unsettled by something.
A Rough Collie requires moderate exercise, therefore at least an active one hour walk every day, along with some free running and playtime will be good for them. They get very attached to their owner, so they need to be have social interaction every day. These dogs need to have something to do, as otherwise they could get bored. As a result of their trainability, these friendly, smart dogs can be easily taught tricks and good behavioural manners. They do better when given smaller, more frequent meals, to prevent bloating. As well as that, their long, furry coats require regular maintainance, so they will need to be brushed and groomed properly at least a couple times a week to maintain it in perfect condition.