These are my collies, Rocky (above) and Skye (right). Don't they look calm and quiet? If you're wondering why they don't look so much like Lassie, it's because they are blue-merle in color (Lassie of movie and TV fame is sable; in the book Lassie-Come Home, she's a tricolor) and smooth-coated in variety, not rough-coated. Which means grooming (and bathing) is a cinch. Rocky is 6 years old. We've had him for 5 years and he came to us from Collie and Ibizan Rescue of Central Jersey. He's our first dog (except for the pug puppy I had when I was very little). And he is amazing. A true collie. I swear he channels Alfred Payson Terhune's Grey Dawn with a touch of Sunnybank Lad. Maybe the channeling is due to the fact that we live near Sunnybank, and Grey Dawn and Lad are buried there. Maybe it's due to the fact that Sunnybank collie blood has been documented in most if not all American collies, including smoothies. We don't know who Rocky's parents were, but we know what Rocky is. Everyone who meets him comments on his behavior and his intelligence. His official AKC name is Auchentoshan on the Rocks CGC. We're proud of that CGC title, which came not from formal obedience school but from teaching him house manners.
Now given that this breed is smart, naturally clean (Rocky refuses to go anywhere that might get his socklets dirty and Skye's father, HC Ohadi Max Pack, once refused to herd goats in mud - during championship trials!), why isn't it waaay more popular? Lest you think Skye's mother is a stay-at-home mom, let me disabuse you. She's a working b***h (a female Canis lupus familiaris is not a dog, but referred to by a word no longer polite in English, c'est dommage). Here's a typical day for Lucy, HC Ohadi Interlude in Blue. BTW, the HC means Herding Champion.
Skye is a different case. I actually went out to Idaho to buy Skye at 15 months (still a pup). Skye was whelped out at Ohadi Collies but I got him from Eve and Tony Gardner of Darae Collies. Skye lived out at that ranch outside of Idaho Falls until September 2006, when I brought him back with me to NJ. When I say Skye lived outside, I mean he lived outside! He didn't know how to walk up stairs, play with a ball, or that the house is not his big potty. He spooked at the sound of a dropped fork, or a car starting and whizzing by, and shied away from people. Since coming to us, Skye's come a long way. He asks to go out now when nature calls. He'll never be happy about noisy sirens or big trucks lumbering by. But he is now showing a devilish streak, sign of feeling at home here in NJ. For example, if Rocky has a toy Skye wants, Skye will prance by with a toy he knows is strictly Rocky's. Guess what happens next? Rocky goes to reclaim his toy, while Skye has scooped up the other. Skye will start a wrestling game with Rocky - and pull me into it too. Rocky respects humans too much for that. I got Skye to keep Rocky fit and young; he's keeping Rocky on his toes too!