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Collies as family dogs?

(41 Posts)
weaselwords Thu 31-Jul-14 17:46:50

My friend has taken her gsd x husky back to the rescue she got it from three months ago, as it bit a 12yr old friend of her son on the lip. Dog was hot, she was preparing it's food and the kid surprised it, so she can see why it happened but couldn't have the dog around her children of 9 and 12 yrs.

The family is now bereft without a dog. They had all completely fallen for him and just loved having a dog and the lifestyle. So they are cautiously looking for another.

My friend really likes collies, but I always thought them high maintenance and a bit nippy blush. I do not mean to offend any ardent collie fans, so would you recommend them to my friend?

Ephedra Thu 31-Jul-14 17:58:39

Unless your friend is a very experienced dog owner then no I would not recommend a collie.

Collies are lovely, they can be great dogs but they are often reactive/fearful. I know a lot of collies and all of them will nip in the right circumstance for them. Mine nips when stressed, our last collie nipped when excited. Other collies I know nip when scared, stressed, excited, when having fun or just because they can. Not all the collies I know nip people, some just nip other dogs.

Collies are hard work and are not always easy to live with.

I hope your friend finds the right dog for them.

Lally112 Thu 31-Jul-14 18:08:11

No to collies, collies will do the same. I have 4 - all working and kennelled and you're more likely to get bitten off them than any of my other 5.

weaselwords Thu 31-Jul-14 18:08:55

Thanks for that. She is an experienced dog owner, but not since having the children, so needs a dog that doesn't need one, iyswim, because of the kids.

17leftfeet Thu 31-Jul-14 18:09:29

We had a collie and she was a lovely family dog but that took a lot of hard work and training -the training was constantly reinforced until she became ill in her old age

They are very intelligent dogs and need that level of stimulation

They also tend to attach to one person which in a family situation isn't always ideal -we had the dog a long time before the children

cadidog Thu 31-Jul-14 18:11:47

Collies are brilliant working dogs but less good as family pets unless they go to an extremely outdoorsy family with plenty of space. Something like a lab or a spaniel would be far better.

GalaxyInMyPants Thu 31-Jul-14 18:13:23

Ime collies will try and herd small kids and nip at their legs if the kid doesn't go where the dog wants them to.

Might not be all collies I'm sure. Three of my friends have collies. I meet them for an hour dog walk every day. They have to go out again in the afternoon, I don't.

I wouldn't want a dog which needs two hours of walking a day.

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Thu 31-Jul-14 18:13:55

I would agree not a good choice. I have a farm bred collie and she is lovely but nervy and prone to jumping up and nipping when excited.

We have trained her not to do this and she learned quickly but accidentally scratched my son's friend on the back while jumping up. Luckily he was OK and his parents were understanding that it had been an accident, but if your friend has already had an incident like this I would not recommend she get a collie type of dog as it is more likely to happen with this breed.

Lilcamper Thu 31-Jul-14 18:21:12

Labs are NOT an easy breed. They need loads of physical and mental stimulation otherwise they go self employed, which normally means, digging, barking chewing or escaping.

EasyToEatTiger Fri 01-Aug-14 08:50:48

We have 3 collies and they are gorgeous. None of them have a specific job to do, but of course they need to be respected as working dogs. It is a privilege to share life with a different species. Dogs have teeth and collies are more likely to nip as that's what we have bred them to do.

affafantoosh Fri 01-Aug-14 09:38:32

A collie is not a good idea but she should realise that no dog is inherently "good with children". At the ages of 9 and 12 the kids need to be taught to be good with dogs, not the other way round.

kippersmum Fri 01-Aug-14 10:32:57

I have a collie who I adore & I would say no way for all the reasons listed above.

Owllady Fri 01-Aug-14 11:37:17

Same here, I have always had collies and would also say no. The one I have now has a strong herding instinct and is very nippy!

Can't she get a boring breed? (Not sure what they are) lots of the dogs at training school seem placid and easily attainable, even if they do seem less intelligent - not meaning to cause offence, I am often envious tbh grin as my collie makes me look like a dreadful owner/trainer. Except for this week where she followed me around looking bored hmm

PeanutPatty Fri 01-Aug-14 18:44:24

Definite no to Collies.

I would suggest considering (obvs need to look into breed traits and health issues):

King Charles Cavalier
Golden Retriever
Greyhound or Lurcher
Cocker spaniel - not working lines

I also think Staffies make wonderful family pets but appreciate most people are put off by all the negative press created by stereotypes which is a shame.

releasethehounds Fri 01-Aug-14 18:51:13

I'm obviously in the minority here but we've had 3 border collies over the years and none of them have been nippy (all female though). They have been lovely family dogs - gentle and protective of children. However, like others have said, I would only recommend a collie if the owner has the time and space to look after it properly, and yes, that means a minimum of 2 walks a day. They (like most dogs) also don't like to be left alone for long periods. We are lucky because my DH usually works at home, so dogs have been spoiled!

morethanpotatoprints Fri 01-Aug-14 18:51:15

We had a pure breed border collie puppy our first and last dog.
She was lovely and the kids loved her, but even as a puppy she was snappy and as she grew became more so.
She wouldn't have hurt anybody maliciously because she was loving, but her job was to round up sheep, its in her blood and her breed.
I sent the kids out to play, 2 mins later they'd be back with the dog snapping at their feet. I'd send them out again and she'd bring them in again.
We gave her to our neighbours in the end who didn't mind being rounded up grin

ghostisonthecanvas Fri 01-Aug-14 18:53:19

I suggest a collie cross. We have a collie/shepard cross. Know several others. Gentle, intelligent dogs. Before that a collie/springer - again gentle and intelligent. Also collie/lab - fun. The one pure collie I had as a pet was older. Again, great pet but definitely easier as she had quietened down. Grew up with collies, hard work. Loads of energy. Most have been rescue dogs. The lab cross was from a puppy - chewed everything, taught her agility. She loved it.

sewingandcakes Fri 01-Aug-14 18:54:55

No to collies. We have one and she herds our 3 kids, all under 9. I have wished many times that we hadn't got her but we persevere, and I would advise your friend to choose a different dog.

JassyRadlett Fri 01-Aug-14 18:55:42

Ours (a border collie with a bit of blue cattle dog in him) wasn't nippy in the slightest, but oh he loved to round things up.

Fine when we were on the farm - he and the geese raged a running battle. In town, he resorted to herding kids.

releasethehounds Fri 01-Aug-14 18:55:54

Ikwym about the herding instinct and whilst none of ours have nipped they have shown stress if we are on a walk and decide to split up the group. The only thing they have done is run to and fro between different members of the group to try to get us back together. Our latest one is the softest we've had but comes from working stock and she tries to chase and round cars up (which obv is a complete pain!)

JassyRadlett Fri 01-Aug-14 18:56:09

Sorry, that didn't help OP at all, just having a nice reminisce.

muttynutty Fri 01-Aug-14 19:06:33

I have 6 collies and children. I also have a large amount of land where the children and dogs can mix or stay away from each other when appropriate and I also want to spend all my time with the dogs if I couldsmile

Collies will not all nip and herd but they will need a lot of time and attention. Collies are fantastic companions to children they are loyal and gentle BUT collies do need extra attention to their own needs to be calm, contented and chilled. If they do not get this attention they will quickly become frustrated, bored, reactive, fearful and their natural instincts will take over in an inappropriate way. This is what happens to so many collies that have to be rehomed daily. Collies are not the average dog for the average family.

They need a lot of time (not on exercise) but on mind work, be it training, dog sport etc. A collie can not just be left to fit in with the family - they need to have their needs dealt with carefully.

The main problem with kids and collies is the adultssmile Either in how the dogs or children are taught to behave or the adults that were involved in the collies breeding in the first place.

Having said all of the above I would not recommend anyone to get a collie unless they are prepared to spend 80% of their time working or being with them or have land on which to work them.

Collies are amazing dogs and deserve more than just being a family pet who is walked one or twice a day. (also it is nearly impossible to have just one collie so you would have to consider if you could handle more than onegrin)

beccajoh Fri 01-Aug-14 19:12:02

My SIL has just had to re home a collie because she was too bouncy and nippy/scared around kids.

OldLadyKnowsSomething Fri 01-Aug-14 19:12:44

My collie is a fantastic family pet, but she does try to round up anyone on two wheels. This wasn't much of a problem when it was my teen ds on motorbikes (with good strong boots) but it would be an issue now dgs is on a pushbike, so we have to keep her in when he's playing out.

But in general, I agree with everyone else, they're not really an ideal pet. I'd go for a rescue mutt in your friend's situation.

Owllady Fri 01-Aug-14 19:57:25

I'm not denying all the positive things people have wrote as I feel the same and all mine have adored the children (and us) but they are not an easy dog to have and I just really wouldnt recommend one to a family who have just rehomed a working breed because it bit a child in the face.

I'm interested that people have posted collies need another collie for company. I have always had two but since October have only had one sad and she is definitely more highly aware and I would really like another but dh is adamant we won't (as atm we are in rented) I have suggested fostering one, so she has company z other dig gets trained, gets used to being in a home. He said he will think about it. Any positive recommendations as to why she should have company greatly received

I do all the training, walking, vet stuff, even right up to the end when I am with them when they leave this world (devastating) I don't really see why I shouldn't have another apart from this one is young (2, rescue)

Sorry this has turned into a moan

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