Queen Victoria was the first to see the Collie’s potential as more than just a  Shepherd’s labourer. Adding the breed to others in the Royal Establishment after admiring their cleverness whilst holidaying on her Scottish Estates and as Victorian Society invariably followed ‘The Court’ the Rough Collie quickly established itself as a pampered drawing room accessory.

This newly found position exemplified  by several famous artists who featured  the Collie in a variety of guises including  highland scenes, as fashionable  accessories, and cute chocolate box  themes, often depicting children with  collie at play, that were so popular with  Victorian and Edwardian families.



The first two images, both by popular world  renowned artists, are typical of the type of  art work which helped to maintain the 
Collie’s popularity throughout the late  Victorian and the whole of the Edwardian  periods.

Top right — Two Collies set in a  Highland landscape by John Emms  (1843-1912) — although neither Collie is  identified it is believed the tricolour is  Ch Rutland while the sable and white,  originally considered to be a dog, is now thought to be Rutland’s daughter  Barton Sable, founding bitch of Sir Humphrey de Trafford’s Collies, and it is known that Sir Humphrey commissioned Emms to paint his English Setters.

Above — Well Done — this image of a family group cheering on a young equestrian who is accompanied by the family’s Collie is typical of Arthur J Elsley’s (1860-1952) work and of the popular family cult of the period.

Bottom right — Share & Share Alike — the Collie - Companion bond graphically illustrated in this charming image of a small child sharing her picnic with her canine friend  —  circa 1964

Royal patronage continues even now although since the death of King  Edward VII’s widow, Queen Alexandra, in 1925 the Collie has enjoyed a  rather lower profile and public support for the breed took a downward turn  during the late twenties and throughout the thirties.

All images on this page courtesy of
‘The Rough Collie Archive’


Popularity revived with the introduction of a new icon in the shape of the  celluloid Lassie, star of Lassie Come Home and several spin-off television  films screened in the 60s. Catapulting the Rough Collie into the top twenty  list of popular breeds where it remained for almost 60 years.

Now into the twenty-first century the Rough Collie continues to be the  canine companion of choice in many families, and with good reason. Its undemanding devotion, natural intelligence, and biddability make it ideal  for today’s fast changing society where its inherent eagerness to please  allows it to adapt to any owner’s requirements whatever they may be.  Equally content to curl around ones feet while its owner reads a book or  watches television, supervise or join in the children’s rough and tumble, or accompany the more energetic on a twenty mile hike along one of Great  Britain’s many exposed long-distance footpaths when your collie will travel  three times your own distance while investigating each bush, gate-post, 
stile etc, and still be ready for the next stage long before you are.

Related internal links

The Rough Collie Origin