Collie Crosses

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Collie crosses come in a huge variety of shapes and sizes.  In fact whenever you see a black and white dog of indeterminate breeding you can very often see a bit of collie somewhere.

If you choose a crossbred dog you are likely to get characteristics from both breeds.  Hopefully they will be good characteristics.  Our vets have always told us that crossbreeds tend to be healthier on the whole as they have hybrid vigour. 

Collie crosses may well inherit the desire to work and if they are fit and healthy then they could be ideal for agility.  The two lovely dogs shown below could produce a dog of great "character" but of course you won't be sure whether you'll get a daft dog or a naughty dog or a mixture of both.

Isn't this little collie terrier cross absolutely gorgeous? Thanks to Dawn Turner at morguefile for sharing this photo with us.

 

Thanks to Metiana at morguefile for the
photo of the daft dog with a dummy!

  Thanks to Dawn Turner at morguefile
  for another great photo. 
 

 

Jamie is a typical result of crossing a flat coated retriever with a collie, but not all crosses can be so predictable.  I had always had a hankering for a flattie.
 

   

Left: The result of this cross is a dog like Jamie (left) or Billy (right)

 

Jilly is a typical springer collie cross.  Dogs of this type tend to be a bit hyperactive and can be difficult to manage and to train.  However, if you persevere they will make excellent agility dogs.  They are not for the faint hearted.  Before we chose Jilly her breeder checked and double checked that we would be able to cope with such an active dog. 


If you are offered an adult dog or a puppy of known parentage then you would be well advised to do a bit of research on the breeds involved before you say "Yes."   On the whole I think you have to like the characteristics of a breed as well as considering the suitability for agility.   The table below gives the responses from people who have collie crosses. 
 

Collie crossed with....

Height category

How easy is the dog to train?

Would you recommend this type of dog for agility?

Would you choose this type of dog for agility again? Comments
Bearded Collie Large Easy Yes Yes  
Bearded Collie Large Easy Yes Yes Very smart and extremely quick dog. She needs positive training, harsh
training/handling wouldn't work well with her.
Border terrier Medium A bit difficult Yes Yes  Absolutely cracking agility dog but was difficult to keep his concentration to
train at first due to him being totally mental!
Corgi/Jack Russell Medium Fair to middling Yes Yes  
Dachshund medium Fairly easy Yes Yes  
Dachshund medium Fairly Easy Yes Yes Very flexible, with a really scopy jump- loves to please nice movement.
Dachshund medium Easy Yes Yes  
Dalmatian large Easy Yes Yes Tash - this dog is realy fast so a quick owner is needed to keep up.
Doberman large Fairly easy Yes Yes Our dog Dixie has the ability of a collie without all the madness!!
Golden Retriever Large Easy Yes Yes Margaret Bradley says "Lovely to look at; lovely to train; lovely to live with. Have owned them since 1985; wouldn't have anything else." 
Golden Retriever/beagle Medium Easy Yes Yes Jessey is a VERY intelligent dog, but I have not been able to find an agility
competition near where I live.
GSD Medium Easy Yes Yes I think I have two of the most intelligent breeds in one! I have trained all my dogs myself and Sadie has, by far, been the easiest.
GSD medium Fairly Easy Yes Yes I think that any sort of collie is usually best for training as they love to learn
new and different things and they love to please!
GSD Large Easy and Fairly easy (2 responses) Yes Yes  
Flattie Large Fairly easy Yes Yes  
Flatcoat Large Fairly easy Yes Yes  

Jack Russell

Medium

Fair to middling Yes Yes  
King Charles Spaniel Small Fairly easy Yes Yes we are hoping to enter our first show in March (which will soon come around) Polly is just 18 months old and it's our first go at agility
Labrador Medium Fairly easy Yes Yes  
Labrador Medium Fair to middling Yes Yes very willing will have a go at anything
 
Labrador Large Fairly easy Yes Yes  
Labrador Medium A bit difficult Yes Yes  
Labrador Medium Easy Yes Yes Very smart dog - willing to work at anything - loves jumping especially.
Labrador Large Easy Yes Don't know Some can have a wider build.
Labrador/GSD Large Fair to middling Yes Yes He is fast so needs fast reactions
Lurcher Large Fair to middling Yes Yes Brilliant second dog for those of us who are a bit unsure about getting a collie. Not as loopy as WSD but just as fast.  Sharon Footitt
Mongrel Large A bit difficult Yes Yes Great at the agility bit but terrible recall
Retriever Medium Fair to middling Yes Yes  
Saluki Large Easy No No  
Spaniel Medium Easy Yes Don't know  

Staffie

Medium Easy Yes Yes

It's undoubtedly the BC genes in my dog that makes her a good agility dog. Had the
Staff genes been dominant then perhaps she wouldn't have been quite as good.

Staffie Medium Fairly easy Don't know Don't know  
Whippet Large A bit difficult Yes Don't know Very fast, very excitable, not a great first dog, I just wish she had been my second dog, good for experienced handler - Sally Lewis
Whippet Large Fairly easy Yes Yes Always lovely natured and a very calm dog indoors. easy to train, needs quite a lot
of exercise, gets bored quickly, can be very fast
.

Comments:

Nicki:
I got my first dog 2 years ago.

She's a collie cross (crossed with something small...so she's medium for agility...got her from RSPCA at 11 months old - she's nearly 3 now. We've been doing agility for 3 months and she's already been to her first show (Delinquent Dogz, in the capability class!!)
Not sure what she's crossed with - her brother from the same litter looked like a dalmation - Wendy's got huge ears though!
 All I can say is she's perfect - quick to learn, but not too "mental" - and easily controllable.
 I love mongrels - and will always have a rescue mongrel over a pedigree :)

Ella (collie/flat coated retriever/red setter )
I don't know what another one of him would be like, all the litter were different and he has a few problems being a rescue. He's great to train and being a young handler, he is my first training dog and we're both learning as we go.

Hannah & Kasper (the dog)
I have a lurcher x collie dog who is 5 and he is amazing. we got him when he was 11 months old and he had been shut in a cage all his puppyhood with children tormenting him and pulling his ears. He had also been attacked by a jack russell so was aggressive towards small dogs when we got him. He is now 5 and really is a dream. I can walk him anywhere without a lead (he does chase the odd rabbit though) and he loves people and hasn't attacked a dog for about 2 years now. I think that he proves that with the right attitude towards training anyone can train a problem dog. I am now 15 so was 11 when we got him and I have trained him all by myself and he walks by my side when told without a lead, so if you don't think you can do it just try it with a calm and laid back attitude and you too can work wonders with your dog. I now have the people we walk with asking me to train their young dogs.

Ray (Labrador/collie):
My dog is actually a Flyball Dog (International/BFA flyball, rather than the KC variety). He is currently running under 4.7s over 11" jumps, which is pretty fast. If I could get him to do a proper "Swimmers' Turn" rather than his labrador pounce on the box he'd be around the 4.3s mark, putting him among the fastest dogs in the country! I've done an introduction to Agility course with him, which he loved. He's also loves swimming and DockDogs where he's been measured at 14 feet and Dash'n'Splash where he managed around 16'6". I would definitely recommend this cross to a first-time dog owner over a pure collie. We have some first-time owners with collies at our flyball club and it is clear that they really don't know what they've taken on. When training a collie X lab you need to be two steps ahead of the dog - with a collie, you need to be about 5 steps ahead - which is a tall order if you are learning this for the first time yourself!

Celia:
 
My collie/saluki cross is four years old. I got him at 20 months after he was abandoned by his first family. I tried him at agility when I first had him but he was just so laid back! He loves running. Any thoughts on what other fun things I can do with him?
Pat comments: There are loads of activities for dogs.  Are you any good at running yourself?  You could try something like cani-cross.  Flyball might be a good activity for this kind of dog as it is basically a relay race and they have to run like hell. 

Gstar (Lurcher/collie):
We have just added our lurcher collie x to our family and she couldn't be better. everywhere we go people tell us what a beautiful girl she is with her gray and white coat and different colour blue eyes, one is ice blue and the other dark blue! people also comment how well behaved already, she is only 11 weeks old and returns on command. We wouldn't be without our little Tillie, she has made our pack whole.

Laura
His breed, us and our vet have guessed as border x beardie, but he is very unusual. Characteristics and face of a border, coat and build of a beardie! He is a mystery!!! Would love you to put a pic of him up so people could guess! Very very fast, very powerful and very enthusiastic dog.
Pat says: It would be great if you could join the forum and post a pic on there.  We could all have a go at guessing the breed.

Emma:
I have a collie cross cavalier and he goes round the agility course very fast and learns quickly. A great all round dog.

Mhairi:
Hi, I have a terrier (probably Jack Russell) collie cross. He's definitely a mixture of both - very willing and fairly quick to learn but has the attention span of a flea especially if rabbits are in anyway around. He likes agility though especially when he got the hang of it and decided it was more interesting than the smelly riding school sand. I wouldn't say obedience is his forte (Chak the lack is his nickname as in lack of discipline) but we're working on it, having a fairly well behaved pure collie round helps a bit!
 

Sarah B (Collie x Doberman):
We have had Dixie a collie x doberman for 6 months. She is a rescue dog with no history on her but is about 2 1/2 years old. We have taken her to agility classes for the last two weeks and has taken to it like a fish to water. On her second visit today she flew over 6 jumps, tunnel, 6 more jumps and finishing with the tunnel again. Almost a perfect round !!She is a lovely dog - in fact almost perfect apart from her love of going through the dustbin if she gets the chance!

Kirsty (Flat coated retriever collie cross, Billy who is pictured right):
He is a little angel on paws - v. nervous with other dogs & new people but very clever, kind, and super speedy!!

Gina (Rough collie GSD cross):
I have a rough collie cross shepherd we think.  She has been the easiest dog in the world, not the fastest but so easy, she picks things up after she's been shown what to do once.  Would recommend them as a first agility dog.

Barbara Bullock (Border collie lurcher cross):
I have been teaching him to jump and weave, but having been to an Agility show I fear I have been doing it all wrong. I am desperately trying to find a local group to teach me how to train him properly. He is so fast and loves to please I think he would be perfect if I can keep his excitement levels down. He tries to guess what I want him to do next rather than listening to me when he gets excited.   
Barbara has now sent us an update.  She says "I have now enrolled Max in an agility class starting on 12th April. I'll let you know our progress. I hope I haven't taught him too many bad habits."

Helen Davies has found her once in a lifetime dog and would like to share the following with us:
I have a collie German shepherd cross, he came to me when he was 8months old. I feel humbled by him, as he desperately listens  to every word I say, and picks out the ones he knows, ie. bone, kong, water, food.. you know what I mean. He then disappears in a flash to get what he thinks I want. (and he's usually completely
correct) He's so loving, and house protective, but not a barkaholic. He wants to serve till his last breath leaves him. He will  anticipate what I want and trip over himself to please me! So, I supply him with find and seek games,  walks and constantly allowing him to use his intelligence. He has saucer sized eyes, that are filled with love and adoration. I am so glad that he has come into my life, and I shall make absolutely sure that every day will be exciting and rewarding for him, as they are for me. Sorry for being so sloppy about this dog..but I have never had a dog before like this.....what a magnificent animal and friend!

Becky (Collie cross but we don't know what with):
He is very responsive and learns quick.

Sarah also comments on her collie/shepherd cross:
We haven't done any formal training in agility but my 16 month old collie/shepherd cross Tess enjoys jumping the kids seesaw. Tess is very attentive and has a lot of energy!

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