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Group: Herding
Breed Family: Collie

The Collie, long considered a humble shepherd's dog, received a great boost in popularity when Queen Victoria accepted an example of the breed named Sharp. She fell in love with the animal, and thereafter, it increased in popularity, reaching a peak around 1900.

Perhaps because the Collie was once considered a plain working dog, few authors have written in any depth on it. Of Scottish ancestry, it was originally introduced to England by shepherds bringing their flocks over the borders into England. When it was taken up by the Victorian show fancy, it became a fashionable breed. By 1895 there were seven separate breed clubs, many of which sponsored all-Collie shows, and the conformation of the Collie changed substantially in a matter of fifty years. What once had been a rough and ready working dog was, by 1896 an elegant, refined show dog.

This transformation was perhaps best symbolized in 1895 when Maud Earl was invited to Windsor where she was to paint Snowball, one of the Queen's Collies. Miss Earl was allowed to use one of the Queen's private rooms near the Kennels, appropriately hung with portraits of the Queen's dogs.


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