Home of the darling little tykes who can do it all!
The Irish Toy Collie is a versatile little breed, created from a
combination of small Spitz breeds, Shetland Sheepdog, and other related herding breeds. The breed name is derived from the Celtic word "Collie" which means "useful dog"; their small size (under 20 lbs); and the historical blending of the Spitz and Irish/Scottish sheep herding breeds that is documented to have occured in Ireland and Britian for many years. While the breed itself is relatively new, it's foundation is solidly based on breeds with a long history of similar type and temperament, providing admirers of those breeds with a toy sized dog that is nonetheless robust, intrinsically healthy, exceptionally intelligent, reliably companionable, sweet natured, and incredibly beautiful. It is related to, but not to be confused with the Shetland Sheep Dog (or "Sheltie") which is a comparatively larger breed, and is sometimes erronelusly referred to as a "Miniature Collie". Currently the Irish Toy Collie is registered exclusively with the ITCI, which is the founding organization of the breed. Note: If it is not an ITCI registered dog, it is NOT an Irish Toy Collie.
"Robbie" was the first Irish Toy Collie
and inspiration for the breed
"Give him a human to love, a job to do, and a pillow on his master's
bed, and the Irish Toy Collie will be always content". This is the
credo by which all Irish Toy Collies are placed in thier forever homes. While these little dogs are more than happy to snuggle
into your lap, and, in fact, require their "lap time" daily, they are
very intelligent souls who need to have a responsibiltiy in their
homes, and if you do not provide one, they will create one -- very
possibly one that you do not appreciate! Their favorite jobs are
playing "watch dog"; therapy dog; service or hearing dog; competing in obedience, rally, or agility; herding small livestock, and "supervising" other household members (a typical ITC will, for example, be happy to "tell on" a child who steps off the property,
a cat who jumps on the counter, or a bigger dog who steals from the stove top!). They do exceedingly well with positive training methods including "clicker training", and are fast and steady learners. They cannot, however, tolerate being ignored, or left
alone for many hours every day. They should never be put in a crate for more than 30 minutes daily, and will simply not survive being expected to live outside in a yard, kennel, or dog house.
The ITC is a PEOPLE ORIENTED DOG who's main focus is to
be with, and to please his chosen human(s).
A Little Bit Of History
In The Irish Naturalist, August and September, 1924
R.F. Scharff, B.Sc.,Ph.d wrote the follwing:
"....The Irish, from the most remote times, have almost worshipped dogs, and ancient Irish history abounds in dog-lore.... the Sheep-dog was well-known in Ireland since very early times.... In ancient Ireland pet-dogs were also known. .... the word orc was generally applied to the young of various animals, it seems to have been used occasionally in the sense of pet-dog or lap-dog, instead of the words referred to. We cannot determine the actual breed and nature of this dog, for now-a-days we possess quite a number of them....."
In Rough Collies Of Distinction,
Iris Combe wrote:
"Between the third and first centuries BC three Celtic tribes, from the Iberian peninsula of Spain and Portugal, invaded the British Isles, settling mainly in Wales and Ireland...Celtic society was primarily based upon pastoralism... Any dog used in livestock management was referred to as a ‘collie’ (the Celtic word for ‘useful’). Descendants of one of these Celtic groups migrated to the western islands of Scotland, accompanied by livestock and ‘collie’ dogs...During the eighth and ninth centuries Vikings from Norway invaded Britain, the Shetland Isles, Iceland and Greenland in search of land and treasure. They were accompanied by horses, sheep, cows and spitz-like herding dogs, from which it is believed Greenland Yakki dogs, Icelandic dogs and Shetland Sheepdogs have evolved..... By the end of the nineteenth century the Island livestock farmers were desperate to revive type and,as more sheep were imported from Scotland, they were often accompanied by working collies related to the ancestors of modern Rough Collies. The crossing of these collies with the islands’ spitz-like dogs had the greatest influence on the Shetland Sheepdog’s more recent development. ...."
"Chestnut Rainbow" Shetland Sheepdog born in 1922 reflects Collie and Spitz ancestry
" Twas a wee Collie tyke to whom I first gave my heart,