Pure bred collies are not sighthounds. They belong to the herding group of dogs which have been specifically trained to herd, gather and protect livestock, whereas sighthounds have been bred to hunt with their exceptional eyesight.
Why are Collies not Sighthounds?
Sighthounds are a group of dogs who use sight as their main sense to hunt. They are typically recognizable by their distinctive shape of a small head with a long snout, deep chest and a slim waist.
Lurchers, Greyhounds, Salukis and Whippets are all examples of sighthounds. They are engineered speed demons and their long legs and slim body see them reach speeds of over 40mph!
Although collies generally have excellent eyesight, they are not sighthounds because their primary sense is their sense of smell and they do not have a strong hunting instinct.
If you’ve ever taken your collie a walk on a shorter lead, you may notice them zig-zagging from side to side as they use their nose to navigate their surroundings.
Are any Types of Collie Sighthounds?
A collie may be classed as a sighthound if it has been crossed with either a Lurcher, Greyhound, Saluki or Whippet. It will be obvious to the owner if this is the case as they will likely have the distinctive sighthound shape.
A collie cross bred with a sighthound will inherit both the herding instincts of the collie and hunting instincts and insatiable appetite to run from the sighthound.
Sighthounds often attempt to catch and hunt smaller creatures including unsuspecting hares and unlucky squirrels.
Are Border Collies Sighthounds?
Pure bred border collies are not sighthounds. Their ancestors were herding dogs who were bred specifically to gather and herd livestock rather than hunt smaller animals using their sight.
The herding instinct is so strong in the border collie that some may even try to round up their owners or unsuspecting children.
Are Rough Collies Sighthounds?
Rough collies are not sighthounds. This Scottish collie breed was originally bred for herding and protecting livestock, rather than hunting. They belong to the herding group of dogs.
Are Welsh Collies Sighthounds?
Like Border Collies and Rough Collies, Welsh collies are not sighthounds. They originated in the most remote Welsh valleys and belong to the herding group of dogs. Their ancestors were efficient sheep herders, not hunters.
Sighthound Collie Cross Breeds:
Collies crossed with sighthounds are common, since both breeds love exercise and are keen learners the cross breeds work well together.
Popular examples of sighthound collie crosses include collie-lurcher cross breed, collie-greyhound crossbreeds, collie-whippet crossbreeds, and collie-saluki crossbreeds.
If you’re not sure if your collie cross is crossed with a sighthound, look for the telltale features: A small head, deep chest and slim waist.
One of the most obvious features is the sighthound’s long snout which acts as a mini telescope allowing them to seek out prey from a further distance than a pure bred collie.
Collies crossed with sighthounds can be demanding dogs. They have the endless endurance of collies, the super sighthound speed and often will inherit the undesirable sighthound hunting instincts and chase smaller dogs and other animals.
How to Tell if Your Collie Cross is a Sighthound?
If you’re wondering if your dog is a sighthound, the easiest way to tell is by examining their body shape. Do they have a small head, deep chest, slim waist and long snout? If the answer is yes, the likelihood is your collie has been crossed with a sighthound.
Colour markings of your pooch have no bearing on whether or not your dog is a sighthound, it is really all down to their shape and lineage.
Another, less obvious way to tell if your collie is a sighthound is if you are struggling to find a doggy jacket to fit them properly.
If every coat you try feels too big at the front but too tight underneath, there’s a strong chance your collie has inherited that classic sighthound shape and you may need to find some specialist sighthound jackets to fit them well.