White is the rarest of all the Rough Collie colours. White Collies can be all white in colour, however, they usually have white bodies with a coloured head and coloured patches on their bodies. A Collie is considered to be "White" when the coloured patches on the body are twenty percent or less. The head of a White Collie will be coloured according to its genotype (sable, tricolour, blue-merle).
The first recorded White Collie was a female named "The Lily" born in 1881. She has a white body with a sable coloured head. From 1881 to 1910, there were very few records of White Collies, as the colour was considered undesirable and most of the puppies were destroyed. This prejudice against the white colour existed during a developmental period for the Rough Collie breed. Consequently, only a small percentage of White Collies lived to popularize the coloure during this period of Collie history.
The prejudice existed until the 1980s when various National kennel clubs started to recognize 'White" as an acceptable Collie colour. Since that time, White Collies have started to appear more often and are considered by some breeders to be the most beautiful colour of Collies.
Both our male (Moose) and our female (Filli) are sable coloured collies, however Filli carries the gene for 'White Factoring". In a situation like this, when a white factored Collie is bred to a Collie that does not carry the gene for white factoring the product is both white factored puppies and non-white factored puppies. Approximately half the puppies from this breeding will carry the gene for white factoring. It is important to note that a Collie can carry the gene for white factoring but not actually be a White Collie.
The beauty and stature of a sable or tricolour Rough Collie is undesputable, however White Collies seem to take beauty and stature to a whole other level, making them very popular in North America in recent years. Today with the popularity of the previously undesirable white colour, the more white a Collie has on its body, the more desirable it is considered. Another reason White Collies have become so popular is because when people are looking for a dog, they want some something unique, something rare, not something that everyone else on their street already has.
White Collies are as healthy as sable and tricolour Collies and are on their way to win more and more popularity in Europe, which is where the breed originated.
Many people seem to think that with the recent popularity of White Collies that 'White" is a new colour for Collies, however, it is merely a revival of one of the oldest of the Collie colours.