The collie is a distinctive type of herding dog, including many related landraces and formal breeds. It originates in Scotland and Northern England. It is a medium-sized, fairly lightly built dog with a pointed snout, and many types have a distinctive white pattern over the shoulders. Collies are very active and agile, and most types have a very strong herding instinct. The collie type has spread through many parts of the world (especially Australia and North America) and has diversified into many varieties, sometimes with mixture from other dog types. Some of the collie types have remained as working dogs, used for herding cattle, sheep and other livestock, while others are kept as pets, show dogs or for dog sports, in which they display great agility, stamina and trainability.
The exact origin of the name "collie" is uncertain, although it may derive from the Scots word for "coal" – many collie types are black or black-and-white. Alternatively it may come from the related word colley, referring to the black-faced mountain sheep of Scotland. The collie name refers especially to dogs of Scottish origin, but the collie type is far more widespread in Britain and in many other parts of the world, often being called sheepdog or shepherd dog elsewhere.