It is not known exactly how the Welsh Collie came about and what its canine ancestor is. It has been speculated that this breed originated from the Gellgi (“covert hound”), which is a herding and hunting dog endemic to Wales. Herding dogs in Wales date back to 800 years, as documented in centuries-old records. They were very valuable as they not only helped drive livestock for hundreds of miles but also protected them and their owners.
Although there were many varieties of herding dogs native to Wales, the working breeds dwindled to just 3 by the 1940s. Cross breeding nearly wiped out all of them, with the Welsh Hillman and the Black-and-Tan Sheepdog, which are among the oldest breeds, barely hanging on for survival.
The Welsh Collie, as we know it, is a combination of the sable Welsh Hillman, the Black-and-Tan Sheepdog, the Border Collie, and the Old Welsh Grey. In 1997, the Welsh Sheepdog Society was launched in order to preserve these Welsh working breeds. However, considering the Welsh Collie has been bred with many other sheep dog breeds, only one identifying characteristic is used to judge whether a dog is a genuine Welsh Collie. And that is the “loose eye” working style. Currently, The Kennel Club still has not acknowledged the Welsh Collie as a breed of its own.