The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

The Purebred Collie

Information and Pictures

Faith the blue mmerle Rough Collie is laying in grass in a yard next to a red wooden fence with her mouth open and tongue hanging out

Faith, Huntingtons Charmed Again CGC the blue merle Collie at 3 years old

Other Names
  • Rough Collie
  • Smooth Collie
  • Scottish Collie
  • Long-Haired Collie
  • English Collie
  • Lassie Dog



The Collie is a large, lean, strong dog. The top of the skull is flat and the eyebrows are arched. The head is wedge-shaped and the muzzle is rounded, tapering to the black nose, with a slight stop. The face is chiseled. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The medium-sized eyes are almond shaped. Eye color is dark brown except for blue merles, where the eyes may be blue or be one of each color. The small ears are 3/4 erect with the tips folding forward. The neck is fairly long. The body is slightly longer than it is tall. The legs are straight. The tail is moderately long with an upward twist or swirl at the end and is carried low. There are two coat varieties, rough and smooth. The rough coat is long and abundant all over the body, but is shorter on the head and legs, and the coat forms a mane around the neck and chest. The outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch, and the undercoat is soft and tight. The smooth coat variety has a short one-inch coat all over the body. Coat colors on both the rough and smooth variety include sable and white, tricolor of black, white and tan, blue merle or predominantly white with sable, tricolor or blue merle markings.


The Collie is a highly intelligent dog. Sensitive, mild-mannered, sweet, easy to train and loyal, it is usually good with other pets and friendly with other dogs. They are natural herders; puppies may try and herd humans, and need to be taught not to do this. Faithful, playful, docile and protective of their family members and good with children, Collies have an uncanny sense of direction. They are good-natured, friendly dogs. They are energetic outdoors. Socialize them well to prevent them from becoming wary of strangers. They are not aggressive, but they do tend to be suspicious of people they sense unstable vibes from. Daily pack walks are important. Without a firm, but calm, confident and consistent owner who sets the rules and sticks to them, they can become willful, stubborn and indolent. This breed should be trained gently, but with an air of authority or he will refuse to cooperate. A clean breed, the Collie is relatively easy to housebreak. Some owners report that rough Collies do not like the water due to how heavy their coats get when wet. We have seen clips on the Internet of rough Collies swimming, however, so while a lot may not, it's never an absolute. Some smooth Collies have become successful at water rescue.

Height, Weight

Height: Males 24 - 26 inches (61 - 66 cm) Females 22 - 24 inches (56 - 61 cm)

Weight: Males 60 - 75 pounds (27 - 34 kg) Females 50 - 65 pounds (23 - 29 kg)

Health Problems

Generally healthy dogs. Some lines are prone to PRA, eye defects (Collie eye syndrome) and hip problems leading to acute lameness and arthritis. Collies may need sunblock on their nose as they are often sensitive to the sun. Some herding dogs carry a MDR1 gene which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that are otherwise okay to give another dog, but if tested positive for this gene can kill them.

Living Conditions

The Collie will dog okay in an apartment as long as it is sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with at least an average-sized yard. Sensitive to the heat. Provide plenty of shade and fresh water in warm weather.


The Collie needs plenty of exercise, which includes a daily, long walk. In addition, they would enjoy some romps off the leash in a safe area.

Life Expectancy

About 14-16 years

Litter Size

2 - 8 puppies, average of 5


The stiff coat sheds dirt readily and a thorough weekly brushing will keep it in good condition. Take extra care when the soft, dense undercoat is being shed. The smooth variety has a one-inch coat and should be brushed each one to two weeks. If the long-coated variety has a BIG mat, and the dog is not being used for show, the mat may need to be cut out, as opposed to combed out, as to avoid pain to the dog. Bathe or dry shampoo as necessary. The rough Collie sheds heavily twice a year, and the smooth Collie is an average shedder.


The exact origin of the Collie is unknown, but it was descended from generations of hard-working herding dogs. For centuries the rough-coated Collie was hardly known outside Scotland. Early rough Collies were smaller, with broader heads and shorter muzzles. The dogs were used for water rescue, herders, guiding cows and sheep to market and for guarding the flock in Scotland and England. The breed's name probably comes from its charge; the Scottish black-faced sheep called the Colley. In the 1860s Queen Victoria kept Collies at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, making the dogs very popular. J.P. Morgan, along with other wealthy people, has owned Collies. In the late 1800s the Collie was mixed with the Borzoi, and all show dogs had to have the Borzoi blood for them to win in the show ring. The working dogs separated, branched out and became the different breeds (with the Scotch Collie remaining) and the show type became what we see now, the large dogs with flatter faces. The rough Collie is much more popular than the smooth Collie. The smooth Collie is more popular in Great Britain than it is in the United States, but is gaining some popularity in the States. The smooth Collie is the same as the rough Collie, but without the long coat. The AKC considers the rough and smooth Collies as variations on the same breed and they are judged by the same standard with the exception of the coat. The first Collie was presented at a dog show in 1860. The Collie was recognized by the AKC in 1885. The Collie is well known for its role in the movie "Lassie," featuring a rough-coated Collie as the main character. The Collie's talents include herding, search and rescue, guide for the blind, agility, competitive obedience, acting in the movies, and as a guard and watchdog.


Herding, AKC Herding

  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club
  • KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
Neko the Collie puppy is standing outside in grass with a patch of mud behind him and looking forward

Neko the rough Collie puppy at 4 months old

Shane the black, tan and white tricolor Rough Collie is sitting on a couch that is outside

Shane the tricolor rough Collie

Side view head shot - a furry, long coated dog with a lon snout that has shorter hair on it, a black nose and dark eyes and small ears. The dog has longer hair coming off of its neck, chest and ears.

An adult Rough Collie—Photo courtesy of David Hancock

Buddy the tan, white and black Rough Collie is sitting on a parked green tractor. His mouth is open and it looks like he is smiling

Buddy the rough Collie at 1 year old—"This is Buddy my one year old Rough Collie! He is a show dog. When he is in the show ring he is a very calm in serious dog, but at home he is playful and very, very energetic. His favorite things are running around in the backyard with my other dog and being in the show ring. His least favorite things are peanut butter and harnesses. He came from a Collie breeder in Wisconsin. The dogs were show bred. Buddy has not won a best in show yet but I hope that he will one day! :)"

Dallas the bkack, tan and white tricolored Smooth Collie is standing outside with its mouth open and tongue out. There is a person with their hands on his sides

"Dallas is a tricolored smooth Collie. His registered name is Solar's Working on a Tan. He was bred by David Schuetz of Solar Collies in Indiana. He is an extremely intelligent dog and a fantastic pet. He is all about FUN! He has a ton of personality and hilarious quirks. We love him to bits! Dallas will soon start his show dog career. He is shown here at 1 year old."

Upper body shot - Dallas the black, tan and white tricolored Smooth Collie puppy is standing. His hears are taped being trained to stand up.

Dallas the tricolored smooth Collie as a puppy at 4 months old

Close Up - Dallas the tricolored Smooth Collie is laying outside in grass  with his mouth open and tongue out looking like he is smiling

Dallas the tricolored smooth Collie at 1 year old

Close Up - Dallas the black, tan and white tricolored Smooth Collie is walking across a dirt patch in a field of grass. He is looking up and it looks like he is smiling

Dallas the tricolored smooth Collie at 1 year old

Malcolm the tan and white Smooth Collie is standing in grass and looking towards the camera holder with a chain link fence behind him

Malcolm at 4 years old, Int. CH Onesti Command 'N' Conquer WW-RN, WW-RA, CGC, TT, BPD, VC, CERF

See more examples of the Collie