The Collie is a highly intelligent, large, lean, and strong dog. Their heads are wedge-shaped and their muzzles are rounded, tapering to the black nose, with a slight stop. The face is chiseled. Eye color is dark brown except for blue merles, where the eyes may be blue or be one of each color. They have fairly long necks and bodies that are slightly longer than they are tall. 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 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, herding, guiding cows and sheep to market and for guarding flocks throughout Scotland and England.
The breed’s name most likely 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. 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 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. The Collie is well known for its role in the movie “Lassie,” featuring a rough-coated Collie as the main character!
Sensitive, mild-mannered, sweet, easy to train and extremely loyal, Collie’s are usually good with other pets and friendly with other dogs. They are natural herders; puppies may try and herd humans, but can learn to avoid this behavior. 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 and love to play 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. Collies should be trained gently, but with an air of authority or he will refuse to cooperate.
Height: Males 22 – 26 inchesWeight: Males 60 – 75 pounds Females 50 – 65 poundsGrooming: brush weekly, bathe as neededLifespan: 14-16 years
Care & Health
Collie’s are generally healthy dogs and will do well in an apartment if exercised daily. They need daily walks and enjoy a good romp off the leash somewhere safe like a dog park or beach. Collies are sensitive to heat and always require the availability of shade and water in warm weather.
Your Love Match
The perfect pet parent of a Collie: