Described as "sweet," and with a strong desire to please, the collie tends to get along with everyone, including other dogs. This breed is a favorite of families with small children as the dog is very tolerant.

Collie or Scottish Collie At a glance
The Collie or Scottish Collie Dog Breed

Collies do not live as long as some breeds of equal size. Their life span is usually eight to 12 years.


Weight Range:

Male: 60 lbs.
Female: 50 lbs.

Height at Withers:

Male: 25 in.

Female: 23 in.


Dolichocephalic (long face)


Exercise Requirements: 20-40 minutes/day
Energy Level: Average
Longevity Range: 8-12 yrs.
Tendency to Drool: Low Tendency to Snore: Low
Tendency to Bark: High
Tendency to Dig: Low Social/Attention Needs: Moderate

Bred For:

Sheep herding


Length: Long/Short
Characteristics: Double coat, straight
Colors: Sable and white, tri-color, blue merle, white and tan
Overall Grooming Needs: High

Club Recognition:

AKC Classification: Herding
UKC Classification: Herding Dog
Prevalence: Common

The collie is a large- to medium-sized dog, with the male being quite a bit larger than the female. The ranges for the breed are 22 to 26 inches in height and 50 to 75 pounds (23 to 34 kilograms) in weight. Collies are fairly square dogs, with an expressive eye and a long muzzle. Ideally, the ears tip over at the top, although some dogs have ears that stay pricked.

One of the distinguishing marks of the rough collie is the abundant coat. Ideally, the coat is somewhat harsh and quite long, especially on the tail, hindquarters and around the neck in a profuse ruff. The smooth collie has a short, dense coat, but still has an obvious ruff (just shorter) around the neck. The tail tends to be carried low in both varieties.

Collies come in a variety of colors, including sable (the classic "Lassie" color), tricolor and blue merle. Usually they have white markings, including white around the neck and down the chest, and sometimes a blaze or white feet. White collies, preferably with some color markings, are being seen more frequently, but this color may be associated with health problems and is not seen that often.

Collies do not live as long as some breeds of equal size; their life span is usually eight to 12 years.


The collie is best described as "sweet." This breed tends to get along with everyone, from other dogs and other household pets to the neighbor's pet down the street. This breed is a favorite one of families with small children, as the dog is very tolerant. Rarely you may come across a timid collie, but most are outgoing and friendly.

Like most herding dogs, however, the collie is quite intelligent and does not fare well without attention and training. A gentle but firm hand works best while training, as this dog has a fairly soft temperament.

Collies can be seen nipping at the heels of recalcitrant children, as if the children were sheep. Left to their own devices, collies can be extensive diggers and sometimes chewers. The complaint most often heard, however, is that the alarm barking can quickly become nuisance barking.

Living With:

Collies are fairly easy keepers, needing a minimum amount of good-quality food. They do need exercise, but they are not as "high octane" as the border collie. A long walk once or twice a day suffices for most mature collies; puppies will need more.

Collies are intelligent and bred to work with people, so they have a strong desire to please. They need human companionship and attention and would not do well if left outdoors or in a kennel. They are excellent at "alarm barking," but they tend to follow that up with a wagging tail instead of threats. Without training, some collies will try to herd running children and might nip at their heels.

Grooming is a big chore with a rough collie. They should be groomed daily or at least three times a week. During shedding times, they may need extra baths or grooming. Some rough-coated dogs do not have a real thick, full coat, so their care is simpler. The smooth-coated dogs are also much easier to care for in that respect. Quickly grooming their coats once or twice a week will keep them looking good.


The collie, or Scotch collie as the breed is sometimes called, comes from the Scottish Highlands and probably shares ancestry with the border collie. Some say the name "collie" comes from the Gaelic word for useful. Certainly these dogs have been useful right from the start, working as herding dogs and all-around farm dogs. They work livestock, guard the homestead and even pull carts.

Two varieties of the collie are the rough or long-coated and the smooth or short-coated. The two varieties can be interbred, and both types can appear in a litter. The type for the breed became set after the 1860s when Queen Victoria added a couple to her kennel. Royal approval often sets off a wave of popularity, and collies became known as faithful family companions as well as working dogs.

Of course, almost everyone is familiar with "Lassie," either through the movie or through the television show, where she (actually he) was forever saving Timmy, and with "Lad" and friends through the writings of Albert Payson Terhune. A sable rough collie is recognized worldwide as a "Lassie dog." Smooth collies work today as guides for the blind, showing that they have retained their intelligence and trainability.

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