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Collie FAQs




What is a Collie?

Collies are a moderately large herding dog breed descending from Scotland. They come in two varieties – Rough (long coat) and Smooth (short coat). Rough Collies were typically a sheep herding dog and Smooth Collies were cattle drivers. While they are one and the same breed, Smooth Collies often have stronger willed temperaments – likely due to their original purpose.

What is a Rough Collie?

A Rough Collie is one of two varieties of the AKC Collie breed. The Rough Collie has a fuller, double coat with a long, harsh outer coat to protect from the elements and a soft, cottony undercoat for insulation. It comes in the recognized colors of Sable, Tri-Color, Blue Merle, Sable Merle, and White. Lassie, being the most well-known Collie in pop culture, was a Sable Rough Collie. Read more about Collie Coat Colors.

What is a Smooth Collie?

A Smooth Collie is one of two varieties of the AKC Collie breed. The Smooth Collie has a shorter, tighter double coat than the Rough. It shares the same accepted Collie colors of Sable, Tri-Color, Blue Merle, Sable Merle, and White.

What were Collies bred for?

Collies were originally bred in the Scotland Highlands as sheepdogs to herd flocks. While the Rough Collies were most focused on sheep, Smooth Collies were used more as drivers of cattle.

Where does the name Collie come from?

The name “Collie” has its origins in the Anglo-Saxon word “Coll” – meaning black. Many of the early Collies were black or black & white dogs, similar to the Border Collie. The word “Collie” has been spelled many ways, including: Coll, Colley, Coally, Coaly, and Collie.

How big are Collies?

The Official AKC Collie Standard calls for males to be from 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 60 to 75 pounds. Female Collies should be from 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder, weighing from 50 to 65 pounds. In the modern-day breed, it is more common to find Collies under the desired size than over it. However, any variation from the Standard should be considered incorrect. Preservationist breeders are breeding dogs to fit the Standard.

How much does a Collie weigh?

The Official AKC Collie Standard calls for males to weigh from 60 to 75 pounds and females to weigh from 50 to 65 pounds. Variation from the Standard should be considered incorrect. Preservationist breeders are breeding dogs to fit the Standard.

How long do Collies live?

Collies’ life expectancy is 9 to 12 years, with many living well into their teens. It is important to select a Collie from a bloodline noted for good health and longevity. Different bloodlines age differently.



Do collies shed?

Rough Collies typically shed once each year. The process is usually completed within 1-2 months. Unlike shorter coated dogs (including Smooth Collies), a Rough Collie often has no shedding for much of the year. Smooth Collies also do an annual shed but will continue to have some minor shedding through other parts of the year.

When do Rough Collies shed?

Collies typically shed their coats in the spring – brought on by warmer temperatures and more sunlight. A non-spayed bitch (female) will shed 2-3 months after her cycle or litter of puppies.

How much do Collies shed?

A Rough Collie will shed once each year. When they do, they will shed most of their coat over a 1-2-month period. Being a double-coated breed, the shed usually begins with the undercoat, followed by the outer coat. It is important to remove any coat as it begins to loosen, preventing any mats or hot spots from forming. Once the old coat is removed, the new coat will begin to grow. Unlike many breeds that shed continually, a fresh, healthy Rough Collie coat has essentially no shedding the rest of the year.

How much do Collies cost?

Pet quality Collie puppies usually cost $900-$1,500 with AKC Limited Registration (no breeding rights). Good eye & health checks are required prior to purchase. Top-quality Collie puppies can cost as much as $2,500 or more with a lifetime health guarantee. Show/breeding puppy prospects will cost $2,500-$5,000 for the finest conformation and bloodlines. Learn more about buying a quality Collie puppy from a reputable breeder.

How to groom a Collie?

Grooming a Collie requires, at minimum, a large pin brush, slicker brush, greyhound comb, toenail clippers, hair scissors, and spray bottle with mixed water & conditioner. Using a line-brushing technique, the Collie coat needs to be groomed down to the skin, removing all knots and tangles. Feet, nails, hocks, and pasterns should be trimmed short to keep feet from picking-up dirt and mud.

When do Rough Collies get their full coat?

Rough Collies get their full coat by two years of age, or their third coat. Puppy coats are typically full and lush, but softer and shorter than adult coats. The first adult coat (second coat) will be a harsher texture than a puppy coat, but not the volume or length. The second adult coat (third coat) will have the full volume and length the breed is known for. However, a Collie that lives exclusively in warm or climate-controlled environments will not grow as much hair as a Collie living in a cold climate. Collies thrive in cool temperatures.

Do Smooth Collies shed?

Being a double-coated breed, the Smooth Collie will do an annual shed – usually in the spring. Unlike the Rough Collie that only sheds once per year, Smooth Collies will continue to shed some hair throughout the year, similar to a German Shepherd or Labrador Retriever.



How to tape Collie’s ears?

Collie puppy ears should be taped with Japanese tape, moleskin, or other skin-safe material. Correct taping procedure protects delicate cartilage and ensures proper ear set and tip. To learn how to tape puppy ears, visit How to Tape Collie Ears for an instructional video and guide.

How to remove glue from Collie ears?

Collie ear tapes or glue is removed with Zo-eze, cotton balls and a flea comb. Soak the cotton ball with the Zo-eze then work into the adhesive, let sit briefly, then comb out. Rubbing alcohol can also be used, but it is not as effective as Zo-eze at breaking down adhesives. To learn more about removing puppy ear tapes, read How to Remove Glue from Collie Ears.



What is the personality of a Collie?

Collies are devoted, graceful and proud dogs. They are particularly fond of children and make fabulous family pets. They are swift, athletic dogs that thrive on companionship and regular exercise. With gentle training, they learn happily and rapidly. The Collie’s loyalty, intelligence, and sterling character are unmatched in the canine world.

How smart are Collies?

Collies are notably a smart breed. They are very intuitive and devoted to their families. They quickly learn commands but can become bored with repetitive actions. A variety of commands, interactive games, and praise will keep them engaged and entertained. Treats help, too!

Do Collies bark a lot?

As herding dogs, Collies are apt to use their voice to communicate, whether with their family, other dogs, or moving objects they want to “herd” – such as vehicles, lawnmowers, or bikes. Collies can also become barkers out of boredom. Collies should not be encouraged to bark except in circumstances where barking is desired (i.e. a visitor at the door, and unfamiliar noise, or an intruder in the home.) Prompt & consistent training is the best way to deal with a problem barker.

How much exercise does a Collie need?

Collies are active dogs that appreciate regular exercise. However, they are also intelligent dogs that appreciate rest and relaxation. Collies are not typically hyper dogs.

Are Collies protective?

Collies are devoted family dogs and protective of their family unit. While not overtly aggressive or potentially dangerous like some working/protection breeds, they will bark voraciously at intruders. Collies are the ultimate watchdog that like to sit and observe their family or flock – protective but not aggressive.

Do Rough Collies like water?

A Collie’s affinity for water is determined on an individual dog basis. Some Collies are avid swimmers while others have no interest in getting anything other than their feet wet. Being a heavily double-coated breed, it is important to ensure a Rough Collie’s coat is completely dried after swimming. Moisture trapped near the skin can cause hot spots and other skin irritations.



What kind of dog was Lassie?

Lassie” – the heroine of Eric Knight’s 1930s novel Lassie Come-Home, the 1940s movie Lassie Come Home, and the 1950s television series Lassie – was a Sable Rough Collie. Lassie’s heroics were inspired by Collie breed’s renowned virtues of loyalty, devotion, and intelligence.

How many dogs played Lassie?

Lassie has been played by over ten generations of AKC-registered Collies descending from the original “Pal,” owned and trained by Rudd Weatherwax. “Lassie” has always been represented by male Collies, as males aren’t as subject to being out of coat periodically, showing a different appearance than when in a full coat.