Temperament: Devoted, Graceful, Proud

  • Height: 24-26 inches (male), 22-24 inches (female)
  • Weight: 60-75 pounds (male), 50-65 pounds (female)
  • Life Expectancy: 12-14 years
  • Group: Herding Group 

The majestic Collie, thanks to a hundred years as a pop-culture star, is among the world’s most recognizable and beloved dog breeds. The full-coated “rough” Collie is the more familiar variety, but there is also a sleek “smooth” Collie.


The Collie is a lithe, strong, responsive, active dog, carrying no useless timber, standing naturally straight and firm. The deep, moderately wide chest shows strength, the sloping shoulders and well-bent hocks indicate speed and grace, and the face shows high intelligence. The Collie presents an impressive, proud picture of true balance, each part being in harmonious proportion to every other part and to the whole. Except for the technical description that is essential to this Standard and without which no Standard for the guidance of breeders and judges is adequate, it could be stated simply that no part of the Collie ever seems to be out of proportion to any other part. Timidity, frailness, sullenness, viciousness, lack of animation, cumbersome appearance and lack of over-all balance impair the general character.

About the Collie

The Collie is a large but lithe herder standing anywhere from 22 to 26 inches tall. The rough variety boasts one of the canine kingdom’s most impressively showy coats; the smooth coat’s charms are subtler but no less satisfying. Coat colors in both varieties are sable and white, tricolour, blue merle, or white. Collie fanciers take pride in their breed’s elegant wedge-shaped head, whose mobile ears and almond eyes convey a wide variety of expressions.

Collies are famously fond of children and make wonderful family pets. These swift, athletic dogs thrive on companionship and regular exercise. With gentle training, they learn happily and rapidly. The Collie’s loyalty, intelligence, and sterling character are the stuff of legend.

NUTRITION Good nutrition is the very first thing the owner can do for their Collie to ensure healthy skin and coat and general well being. Collies do well on a good-quality dog food that is primarily meat-based, with fewer grains as ingredients. Many breed experts feel that Collies should not be fed foods with corn or soy in the ingredients. Collies have a risk of bloat, so two feedings/multiple feedings per day as opposed to once a day is recommended, and some meat added to the food has been shown to reduce risk.

GROOMING Smooth Collies, while they won’t mat, require regular grooming, as they have a double coat, and the undercoat needs brushing out during shedding periods. Rough Collies need attention to avoid matting, especially in certain areas such as behind the ears and elbows, and to remove loose undercoat. A weekly brushing down to the skin eliminates that problem and keeps the coat and skin healthy. If females are spayed, they do a big shed once a year; if intact, females shed about three months after their heat cycle, and males around their birthday, so those times require a little extra grooming.

EXERCISE While there are variations among individuals and families, Collies generally are quite active and require regular exercise. They need aerobic exercise and the chance to be able to run and play. Teaching them to fetch can provide good exercise, and having a fenced yard where they can run and going on daily walks help too. They should not be relegated to the backyard for long periods of time, as with boredom comes barking. Collies are people dogs and want to be with their owners first and foremost. Ideally a Collie will be ready to go when it’s time to go, and able to chill when it’s time to chill.

TRAINING While Collies are very smart and easy to train, puppy classes are recommended for general socialisation and training. But it shouldn’t end there. Collies love training and learning, and both make for a better companion and build a good relationship with the owner and family. Collies thrive on positive teaching methods. They excel in obedience, agility, and herding, and even barn hunt and lure coursing, and owners will discover something fun to do with their dog!

HEALTH The Collie Health Foundation has invested lots of research dollars to identify and solve health issues, and their website offers great information on health issues in the breed. The minimum requirement is for puppies between 6-8 weeks old to have an eye check by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist for Collie eye anomaly, an inherited eye disease. Some Collies may also have a sensitivity to certain drugs, known as the MDR1 mutation. Collies typically live from 12 to 14 years and are as a rule healthy, but after doing their research prospective buyers should ask questions of breeders and have an understanding of what health guarantees can be provided.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • PRA Optigen DNA Test
  • MDR1 DNA Test

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