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Collie (Rough)

Country/Date of origin: Great Britain/1500s

An ancient breed of herding dog, the Rough Collie shares a common heritage with the Border Collie. In the 1860s the Rough Collie caught the eye of people interested in the beauty of the dog and bred it to increase body size and the thickness of its coat. Coincidentally, there was a increased popularity of the larger, slower English sheep (better wool) over the nimble, cunning Highland sheep. Now the bigger, slower Rough Collie could compete for the shepherd's favor and it began to find its way back into the fields. With the patronage of Queen Victoria, the Collie became the vogue in the 1880s. And American royalty in the form of J.P. Morgan championed the breed across the Atlantic as well. In 1885 Collies were admitted into the American Kennel Club and great specimens were fetching more than the average man earned in ten years. There are two varieties of the Collie. Everything that can be said about the rough coated Collie can be said about the smooth variety except for coat.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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Lassie Dog, Scotch Collie

AKC Group: Miscellaneous

Breed Club: Collie Club of America - Collie Rescue

Rescue Club: Collie Club of America

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Body Type:

  • The Collie is recognizable by almost everyone
  • Considered to be one of the most beautiful of dogs, it has a long, lean head and a muscular body with a deep chest
  • Height: 20-24 inches (at shoulder)
  • Weight: 40-65 pounds
  • The tail is long and carried low; it is never altered
  • The ears are wedge-shaped and should fold forward at the tips; they are never altered


  • The "wished for" dog of many a child who has read the Lad books of Albert Payson Terhune or watched Lassie on TV
  • Collies exhibit the qualities of loyalty, intelligence and gentleness that are the stuff of hero dogs
  • Easy to train
  • A desire to please is hard-wired in the Collie's genetic makeup.
  • To criticize a collie is like attacking mom or apple pie, however they are a noisy breed. Many owners, as a last resort, cut the vocal cords of compulsive barkers


  • Straight, harsh outer coat and a full soft undercoat
  • Has a profuse ruff around the neck
  • Four colors are allowed: sable and white, tricolor (black with white and tan markings), blue merle, and white (which is predominantly white with colored patches)
  • The standard says no color is to be preferred but in reality judges and the general public have shown a strong partiality for Lassie's sable and white
  • Sheds heavily and needs regular brushing

Health Concerns:

  • Possible congenital eye defects
  • Subject to hip dysplasia
  • Sensitive to various drugs
  • Whites are subject to deafness
  • Are not "fighters." When they become ill Collies do not struggle to live. Many just give up and die where another, tougher breed would have pulled through
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Tasty Tidbits:
  • This is not a suitable dog for an apartment
  • In the spring and summer they become mobile hair spreaders
  • Females shed much more than males, and look ratty by summer's end. This is why the movie Lassie has always been a Laddie!
  • In spite of its "good press," great beauty, and high recognition index, the Collie is not even in the top twenty five breeds in popularity

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