Let's talk Rough Collies

Instantly recognisable for their plush, sophisticated sable and white coat and noble snout, the renowned Rough Collie makes for a top-notch family dog and excellent companion. Emanating centuries ago from Scotland, this gentle breed is exceptionally intelligent and utterly devoted to family, so in turn make excellent watchdogs. A medium-to-large size dog, their coat also comes in a smooth variety, and their incredibly buoyant manner makes them a breeze to train. A herding history means the Rough Collie needs an owner who will have as much natural stamina as they do.

Official name: Rough Collie

Other names: Collie, Scottish Collie, Long-Haired Collie, English Collie, Scotch Collie

Origins: Scotland

Black and white portrait of a Rough Collie sitting down
 Drooling tendencies  Very low Warm weather?  Medium
 Shedding level  Very high Suited to apartment living?   Medium
 *Energy Level Moderate *Friendly pet?
 Compatibility with other pets  Medium *Can stay alone?  

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behavior. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs).

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.

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Illustration of a Rough Collie
56 - 61 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
27 - 34 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight
51 - 56 cm translations.feature.breeds.height
22 - 29 kg translations.feature.breeds.weight


 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age  1 to 7 years
 Mature age  7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

Rough Collie stood on dirt path looking over its shoulder


Get to know the Rough Collie

All you need to know about the breed

Loyal, graceful, and whip-smart, the Rough Collie is known the world over for their star turn as Lassie, hero dog of mid-Twentieth century American TV and movie fame. But this prized breed has so much more going for it than mere good looks and talent.

The quintessential herding and droving dog of Scotland has been valued for centuries there - and eventually elsewhere - for their athleticism, agility, and ability to keep the sheep. Maybe it’s those characteristics that give the Rough Collie - who also comes in a smooth-coated variety - an always-willing attitude, and turned them into today’s fabulous family pet, once they are well-trained.

Not at all aggressive, this is a truly tender dog known for their sensitivity but one who can however be timid if not socialised properly. Make sure to introduce friends, both human and canine, early and often.

The Rough Collie is said to have a sixth sense about them, with an almost uncanny ability to tune in to what their owners want before interaction. That said, the breed’s need for companionship may be slightly higher than that of fellow canine friends. With their upbeat manner and vibrant approach, who could leave them for long anyway?

Rough Collie bounding over mossy ground, fur flying back


2 facts about Rough Collies

1. Lassie, come home!

Anyone who grew up in the mid-to-late-20th-century knows Lassie, the furry yet valiant canine who, starting in 1943, was depicted in a book that gave rise to 12 movies, a hit TV series, 15 TV specials and appearances, a radio show, and 50 additional books, thus cementing superstardom status for the Rough Collie breed.

2. Brush up on it

Brushing a dog’s teeth is important but the Rough Collie is particularly so since long-nosed dog breeds are particularly prone to periodontal disease. Even though they may not take kindly to the practice, make it a daily habit if you can. You’ll both be happy with the healthy results.


History of the breed

The Rough Collie is a working dog from way back, said to have been brought by the Romans to Scotland just over 2,000 years ago and intermingled with local dogs to produce the sheepherding legend we know today.

Firmly planted in the Scottish Highlands by 1800 in their sheep herding capacity, the breed’s name is said to derive from a type of black-faced sheep called “colleys” that Rough Collies initially guarded. Originally known as the Scotch Collie, their name was eventually shortened to the commonly heard “Collie.”

Queen Victoria took a shine to the breed during stays at Scotland’s Balmoral Castle in the late 19th century. She owned 88 Rough Collies during her lifetime.

And then, there was Lassie, the hit book, run of films, and television series which propelled the Rough Collie’s celebrity status to new heights.

The Rough Collie was recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1885 and by the United Kennel Club in 1914. The Collie Club of America was also established in 1886.

Black and white portrait of a Rough Collie


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Rough Collies

1. Ears

Small ears set apart, top third naturally folded forward.

2. Body

Well-proportioned, strong body, pointed, noble muzzle.

3. Coat

Notable very dense double coat, long, straight, harsh outer coat, soft, furry undercoat.

Close-up of a Rough Collie mouth open against a blue sky


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Rough Collie
Rough Collie sat, paws together, in front of trees


Caring for your Rough Collie

Grooming, training and exercise tips

The Rough Collie is noted for their long-haired, beautiful coat but beauty has its price; all that abundance will need upkeep. Groom your Rough Collie’s hard, straight topcoat and fine, dense undercoat at least twice a week with a thorough brushing and combing to keep them looking best. Brushing should be upped to daily during seasonal shedding (if simpler, utilising a professional groomer is always a great idea). They have minimal natural odour, so bathing should happen only if necessary. Brush their teeth often - daily if you can (as long-nosed dogs, they are prone to periodontal disease) - clean their eyes and ears to avoid infection, and trim their nails frequently as well. A born herder, the Rough Collie very much enjoys running so will need a good dose of daily exercise; they like to go for long walks, are known for their stamina, and enjoy playing and retrieving (don’t forget to check their paw pads for debris when they come in). The breed excels at dog sports and will thoroughly enjoy performance events. Genial, kind, quite receptive dogs, the Rough Collie is very easy to train and is particularly known for their tenderness with children, once trained around them. The Rough Collie can become timid if they’re not properly socialised.


All about Rough Collies

As you might expect, that gorgeous coat does take some brushing but don’t expect it to be out of control. Consistency is the key, to prevent mats from happening, and always check for thorns or twigs that could get trapped in the coat and cause skin lesions. Professional groomers can be used too if you’d rather (that’s what they’re there for). The rest of the Rough Collie‘s grooming routine - keeping eyes and ears clean, nails trimmed, and teeth brushed - is similar to any other breed.

As a breed that has enjoyed persistent popularity, the Rough Collie definitely ranks high up there when it comes to choosing a domestic pet. It’s their noble appearance and luscious locks that lure people in but it‘s an even and pleasant demeanour that has won hearts over worldwide.



1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/