Collie – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Are you a long-time Lassie fan? If so, you might find Collie interesting. Read on and discover if this breed could be your Lassie.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
22 to 26 inches all at the shoulder
50 to 70 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 14 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Collie is a large herding dog with an enormous amount of energy. This is one of the world’s most recognizable dog breeds. With 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder, the Collie stands for tall and large dogs.

Add to that up to 77 pounds and you will get a powerful dog who can be active for hours. This breed has an impressive show coat that people adore.

The fantastic Collie can be fully-coated and this type is known as ‘rough Collie’ and this is a more familiar variety, while there is also a sleek ‘smooth Collie’ version.

In both varieties coat colors are sable and white, tricolor, blue merle, or white. This breed has an elegant wedge-shaped head, mobile ears, and almond eyes that can catch a wide range of expressions.

They are amazing family dogs and children’s favorites. Collie is athletic, swift, and tireless. This is a high-energy breed that thrives on companionship and regular exercise.

The Collie is large, but the size won’t stop them from being active all day long.

As herding dogs, they are active and agile, with still strong herding instincts. Even today they are busy herding or participating in dog sports to burn that extra energy off.

Quick Facts

Real name: Collie
Origin: Scotland
Other names: Collis, Colley, Coally, Coaly
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
Height: 22 to 26 inches all at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 to 14 years
Litter Size: 4 – 6 puppies
Color: Two basic colors are brown (sable) and black (tri color)
Coat: Two varieties of coat: rough (long hair) and smooth short hair)

Collie History

Next to St. Bernard, Collie is probably the most famous dog when it comes to modern culture.

After all, this breed is the main hero of books and movies titled ‘Lassie.’

Originally from Scotland, this breed captivated hearts across the world for good thanks to cultural impact. Plus, some features really make this breed stand out and make first-class working dogs and pets.

Not that long ago, Collie was called by different names, including Collis, Colley, Coally, and Coaly. Those passionate about languages believe that these names are linked with words ‘col’ or ‘coll’ which are Anglo-Saxon words for black.

It’s most likely that the name comes from the word ‘colley’ meaning the Scottish black-faced sheep.

Collie’s duty included guarding black-faced sheep. Regardless of the name,this Scotland breed was used from day one to guard full-time, which is why they are even today strong full-time working dogs.

Did you know that original Collies were mostly black in the coat? Plus, original Collies were closer in size and shape to today’s Border Collies.

Stone Age nomads brought dogs to the place that is today known as Southern England. These dogs were hard-working dogs of high intelligence, whose main duty was to herd sheep, pigs, goats, and cattle.

Some historians claim that Collie’s ancestors were in fact brought to the British Isles by Roman conquerors.

Regardless of which theory is 100% true, one is for sure – this is an ancient breed that evolved over time.

The person most responsible for the breed’s survival and overall popularity is Queen Victoria.

She fell in love with this breed in 1860, when she visited Scotland. Queen Victoria was beyond impressed with the breed’s appearance and temperament.

As result, she brought some dogs to England, which was the start of the breed’s popularity. In no time, these dogs were exhibited and mostly used as house pets, then working dogs.

The year 1867 was a big milestone for this breed. That year a Collie named Old Cockie was born and was credited as the characteristic type of the Rough Collie known today.

It’s also believed that Old Cockie is responsible for introducing sable coat color to the breed.

As for the States, the very first Collie was imported in 1879. The Collie Club of America was formed on August 26, 1886, making it one of the oldest canine clubs.

Collie Physical Appearance

By appearance, Collie is a striking dog. They are usually 24 to 26 inches tall, weighing between 50 to 70 pounds.

Females are smaller than males. Collies are known for their beautiful coat that flows freely as they move, only adding to their overall elegant appearance.

Rough Collie includes two variations:

  • True rough collie with long hair
  • Smooth collie with short hair

Overall, these dogs are powerful in appearance, well-built, and with muscular body. The entire body is firm and hard, with well-rounded ribs.

The forelegs are straight and muscular, while the hind legs are less fleshy. The tail is moderately long, and carried low when the dog is quiet.

The outer coat is straight and harsh, while the undercoat is soft. The coat of the coat is very profuse and longer and bushy on the hips.

Collie’s usually come in four colors, including:

  • Sable and white
  • Tri-color
  • Blue merle
  • White

As for the color preferences, there is none, while the ‘sable and white’ is dominant.

Fun fact: Shetland Sheepdog is often promoted as miniature Collie

Collie Personality

Collie is often described as a sweet and gentle dog with enormous love and respect toward humans. This is an ultimate family dog, who doesn’t mind having a job to be done.

In fact, they are so huge family lovers that they have to be included in all of the household activities. Otherwise, you just might discover what it looks like when a dog is bored.

Collies are known as great children’s fans. They will spend time with children of all ages, play with them ad protect them if needed.

Did you know that Collies are so amazing with children, that they are often seen as companion dogs for children with autism?

When it comes to dogs and children with autism, there is a special bond that can be seen in dogs’ extra need to please, to be calm, and to keep the parameter around children safe. Plus, children love Collie’s appearance, soft hair, and willingness to follow them around.

Don’t let their soft appearance fool you, because this dog won’t think twice about protecting his humans.

Just like Lassie, Collie is extremely devoted and will do whatever he needs to protect his owner. They are intelligent and fast learners, which is more than handy when it comes to proper training.

Collie Training

Collies are smart dogs. As such they are easy to train, as long as you have experience as a dog owner.

For general socialization and training, puppy classes are highly recommended. However, training shouldn’t end with puppy classes.

Collies love training, learning, and performing tasks. Plus, just like any other breed, they adore rewards that come in form of treats.

Simply said, they thrive on positive training methods and you should use them to your advantage.

No dog should ever experience any harsh training methods.

If you feel like training your Collie is too much work, or that you don’t have enough patience for the training process, think about hiring a professional dog trainer. Yes, this may be pricey, but it might get your dog where you want him to be much faster.

Provide training sessions that are consistent, fun, engaging, well-structured, and packed with treats. However, don’t force treats too much.

Use treats only as a reward. Otherwise, you may lead your dog to obesity, which is something that you want to avoid.

Weight gain in dogs occurs for many reasons, and one of the most common reasons includes bigger feeding portions and uncontrolled serving of treats.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States, and you don’t want to see your dog being of this unhealthy trend.

Collie Grooming

Owning a Collie comes with big grooming responsibility. Keeping that lavishing coat will demand proper care, the right grooming tools, and some of your time.

Regular brushing is mandatory if you want your Collie to have a clean and shiny coat, and your home to be dog hair-free or put to a minimum.

They have an undercoat which mean that you can expect daily shedding and a more heavy one during the shedding season.

Be careful during the brushing session, because you want to avoid matting, especially in areas such as behind the ears and elbows.

If your Collie is a female, expect heavy shedding about three months after the heat cycle, that is if your Collie isn’t spayed yet.

The rest is basic care:

  • Bathe only when needed and use shampoo specially designed for dogs
  • Trim or grind nails monthly
  • Check gums and eyes weekly
  • Use brushing time to check skin for any sign of fleas or skin infection

Collie Health

If you are working with responsible breeders you should get a healthy puppy.

Responsible breeders will screen puppies for the most common health issues of the need.

When it comes to Collies the minimum requirement for the puppies is to have an eye check between six to eight weeks. This must be performed by a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist for Collie’s eye anomaly.

Breeders should present you with medical documentation on the breed and inform you about the breeds’ possible future health issues. This breed usually lives from 12 to 14 years.

As long as you provide the proper care, loving surrounding, regular veterinarian check-ups, and the best nutrition your Collie should live around 12 years.

Is Collie For You?

Collies are active, intelligent, and sensitive dogs who thrive on human companionship.

They are extremely loyal, and can always feel what their owners need. Collies are true family dogs, and as such, these canines will hate being left alone.

Make sure that your entire family is dog-friendly, otherwise, it will be hard having all responsibility on you. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be in pain if left alone for a couple of hours.

Just make sure that it’s not for too long or too often. This breed is for you if you need a family dog, who is energetic and even-tempered.

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