By Heather Venkat, DVM, MPH, DACVPM
The Collie has been one of the most consistently popular dog breeds of all time.
This is largely in part due to the movie ‘Lassie’, which rocketed the breed to stardom.
But before the collie became beloved of movie-goers, he was a well-known herder of the Scotland highlands.
This dog is not only a hard worker but is a wonderful family dog.
He loves children and will be a fun but gentle playmate for them.
This breed is active, but not rambunctious, and tends to bark to be rather vocal.
Whether you need a working dog or a companion, the collie is a wonderful choice!
This breed is incredibly intelligent and eager to please, so training is not difficult.
You cannot talk about the collie without mentioning his beautiful coat.
There are two distinct kinds of collie, the rough and the smooth.
Below you will find details about the proper care and maintenance of the coat for both types.
The collie is generally a healthy breed, but there are some health concerns to be aware of.
Continue reading below for a full overview of what to expect as a collie owner.
The collie is a medium-sized breed, generally standing between 22-26 inches tall.
His body is lithe with a tapered head and expressive almond-shaped eyes.
There are two distinct options when it comes to his coat texture.
The rough collie has a long, thick coat which forms a ruff around his neck.
The smooth collie has a dense but shorter coat.
Both types come in a variety of colors, including blue, white, black, sable, and merle.
Most collies will be primarily one color and then have markings or merle in one to three other colors.
This pup was built for an active lifestyle.
His athletic body is perfect for traversing the rough highlands of Scotland.
If you enjoy being active outside, you will find the collie to be the perfect companion.
He is inquisitive and attentive, eyes and ears always ready to follow you.
The collie’s medium size is perfect for interacting with children.
He is large enough that you don’t need to worry about children hurting him.
But at the same time, he is not so large that he will bowl over or frighten your kids when playing with them.
This pup will be a stunning addition to your family.
People cannot stop raving about the collie’s personality.
Good with other animals, kids, and seniors, this pup is an all-around socializer.
The collie wants to make you happy and is therefore very easy to train.
Make sure to use lots of positive reinforcement when training your pup.
He is a sensitive soul, so harsh words and an angry voice will not be helpful in training.
The collie has energy that needs to be run off every day.
However, he does not need as much exercise as other herding breeds, like the Border Collie or Australian Shepherd.
This pup is very vocal, letting you know anytime he perceives something to be wrong.
If left to his own devices, a bored collie can become a nuisance, barking at any little thing.
Make sure to keep your collie as engaged as possible.
This will help keep the barking to a minimum.
Ideally, begin training your puppy as soon as you bring him home.
You don’t want to have to break your pup of bad habits later on.
Because of his loving and sweet nature, the collie is often used as a therapy dog.
This pup is a people dog to his core and lives to please you!
The collie is part of the herding group.
This means that you should expect your pup to need exercise daily.
Herding dogs are known for their energy and stamina.
They are also very intelligent.
Plan to have continual training opportunities for your collie.
Not only will this physically occupy your dog, but it will fulfill his innate curiosity.
While a collie can adapt to apartment life, he does best when there is room to run around.
Ideally, a large backyard with a fence will provide the space your pup needs to get out extra energy.
The collie does not have as much energy as other herding dogs, so you don’t have to overdo it.
Plan on 20-40 minutes of play and running each day.
That should keep your pup happy and fulfilled.
Dog parks are another great opportunity for your collie to get out some energy.
Just be sure that you start socialization training with your pup as early as possible.
The collie can get territorial around other dogs.
It is best for everyone if you train your pup to be polite to other dogs at a young age.
Grooming needs for this breed depend on which type you have.
For the smooth collie, brushing him once a week will be more than enough.
This helps keep his double coat from tangling or accumulating dirt.
The rough collie’s coat has a tendency to mat.
It is imperative to brush him at least once a week.
Pay special attention to just behind the ears, back legs, and the elbows.
Those areas are more likely to mat before the rest of the coat.
During shedding season, brushing is extra imperative for both the smooth and rough collie.
As with any breed, keeping your pup’s nails trimmed is important.
Not only will this add to your dog’s overall health but will also keep him happy.
While you go through your weekly grooming ritual, check your collie’s ears.
Gently remove any dirt or buildup you find.
This will help prevent infections and irritation.
Dental health is also important.
Check in with your veterinarian about what dental care resources are recommended for your pup.
A daily brushing will keep your collie’s teeth clean and improve his oral health.
Having a regular grooming ritual is not only good for your dog’s physical health.
This social breed will benefit mentally from having one-on-one time with you!
Take the time to show your pup how much you love him!
As with most herding breeds, the collie benefits from continuous training.
After your pup’s initial training, keep up with it.
Review old concepts and introduce new tricks and commands.
Agility training is a fun way to keep your collie’s intellect engaged.
Because of how smart collies are, they need the daily stimulation of exercise, both physical and mental.
Don’t just put your pup in the backyard to entertain himself.
Play with your dog and engage him with games, challenges, and tricks.
He will be happier and more fulfilled because he is spending time with you!
Begin socialization training as young as you can.
Both you and your pup will benefit from early and consistent socialization training.
The collie can be protective of his family around new people and animals.
Socialization training will help calm that instinct down.
It will also help with the collie’s proclivity to barking.
Not only will your collie learn that barking is not always necessary, but he will also be engaged.
A bored collie is a noisy collie.
Do yourself and your dog a favor and provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation on a regular basis!
The collie is, generally speaking, a healthy breed.
However, just like all dogs, the collie does have a predisposition to certain medical conditions.
Hip dysplasia is a relatively common issue that may affect your pup’s health and happiness.
This condition occurs when the hip socket was formed incorrectly before birth.
Over time, wear on the hip joint causes it to slip out of the socket, which is a source of irritation and pain.
Check in with your veterinarian about warning signs to keep an eye out for.
The Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) is another health concern.
CEA occurs when the blood vessels in the retina are not properly developed.
This can (but does not always), lead to vision problems and blindness later in a collie’s life.
There is no cure for CEA, but scientists have identified the genetic mutation that causes it.
All reputable collie breeders will have their puppies screened for the mutation.
Be sure to ask for medical documentation that your pup has been screened for CEA.
As with any dog, clipping your pup’s nails is an essential part of their health.
Additionally, make sure to give your collie appropriate dental care.
Your veterinarian will be able to recommend oral care products for your dog’s specific needs.
Take care of your pup and he will follow you to the ends of the earth!
This breed first gained widespread recognition after the 1940’s debut of the film Lassie.
However, the collie has been well-loved for hundreds of years.
The Collie is commonly believed to have descended from Roman sheepdogs brought to Scotland over 2,000 years ago.
These dogs were bred with local Scottish breeds and the first documentation of the collie occurred around 1800.
During her reign, Queen Victoria paid extended visits to Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands.
She fell in love with the collie and did a lot to promote his status from lowly sheepdog to stellar show-dog.
The collie made his way to the U.S. in 1879.
The American populace fell in love with his sweet nature and handsome appearance.
The Collie Club of America was formed in 1886.
This makes it one of the oldest specialty canine clubs.
Nowadays, you will often see collies settled in loving families with children.
His gentle yet playful nature continues to be a favorite for those looking for a companion.
The breed is even known to be excellent therapy dogs!
This gentle herder deserves his reputation as a sweet-hearted friend.
Where Can I Find a Puppy?
The most important step when looking for a puppy is to find a reputable breeder.
Puppy mills and internet scams lurk in the shadows.
Don’t fall prey to their illegal and dangerous practices.
Any breeder worth their salt will be willing to answer any question you may have.
One thing you should definitely ask for is your puppy’s medical history.
Your breeder should have each puppy tested for Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA).
This is a condition that can cause blindness as your puppy ages.
CEA can be found through genetic testing.
Do not hesitate to ask for documentation of CEA testing and any other issues you might have concerns about.
If you are unsure about which puppy to pick, ask your breeder for a personality outline.
Most breeders can offer either a personality matching test or a rundown of each puppy’s personality.
This will help you find the pup that will be best for you and your family.
If you can, arrange for a playdate so you can spend time with your puppy before taking him home.
You will not only gain a pet, but a companion when you choose a collie puppy!
Q: Are collies good with children?
A: Yes, they are very good with children! Just make sure they aren’t nipping small children in their attempts to herd your kids!
Q: Are collies easy to train?
A: Yes! They want to please you and are very intelligent! Just remember that training should be continuous, not once and done!
Q: Do collies need a lot of grooming?
A: Your collie will need a good brushing at least once a week, and more often during shedding season.
Q: Are collies good for apartment living?
A: Generally this breed needs some space to run around in, so if you don’t have a backyard make sure there is a dog park nearby.
The collie is an all-around family dog.
If you think this breed might be the right one for you, check out these collie puppies today!
I hope you found this article helpful and informative!
Until next time!
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Britannica. (2022, 1 27). Collie Dog. Retrieved from Britannica: https://www.britannica.com/animal/collie-dog
Collie Club of America. (2022, 1 27). Homepage. Retrieved from Collie Club of America: https://www.collieclubofamerica.org/
Daily Paws. (2022, 1 27). Collie. Retrieved from Daily Paws: https://www.dailypaws.com/dogs-puppies/dog-breeds/collie
Dogtime. (2022, 1 27). Collie. Retrieved from Dogtime: https://dogtime.com/dog-breeds/collie#/slide/1
Vetstreet. (2022, 1 27). Collie. Retrieved from Vet Street: http://www.vetstreet.com/dogs/collie
Dr. Heather Venkat has been a veterinarian since 2013, working in companion animal medicine with dogs and cats, as well as veterinary public health. Her passion is in prevention, One Health, and strengthening the human-animal bond. A bonafide animal-lover, she competes in dog sports and currently shares her home with a border collie mix named Luna, three cats, and two leopard geckos.