Complete Guide To The Collie: Care, Grooming, Health and More

Undoubtedly, the most famous Collie throughout history has been the iconic Lassie, featured in movies and television shows. Although Lassie’s on-screen dramatics were intended to boost ratings, it turns out Lassie’s fictional heroics and personality were not too far off from a Collie’s natural tendencies. The Collie is a loyal, active, and loving dog that is well suited for families. The dog has a genuine affection for children of all ages and is happy to spend time with his family.

I’ve actually worked with a few Collie breeders and known more than a few Collie enthusiasts in my 20+ year veterinary career. This breed inspires deep loyalty and passion from those who love them. Below is partially informed by my experience.

How Big Does A Collie Get?

Males24-26″ at the shoulder60-75 lbs
Females22-24″ at the shoulder50-65 lbs

What Coat Types Do Collies Have?

There are two main coat varieties for the Collie, including a smooth coat and a rough coat. The rough coat variety has a coarse topcoat that is longer and tougher. The rough coat is the traditional Collie look that people usually envision. The smooth coat Collie is similar, with a shorter and less satisfying coat. Both the rough coat and the smooth coat come in a range of colors, including tricolor, blue merle, white, or sable and white.  

What Is The Personality Of A Collie?

A Collie’s personality is one of its most defining features and the attribute that attracts many owners to this dog breed. The Collie is intelligent and loyal and has a people-pleasing mentality. The Collie loves all members of his herd and is known for being extremely fond of young children. These attributes make this dog a wonderful family pet. The ideal Collie will be happy to accompany you on a long walk and be equally excited to sit at your feet resting. The Collie is intelligent and willing to do whatever it takes to please his owners.  

Because the Collie is extremely intelligent, this breed of dog has been notoriously easy to train. The dog loves to learn and is always willing to engage in new activities and behaviors. Not only is the Collie a star athlete, but he has performed remarkably well as a therapy dog. The dog thrives on positive reinforcement and training techniques. Remember to give this dog plenty of praise when he has completed a job well done.  

The dog is happy to be by his owner’s side and likes to keep them company. Many Collie owners say their dog has a sixth sense for understanding and foreseeing their needs before the owner even requests it. This dog needs to have constant attention and does not do well when left alone for long periods.  

How Much Grooming Do Collies Need?

Although both the rough coat and smooth coat Collies have very different coats, their grooming regimen is similar. Keep your Collie brushed at least once per week to help avoid tangles and matting. If knots are left without care, they can lead to painful skin irritation and possible infection. Be sure to use a thick comb and brush through both the topcoat and undercoat, reaching to the skin to pull the healthy and natural oils to the ends of the fur. Pay particular attention to the areas around the ears and elbows that tend to mat more quickly than other areas.  

The Collie can be a prolific shedder and will usually go through one extremely heavy shed once per year. If your female Collie has not been spayed, expect another big shed every three months as the dog enters her heat cycle. Males who are not neutered will have a heavy shedding season close to their birthday. During these times of heavy shedding, expect to brush your Collie about two to three times per week to remove the dead fur from the coat.  

Like all dogs, it is vital to monitor the ears, teeth, and nails. The Collies that I’ve seen have been notorious for easily developing tartar on their teeth. If they aren’t big chewers, they will need to have their

How Much Exercise Do Collies Need?

While the Collie is undoubtedly an active breed of dog, they don’t need excessive exercise. The dog is happy to have one good walk or play season each day to help them burn off some energy. Make sure the exercise is fast-paced and gets their heart rate up. Teaching your Collie to fetch in a fenced yard is an excellent form of exercise.  

With this dog’s incredible intelligence and eagerness to please his owner, the Collie is a repeat champion at several canine sporting events. Consider enrolling your Collie in agility, obedience, herding, or lure coursing. Not only is this an excellent way to bond with your dog, but it helps exercise your Collie both physically and mentally and allows them to learn a new and valuable skill.  

What Kind of Dog Food Is Good For A Collie?

There are some Collie breeders who very strongly feel that Collies don’t do well on soy or corn and that they need some actual meat in their diet (real animal meat like venison). I’ve not specifically come across that but the breeder network is a tight one with their own ways of doing things.

Personally I believe that most foods are fine for most dogs. Some dogs may not do well on some foods. However, as a rule I don’t blanket-prohibit any dietary ingredient from any breed at this time.

Best Puppy Food For Collies:

Best Adult Food For Collies:

Please don’t listen to the folks at the pet store trying to convince you to buy a grain-free diet for your dog. There’s zero science behind that and vets are actually seeing diseases now related to feeding grain-free foods.

It’s very important they remain at their optimal weight throughout their life. Because of their huge amount of coat, it can be difficult for an owner to understand when their Collie is overweight. Have your vet go over with you exactly where to feel to know when your dog is too big.

How Long Do Collies Generally Live?

12-14 years based on info from the AKC

What Health Conditions Do Collies Commonly Have?

The most common health problems I see in my Collie patients are:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Multi-Drug Sensitivity
  • Bloat
  • Dental Disease

Overall the Collie is generally a pretty healthy breed.

Where Can I Find a Collie? 

Contact the Collie Club of America for a local breeder referral

AKC Puppy Page

Rescuing a dog is also a wonderful option when looking for a new furry family member.  The Collie Club of America also has several Collie-specific rescue groups in the area that can help you find a dog. Rescuing a dog not only allows you to find the purebred dog of your choice, but it allows you to help a dog in need of a home.  

Where Can I Find Out More Information About Collies?

Collie Club of America

Collie Health Foundation

AKC Breed Page

Fun Facts About the Collie 

The Collie is an old breed of dog native to the highland regions of Scotland and northern England. The dog was first used as a herding dog but soon grew to become a loyal and loving family companion.  

The most famous Collie is undoubtedly Lassie, the loving and heroic dog portrayed in movies and television. This dog was played by a rough coat Collie. Lassie debuted in a 1943 movie titled Lassie Come Home, which eventually turned into a spin-off television series.  

The Collie was a little-known and not widely popular dog until about 1860. Queen Victoria visited Scotland and adored the beautiful, intelligent, and gentle Collie. She brought the dogs back to England, prompting a massive spike in the breed’s popularity.  

The famous look of the rough coat Collie is popular among dog owners and can be attributed to a single Collie named Old Cookie. This dog was born in 1867 and is thought to have introduced the rough coat texture to the breed. It is also thought that this particular dog introduced the sable color to the breed.  

The first Collie came to the United States in 1879, with the Collie Club of America founded soon after in 1886. This early date makes the Collie Club one of the oldest dog-specific clubs in America.