Everything You Need to Know About the Rough Collie Dog Breed

If you are looking for a loyal, intelligent and affectionate companion, the Rough Collie is an excellent choice. This breed is known for its beautiful looks, gentle nature and versatility. In this article, we will explore the fascinating history, physical characteristics, temperament, and health of the Rough Collie, so you can make an informed decision about whether this breed is the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

A Brief History of the Rough Collie

Origins of the Breed

The Rough Collie, also known as the Scottish Collie or Lassie dog, has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the 18th century. The breed originated in Scotland, where it was primarily used as a herding dog for sheep and cattle. The Rough Collie’s ancestors were larger, more aggressive dogs that were bred for their working ability rather than their looks. Over time, however, breeders began to selectively breed for certain physical and personality traits, which eventually led to the creation of the modern-day Rough Collie.

The Rough Collie’s intelligence and trainability made it a popular choice for farmers and shepherds in Scotland. These dogs were able to work long hours in harsh conditions, and their loyalty and protective nature made them valuable companions as well. As the breed became more refined, its popularity spread beyond Scotland and into other parts of the world.

The Collie’s Journey to America

In the mid-19th century, the Rough Collie was introduced to America, where it quickly became popular as a family pet and show dog. One of the earliest and most famous Rough Collies in America was a dog named “Old Cockie,” who was imported from Scotland in 1878. Old Cockie was highly influential in shaping the breed in America, and many of today’s Rough Collies can trace their lineage back to him.

As the popularity of the Rough Collie grew in America, breeders began to focus more on the dog’s appearance than its working ability. This led to some controversy within the breed community, with some breeders arguing that the Rough Collie’s working ability should be the top priority. Despite these debates, the Rough Collie continued to be a beloved family pet and show dog in America and around the world.

Famous Rough Collies in History

Throughout history, the Rough Collie has been featured in countless books, movies, and TV shows, and has even become a symbol of loyalty and bravery. Perhaps the most famous Rough Collie is Lassie, a fictional dog who was the star of numerous books, films, and a popular TV show in the 1950s and ’60s. Lassie was known for her unwavering loyalty and her ability to find help when her owners were in trouble, making her a beloved iconic figure in American pop culture.

But Lassie wasn’t the only famous Rough Collie. Other notable Rough Collies include “Buddy” from the 1997 film “Air Bud,” “Fly” from the 1996 film “Babe,” and “Duke” from the TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies.” These dogs, like Lassie, were known for their intelligence, loyalty, and ability to steal the hearts of audiences around the world.

Today, the Rough Collie continues to be a popular breed among dog lovers. Whether as a working dog, a show dog, or a beloved family pet, the Rough Collie’s rich history and unique personality make it a truly special breed.

Physical Characteristics of the Rough Collie

The Rough Collie is a beloved breed of dog that has captured the hearts of many due to its stunning physical characteristics. This breed is not only beautiful, but also strong and agile, making it a great companion for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

Size and Weight

The Rough Collie is a medium-sized dog that stands between 22 and 26 inches tall at the shoulder. This breed is not too big, nor too small, making it a great size for those who live in apartments or small homes. Additionally, the Rough Collie weighs between 50 and 75 pounds, with males typically being larger than females. Despite their lean build, Rough Collies are strong and agile, making them great for outdoor activities such as hiking and running.

Coat and Colors

One of the most distinctive features of the Rough Collie is its long, thick coat. This coat is composed of two layers: a soft undercoat that provides insulation and a longer, coarser outer coat that protects the dog from the elements. The Rough Collie’s coat comes in a variety of colors, including sable, tricolor, and blue merle, with white markings on the chest, legs, and face. The coat of a Rough Collie is not only beautiful, but also serves a practical purpose, keeping the dog warm in cold weather and protecting it from the sun in hot weather.

It is important to note that the Rough Collie’s coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and tangling. This breed sheds moderately throughout the year and heavily during shedding season, so regular brushing and grooming is a must.

Distinctive Features

In addition to its luxurious coat, the Rough Collie is known for its elegant head, which is narrow and tapering, with a long snout and expressive eyes. The eyes of a Rough Collie are typically almond-shaped and can range in color from dark brown to blue. The ears of a Rough Collie are typically pointed and erect, giving the dog a keen, alert appearance. The Rough Collie’s tail is long and feathery, and is often held high when the dog is alert or excited.

Another distinctive feature of the Rough Collie is its intelligence. This breed is known for being highly intelligent and trainable, making it a great choice for those who want a dog that can learn new tricks and commands quickly.

Overall, the Rough Collie is a beautiful and intelligent breed of dog that makes a great companion for those who enjoy outdoor activities and want a loyal and loving pet.

Temperament and Personality Traits

Intelligence and Trainability

The Rough Collie is an extremely intelligent and trainable breed, known for its ability to learn quickly and respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. These dogs are eager to please their owners, making them excellent candidates for obedience training, agility competitions, and other types of canine sports. However, they can also be sensitive to harsh or punitive training methods, so it’s important to be patient and gentle when working with a Rough Collie.

Affection and Loyalty

Rough Collies are renowned for their affectionate and loyal nature, often forming deep bonds with their owners and family members. These dogs thrive on human companionship and are happiest when they are by their owner’s side, whether that means going for a walk, playing fetch, or just snuggling on the couch. Because of their strong attachment to their families, Rough Collies can sometimes develop separation anxiety if left alone for long periods of time, so they are best suited for homes where someone is around most of the day.

Energy Levels and Exercise Needs

Despite their reputation as couch potatoes, Rough Collies are actually quite active and require regular exercise to stay healthy and content. These dogs are happiest when they have the opportunity to run, play, and explore, whether that means going for a walk in the park or engaging in more vigorous activities like hiking or swimming. Rough Collies can also excel in sports like obedience, agility, and flyball, which provide both physical and mental stimulation.

Health and Lifespan of the Rough Collie

Common Health Issues

Like all breeds, the Rough Collie is susceptible to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin allergies. However, with proper care and attention, many of these conditions can be managed or prevented altogether. Regular veterinary checkups, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercise can go a long way toward ensuring that your Rough Collie enjoys a long and healthy life.

Preventative Care and Regular Checkups

To keep your Rough Collie in top condition, it’s important to provide regular preventative care, including vaccinations, flea and tick prevention, and regular grooming. Rough Collies require regular brushing to keep their coat healthy and free of mats and tangles, and may also benefit from periodic baths and trims. Additionally, it’s important to schedule regular checkups with your veterinarian to detect any health issues in their early stages.

Expected Lifespan

On average, the Rough Collie has a lifespan of between 10 and 14 years. However, with proper care and attention, many Rough Collies live well into their teens, providing loyal and loving companionship to their owners for many years to come.


The Rough Collie is a beautiful and intelligent breed with a loyal and affectionate temperament. Whether you are looking for a family pet or a sports companion, the Rough Collie has something to offer. By understanding the breed’s history, physical characteristics, temperament, and health needs, you can make an informed decision about whether this breed is the right fit for you and your lifestyle. With the proper care and attention, a Rough Collie can be a beloved and loyal companion for many years to come.

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