portrait of a happy rough collie

Introducing the Rough Collie

Discover all there is to know about the Rough Collie: its characteristics, behavior, training, and its cost.


The Rough Collie, the star of screen and home

portrait of a pensive rough collie

Originating from Scotland and Northern England, the Rough Collie was bred primarily for herding. Known for its effectiveness in managing flocks, this breed has also become a media darling, famously portrayed as "Lassie." Such roles have made the Rough Collie one of the most beloved breeds worldwide. Rough Collies are known for their intelligence and versatility, excelling in roles beyond herding such as search and rescue, therapy work, and as family pets.

Their ability to adapt to various activities showcases their well-rounded nature. Characterized as loyal and affectionate, Rough Collies form deep connections with their families. They are protective yet gentle, thriving in environments where they can interact closely with both adults and children, making them perfect family companions.


This section outlines the unique features of the Rough Collie breed.


The Rough Collie belongs to the herding group (1), which includes breeds known for their ability to control the movement of other animals.


The Rough Collie is a medium to large dog. They typically stand between 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 50 to 75 pounds.

Coat length

Rough Collies are known for their beautiful, long, and dense coat. This luxurious double coat provides excellent protection from harsh weather.

Coat color

Rough Collies are most commonly seen in sable and white, tricolor, and blue merle. These colors can vary in shade from light gold to rich mahogany.

Living environment

Rough Collies thrive in environments where they can be part of family activities. While they can adapt to various living situations, they do best in homes with space to play and exercise.


Rough Collies are exceptionally friendly and sociable. They are well-known for their compatibility with children and other animals, making them ideal family pets.


Rough Collies are generally a healthy breed, but they can be predisposed to certain genetic conditions like Collie Eye Anomaly and hip dysplasia.


Known for their intelligent and eager-to-please nature, Rough Collies are relatively easy to train. They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques such as praise and treats.

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The Rough Collie, graceful elegance in motion

The Rough Collie stands out with its size and poise, showcasing a well-balanced and aristocratic appearance. They are adorned with a lush, multicolored coat and a distinctly refined face that features a tapered muzzle and alert, expressive eyes.

Size and weight of the Rough Collie

a rough collie sitting in the grass

Rough Collies are medium to large dogs with females typically ranging from 22 to 24 inches in height, and males from 24 to 26 inches. Females usually weigh between 50 and 65 pounds, while males range from 60 to 75 pounds.

Rough Collie puppies experience rapid growth in their first year, reaching close to their adult size by about six months of age. However, they continue to fill out and mature, reaching their full adult weight by the age of two.

The coat of the Rough Collie

A portrait of a tongue-tied rough Collie

Coat length

The Rough Collie's coat is one of its most striking features, characterized by its long, dense, and luxuriously soft texture. The outer coat is harsh to the touch while the undercoat remains soft and thick, providing insulation. The fur is especially abundant around the neck and chest, creating a majestic "mane", and the coat can exhibit slight waves, giving it an elegant flow.

Coat color

The Rough Collie's coat is renowned for its variety of color patterns, predominantly seen in sable and white, tricolor, blue merle, and white. Each variant has its own charm, with sable and white being the most iconic, featuring rich shades of gold that can range from light gold to deep mahogany, accented with white markings.

a Collie with elongated brown feathers

Coat care

Maintaining the coat of a Rough Collie requires consistent grooming due to its length and density. The breed sheds moderately throughout the year and more heavily during spring and fall when they blow their undercoats. Regular brushing, at least several times a week, is essential to prevent matting and to keep the coat clean and lustrous.

While Rough Collies are not particularly oily and thus do not require frequent baths, bathing them every few months or when excessively dirty can help maintain the health and appearance of their coat. Special attention should be given during grooming to areas where tangles commonly form, such as behind the ears and around the lower legs.

Other characteristics of the Rough Collie

Three rough collies sitting on the stoop of a house

Physical features

The Rough Collie is the epitome of a balanced and well-proportioned dog, designed to combine beauty and function. The head of a Rough Collie is one of its most distinctive features; it is wedge-shaped, with a smooth, rounded forehead and a tapering muzzle, contributing to its intelligent expression. Their eyes are almond-shaped and typically dark brown, set wide apart and conveying a look of alertness and curiosity.

Rough Collie ears are another expressive trait; they are medium in size and set high on the head, usually carried with the tips folding forward when the dog is attentive. The body of the Rough Collie is slightly longer than it is tall, showcasing a strong, athletic build with well-developed musculature, though not overly bulky. This sleek physique allows them to move with the grace and agility that were essential in their herding tasks.


What is the temperament of the Rough Collie?

Rough Collies are renowned for their loyalty, protectiveness, and deep affection, making them excellent companions and family pets.

Rough Collie category

A magnificent collie gazing into the distance

There are over 400 recognized dog breeds, classified into 10 distinct groups based on their characteristics and roles. The Rough Collie falls into the herding group (1), which is known for breeds that excel in controlling the movement of other animals through keen instincts and trainable natures. The herding group includes a variety of breeds, such as the German Shepherd, Border Collie, and Australian Shepherd, all celebrated for their intelligence and working capabilities. Dogs in this group are not only adept at herding livestock but are also highly valued for their loyalty, intelligence, and responsiveness.

Rough Collies, in particular, exhibit a highly developed instinct for herding and are known for their remarkable intelligence and gentle, docile nature. They are affectionate and patient, often making them ideal for roles such as therapy and assistance dogs. Their primary role historically has been herding, but they have seamlessly adapted to various modern-day roles due to their adaptable and trainable temperament.

Behaviour of the Rough Collie

A long-haired collie strolling on a beach

The gentle guardian

Rough Collies are distinguished by their poised and graceful behavior, exhibiting a calm and gentle demeanor that makes them ideal family pets. Known for their devotion and affection, they form strong bonds with their owners, often showing a deep sensitivity to their family's emotions and needs.

The presence of a caring and attentive owner is crucial for the Rough Collie's emotional well-being and development, as they thrive on interaction and companionship.

A Collie lying on his back being cuddled by his owner.

A friendly and trustworthy companion

The sociability and benevolent nature of Rough Collies make them excellent pets. They are known for their friendly disposition towards humans and display remarkable patience and gentleness, making them wonderful companions for children. Rough Collies get along well with other animals and are known for their willingness to please, which makes them easy to integrate into multi-pet households.

However, it's important to nurture their sociability from a young age through regular socialization with various people and environments to ensure they develop into well-rounded adults.

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The Rough Collie's living environment

a rough collie in the forest

Versatile companions

Rough Collies are highly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of living conditions, from apartments to sprawling rural homes. While they adjust well to different spaces, the key to their happiness lies in the quality of attention they receive from their owners. Rough Collies need meaningful interaction and companionship, regardless of the size of their home. They require daily walks, ideally lasting at least 30 minutes each, to maintain their physical health and mental well-being.

Needs space to explore

Though Rough Collies are flexible regarding their living arrangements, they benefit immensely from having access to outdoor spaces where they can explore and play. These intelligent dogs have a natural curiosity and a need to expend energy. Engaging in outdoor activities not only keeps them physically fit but also helps in honing their herding instincts and maintaining their overall happiness.

Training the Rough Collie

a rough collie walking by the side of someone

A mind ready to learn

Rough Collies are celebrated for their quick learning abilities and keen intelligence, making them a joy to train. These traits allow them to grasp complex commands and routines swiftly. Training a Rough Collie should involve consistent, positive reinforcement techniques that capitalize on their natural desire to please. Due to their sensitive nature, harsh methods should be avoided as they respond best to kindness and encouragement.

Equipping a Rough Collie with a GPS collar is also a wise precaution, especially when training in open or unfamiliar areas, to ensure their safety by preventing any chance of them getting lost.

A Collie jumping in the air to catch a Frisbee

Attentive and responsive companions

Rough Collies possess excellent listening skills, which not only makes them effective herding dogs but also superb family pets and companions. They are known for their ability to tune into their owners' instructions and emotions, making them highly responsive during training sessions. This breed's attentiveness and desire to interact positively with their environment mean they can be trained for a variety of roles, from therapy and assistance work to competitive dog sports.

Early socialization and continued exposure to different people and situations will help harness their sociability and ensure they grow into well-adjusted adults.


How to take care of the Rough Collie

The Rough Collie is generally a healthy breed, with proper care playing a critical role in preventing diseases and enhancing their quality of life. Consistent, daily attention to their physical and mental health is essential for maintaining their well-being.

The health of the Rough Collie

A rough Collie being brushed by a professional


Rough Collies are known for their robust health but like all breeds, they have predispositions to certain conditions. Common health issues include Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and hip dysplasia, conditions that can affect their quality of life. Symptoms to watch for include limping or reluctance to exercise, which may indicate joint problems, and changes in vision.

Regular screenings and prompt veterinary care can manage these conditions effectively. The typical lifespan for a Rough Collie is between 12 to 14 years, reflecting their generally healthy nature.

A rough collie being examined by a vet

Routine care

Regular veterinary visits are crucial for the Rough Collie to receive necessary vaccinations, parasite treatments, and health screenings. Daily care practices include thorough brushing several times a week to maintain their coat and prevent matting. Regular ear cleaning will prevent infections, particularly important for Rough Collies due to their covered ear structure. Dental care, such as brushing and professional cleanings, along with routine nail trimming, are essential to prevent overgrowth and dental diseases.

It's also vital to be attentive to any signs of allergies, with veterinary guidance helping to manage any dietary or environmental sensitivities. Rough Collies are not hypoallergenic and can shed moderately, so routine grooming is also beneficial for managing shedding and maintaining overall cleanliness.

Feeding the Rough Collie

A collie eating out of his bowl

Daily requirements

Rough Collies, like all dog breeds, have specific dietary needs that must be met to maintain their health and vitality. A balanced diet rich in proteins and essential vitamins is crucial for supporting their active lifestyle and lush coat. For Rough Collies, premium-quality kibble formulated for medium to large breeds can provide a solid foundation for their daily nutrition. This type of kibble typically includes the right balance of nutrients tailored to their needs.

In addition to dry food, if a Rough Collie is particularly active or has higher protein requirements, incorporating lean meats such as chicken, turkey, or lean cuts of beef can be beneficial. These should be given in moderation to supplement their regular meals, ensuring that fat content remains low to avoid weight gain and related health issues.

This approach not only enriches their diet but also adds variety to their meals, which can be particularly appealing for dogs who are fussy eaters or have high energy demands.


What does a Rough Collie cost?

Rough Collies are well-regarded for their intelligence, beauty, and versatility, making them a popular choice among dog lovers. In the UK, there are several reputable breeders, but it's important to consider several factors before adopting.

How to choose your Rough Collie

A rough collie with its tongue hanging out to the side

Finding the right breeder

Before adopting a Rough Collie, it's crucial to make an informed decision. Ensure that you select a reputable breeder by visiting their premises to observe the living conditions and behavior of the dogs. It's important to check the health of the puppy and its parents. Reputable breeders will be transparent about any health issues the puppy might have and any hereditary illnesses in its lineage.

Lastly, you must have your dog microchipped by the age of 8 weeks old and have their details registered on a relevant database like Petlog or Animal Tracker. This is a legal requirement in Great Britain, and non-compliance could result in a

fine. For microchipping, consult your veterinarian. Alternatively, any Blue Cross center will offer this service free of charge.

A baby rough collie lying on the ground.

The price of a Rough Collie

The cost of acquiring a Rough Collie puppy can vary widely based on factors such as the breeder's reputation, the dog's lineage, pedigree, and age. Typically, prices for Rough Collie puppies range from



It's important to remember that owning a Rough Collie involves ongoing costs for things like food, grooming, and veterinary care, which can average between


annually, depending on health and lifestyle.

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