The Rough Collie is a Scottish dog breed known for their herding abilities. They are popular, active family pets that have exploded in popularity after the fictional character Lassie was created. These days, the Rough Collie is mostly a family dog whose temperament was “adapted” for that role. However, they still remain skillful herders that are performing their original duties all over the world.
These dogs are known for their loving character. They are one of the best popular pets who have plenty of love for their family and owners. Rough Collies love to be close to their owners, and some owners even say that these dogs can anticipate your needs and wishes. Collies are often described as:
- Demanding of attention
22-26 in (56-66 cm)
50–75 lb (23–34 kg)
The exact breed history is a bit hard to pinpoint. The first herding dogs were brought to the Highland region of Scotland during the stone age. Those were intelligent dogs capable of herding cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. They varied greatly in looks because their working abilities were more important than their looks. Canine historians believe that herding dogs were brought to the British Isles around 2.000 years ago by Roman conquerors. It is most likely that these dogs were crossbred, and some variety of the modern-day Collie came to life.
Original Scottish Collies were almost all black. They performed their herding duties throughout the UK for many years and served as great helpers of shepherds from that area. Over time, their popularity fell, and famous Queen Victoria is credited with saving the breed. She visited the royal estate in Scotland and fell in love with these beautiful dogs. She even brought some dogs with her to England, where she bred these dogs. As soon as she was seen with these dogs, the British nobles wanted to get one for themselves. After that, these dogs were mostly bred for their good looks and not their working ability.
Dog Breed Characteristics
The Rough Collie is a strong and active dog breed that has a deep, moderately broad chest. Their head should never appear massive or too large. Their muzzle should never be squared, and undershot or overshot jaws are highly undesirable in this breed. Their eyes should be oblique and almond-shaped; they should never appear too large or prominent.
These dogs are known for their rich, luscious coats that are one of their most attractive traits. They have thick, double coats that come in 4 different colors or patterns. The standard allows tri-color, blue merle, sable and white, and white. The Rough Collie is a relatively large dog with an average size of 24 - 26 inches for males and 22 - 24 inches for female dogs. Rough Collies can weigh from 50 - 75 pounds, depending on the sex of the dog.
Collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. They are quick to learn new things and can efficiently perform different tasks and jobs. They are a herding breed, so it is not out of their character to herd small children. That sort of behavior should not be encouraged and should be corrected right away.
These dogs are loyal, affectionate, and extremely gentle. They are great for single owners or large families; these dogs have enough love for everyone. The Rough Collie is also an excellent watchdog. They will notify you about anyone approaching your territory but will rarely become aggressive towards strangers. They are also suspicious when strangers approach their families, so make sure you give them time to evaluate strangers who you greet.
Training a Rough Collie
Training such an intelligent dog breed is essential for preventing the development of bad behavioral traits. Start training them as soon as they arrive at your house, and if you do not have time to work with such an active breed, maybe it is not the best choice for you.
If you are interested in properly training your Rough Collie and are unsure where to start, you can always ask professionals for help. Many puppy training programs and doggy schools can significantly help you train an active shepherding breed. Most dog breeds do not take well harsh training methods and techniques, and Collie is one of them. These dogs are considered highly trainable, and they can pick up new things very fast. They are often picked as service dogs for people with disabilities. Make sure these dogs have their minds and bodies engaged because that is the only way they will truly be happy.
One of the best things you could do for your dog is to start socializing them as soon as possible. This process shouldn’t be a problem because Collies are very friendly and love the company and playing with other dogs. They are friendly towards others, but they are prone to excessive barking since they are good watchdogs.
If you want your dog to stop barking excessively, training and socialization should be the key. Expose your dog to different things like strangers, sights, sounds, other dogs, and environments. That way, your dog can learn when their watchdog instincts are needed and when there is no need for them to bark. Socialization is the best way to make sure your dog grows up to be a stable, confident, well-balanced dog.
Rough Collie and other pets
These dogs can get along well with other dogs and can enjoy their company. Because of their herding instinct, they might try and herd other, smaller dogs. Generally, the Rough Collie is a great pet to have if you already have other pets at home. They are extremely friendly and love having company, so your Collie won’t mind other pets.
However, no matter what breed they are, every dog should be socialized and adequately introduced to other pets. Take your time, and even if your dog doesn’t react well on your first try doesn’t mean they won’t get along. Some dogs require time, but Rough Collies are generally very affectionate and gentle towards other pets, especially if raised together.
Rough Collie and children
Early socialization and proper training can teach them to behave even when children are around. Rough Collie temperament makes them suitable for families with children of all ages. If you train and socialize your dog well, your children will get a great playing partner that has plenty of energy. These dogs can play for hours upon hours without getting tired or bored.
Your children will also get a watchdog that is naturally suspicious of strangers, and you can be sure that they will warn you about any potential dangers approaching your kids. These dogs have immense patience and are known to be very gentle towards kids.
Children should never be left alone with any dog, no matter what breed it might be. You should make sure that your children understand how to approach dogs of this breed and understand how to interact and play with them properly.
Having a Collie as a pet
There is a good reason why these dogs are so popular family pets. Despite the “Rough” part in their name, there is nothing rough about these dogs. They are affectionate and loving, gentle, tolerable, patient, and very pleasing to their owners. They are sensitive to their owner’s needs and love nothing more than being close to their families. These dogs have lovely characters that are suited for all owners and different living conditions.
However, you will need to provide them with plenty of activities. These dogs are brilliant, and their minds need to be occupied, and they need to have a job to do. If you have large yards, the Collie will have the “job” to watch over that territory and let you know if anything suspicious is going on. This will also give them plenty of opportunities to run and spend their energy. If you live in an apartment, you will have to ensure plenty of daily walks and playtime in the open where they can run and engage in other physical activities.
You should feed your dog with a balanced, high-quality diet that will ensure everything they need. It is vital that their diet and training are in balance because, just like humans, dogs can be overweight if their calorie intake is bigger than their activity.
Coat and care
Unlike the Smooth Collie, the Rough Collie will require a lot more grooming. These dogs are known for their beautiful coats that will require a bit more effort to keep them in the best shape. Your dog will need at least two brushings a week to keep their best coat. Luckily, both Collie varieties are medium “shedders,” so regular brushing will keep the mess under control. These dogs will blow their entire undercoat two times per year, and they will require daily brushing to help them control the loose hair.
Owners often think that longer dog coats need to be washed more often, which is not actually true. If you are taking proper care of their coat by regularly brushing it and cleaning any debris or dirt, you won’t need to bathe your dog that often. It is nice to have a good-smelling dog inside the house, but a bath every three to four months will do the trick if their coat is healthy and well-groomed. Make sure you check their ears and trim their nails regularly. Brushing their teeth or providing them with a teeth-cleaning toy will take care of the tartar and plaque build-up.
Potential health problems
Like any other dog breed, the Rough Collie can potentially develop health problems. If you are buying a dog, make sure the breeder can provide you with the necessary health tests and guarantees. Always ask to see the results of tests from the puppy’s parents. The health problems these dogs are associated with are:
- Allergies - these dogs are prone to have allergic reactions to specific foods, products, or medications.
- Hip dysplasia - Genetic problem affecting hips resulting from an improperly formed hip joint.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy - Group of diseases that affect the retina and cause it to deteriorate over time.
- Dermatomyositis - An inherited skin disorder.
- Collie nose - Condition in which the skin on the nose peels or oozes.
- Collie eye anomaly - Inherited disorder that leads to blindness and affects Collie breeds.
- Nodular Granulomatous Episclerokeratitis (NGE) - This disorder is considered an immune disorder, and it is also called fibrous histiocytoma or Collie granuloma. It causes damage to the cornea.
If you decided that this is the right dog for you, now it's time to find a good and responsible Rough Collie breeder. Buying a dog from such a breeder will provide you with a healthy puppy who will not have health and temperament problems.
Poorly bred dogs can be prone to developing any of these disorders we mentioned earlier, and responsible breeders test their breeding dogs for all inherited disorders. That is the most significant advantage of getting a dog from a reputable breeder.
If you are unsure whether this is the breed for you, check out this FREE GUIDE that will help you decide which dog breed is right for you.
World Dog Finder team