Breed Highlight: Collie

Collies make great family dogs, as they are devoted to the entire family, eager to please, house-train easily and need less grooming than you might think. They’re also energetic outside and calm inside. We will discuss this breed to help you determine if it is the best fit for you and your family.

The Collie

Vital Stats of Collies

  • Dog breed group: Herding
  • Height: 22 to 26 inches at the shoulder
  • Weight: 50 to 70 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10 to 14 years

Physical Characteristics of Collies


The expression of the Collie is its hallmark. Its refined head, well-balanced muzzle and skull, and piercing ears and eyes all exude a certain intelligence and alertness. Meanwhile, its gait suggests an effortless speed and an ability to change direction instantly. These are both qualities that are necessary for herding dogs.

The Collie has two coat varieties. The first is a smooth-coat variety with a flat and short outer coat. Although, Collies can also be a rough-coated variety with a harsh, straight and long — more so on the ruff and mane — outer coat. However, both varieties have a soft and profuse undercoat. In addition, this breed comes in four recognizable colors, including the following:

  • sable and white
  • tri-color
  • blue merle
  • white

The Collie’s Personality

The Collie is a herding breed. This means he is smart, quick to learn and very tuned into his people. He is nowhere near as intense as the Border Collie and the Australian Shepherd. However, the Collie still needs daily exercise as well as training and play that will challenge his mind.

This breed responds best to consistent, reward-based training, and they enjoy attention that comes with performing, whether doing tricks or competing in agility, obedience or herding events. In addition, a Collie cal also be an excellent therapy dog, tall enough to stand at a bedside for petting, with a calm and welcoming personality.

On the downside, this breed is vocal with a bark that can be exceptionally irritating. If left to his own devices, a Collie can become a nuisance barker.

Care for Collies

The Collie is a family-oriented and needs to live in the home, not out in the backyard. Also, its breed requires a thorough brushing every week to remove dead hair, and a leash-led walk or jog daily is all it needs for exercise.

Herding can provide excellent physical and mental exercise for the Collie as well.

Health of Collies

Collies are typically healthy. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Not all Collies will get any or all of these diseases, but you need to be aware of them if you are considering this breed.

Some diseases that can affect the Collie include the following:

  • Dermatomyositis: inherited autoimmunue skin disorder that causes lesions and muscle problems
  • Collie Nose: condition in which the skin of nose peels, oozes and may lose color
  • Collie Eye Anomaly: inherited condition that can sometimes lead to blindness
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina
  • Nodular Granulomatous Epieclerokeratitis (NGE): this condition is thought to be an immune disorder that eventually causes damage to the cornea
  • Hip Dysplasia: abnormal formation of the hi socket that can cause pain or lameness
  • Drug Sensitivity: this breed often reacts to such drugs as ivermectin (in heartworm control medication), anesthesia and insecticides

History of Collies


The ancestors of today’s Collies worked as herding dogs in the Scottish highlands, driving cattle and sheep to the market. They have take their name from a Scottish breed of black-faced sheep called the Colley.

Queen Victoria frequently vacationed in Scotland at Balmoral Castle. She fell in love with Collies in the 1860s. Royal patronage resulted in a demand for the breed. They went from being the helpmeets of humble shepherds to the cherished companions of the wealthy. In 1866 the Collie Club of America became the second parent club to join the AKC.

For more information on the Collie or other dog breeds, don’t hesitate to contact us here at All Pets Veterinary Medical Center with the link below!

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