Smooth Collie

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Life span

15 Years


29.5 Kg


Pastoral Dogs

Smooth Collie Overview

The Smooth Collie (or simply “Collie” in the United States) is a short-haired variety of the collie sheepdog that originated in Scotland in the 1800s. It is a strong, active and natural working dog that stands naturally straight and firm. It has a moderately wide chest, sloping shoulders and well-bent hocks. The tapered head shows a clean and smooth outline that resembles a lean wedge. The eyebrows are slightly prominent which complements the flat skull and a very slight stop. It has a smooth, well-rounded muzzle, strong and clean-cut underjaw, and a scissors bite set of good-sized teeth. The obliquely placed almond-shaped eyes of the Smooth Collie gives a forward outlook especially when viewed in the front. The eye colour matches that of the coat except for blue merles where the eyes are dark brown. At rest, the ears are folded lengthwise and folded back into the ruffle. A fairly long and muscular neck supports the head to the equally muscular body. The back is level, supported by muscular hips and thighs. The front legs are straight and well-built. The hind legs are also muscular with well-bent hocks and stifles. The tail is carried low with an upward swirl at the end but carried brightly but not over the back when the dog is excited or in motion.

The undercoat is soft, woolly and abundant while the outer coat is short (one to two inches long), hard, dense and flat with good texture. The longer hairs appear mainly in a ruff around the neck and also at the back of the thighs. Acceptable colours are sable (light gold to deep mahogany), tri-colour (black with tan and white markings), blue merle (silvery gray with specks of black and tan) and white. There are also sable merle in colours.

Male Smooth Collies stand between 56 to 61 cm from the withers and can weigh between 27 to 34 kg. Females stand between 51 to 56 cm at the shoulder and weigh between 23 to 30 kg.

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Smooth Collie Characteristics

Size InformationIntelligence
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Size InformationExercise Needs
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Size InformationDogs Health
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Size InformationChild Friendly
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Size InformationApartment
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Size InformationShedding
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Size InformationGrooming Needs
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Size InformationBarking
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Size InformationAlone
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Size InformationTrainability
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Size InformationEnergy Levels
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Size InformationDog friendly
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History & Origin

The Smooth Collie descended from generations of local herding dogs from Scotland and Wales brought here by the Romans more than 2,000 years ago. The variety from Scotland was large and aggressive and was used primarily to herd sheep. The variety from Wales was smaller, agile and friendly and also herded sheep and goats. These varieties were then interbred with local English sheepdogs producing a long-haired collie and a short-haired variety but with broader heads and shorter muzzles that are smaller than today’s Collies. Because the original Collies were predominantly black, some suggest that the name “collie” might have come from the old Ango-Saxxon word “coll” which means black. Others say that the name probably came from the Scottish black-faced sheep called the “colley” which the dogs frequently herd. Another theory is that the word “collie” might have come from the Gaelic word “càilean” (Irish: cóilean) which means dog.

These early Collies were then crossed with the Borzoi or Russian wolfhound which produced a breed with a longer muzzle and taller stature.

The breed became popular when in the 1860s, Queen Victoria saw and acquired a Smooth Collie when she visited Balmoral Castle in Scotland. She immediately fell in love with the breed’s gentle temperament and good looks and brought it to England where it became a fad.

Smooth Collie Temperament

Like many sheepdogs, a Smooth Collie has a tendency to bark a lot but it can be easily trained not to do otherwise especially if it’s trained at an early age as a puppy. Some collies tend to be bossy while others are calmer and gentle. It makes a wonderful guardian of the farm and flock especially during winter since it can stand the coldest of temperatures. It is a breed that is highly trainable, flexible, loyal, agile and graceful – all important traits of a quality herding breed and perfect family companion.

Smooth Collie Training

The Smooth Collie is a highly intelligent breed, eager to learn and responds well to gentle training. They can be trained easily to compete in dog sports such as agility contests, obedience, conformation, Flyball, tracking and herding trials. It can also be trained as a search and rescue dog and has been known as a therapy dog and guide dog.


Weekly brushing is recommended to keep the hair healthy. Brushing also promotes blood circulation which promotes good skin health free from allergies. Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary. The Smooth Collie is an average shedder.


While a Smooth Collie is generally a tough and healthy breed, there are some health issues that can affect the dog, including:

  • Dermatomyositis, genetic autoimmune skin disorder which causes lesions and muscle pains
  • Collie nose, or nasal solar dermatitis, a condition where the skin of the nose peels caused by exposure to sunlight
  • Hip dysplasia, although rare in collies compared to other large breeds
  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA), genetically inherited, which can cause blindness. Consult a certified veterinary ophthalmologist to make sure your puppy is screened for CEA.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), although rare, results in progressive vision loss.
  • Epilepsy
  • Bloating
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism

Smooth Collies may also be sensitive to the anti-parasitic medication Ivermectin and related drugs which can cause neurological problems and even death if overdosed.

Smooth Collie Exercise Needs

The Smooth Collie is a medium to large-sized breed and needs a considerable amount of exercise to stay healthy. Daily long walk or an hour of play outside is an idyllic daily activity. A small apartment is not an ideal home for this breed. It is relatively inactive indoors and will do well in a house with an average-sized yard. The natural home of the Collie is the cold Highlands of Scotland so do not let the dog run or play under the heat or it may suffer.

Children and other pets

A Smooth Collie is neither aggressive nor shy and is typically excellent with children and other animals. However, it must be socialized properly as early as a puppy to prevent shyness. It is naturally protective of small children and makes an excellent guard dog.