Rough Collie – Head of a Well Loved Group of Dogs

Every child knows collies: Although there are long-haired and short-haired collies, as well as different nationalities that have developed into independent breeds, everyone thinks of the long-haired “Lassie” shape when they think of collies. The dogs have a justifiably good reputation as working animals and family companions. We look at what makes a real collie and what to look out for when buying a puppy.

Features of the Rough Collie at a Glance

The Smooth and the Rough Collie are listed as separate breeds in the FCI, although the descriptions of the body and face are the same. For both breeds, an ideal height of 56-61 cm for males and 51-56 cm for females is given. Depending on size and weight, the weight varies between 29 and 34 kilograms but is not specified in the standard.

The Collie’s appearance from head to tail

  • The shape of the head is characteristic of both collie breeds. It is particularly wedge-shaped and tapers slightly towards the tip without the cheekbones protruding. The point between the inner corners of the eyes also forms the midpoint of the head in length.
  • The nose is quite small and has a snub cut, the upper lip is slightly slanted.
  • Slanted almond eyes are another unmistakable feature. They are dark brown in color, blue or blue-spotted eyes also occur in blue merle dogs.
  • The small ears are slightly tapered and carried erect when alert. Drop ears, in which the upper third leans forward in an upright position, are expressly desired. They have very short hair at the tips, the hair length increases towards the base.
  • The neck is powerful and well arched. The typical mane forms on long hair, which gives it a lot of volumes. The chest is quite broad behind the shoulders, the underline is slightly tucked up and the back is very firm. Overall, the body is slightly longer than it is tall.
  • The hindquarters are well angulated with the hocks set low. The hind legs should be dry and sinewy below the knee joints, the thighs well muscled. The forequarters are straight with rather light bones.
  • The tail is very long and reaches at least to the hock. It is worn with the tip erect and rises only slightly when excited, never bending over the back.

The coat of Rough-Haired and Short-Haired Collies


  • Smooth, hard topcoat with a very dense, soft undercoat.
  • The hair adapts to the shape of the body. Except for the legs below the knees and elbows and the face, it grows long and fluffy all over.
  • The collar and mane are very lush and voluminous.
  • The tail is very voluminously feathered above and below.
  • The face is very smooth and has short hair.


  • The top coat is short, lying flat and hard. Underneath, a soft and very dense undercoat forms.
  • When hair is trimmed or cut, it loses its insulating properties.
  • There are hardly any featherings or brushes on the backs of the legs or on the tail.

This coloration occurs in purebreds

Large white markings on the legs, on the neck, as a ruff (laid around the neck like a collar or in the front), and on the legs are desirable for all colors. Three colors are allowed for long-haired and short-haired Collies:


  • Occurs only in combination with large white markings.
  • The spots may be any shade of red (mahogany to gold) and shaded sable.
  • Light cream tones are undesirable but occasionally occur.


  • Black with large white markings and reddish-yellow tan markings on head and legs.
  • A red tinge in the topcoat is undesirable inbreeding, but it does happen.

Blue Merle

  • The lightning gene ensures the bluish coat color with black marbled spots.
  • Tan markings are often seen but are not mandatory.
  • Large black spots are undesirable.
  • The hair should not have a red tinge.


  • English-language breed descriptions also list “white” as an allowed coloration.
  • The fur is colored almost completely white, except for the head, which may have one of the Colors mentioned above.

Differences between similar breeds

  • Shelties look like mini collies with a height of less than 43 cm at the withers.
  • The genetic difference between Australian Shepherds and Collies can be seen in the head, which is significantly wider in the Australian.
  • The English Shepherd also has a broader face than the Collie, with well-developed cheeks.

The Story of Collies in Scotland – Cooley Shepherds in Many Variations

Collies come from Great Britain; the Rough Collie in particular comes from Scotland. His ancestors include two former landfalls from different regions: Scottish sheepdogs were large and rather aggressive up until the 18th century. They were crossed with smaller and friendlier Welsh herding dogs, creating an early Collie form. It is believed that Russian Borzoi was crossed after the Industrial Revolution.

The most famous breed name in the world

The dogs got their name because they were bred to work with Cooley sheep. Other sources say that the name is much older and goes back to the Old English word coll (“black”). The etymological origin of the word cannot be precisely traced back.

The Origin of the Different Collie Breeds

Over time, numerous different Collie breeds have developed in different regions of Great Britain. Herding behavior is described similarly for all collies, with the exception of the border collie, who is a little more daring and aggressive than their close relatives.

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