Breed Facts for Standard Rough Collies

Mychelle Blake
Rough Collies sitting on a meadow

Many dog lovers consider the Standard Rough Collie the perfect family dog. It's no wonder this breed was featured in the beloved classic Lassie movies and is consistently listed within the top 50 popular breeds.

Rough Collie Physical Characteristics

The standard Rough Collie is a beautiful animal to behold. The breed is known for the magnificent mane of hair that frames the head and chest.

Rough Collie Physical Build

Collies have long, flat heads that taper gracefully from the widest point at the ears to the end of the nose. The ears are held erect, but fold over slightly at the tips. These dogs are of medium build, evenly proportionate and carry long, full-coated tails.

Rough Collie Size

Size ranges from 22 to 26 inches high with weight spanning 50 to 75 pounds on average. Bitches fall into the smaller range of the spectrum with males tending toward the larger sizes.

Rough Collie Coat Colors

These dogs come in a variety of colors that includes:

  • Sable
  • Sable merle
  • Sable and white
  • Sable merle and white
  • Black and white with tan markings
  • Blue merle
  • Blue merle and white
  • Blue merle, tan and white
  • White merle
  • White
    Blue merle and white collie pup

Rough Collie Personality

It's difficult to find a dog breed more friendly, loyal and downright fun than a Rough Collie. They are affectionate, loving dogs who cherish their human companions.

Rough Collies as Family Dogs

Rough Collies make wonderful family companions although they have retained some of their herding instincts. This means they may "herd" small children and nip at their feet so parents should always supervise interactions between young children and dogs.

Rough Collie Temperament Traits

Collies are a bit protective of their people and usually check out newcomers before accepting them. However, it should be noted that they are not really guard dog material and are not not known for a tendency toward aggressive behavior. These dogs tend to get along well with other dogs and pets in the home.

Rough Collie Energy Level

Like most herding breeds, Rough Collies have lots of energy to burn and require regular exercise. However, they are not as intense as some of their herding breed cousins and can be more mellow in the house.

Rough Collie Trainability

The Rough Collie's intelligence and patience are legendary, and these dogs are easily trained for a variety of activities.

  • Rough Collies excel at learning obedience behaviors and do best with positive reinforcement training.
  • Rough Collies can be found competing successfully in many dog sports including agility, rally, herding and competitive obedience.
  • Rough Collies make wonderful service dogs, acting as guides for the sight or hearing impaired and even serving as search and rescue dogs.
  • Rough Collies are also a favorite choice for therapy dog work as they're sensitive and patient with all types of people.

Grooming Their Fur

All of that abundant coat on the Rough Collie requires a good deal of care to keep its condition healthy.

  • These dogs need to be brushed through right down to the scalp at least once or twice a week to prevent the formation of mats.
  • Shampooing should be carried out as needed, but it may be easier to just wash the rear and undercarriage twice a month and reserve the full bath for when it's truly needed.
  • Shedding takes place twice a year in the spring and fall. During this time, daily brushing is required to remove the dead hair before it either winds up in mats or floating around your home.

A Smooth Alternative

If you're thinking the Rough Collie would be your ideal companion except for all that grooming, there is an alternative. The Smooth Collie is virtually the same dog, but with a short, close-fitting coat that requires far less maintenance. This means you can spend more time enjoying your pet and less time bathing and brushing.

Rough Collie Health Issues

As a breed, Rough Collies are at risk for several genetic health problems.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a degenerative disease that affect the dog's hip joints, but is occasionally found in the elbows as well. Dogs can be born with varying degrees of joint malformation, but the problem rarely becomes obvious before one year of age.

Canine Arthritis

This condition is closely related to dysplasia and causes painful inflammation of the joint tissue.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This condition leads to a deterioration of the retina, eventually causing blindness.

Collie Eye Anomaly

This is a genetic condition that affects between 70 and 97 percent of Rough Collies in the United States. It can lead to problems with the dog's eyes including detachment of the retina and blindness.

Drug Sensitivity

Rough Collies are known for being sensitive to prescription medications due to a genetic mutation affecting their ability to process them. A test can be performed to see if your Rough Collie has this mutation. Drugs that may be problematic for Rough Collies include several heartworm medications (ivermectin, selamectin, milbemycin, moxidection), loperamide, acepromazine and ertythromycin.

Rough Collie Lifespan

Barring any health problems, a healthy diet, routine veterinary care and moderate exercise are all that's needed to keep these dogs in good physical shape. The average life span of a healthy Rough Collie ranges from 12 to 15 years.

Rough Collie Puppies

A purebred Rough Collie puppy should cost you around $700, although dogs from show quality lines can be twice that, going as high as $10,000. The best place to find a breeder is by visiting the website of the Collie Club of America which provides tips on finding a responsible breeder and a directory of breeder members. Make sure that the breeder you choose tests their puppies for Collie Eye Anomaly.

Rough Collie Breed History

Collies are a very old herding breed, so old in fact that no one is entirely sure of their origin. It's generally accepted that early development took place in Scotland and England. A stud dog known as "Old Cockie" is largely accepted as being responsible for the current look of the breed. These days Collies are more likely to be family dogs rather than working herds of livestock.

Is the Rough Collie the Right Dog for You?

If you're looking for an all-around good tempered, intelligent dog who can excel at any task he's given, the Rough Collie is an excellent choice of breed. They're considered one of the best family dogs and making stunningly beautiful canine companions.

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Breed Facts for Standard Rough Collies