Rough Collie

In the days before there was also a Smooth Collie, this breed was known simply as the Scotch Collie. It is sometimes given the full name of Rough-coated Collie.

The original version of this dog had shorter legs and a shorter nose. Its present elegant silhouette is thought to have been developed by the brief introduction of a Borzoi to the Collie bloodline. This would certainly explain the longer legs and the unusually long and slender muzzle.


All varieties of Collie hail from Scotland and it is generally accepted that they share some common ancestry. The similarity between the present-day Border Collie and Champion Rough Collies of the late 1880s is indeed remarkable, though over the years the Rough Collie’s type has become more clearly defined. This can be seen particularly in its head and overall elegance.

It is claimed that, in an attempt to make the Rough Collie more distinctive, certain crosses were used including the Borzoi. This seems quite logical as even today certain Borzoi characteristics do tend to crop up in Rough Collie heads.

When Queen Victoria have an passion in Collies in the 1860s, her royal patronage gave them a significant boost. (Even though she kept Smooth Collies, the Rough Collie also benefited, as the two breeds were often lumped together as one.)

A little later, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Queen Alexandra loved Rough Collies, and not only kept them but also exhibited them. Under her influence, selective breeding made them more glamorous. In all probability, it was when the czar of Russia brought Borzoi dogs as royal gifts that the Borzoi/Collie cross was made. (Some authors believe, however, that the Borzoi cross was made at a much earlier date.)

The fame of the Rough Collie reached even greater heights in the 20th century, when it was chosen by Hollywood as the star of the sentimental “Lassie” films. Since then interest has waned slightly (to the relief of serious breeders and exhibitors), but it remains a very popular dog. Today it is essentially a companion and a show dog, its sheep-herding days far behind it.


In personality this is an alert, sensitive, obedient, cooperative dog, always eager to please its owner. Its long, flowing coat, with its impressively thick mane and frill, can be black and white; black, white and tan; or merle, white and tan. The ears are erect, but with their tips hanging forward.

The Collies height is 22—24 in (56—61 cm) and its weight is 50—75 lb (23-34 kg).

General care

Collie has such a profuse coat, daily grooming is advisable to keep these dogs in the peak of condition, It is essential that the brushing of the coat should be thorough, going right down to the skin. Far too many owners “surface groom,” oblivious to the weighty mats which are forming closer to the dog’s skin. When the coat starts to “blow,” it is best to give the dog a really good bath. Then all its dead hair should come away, leaving the dog’s skin clean and healthy and ready for the new coat to grow.


Rough Collies will happily live in groups in kennels, but they should never be starved of human contact. On the other hand, one Rough in isolation will fit into an otherwise totally human environment with no problem at all. They are essentially a large working breed and therefore need ample regular exercise.

Gallery of Rough Collie