Other names: Smooth Coated Collie
That’s just what a Smooth Collie is : a smooth version of the Rough Collie, he has shorter hair, and does not get so hot in the summer. Some groups classify the two types as being the same breed (the Scotch Collie), while others insist that respective breeds’ heritages are divergent.
The Smooth is a tall, wholesome sheepdog, who is just as comfortable and respectful herding children as he is with ruminants. He may be sable and white in colour, black-white-and-tan, or blue merle.
Alert, intelligent, athletic, and sociable, he may even be too wholesome for those who prefer the humour of the pug or the ‘boy-next-door’ affability of the Labrador.
Key facts about the Collie Smooth
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Origins and history
The collie’s ancestors may well have been brought to Scotland by the Romans when they invaded Britain 2,000 years ago. But we don’t know much for sure about the Smooth and Rough Collies until the 19th century, when they first enter the history books. Historians assume that the original Roman migrant was interbred with hill-faring Scottish dogs over the centuries to produce the ‘Scotch’ varieties we know today. But it was Queen Victoria who made them a star. She apparently fell in love with the breed while up north, acquiring several fine examples for her personal kennel. Today, the breed endures in both its Smooth and Rough versions.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)
Section 1 : Sheepdogs
Physical characteristics of the Collie Smooth
Female : Between 20 and 22 in
Male : Between 22 and 24 in
Female : Between 40 and 55 lb
Male : Between 44 and 64 lb
Three possibilities : sable and white ; black, white, and tan (tricolour) ; or blue merle (silver-blue patches on white).
Type of coat
The Collie smooth's hair is short and smooth.
The Collie Smooth's eyes are brown. Blue merle Smooths will have one or two blue or blue-flecked eyes.
Appearing to be always ready for action, if this dog were any more proper looking he would be upright. Indeed, when he stands to attention, even if he must remain on all fours, you will find him to be a tall fellow with a straight back that slopes up to broad shoulders and a deep chest. A typically sweet, sensible face extends into an endless snout atop a somewhat neutral smile. His ears tend towards perkiness with a fold-down tip that will provide endless entertainment for the young humans in your pack.
Good to know
If the Smooth remains somewhat in the shadow of the Rough due to Lassie’s fame, it’s worth noting that Queen Victoria’s favourite was a Smooth. His name was Sharp.
The Smooth is known for his friendliness, which will expand towards affection within his own family ; he reserves his affections not only for his master, but for the whole pack.
As a sociable and intelligent creature who craves intellectual stimulation, a game or two is certainly not out of the question. But better said that tricks and skills are more the domain of this breed, rather than tussling and teasing.
The Smooth, as his name might suggest, is famous for his calmness. While he is not immune to high spirits and will echo the prevailing mood of the room, he is said to have a metaphorical ‘off’ button and can be calmed at a moment’s notice should activities need to be brought to an abrupt stop.
The Smooth Collie is celebrated for his intelligence. Harnessed with adequate training, which he will enjoy, this intelligence may be nurtured to the brink of greatness.
A herder rather than a hunter, the Smooth’s pace and vigilance are better suited to defence than attack ; that said, he has hunting ancestry, and shouldn’t be trusted in the company of squirrels.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Smooth will open his heart to strangers, although he’ll close the door to intruders. Neither shy nor gregarious he is happy to meet and entertain visitors in the manner that their appearance demands.
While the Smooth works hard to please his masters, he has an independent streak that should be indulged if he is to remain happy and fulfilled. Long walks with the freedom to explore will go some way to answering this need.
Behaviour of the Collie Smooth
He is not keen on alone time and, despite his sensible expression, may become destructive if he senses he’s been abandoned.
Easy to train / obedience
'Easy to train/obedient’ is this dog’s middle name. Clever and eager to learn, he’ll be the first pup in class when teacher arrives in the morning.
The Smooth is quite comfortable with his voice and will sound it to alert you in times of danger or should he otherwise want your attention. It is important that he learns a little vocal discipline from a young age, so that he does not disturb the neighbours with unwarranted barkage.
Tendency to run away
Smooth Collies are not generally the runaway type, but of course the standard precautions should be taken to ensure that his keen curiosity does not lead him beyond the front gate by himself.
This genteel fellow is not known for being destructive, but if left alone for too long there are no guarantees as to the survival of your soft furnishings.
Greedy / Gluttony
His healthy appetite should not be equated with the uncontrolled greed of the glutton.
The Smooth will be vigilant and vocal in the advent of uninvited company; however, you should not expect his vigilance to go much further. This is not a dog who will track and capture a thief, no matter how highly he regards your welfare.
As a ball of energy with high activity demands and a restless intelligence, the Smooth may be a bit much to handle for the unprepared dog owner. While he should not be ruled out as an option, serious thought and discussion should be applied to the matter before contracts are signed.
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Collie Smooth in a flat
The smooth collie may not be the ideal dog for flat life, but that’s not to say it’s out of the question. If he gets plenty – plenty! - of exercise outside of the flat and mental stimulation within it, he should behave appropriately indoors. Also remember that he might be hesitant about meeting all those strange people that wander the stairways and corridors of your block.
Need for exercise / Sporty
Oh yes. The Smooth will not be satisfied just with garden life – though a garden is a definite advantage if you want to tempt this fellow home. He needs a couple of serious walks a day and a good run in the park with a game of fetch or similar, too.
Travelling / easy to transport
Collies are known to suffer from travel sickness from time to time. So make sure he is lying down calmly for the trip and pack some pet travel remedies if you know your particular dog struggles with long distances.
Collie Smooth and cats
Your smooth collie should be fine with cats, but you should accustom him to their company from puppyhood for the best results. Watch out for your older cats, though, as the Smooth Collie has a tendency to herd – which may be off-putting if your existing pets are set in their ways.
Collie Smooth and dogs
He is fine with other dogs, especially if socialised properly from youth. Some Smooths might be real dog-dogs, while others are likely to prefer human company and behave quite indifferent towards their peers.
Collie Smooth and children
The Smooth Collie is good with children and should be a welcome and contributing figure within the family.
Collie Smooth and the elderly
The Smooth can be a charming companion but do not underestimate the amount of exercise he needs if he is to be satisfied in life.
The average price for a Smooth Collie dog is between £215 - £650. The price will be higher if the dog is registered at the Kennel Club.
The Smooth Collie can cost around £60 per month to feed and maintain.
The Smooth has a double-coat, and requires regular grooming to remove excess hair.
Smooth Collies will go through a major shedding season once or twice a year, so you best have the dog brush and a Hoover ready.
Nutrition of the Collie Smooth
One of the main concerns with Scotch Collies is their tendency to bloat, which can become very serious if it gets out of hand. Feed him a meat-based diet without too much in the way of grains; avoid corn and soy altogether. It is better to divide his total daily intake across two or more daily meals rather than one lump sum. You might also use a puzzle feeder to slow him down at the dinner bowl.
Health of the Collie Smooth
Strong / robust
Although the Scotch was originally a strong and robust breed, irresponsible breeding methods may have softened some genetic lines. Make sure to find your dog from a reputable breeder. In general, the ideal Smoothie should indeed be strong and robust and keen for the great outdoors.
Scotch Collies have a moderate level of tolerance for the heat; the Smooth can handle it a bit better than the Rough, since he has less fur to contend with. However, in all cases your dog should be provided with adequate fresh water and shade, and not subjected to undue extremes of temperature.
Your collie’s undercoat will protect him from the cold and wind, but all the same this is not a dog who should spend the entire winter outdoors. His cousin, the Rough Collie, may be more suited to chilly weather since she is associated with work in the cold highlands.
Tendency to put on weight
As long as he gets the moderate-high exercise levels he requires, the Smooth does not have a tendency towards porkiness.
- Mutation in the multi-drug resistance gene (MDR1)
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Collie eye anomaly (CEA)
- Gastric dilatation volvulus