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Rough Collie

Other names: Collie, Scottish collie, Long-Haired collie, English collie, Lassie dog

Rough Collie

The Rough Collie came about in the early 1800s and was first known as a herder of Scottish farmland livestock. Rough Collies are seen in various colours of coat. Arguably the most famous of all Rough Collies was the dog that starred in the TV series Lassie which first aired between 1954 and 1971. Six dogs in total played Lassie throughout those years and contributed to the popular notion of the Rough Collie as a brave and loyal dog. Rough Collies are used by armed forces and security services around the world.

Key facts about the Rough Collie

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Affectionate Playful Intelligent

Size :

Origins and history

The suspected origin of the Rough Collie dates back to the first Roman invasion of Britain. Soldiers brought with them a breed of herding dog that was able to control herds of animals that accompanied the marauders on their quest to conquer. Successive breeding with similar dogs already found in Scotland may have been instrumental in the creation of the collie we know today. Queen Victoria was especially fond of the Rough Collie.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattledogs (except Swiss Cattledogs)


Section 1 : Sheepdogs

Physical characteristics of the Rough Collie

    Adult size

    Female : Between 20 and 22 in

    Male : Between 22 and 24 in


    Female : Between 37 and 57 lb

    Male : Between 44 and 62 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The head of the Rough Collie is light and small in relation to the rest of its body. The muzzle is slender and the foreface of the dog follows a rounded yet wedge-like line from the ears to the point of the nose. The upper third of the ear folds over. The body of the dog is longer than it is tall at the withers and the tail is long with a swirl at its tip.

    Good to know

    Rough Collies become easily bored if they are not exercised enough or played with. They are family dogs and need to feel as though they are a valued and integral part of the family. If the dog is allowed to be bored and is neglected it will exhibit antisocial behaviour and may even become unmanageable.


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      A very affectionate dog is the Rough Collie. This even-tempered dog enjoys most of all the company of its people.

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      Collies love attention from humans and will play all day long if given the opportunity to do so. Interactive games are the most stimulating type of game for the Rough Collie, and games such as these cement the dog’s bond with its owner.

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      The Rough Collie is a calm dog and one not easily given to fright or agitation. Early socialisation of the Collie is essential however: dogs that have not been acclimatised to noises, bright lights, sudden movement and occasional shouting tend to become timid and shy.

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      Exceptionally intelligent, the Rough Collie aims to please and will learn things quickly. It is a patient and inquisitive dog, and not clumsy. The Collie wants to feel that its place in the pack is valued and worthwhile.

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      Rough Collies are herders not hunters. The dog’s want to chase smaller animals is not born of a desire to harm but rather to control the animal, and usually for the benefit of the owner. Due to their willingness to learn, Collies can easily be recalled in the event of a chase.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Shyness is a common trait of Rough Collies but socialisation and interaction with humans other than those of their pack will eradicate this. They are not overly confident dogs at the best of times but a happy medium can be reached.

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      The Rough Collie is not known for its independence. It is faithful and loyal to its owner and will probably follow the owner through the house.

      Behaviour of the Rough Collie

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        Tolerates solitude

        Collies do not appreciate being left alone for long periods of time or being isolated from the action (for instance, shut away during a dinner party). They are happiest when involved in all of the comings and goings. If forced to be on their own for a long time they will exhibit antisocial behaviour such as chewing and scratching furniture, and excessive vocalisation.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Rough Collies are relatively easy to train but their training requires consistency and dedication on behalf of the owner. The dog does not respond well to a harsh criticism or a telling off and is liable to become timid and unresponsive if berated. Once trained the Rough Collie is exceptionally obedient.

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        The bark of the Rough Collie is high pitched at times; the dog is also known to howl. Early training is needed to reinforce the notion that barking for no good reason is unacceptable.

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