rough collie in front of white background

Rough Collie

Breed Characteristics

Extremely intelligent, active and agile. Rough Collies make good watchdogs. Some smooth coats can be very protective, others not at all. Some are barkers. Some individuals are shy, high-strung, or obstinate. The Rough Collie is not tolerant to extreme heat but can handle harsh weather with ease.

Is the Rough Collie approved as a pet in a Singapore HDB flat?



Scotland (Lowlands), 1800s. For centuries the Rough Collie was barely known outside Scotland. Early Rough Collies were smaller, with broader heads and shorter muzzles. The breed's name possibly originates from its charge; the Scottish black-faced sheep called the Colley. In the late 1800s the Collie was mixed with the Borzoi, and all show dogs had to have the Borzoi blood for them to win in the show ring. The working dogs split and became different breeds (Scotch Collie) and the show type became what we see now, the large dogs with flatter faces.

Original Purpose

The dogs were used for water rescue, herders, guiding cows and sheep to market and for guarding the flock in Scotland and England.

Behaviour and Temperament

Rough Collies are known to be patient, sensitive, friendly, independent and gentle.

What are some Physical Features of the Rough Collie?

56 to 66 cm; 20.5 to 34 kg. Colours are sable and white, tricolour, blue merle, predominantly white.

Coat Type and Recommended Grooming

Two types: rough and smooth. Smooth has a short, dense, straight, flat coat; rough has an abundant, long, straight, harsh outercoat; both have a dense undercoat. The smooth is moderate maintenance. The rough is high maintenance; brushing an hour a week; needs frequent bathing. Professional grooming is desirable for the Rough Collie; not necessary for the smooth. The Rough Collie sheds heavily (in clumps) twice a year whereas the smooth Collie is an average shedder.

Life Expectancy of the Rough Collie

13 to 16 years.

Have a Rough Collie?

Health Concerns

Bloat, skin problems, cancer (osteosarcoma), PDA, eye problems (Collie eye anomaly, PRA), Collie nose, food allergies, merle coloured collies are prone to deafness. This breed is also very sensitive to many kinds of heartworm medication and worm pills in general.

Exercise Needs

High; The Rough Collie enjoys regular routinised activities. Daily long walks are required.


Rough Collies are usually not suited for apartment life; however, they have been known to adapt as long as they get plenty of exercise and attention. Relatively inactive indoors, will do best with an average sized yard with shades and plenty of water. Low tolerance to heat.


Excellent with children, especially if raised with them; may try to herd them, though. Fairly friendly to strangers. Get along well with other pets.


High, although they have an independent streak. Some Rough Collies can become wilful, stubborn and indolent with passive and inconsistent owners. They are sensitive, so gentle methods are necessary. Make excellent obedience prospects. Relatively easy to housebreak.

Recommended Activities

Herding, obedience, agility.