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What Is The Difference Between A Rough And Smooth Collie

In the world of dog breeds, the Rough and Smooth Collie often cause quite a bit of confusion. Their shared name implies similarity, but one glance at the two breeds leaves many wondering about their distinctions. This article, entitled “What Is The Difference Between A Rough And Smooth Collie”, peels back the layers of ambiguity, providing readers with a clear understanding of their unique traits and backgrounds. It is an exploration full of intriguing revelations, debunking common misapprehensions while celebrating the rich diversity of these canine companions.

The basic difference between Rough and Smooth Collies

Many people are familiar with the image of a Collie thanks to the popularity of the famous television dog, Lassie. However, few are aware that there are actually two distinct types of collies: the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie. Despite their common ancestry and similar temperament, the two breeds bear noticeable differences primarily related to their coat.

Overview of Rough Collie

The Rough Collie, also known as the Long-Haired Collie, is a large-sized breed, distinguished by its long, bushy, and dense double coat. These dogs are known for their physical elegance, and a striking face, emphasized by a pronounced muzzle and expressive eyes. They are predominantly bred as working dogs due to their high intelligence, agility, and responsiveness to training.

Overview of Smooth Collie

On the other hand, the Smooth Collie, also referred to as the Short-Haired Collie, has a shorter, sleeker coat compared to its rough counterpart. Beyond their coat, Smooth Collies are physically identical to Rough Collies. They are equally smart, agile, and trainable, and were historically bred alongside their rough counterparts for herding purposes.

History and origin of the breeds

Understanding the history of the Rough Collie

The Rough Collie originated in Scotland in the 1800s and was bred primarily for herding. The breed got its name from the sheep it herded – the Scottish Colley. Its beauty and intelligence made it popular rapidly, and it was subsequently refined with the addition of Borzoi bloodline to extend the head. The result was a more aesthetic breed, but with the same high level of intelligence and agility.

Exploring the history of the Smooth Collie

The Smooth Collie shares the same roots as the Rough Collie. They were used as all-purpose farm dogs, capable of herding not just sheep, but cows and other livestock as well. Their short hair was preferred by some farmers because it was less likely to be tangled with twigs and brambles, and it demanded less grooming.

Physical features and differences

Coat characteristics: Rough vs Smooth

The most noticeable difference between the two breeds is the texture and length of the coat. The Rough Collie bears a lush, long, and dense coat, while the Smooth Collie possesses a shorter, hard, and dense hair. The dense undercoat serves as insulation against harsh weather in both breeds.

Colour variations in both breeds

Both Rough and Smooth Collies come in four established colourations: sable and white, blue merle, tri-colour (black, white, and tan), and white. However, white is the least common and typically seen only in show dogs.

Size and Weight differences

In terms of size and weight, both breeds are comparable. Adult males range from 60 to 70 pounds and stand 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder. Females tend to be slightly smaller, ranging from 50 to 60 pounds and achieving a height of 22 to 24 inches.

Temperament and behavior

Common behavioral traits of a Rough Collie

Rough Collies are well known for being intelligent, friendly, and gentile with an innate protective instinct, making them great watchdogs. They are fantastic with children and other pets, and their responsiveness to training is outstanding.

Common behaviors of a Smooth Collie

Smooth Collies share the same behavioral traits as Rough Collies. They are also smart, friendly, and adaptive to different living situations. Their trainability, and amiability towards kids and other pets make the Smooth Collie an ideal family pet.

Comparing temperament: Rough vs Smooth Collie

Both Rough and Smooth Collies are known for their extreme loyalty, gentleness, and keen perception. They are sensitive breeds and respond well to a positive reinforcement approach in training. However, Smooth Collies are often considered to be a tad more energetic and agile due to their herding background.

Maintenance and grooming

Grooming needs of a Rough Collie

Due to its long and dense coat, the Rough Collie requires regular grooming. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent matting, distribute skin oils evenly, and keep the coat looking healthy.

Grooming according to Smooth Collie’s requirements

Contrarily, Smooth Collies require less frequent grooming. A weekly brush is usually sufficient to maintain their coat. Despite the shortened length, grooming is still necessary to reduce shedding and promote a healthy coat.

Products suitable for Rough and Smooth Collie grooming

When grooming both breeds, using a quality pin brush or slicker brush can help to detangle hair and remove loose fur. A dematting comb can also be useful for removing any mats on the Rough Collie’s coat.

Health and lifespan

Typical health issues in Rough Collie

Rough Collies are generally healthy breeds, but they can be susceptible to certain inherited diseases including Collie Eye Anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy, and hip dysplasia. They are also more prone to dermatological problems, mainly because of their long hair.

Typical health issues in Smooth Collie

Smooth Collies share similar health issues with Rough Collies. However, their shorter coat makes them less susceptible to skin problems.

Average lifespan of a Rough vs Smooth Collie

Both Rough and Smooth Collies have a similar average lifespan, ranging from 10 to 14 years, which can vary depending on their overall health and care.

Training and exercise

Training methods for a Rough Collie

Rough Collies are intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement and do well with a structured training schedule.

Training approaches for a Smooth Collie

Smooth Collies are also quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement. However, they can be more energetic and may require more physical stimulation during training.

Exercise requirement contrast between the breeds

Both breeds need regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent them from becoming overweight. However, Smooth Collies tend to be more energetic and may require slightly more exercise than Rough Collies.

Suitability for families

Rough Collie as a family pet

Rough Collies make excellent family pets due to their loyalty, eagerness to please, and affectionate nature. They are great with children and get along well with other pets.

Smooth Collie as a family pet

Smooth Collies are also fantastic family pets for the same reasons. Their slightly more energetic nature can make them particularly enjoyable companions for active families.

Comparing the breeds for families with kids or other pets

Both Rough and Smooth Collies are great choices for families, no matter their living situation. The breeds’ intelligence, calm demeanor, and protective instinct make them ideal for families with kids or other pets.

Care and dietary needs

Typical diet for a Rough Collie

A Rough Collie’s diet should be formulated for a large breed with medium energy. They should be fed high-quality dry dog food, divided into two meals a day to prevent bloating.

Feeding a Smooth Collie

A Smooth Collie’s dietary needs are almost identical to those of a Rough Collie considering their similar size and energy level. High-quality dry food and fresh water should always be available.

Care considerations for both breeds

Both the Rough and Smooth Collie require plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Along with a balanced diet, regular vet check-ups are essential to ensure both breeds stay healthy.

Conclusion: Choosing between a Rough and a Smooth Collie

Reflecting on the personality, health, and living conditions

Rough and Smooth Collies are remarkably similar in terms of their personality and health considerations. The choice between the two mostly comes down to an individual’s preference for the breed’s physical characteristics, particularly the coat.

Factors to consider while making the choice

Potential owners need to take into consideration their living situation, the amount of time they can dedicate to grooming and training, and their overall preference in appearance.

Any final thoughts from experts on the comparison

Most experts agree that both breeds make excellent pets and companions. The decision between a Rough and Smooth Collie should be based on the prospective owner’s lifestyle and preference, rather than any significant differences between the breeds.

To conclude, both Rough and Smooth Collies make wonderful pets, boasting intelligent, gentle, and loyal personalities. Their striking appearance and loving natures make them a sought-after breed. The decision to choose between them boils down to personal preference and compatibility with the owner’s lifestyle.


I am Crownstar, the passionate author behind DogBreedWorld. Welcome to a realm where we delve into the enchanting universe of dogs and explore different breeds. At DogBreedWorld, I am dedicated to sharing valuable information, tips, and tricks on raising and training healthy dogs. With a profound love and understanding for our furry friends, I aim to provide dog enthusiasts with insights into the world of various dog breeds, unravel their unique traits, and offer guidance on how to care for them. Join me on this delightful journey as we celebrate the beauty and wonder of our four-legged companions.