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What Is The Difference Between A Rough And Smooth Collie

“Understanding the Difference Between a Rough and Smooth Collie” presents a comprehensive study on the distinct traits and characteristics that sets apart these two common types of the breed. Initially, one might observe little variation beyond the noticeable divergence in their coats. However, as the article progresses, readers gain a deeper understanding of how these differences, spanning from the time of their origination to their respective temperaments, make each type an entity of its own while being a part of the Collie family.

Overview of Rough and Smooth Collie Breeds

The Collie breed is characterized as intelligent, active, and extraordinarily loyal, but one may be surprised to discover that there are two equally impressive but quite different variations: the Rough and the Smooth Collie. Each distinct in their ways, yet hold many resemblances in terms of personality and lineage.

Definition of Rough Collie

The Rough Collie, also known simply as the Collie in many parts of the world, is probably the more recognized of the two. These are the majestic, often multi-colored dogs known for their flowing, lush coats. They have an elegant and sturdy physical build that is accompanied by a series of expressions of intelligence and alertness.

Definition of Smooth Collie

The Smooth Collie, as the name suggests, flaunts a shorter, more sleek coat, with all other characteristics remaining relatively similar to the Rough Collie. These are quick and agile dogs, making them great for herding, one of the tasks collies originally were bred for.

Origins of the Two Breeds

The Collie breed has its roots in Scotland and England, where they were initially used as herding dogs. Both the Smooth and Rough variants come from the same lineage. The differences in their coat length are purely a product of selective breeding, aimed to meet the specific needs of farmers in different weather conditions.

Physical Characteristic Differences

Size and Weight

When it comes to size, both Rough and Smooth Collies fall within the same range, with males standing about 22 to 26 inches tall at the shoulder and females about 20 to 22 inches. Both breeds weigh between 50 to 75 pounds, depending on sex and individual genetics.

Coat Length and Texture

The primary difference between the two breeds lies in their coat. Rough Collies sport a magnificent double coat—dense and straight, giving them an almost ‘lion’ appearance. On the other hand, the Smooth Collie has a short, denser outer coat with a soft undercoat, giving it a sleek and polished look.

Colors and Markings

Rough and Smooth Collies come in the same range of colors and markings. These include sable and white, tri-color (black, white, and tan), blue merle (silvery blue and black), and white with patches of the other colors.

Personality Differences

General Temperaments of Rough Collies

Rough Collies are known for being intelligent, eager to please, and generally quite amiable. They tend to be loyal and display an instinct to protect their families. Known to be good with children and other animals, they are typically calm and gentle, but also playful, making them excellent family pets.

General Temperaments of Smooth Collies

The Smooth Collie’s temperament is virtually identical to that of the Rough Collie. They, too, are easy-going, intelligent, and protective of their family, endearing them to family members of all ages. Like the Rough Collie, they get along well with other pets in the home and are known to be highly trainable.

Key Differences in Behavior

Despite sharing many qualities, some argue that Smooth Collies are slightly more energetic and active than their Rough counterparts, possibly due to the difference in their coats. However, these differences are more individually-based than breed-specific.

Diet Differences

Calorie Intake for Rough Collies

A Rough Collie’s daily calorie intake depends on their age, metabolism, activity level, and health status. Generally, an average adult Rough Collie requires about 1400 to 1700 calories per day, while puppies require more due to their more active lifestyle and fast growth rate.

Calorie Intake for Smooth Collies

The Smooth Collie, by contrast, tends to have similar daily caloric requirements. However, given their arguably more energetic nature, some individuals might need slightly more calories based on their activity level.

Special Diet Considerations

Both breeds should be fed high-quality dog food, and while these breeds may not have breed-specific dietary requirements, the specific dog’s weight, age, and health should be taken into account when planning their diet. Both breeds are also prone to becoming overweight, so portion monitoring and avoiding excessive treats is crucial.

Exercise Requirements

Exercise Needs of Rough Collies

Rough Collies are relatively active and require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. This can include walks, plays, or even mentally stimulating activities that engage their intelligent minds. Generally, an hour of physical activity a day is sufficient.

Exercise Needs of Smooth Collies

The Smooth Collie may require a bit more activity, given their possibly slightly higher energy levels. More focused and intense playtime, or perhaps an additional short walk, would likely keep a Smooth Collie satisfied.

How Exercise Needs Differ Between the Two Breeds

In comparison, the exercise needs of Smooth and Rough Collies don’t vastly differ. Both breeds require regular physical and mental stimulation, but sometimes, a Smooth Collie might need a little bit extra.

Training and Socialization Differences

Training approaches for Rough Collies

Rough Collies are intelligent and naturally strive to please their owners, making them relatively easy to train. They respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, and early socialization helps in molding them into balanced and well-behaved dogs.

Training approaches for Smooth Collies

Smooth Collies also respond well to positive reinforcement. Like the rough variant, they are smart and eager to please, making them amenable to training. Early socialization is equally effective and crucial.

Social Interaction and the Role of Environment

Both Rough and Smooth collies are inherently social dogs and thrive in environments that allow interaction with humans or other animals. They are also very adaptable, capable of living comfortably in a range of environments from apartments to larger estates, as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation.

Health and Longevity Differences

Common Health Conditions in Rough Collies

Both breeds share similar health concerns. Rough Collies may suffer from hereditary eye issues, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and certain skin conditions. They are also susceptible to a certain drug sensitivity known as MDR1, which affects their ability to process several common veterinary drugs.

Common Health Conditions in Smooth Collies

Smooth Collies share almost the same health conditions as their rough counterparts, including the same MDR1 drug sensitivity. Regular health checks are crucial to ensure the well-being of both types.

Life Expectancy for Both Breeds

Despite differences in coat length and marginally different exercise needs, both Rough and Smooth Collies typically have a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. Regular veterinary check-ups, along with good dietary and exercise routines, can help ensure a long, happy, and healthy life.

Grooming Needs

Grooming Requirements for Rough Collies

Rough Collies, with their plush double coats, require more frequent grooming. Brushing several times a week will help keep their coat free of mats and tangles, and can cut down on shedding. Occasional baths, depending on the individual dog’s lifestyle and environment, are also beneficial.

Grooming Requirements for Smooth Collies

Smooth Collies, by contrast, are much easier to groom with their short coats. They may only need brushing once a week, and like the Rough Collie, occasional baths. Their short coat doesn’t guard as well against cold or harsh weather, so additional protection may be needed in certain climates or seasons.

How Grooming Needs Differ Between the Two Breeds

The main difference in grooming needs between Rough and Smooth Collies lies in the frequency of brushing. Rough Collies need more intensive coat maintenance due to their long hair, whereas Smooth Collies, with their shorter and sleeker coats, require less grooming effort.

Suitability as Family Pets

Factors Making Rough Collies Good Family Pets

The temperament and characteristics of Rough Collies make them excellent family pets. Their loyalty, intelligence, and protective nature are perfect for families of all sizes. Their tolerance and friendliness toward children and other pets adds to their suitability.

Factors Making Smooth Collies Good Family Pets

Smooth Collies share the same impressive traits, making them just as ideal for families. Their added vivacity might make them a fun and energetic addition for a family with young, active children or for those who lead an outdoor and active lifestyle.

Considerations for Families with Children or Other Pets

Both Rough and Smooth Collies are well-suited to families, including those with children or other pets. Their breed characteristics, coupled with early training and socialization, can ensure they integrate well into their family life. Consideration should be given to their need for interaction, exercise, and stimulation to ensure they remain healthy and happy.

Conclusion: Choosing Between Rough and Smooth Collies

Considerations Before Choosing a Breed

Choosing between a Rough and Smooth Collie will likely come down to personal preference. One’s lifestyle, time availability, and personal preference of a long or short coat can be the determining factors. Either breed would make a wonderful addition to a loving home.

Costs Associated with Each Breed

Costs associated with both breeds can generally be the same. However, grooming expenses for a Rough Collie may be slightly higher due to their luxurious coat. Pet owners should also consider potential veterinary costs associated with common health conditions of the breed.

The Impact of Individual Dog Personalities

An important thing to remember is that while breeds have general traits, each dog will have its own unique personality. The dog’s individual temperament, interests and behaviors may not strictly adhere to breed norms. Meeting the dog, spending time together, and beginning a mutual bonding process is the most effective way of ensuring a great match.

In essence, whether you choose a Rough or Smooth Collie, you’re sure to have a loyal, intelligent, and incredibly loving companion.


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.