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Collie (Smooth) Dog Breed

Average sizes and life expectancy for this breed:

height 51-61 cm
weight 18-29 kg
lifespan 12-15+ years


Smooth Collies are handsome canines that were initially bred to work as herding dogs. Although they are still used as working dogs today, Smooth Collies have also gained a reputation for being devoted and protective family dogs. These dogs are very similar in appearance to the Rough Collie. The only main difference is the length of their coats. In fact, many breed organisations class both the Smooth and Rough Collies as one breed. However, they are classed as separate breeds by the UK Kennel Club.

Smooth Collies, like all Collies, are known for their high intelligence and gentle disposition. These dogs thrive on companionship and are known to adore children. However, unfortunately, they have fallen out of favour in recent years and are now much less popular than their rough-coated counterparts. These dogs are listed as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the Kennel Club which means that less than 300 puppies are bred every year.

Smooth Collies are sweet-tempered, incredibly loving, and playful dogs that can quickly become integral members of the family. Their short, close-lying coats also make them very easy to maintain on the grooming front, compared to their longer-haired cousins.

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Featured Image
Summary Image
  • iconGitBranch Registration: KC, AKC, FCI
  • iconGlobe Country of Origin: United Kingdom
  • iconArrowOutSimple Size: Large
  • iconDog Coat: Short
  • iconSwatches Colours: Blue merle, sable and white, tri-coloured
  • iconBrain Temperament: Intelligent, alert, friendly, loyal, affectionate, active

Exercise Needed Daily: 1 hour


Shedding: Medium


Type of home: House with a Garden


Training: Easy


Hypoallergenic: No


Potentially dangerous: No


Grooming: Once a Week


Watchdog Ability: Intensive


Barking Level: Medium


Good with Children: Yes


Environment: Countryside


Good with Other Animals: Yes



The actual origin of the Smooth Collie remains a bit of a mystery. The most common belief is that they are descended from Scottish herding dogs that were bred to herd Lowland Sheep. It’s thought that Greyhounds were introduced into the breeding process to create a more refined bone structure during the 19th Century. Until 1994 both Smooth and Rough Collies could be interbred and born in the same litter. It wasn’t until recently that the two breeds gained separate classifications from the UK Kennel Club.

It’s believed that these dogs got their name from the Colley Sheep they were trained to herd. However, some people believe the word comes from an Anglo-Saxon term that means ‘useful’. Furthermore, there may also be a link to the Irish/Gaelic words for ‘doggie’, which are cóilean and càilean.

One of the most famous breed enthusiasts of Smooth Collies was Queen Victoria. In fact, her favourite canine companion was a Smooth Collie named Sharp. She used these dogs on farms located on her Balmoral Estate. She purchased many dogs for her own kennels, ensuring the popularity of the breed during her reign. This led many people to choose Smooth Collies not only as working dogs but also as canine companions and family pets. They also became well-known in the show ring.

Unfortunately, their popularity declined, and sadly, nowadays, these loyal, hardworking, and charming dogs have been placed on the list of vulnerable native breeds by the Kennel Club.

Breed History
Breed Appearance


These friendly dogs have a kind, alert, and intelligent expression. Smooth Collies are dignified, well-balanced, and noble dogs with a natural instinct to work. Their heads are well-proportioned in comparison with the rest of their bodies. When seen from the side or the front, their muzzles appear wedge-shaped and relatively blunt with a nice smooth outline. Their flat skulls taper down to their black noses. These dogs have clean-cut, strong jaws, and a slight stop.

Their eyes are medium-sized and almond-shaped. They are set obliquely on their face and are usually dark brown in colour. However, dogs with blue merle coats can have one or two blue or blue-flecked eyes. Their moderately large ears are wider at the base and set well apart on the head. They are held back when relaxed but carry them forward and semi-erect when excited or alert.

These dogs have strong jaws with a perfect scissor bite. Their powerful necks are muscular and well-arched, with a good length that adds to their athletic appearance. Their shoulders are well-angulated and sloping with muscular and straight front legs. Their bodies are somewhat longer than they are tall, and their backs are level, rising gradually over the loins. Their chests are fairly deep and broad, with well-sprung ribs.

Smooth Collies have strong, muscular hindquarters that show a lot of muscles on the lower part of the leg. Their paws are oval-shaped with well-arched and tight toes, and firm pads. Their back feet are a little less arched than their front legs. These dogs have long tails that are carried low with a bit of an upward turn at the tip when they are resting. However, they are held higher when these dogs are on the move.

Smooth Collies boast a short, flat coat with a rough textured topcoat and a very profuse undercoat. Accepted colours are blue merle, sable and white, and tri-colour.


These loving and friendly dogs are loyal and highly intelligent. They form very strong bonds with their human companions and with all members of the family. They are particularly known to be fond of children. Bear in mind that some dogs may display herding behaviour by nipping at your heels. However, with consistent training, this trait can be diminished.

These dogs can be suitable for first-time dog owners as long as you are willing to put regular effort into training and ensuring these dogs have plenty of mental and physical stimulation. However, they may be better suited to more experienced owners due to their high-energy needs. Without appropriate training, these dogs can become stubborn.

Smooth Collies are very agile, so they will revel in any opportunity to play games and run around. They are best suited to homes where someone is home for most of the day as they do not do well when left alone for long periods.

The Smooth Collies are at their happiest when active and taking part in canine sports that can include agility, flyball, and obedience training.

Like any other breed, Smooth Collies need to be well-socialised early on in life, so they grow up to be well-rounded and confident mature dogs. Introduce your Smooth Collie puppy to a range of new situations, people, noises, and other animals while they are still young. In addition, it’s crucial for their training and education to start at puppyhood, and it must be consistent throughout their lifetime, so they know what's expected of them.

These are alert and fairly vocal dogs, so they make great watchdogs. However, they can be sensitive to loud noises and bustling environments.

Breed Personality
Breed Trainability


Smooth Collies are fast learners. They excel at many dog sports, including agility, obedience, and flyball. These dogs seem to thrive on the attention given to them during their training and they love the one-on-one contact they get when competing with their handlers.

The key to successfully training a Smooth Collie is consistency. It’s also a good idea to vary training activities to prevent boredom and to keep your pup engaged.

Remember that Smooth Collies do not respond well to harsh correction or heavy-handed methods of training. This can lead them to become nervous and confused. They respond best to positive reinforcement, especially when a high-value reward is involved. These dogs aim to please so you can guarantee they will always try their hardest to figure things out. If your Collie responds incorrectly to a command, simply withhold the reward and try again. Respect training is essential with Collies.

These dogs have a natural instinct to herd, so they may try to herd you, your children, or other pets. Fortunately, this trait can be corrected with training. Lead training is a great idea if you have a Collie that’s a fan of herding because it will teach them to walk with you and listen to commands.

Coat & Care

These dogs have a short, close-lying double coat. Their topcoat is harsh to the touch, yet their undercoat is soft and dense. These dogs require a brush once a week to maintain a healthy coat. However, just like their rough-coated counterparts, they tend to shed profusely, especially in the Spring and Autumn months. So, regular grooming is essential to prevent hairs from ending up all over your sofa and carpet.

Brushing their teeth daily is still the best way to prevent tooth and gum diseases and bad breath. However, brushing twice a week is more than adequate to prevent bacteria and tartar buildup. Call your vet for advice about the best dog products to keep your canines' teeth, tongue, mouth, and gums clean.

Regularly check their ears to keep them wax and dirt-free. Use clean cotton wool or a cloth with a vet-approved ear cleaner and gently wipe the outer part of their ears. If you observe them shaking their head or scratching their ears frequently, consult your vet because these can be indications of an ear infection.

Smooth Collies’ nails must be trimmed often to prevent them from overgrowing because this can become very uncomfortable. Also, as you trim their nails, check their paw pads for any cuts or abrasions.

Lastly, examine their whole body while grooming for any signs of pain, soreness, and irritation which could indicate an underlying health issue. Furthermore, you should examine their eyes for any redness or discharge.

Breed Coat & Care
Breed Health


Smooth Collies can live up to 15 years, providing they are fed on a high-quality diet that matches their age and health requirements. These dogs also require regular exercise and don’t forget the regular vet check-ups. Always purchase any puppy from a licensed breeder to ensure they have been well cared for. They will also perform DNA tests on your puppy to check for any underlying health issues.

Some of the health concerns more commonly seen in Smooth Collies include:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly A genetic condition that causes changes and irregularities in the eyes that can lead to blindness.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) – A family of eye diseases that causes the eye retina's slow deterioration.
  • Hip Dysplasia This is an irregular formation of the hip socket that can lead to pain and lameness. Collie dogs with hip dysplasia must not be bred.
  • Canine Degenerative Myelopathy – A progressive hind limb paralysis in older dogs.
  • Multi-Drug Sensitivity (MDR1) – Many Collies have a gene that can cause them to be sensitive to certain drugs. Make sure to consult your vet before giving your Collie dog any medication or other pet products.
  • Merle Gene Health Issues: Dogs with two copies of the merle gene are more prone to health problems such as eye issues and hearing impairment.
  • Pancreatitis – An inflammatory reaction within the pancreas resulting in abdominal pain, vomiting, and inappetence.
  • Cyclic Neutropenia (CN) - Also known as Gray Collie Syndrome. This is a fatal recessive stem cell disorder that causes abnormally low concentrations of neutrophils in the blood (a type of white blood cell). Symptoms include a pale coat, diarrhoea, joint pain, and a higher susceptibility to infection.
  • Dermatomyositis (DMS) - An inherited disease that affects the skin, muscles, and blood vessels. It causes significant inflammation of these tissues. Early signs include crusting and scaling on various parts of the body, including the tail, face, and ears.

Children & Other Pets

Smooth Collies are affectionate and loyal dogs that make excellent family pets. They bond quickly with family members, including children. They are always eager to join in a game when asked. They are tolerant of children of all ages, however, note that they are sensitive to rough handling and loud noises.

Remember that Smooth Collies have retained their working instincts over the years, and they will direct this to look after their families and kids rather than flocks of livestock, even though they are in a home environment.

These dogs get on well with other dogs, given that they are well-socialised and have grown up together. They may also get along well with other pets, but supervision is advised because of their strong herding instincts.

Breed with Children & Other Pets

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Similar Breeds

Collie Rough Dog Breed

Collie (Rough)

United Kingdom

Size Size : Large

Coat Coat : Long

Registration Registration : KC, AKC, FCI

Exercise Exercise : 1 hour

Training Training : Easy

Grooming Grooming : Once a Week


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