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Rough Collie Breed Profile

Rough Collie
The most well known Rough Collie of all is Lassie, who became famous in a Walt Disney film of the same name.

Other Names:
Lassie Dog, Scottish Collie

Dog Breed Profile     Share this K9Obedience page

Origin: Scotland

Breed Purpose: Sheepdog

Kennel Club Dog Group: Pastoral

Height: Bitch 51-56cm, Dog 56-61cm.

Weight: Bitch 23-29kg, Dog 27-34kg.

Lifespan: 14-16 years

Exercise Needs: This dog has great stamina and needs plenty of exercise to keep fit and glowing with the beauty with which this breed has become known. The Rough Collie loves to play games and retrieve and they do very well in dog obedience trials. They make a good jogging companion.

Feeding Needs: This dog does not have a large appetite and has no special food requirements.

Common Ailments: The Rough Collie is a healthy dog with few health issues. Some are prone to arthritis and eye defects. Check breed lines carefully to obtain a healthy dog. Unfortunately the film "Lassie" led to the Rough Collie becoming very sought after. In turn this led to over-breeding that resulted in poor temperaments and increased numbers of behaviour problems in the breed. Again, check breed lines carefully.

Physical Description: The overall impression of this dog is of strength and elegance, with a touch of the proud and noble look of the Borzoi. They have a calm and dignified attitude and are powerful dogs that look sleek and graceful. The head is wedge shaped, tapering from the ears to the nose. The muzzle is well rounded, the eyes are dark and the ears are three-quarters erect with the top quarter folding over. The neck is muscular going down to a strong body that is long and firm with a straight topline. The legs are strong and muscular and the tail is bushy. The double coat forms a mane around the chest and neck and is very long. The Smooth-Coated variety differs from the Rough Collie by having a short, smooth coat. The coat colours for both types are sable/white, tri colours (black, tan and white), blue merle, white and sable, and white and blue merle. The Rough Collie is an intelligent, stunning dog with strong working abilities.

Rough Collie K9 Obedience Dog Breed Summary:

This elegant sheepdog was bred to work in the Scottish mountains herding and guarding flocks. The Rough Collie today has retained its working instincts despite its role changing to that of a companion dog. Instead of guarding flocks, the Rough Collie will now guard the family's children. This dog will never let their child go off with strangers or come to any harm. They allow children to play with them to a point, but due to their long coat care must be taken to ensure no children cause the dog discomfort as their sticky fingers can become entangled in the coat, and you will soon have a dog which is nervous of children, something everyone should avoid.

A Rough Collie will never knock a child over and is always there, watching intently to keep them from harm. These dogs can be left alone at home and are never destructive. They are not demonstrative and will not demand attention.

Due to their thick coat, the Rough Collie prefers to be outdoors in cold weather and does not like the heat. They can quickly become dehydrated. The Rough Collie has a strong, slightly reserved personality and they do not like to be with people that are unpredictable. Any potential owner of this dog needs to have a good understanding of dog training and an in-depth knowledge of this specialised breed's requirements.

The Rough Collie suits a family that loves to be outdoors and that enjoy the country life.

Editor's Note: When I was just twelve years old, I had a Rough Collie which I took with me everywhere. One day I went fishing along the River Trent and took her with me.

While crossing a field, I noticed a woman with an enormous Bull Mastiff which was lunging all over the place. Thinking nobody was nearby, the woman let the dog off the lead. She had not seen me as the grass was very long and I wasn't! I looked for my dog as i was worried she would be attacked by this phenomenal beast which was now tearing around the field wildly.

She was nowhere to be seen. I called for her, but no answer, however the Mastiff heard me, and he starting tearing towards me snarling viciously. To say I feared for my life is a huge understatement. I sprinted for the river, turning back every second or two to see how close this dog was now getting.

I heard the woman screaming at the top of her voice to her dog. She quickly realised her dog was not even hearing her and then turned her screams towards me: “Run, Run, Run as fast as you can!”

As if I needed to be told I should be running! I have never been so scared in my life, this dog was without doubt going to maul me. As it came within a few feet of my back and I could hear it pounding along the ground, snarling and growling ferociously, I suddenly saw a flash of white out of the long grass next to me and then I heard a huge impact behind me and a loud yelp.

My Rough Collie, ‘Becky', had literally rammed the Mastiff from the side, directly into his ribs head first. The dog must have bounced and rolled several times, and she didn't bite him at all, she just came and laid next to where I had landed after falling in surprise at the noise behind me. The Mastiff literally screamed all the way back to his owner. This dog must have weight 60-70 kilos, and my Collie can't have weighed half of that. Yet her determination to protect me was all that was needed, and I had an immediate sense of faith in this breed, something which has never faded in my memory.

She had never ever snapped at another dog in her life, and never did after this incident. It was protection and loyalty at a level most owners believe only exists in larger guarding breeds. She without doubt saved my skin, and probably my life. This Mastiff was absolutely rabid, but the second she rammed him, it was such a surprise to him that he instantly changed his mind and returned to his owner, to my immense relief.

The most incredible thing of all, even more incredible than a female Rough Collie fending off a snarling adult Mastiff in full attack mode, was the woman's words which she shouted across to me after her dog returned to her feet. She screamed at the top of her voice: “Can't you keep your dog under control!” I was absolutely gobsmacked, I returned a few words which most twelve years olds shouldn't know, and went straight home where I spent the rest of the day stroking my dog, still in total disbelief of what she had done for me that day.

The moral of the story: A Rough Collie, as with 90% of breeds, is a dog first and a Rough Collie second. The fact that she was a petite, peaceful, sociable and dainty herding dog was irrelevant when her primary instinct to look after her human pack was all that was needed. A dog is all you need in the world if you are looking for a friend, a playmate, a protector and a servant. The specific breed choice you are privileged to be able to make is just a minor tweak on how you want your dog served up!

There is no other creature which offers so much to us humans, remember this when you ignore the thousands of dogs in rescue homes in favour of a puppy from an expensive breeder. They are ALL dogs, and they are ALL willing to give everything they can to a good owner.

This was only one of the times when my Rough Collie saved my life as a child. The other incident will be explained somewhere else on the site very soon, and it is even more incredible than this incident!

Someone once wrote:
"The more people I meet, the more I love my dog" and i couldn't agree more! Here is a picture of Becky, taken the day after the Mastiff incident...

What a pretty Lass!

Rough Collie -
Note the officially ‘faulty' ears which didn't drop correctly at the top. It may have prevented her being a 'perfect specimen' of a Rough Collie, but it didn't prevent her being a 'perfect dog' nor from saving my life on at least two occasions, and I know which means most to me!

A dog sorely missed
by all who knew her.


Rough Collie -
For more information on the Collie please visit this
highly recommended Swedish Rough Collie website:

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