Tricolor Collie with training
|Collie (Smooth Coat)
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 1 Section 1 #296
||Group 5 (Working dogs)
||Group 7 - Herding dogs
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
A Smooth Collie is a
herding. It is a short-coated version of the
Lassie fame. Some breed organizations consider the smooth-coat and
rough-coat dogs to be variations of the same breed.
Blue merle Smooth Collie
The Smooth Collie is a medium to large dog, ranging in size from 20-26 inches
at the shoulder and weighing 40-75 pounds. Standard size for the breed is on the
larger end of the range in the
United States and
elsewhere; for example, for the AKC, the range is 22 to 26 inches (56-66 cm) and
50 to 75 pounds (22.5-34 kg). In all standards, females should be significantly
smaller than males. The Smooth Collie is slightly longer than it is tall, with a
level back and a deep chest. The features of the head, particularly the "sweet"
expression, are considered very important in the show ring. The breed has a long
muzzle, flat skull, and semi-erect ears (although, in practice, the ears
typically must be folded over and taped in puppyhood, or they will be fully
upright in the adult dog).
The coat consists of a soft, extremely dense
and straight, harsh outer
The guard hairs are one to two inches long, with the longer hair mainly in a
ruff around the neck and on the backs of the thighs. The coat requires a
thorough weekly brushing. Shedding is moderate most of the year, heavy during
the twice-yearly shedding season.
Smooth Collies come in four colors, three of which are considered acceptable
by all standards worldwide. The universally accepted colors are sable (Lassie's
color; can be light gold to deep mahogany), tricolor (mainly black with tan
markings), and blue
merle (silvery gray marbled with black), all marked with white areas on the
chest, neck, feet/legs, and tail tip. Kennel clubs in the
United States and
accept white, sometimes called color-headed white. These Collies are
predominantly white, with heads (and usually a body spot) of one of the other
The Smooth Collie is generally a sociable, easily trained family dog.
Although not an aggressive breed, they are alert and vocal, making them both
good watchdogs if well trained and potential nuisances if allowed to bark
indiscriminately. This breed of dog needs a lot of attention and is not for the
inexperienced dog owner. Training this breed requires a light touch, as they are
sensitive to correction and will balk at harsh treatment. They get along well
with children and sometimes other animals, usually getting along with other
dogs. Smooth Collies tend to have retained more herding instincts than the rough
variety, and have noticeably higher energy levels.
Smooth Collies are used both as family pets and in
herding trials, and other
Some are still used as working sheepdogs. They are also useful as
animals for the disabled, and are being trained in some instances as
for the blind.
The Smooth Collie is a long-lived breed for its size, usually living 14 to 18
years. Like all dog breeds, they are susceptible to certain inherited or
partially inherited health problems. Those problems currently include:
- Collie eye anomaly (CEA): A collection of eye problems ranging from
minor blood vessel abnormalities to blind spots to severely deformed or
detached retinas. This problem is so widespread in collies that completely
unaffected dogs (called "normal eyed") are uncommon, although conscientious
breeders have been able to gradually increase the normal population. The
problem and its extent can be determined through an eye exam conducted
before six weeks of age, and does not get worse over time. Mildly affected
dogs suffer no impairments, and are fine pets or working dogs.
Progressive retinal atrophy: Gradual degeneration of the retinas of the
eyes, eventually leading to blindness. This disease is less common than CEA
in Collies, but more difficult to breed away from, as symptoms are not
usually detectable until the affected dog is middle-aged or older.
- Multidrug sensitivity: Sometimes fatal reactions to a class of common
ivermectin, used as a
preventative and treatment for
causes this sensitivity has recently been identified, and a dog's
susceptibility can now be determined through a simple blood test.
- Gastric torsion ("Bloat"):
A painful and often fatal twisting of the stomach occurring in large or
deep-chested breeds. Bloat can usually be prevented by feeding small meals
and not allowing vigorous exercise immediately before or after eating.
Epilepsy: Seizures of unknown origin. Frequency of the seizures can
often be significantly reduced through medication, but there is no cure for
The early history of the Smooth Collie, like that of many dog breeds, is
largely a matter of speculation. The most common view of the breed is that they
are descended from a population of shepherds' dogs brought to
Romans around the
century. Even the origin of the breed's name is unclear, variously claimed
to describe the early shepherd dog's dark color ("coaly"), or derived from the
name of a breed of sheep once commonly kept in
The modern history of both the Smooth and Rough Collie began in the reign of
Queen Victoria, who became interested in the shepherds' dogs while at
Balmoral Castle in
In 1860, she
purchased some of the dogs for her own kennel. With the Queen's interest, it
became fashionable to own Smooth Collies. Thus began the breed's transformation
from working farm dog, similar to the modern
Border collie, to the largely pet and
show dog we
The Smooth Collie today is considered a variety of the same breed as the
Collie in countries such as the
United States and
that they can interbreed and some statistics are kept only for "Collie" rather
than for both varieties individually. The smooth and rough are classified as
separate breeds in other countries, such as the
United Kingdom and
The latter is a fairly recent development, however, with the
Kennel Club (UK) allowing the interbreeding of the two varieties until
- Clark, Stella. Rough and Smooth Collies. Letchworth (UK):
Ringpress Books, Ltd., 1993.
- Collie Club of America. The New Collie. New York: Howell Book
- Welton, Michelle. Your Purebred Puppy: a buyer's guide. New York:
Henry Holt & Company, 2000.
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