The Famous Collie

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Weight: 60 — 75 lbs
Height: 24” — 26”
AKC Rank 2008 # 38
Life Span: 11—12 yrs
Group Herding
Origin Scotland

Collie resting in the grass
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Dog Breed Info - The Collie

Breed Overview

The breed comes two ways. One is a “smooth coat” or short hair version. The “rough—coated” version was mainly used as a guard dog.

America's social elite brought Collies from Europe. They could be found everywhere in the US. The breed was further popularized by the movie “Lassie” and by 1940 it was one of the #1 dogs in the USA.

This is an active, strong dog that combines strength, speed and grace.


Yes. Very trainable. Eager to learn and please. Use clicker training for a really good training session. It's easy and the dog will enjoy it too.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Collie puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Collie and her puppies are easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

The Collie, a born herder, tends to herd anything in front of it. This breed is quite trainable and wants to please but can be stubborn. They will actually shove an adult aside if the dog feels the adult is going the wrong direction, thus, obedience training is mandatory for this breed.



This is a loyal, gentle and devoted breed. It is intelligent and willing to please. The dog can be stubborn and nip at heels when playing and bark to excess at times if not disciplined.

If you happen to get a Collie with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

The Collie is a superb sheep herder
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Friendly Toward Other Dogs?

Picks his own friends. Likes some dogs, not others. Remains wary at times.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Good. A true “family dog” that gets along with the whole family, including existing pets.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Generally friendly to other people, but can nip and bark in some cases. Approach strangers with some care. I have two Collie bites... One each on my hand and leg.


Moderate. Somewhat playful, like chasing balls or jogging in the park with you.


Very loyal to family but not your lap dog. Affection is moderate to good though.

Good with Children?

Very good with kids over 6 years. This is a heavy dog and can injure toddlers. Quite tolerant of children in general. Loves to get out and romp and run with the kids.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Too large and requires more exercise than a senior is likely to be able to provide.

Living environment

Home with a medium size fenced yard is best where the dog can chase balls and play fetch for exercise. Needs space to run around.

While the Collie can live outdoors in a temperate climate, they need to be an INDOOR pet due to their need to socialize and be around their family members.

The Collie catching a Frisbee. Great exercise!
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Energy level

Moderately high.

Exercise needs, daily

This dog is in the herding group and needs a good romp every day. Walks are fine, but he needs some run time too.


Yes. Excellent.

Guard dog

Yes, he can be a very good guard dog. They have a nasty bite and are highly protective of their property. Try sticking your hand into the car window with a 70 pound Collie inside. We have 2 Collies next door that hardly let their owners come into the house much less a stranger!




Smooth coat — needs weekly brushing. Dead hair must be removed.
Rough coat — very frequent brushing and you have to get deep down to the second layer of dead hair which is a lot of work but necessary. The long, rough coat is labor intensive.



Suggested Reading For The Collie

  • The book on the left is a comprehensive owners guide for the Collie.

  • 2nd book from the left is a training book that deals with HOW to play with your dog as well as when and where. It's different from the norm.

  • 3rd book from left is "50 Games To Play With Your Dog" that will give you a variety of simple but interesting things to teach your dog. Give some variety and challenge to his life.

  • The book on the far right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog health, emergencies and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for all dog owners. It is Vol 2, 2008 and includes a DVD.

Collie Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Alaskan Malamute puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training. It's not often that Collie puppies turn up in dog pounds and shelters but you might check anyway.
Collie Breeders with puppies for sale.

Collie Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Collie Rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Collie Rescue - (Nationwide) If you find one to adopt, try to locate any dog health records that may exist for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site that may give you some ideas. Be sure to check locally for Collie Rescue groups.

Dog Health Issues For The Collie
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the breed by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Collie eye anomaly—Abnormal eye development. Watch your dog closely, as many will experience retinal detachment causing blindness, usually around 6 to 12 months old. If your Collie is bumping into things, get it to the vet fast. Also, look for abnormal blood vessels or vessels have a twisted appearance, or you find holes or shallow areas in the dog’s eyes which could be inadequate development of a fiber coating Any change in the eyes is reason to call the vet NOW.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal.

  • Gastric Torsion—Sometimes called Dog Bloat or “Twisted stomach.” Mainly in larger, deep-cheated dogs. Here's a brief description of the problem:
    Symptoms include excessive drooling, nervous pacing, agitation, weakness, attempt to vomit, bulging stomach area, heavy breathing, retching and gagging, shock or total collapse.

  • Pemphigus foliaceus - Found in dogs such as the Akita and Collie. A severe skin disease characterized by ulcers and crusting around the eyes, ears, bridge of the nose, footpads and groin. Diagnosed by skin biopsy. Treatment is by medication and special bathing of the infected areas.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—Eye problem (PRA) An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

  • Nasal solar dermatitis—Hereditary immune diseases. The skin of the face and nose are involved… it is called “Collie Nose” though many breeds have it. There will be rough, scaly skin or ulceration where the nose and skin meet, also, a loss of color on the nose. Sores may be on the skin at the nose. The disease is not a killer but is not easy to look at. If too much sunlight hits the nose area, cancer may develop. That area will sunburn easily. Treatment includes no sunlight or use sunscreen, corticosteroids in cream form, medicine as pills, injections and a vitamin E supplement.

  • Patent ductus arteriosis—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosis. That small vessel is supposes to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own With this disease, the vessel does not go away resulting in improper circulation of blood.

  • Malassezia dermatitis—A highly itchy skin infection, usually around the ears, muzzle, inner thighs, eyes or feet. The dog may become frantic, chewing and scratching the ears and feet. If an ear infection, there might be a waxy discharge and smelly odor. The dog will be rubbing and pawing at the ear. Look for Malassezia in the summer, humidity and allergy seasons. Your vet will treat this with appropriate medications and bathing after a diagnosis.

  • Dermatomyositis—A hereditary inflammatory condition of skin and muscles in young Collies and Shetland Sheepdogs, as well as the Welsh Corgi, German Shepherd Dog and Chow. Lesions can appear as early as 7 to 11 weeks of age. Lesions are commonly seen on the face and around the eyes. If you see strange spots on your dog's face, get her to the vet to check it out.

  • Hypertrophic osteodystrophy—Orthopedic bone disease in large dogs, 2 to 6 months old. Very painful and possibly caused by poor nutrition. There will be pain and swelling in the affected legs. Look for lameness or a desire not to move at all, and loss of appetite plus a high fever may also occur. Medication, bed rest and a special diet are usually given. The disease can be fatal.

  • Ivermectin toxicity - The Collie is sensitive to the commonly used parasitic drug Ivermectin and can have unwanted reactions. Use caution with this drug.

  • Epilepsy - A serious seizure disorder that usually shows up in dogs at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age.

  • Urinary Bladder Cancer—Life threatening cancer and bladder stones blocking and making urination impossible. Can metastasize and spread quickly. Look for blood in urine, difficulty pooping, difficulty urinating, breathing problems, more frequent trips to urinate with little coming out. Take your Collie to the vet immediately for a checkup. Survival will depend on where the cancer is, how far along it is and if it has metastasized or not.

  • Degenerative myelopathy—Is common to German Shepherds, Collies and Welsh Corgis. There is no cure for this chronic disease that destroys the sheathing around the dog’s lower spinal column. This forces a loss of sensation and the use of the hind legs. There are some treatments for this crippling problem, but no cure. Eventually the Collie will not be able to use it's rear legs.

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great pain and difficulty walking. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

Other health problems could occur with your Collie. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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