The most famous Collie of all time is, of course, Lassie. The traditional image of Lassie is one of the long-coated, fluffy Rough Collie, but the breed also comes in a Smooth variety. Both versions are large, proportionate and agile. They have lean, wedge shaped heads with chiseled faces. They have erect ears that fold forward and their eyes are almond shaped and dark. Merle Collies will have either blue or merle eyes. Collies have wide, strong chests and long tails which hang low, unless the dog is excited or in action. The AKC sums up the breed by stating, “The Collie is a lithe, strong, responsive, active dog, carrying no useless timber, standing naturally straight and firm.”
Size and Weight
Male Collies stand from 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 60 and 75 pounds. Females sand from 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder and can weigh anywhere from 50 to 65 pounds. In the show ring, size matters, and Collies who are larger or smaller than the standard are heavily penalized.
Coat and Color
Collies come in two coat variates: rough and smooth. The Rough Collie has a thick, long, straight outer coat that is harsh to the touch and their undercoat is so thick and abundant that finding the dog's skin is very difficult. The Smooth Collie, however, has shorter, denser hair that is flat to the body and a thick undercoat. Both Rough and Smooth Collies are average shedders.
Collies can be sable, tricolor, which is black with white and tan markings and shadings; blue merele which is a silver-blue and black; or white which consists of a predominantly white coat with slightly darker markings.
Rough Collies will need to be brushed at least twice a week to maintain the proper texture and appearance of the coat. Smooth Collies, however, only need to be brushed once per week to remove loose and dead hair. They require a bath every six to eight weeks, and most owners prefer to hire a groomer to do this, as the thick hair of the Rough Collie can be challenging to handle. New owners may wish to consult a groomer or breeder for instruction on brushing and bathing.
In addition to brushing and bathing, ear cleaning and teeth cleaning should be part of a Collie's grooming regimen. Check ears weekly for signs of infection or irritation, and use only a veterinarian-approved cleanser on the ears. Regular brushing of the teeth prevents bad breath and tartar buildup which can lead to gum disease and tooth loss.