Rough Collie Colors Explained


Smooth and Rough Collie Colors Explained in Detail

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Denise Leo. Post first published on January 20, 2023.

The Collie breed has been a herding dog for centuries in England and Scotland. He was used as a droving dog to help guide the sheep and cows to the market. During the 1860s, he became more popular because Queen Victoria paid a visit to the Scottish Highlands and quickly fell in love with the Collie.

Known for its long, slender, and wedge-shaped face resembling a sheep’s face, Collie is a superstar dog. The distinctive Collie colors and a thick, long fur coat make it a unique dog.

Collie is known for its intelligence, trainability, and companionship. It is a loyal family dog that takes pride in being the guardian and protector of the members of its human family.

This article concerns this outstanding dog breed and its colors, traits, and characteristics.

Rough Collie Colors Explained
Rough Collie Colors Explained

Collie Dog Facts

  • The Collie is a herding breed native to Scotland and England. It was popularized by Queen Victoria in the 1860s when she visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in love with this dog.
  • The most famous Collie of all time is Lassie, who was featured on TV. He had tri-color or white & sable or white & blue merle fur colors recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
  • Rough Collies have long hair with an abundant outer coat that’s harsh to the touch, while Smooth collies have short coats with thick undercoats.
  • Male dogs are 24-26 inches tall while females are 22-24 inches tall; males weigh 60-75 pounds; females weigh 50–65 pounds; life expectancy ranges from 12 -14 years old.
  • They adapt well to apartment living as they’re low-maintenance pets whose energy levels aren’t out of control but who enjoy being active outdoors daily too! They also reasonably tolerate cold weather conditions due to their double coat protection against winter winds.
    Collie is an intelligent and obedient dog, making it relatively easy to groom. Regular brushing of the coat and bathing is essential for keeping its skin healthy.
  • This breed is vulnerable to specific ailments such as skin disorders, nasal conditions, eye diseases, gradual deterioration of the retina, and food/contact allergies.
  • The American Kennel Club recognizes ten different colors in this breed for both types of coats, including Blue, White, Tan, Sable, Blue Merle Collies, etc.

History and Origin of Collie Breed

Collie is native to Scotland and commonly found in Scottish highland regions. It is thought that the name of this dog, ‘collie,’ comes from ‘Colley’ – the name of the sheep it used to guard. Others think ‘collie’ might have originated from ‘col’ or ‘coll’, which means black in Anglo-Saxon.

There may be disagreement as to how the name of this cute dog originated. However, there is no disagreement that it was used to herd sheep in Scottish highlands and Southern England.

There are two traditions as to how the ancestors of modern-day Collie arrived in the British Isles. Some dog historians believe that Stone age nomads brought them to the British Isles. Yet others believe that Roman conquerors brought the Collie ancestors to the British Isles.

It is Queen Victoria who is credited with introducing Collie to the world. On one of her Scottish retreats to her estate in Balmoral, the Queen caught a glimpse of this lively farm dog and fell instantaneously in love with him. The Royal favor brought Collie into the limelight, and it was not long after the courtiers, aristocrats, and the British gentry owned it.

The first Collie arrived in the United States in 1879. It was recognized as a breed by American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1885, and since then, it has become a trusted family dog.

The Most Famous Collie Dog

The most famous Collie dog of all time is a fictional dog called Lassie. Lassie was a Rough Collie dog who was featured in a TV series. Lassie was played by a dog called Pal in the movie. Pal was also the sire of many Collie dogs who later portrayed the fictional dog, Lassie.

Lassie propelled the breed into the spotlight, and many decades later, people still know what dog breed you are talking about if you mention a “Lassie dog.  As a child, I adored the TV series and dreamed of owning my own Lassie dog.

Collie Colors Explained
Collie Colors Explained

Collie Colors

Collie colors are many. The dog is found in many colors. The most common Collie colors are blue, sable, and merle, which have many variations. American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes ten different Collie colors.

This section deals with Collie’s colors and everything about them.

Collie Color Chart

American Kennel Club recognizes ten different standard Collie colors. The details of these are described below in the table.

Collie Color

Registration Code

Blue White and Tan 34
Blue Merle 50
Blue Merle and White 51
Blue Merle White and Tan 52
Sable 164
Sable and White 165
Sable Merle 166
White 199
Sable Merle and White 277
White Merle 311

Rough Collie Colors

Two different types of coats are found in Collies.

  • Rough Collies
  • Smooth Collies

Rough Collies are long-haired Collies with a double coat. It has abundant hair on the outer coat, which is harsh to the touch. The undercoat is soft and so thick that it cannot see the skin through it. The other is the short-haired Collie, known as the smooth Collie. It has a short, thick, dense outer coat and an equally thick undercoat.

Rough Collies Black

The rough Collie Black has a black double coat. Generally, rough Collie black is never black throughout. It is a tricolor. A tricolor is predominantly black with white markings and tan markings.

Sable Merle Rough Collie

Sable Merle Rough Collies are double-coat dogs with a mix of sable and merle gene simultaneously. The darker sable color is a shade of brown, whereas the merle gene gives shades of black and blue. Sable merle rough Collie is a unique color loved by dog owners.

Traits and Characteristics of Collies

He’s a big, active dog but is also graceful and elegant. He seems to float when he runs. He’s very affectionate and loyal and responds well to people.

Rough Collie puppies love children. Lassie is the most famous Collie. His colors can be tri-color, white and sable, or white and merle. A full white collar gives this dog a smart appearance.

He does need to be walked every day, but he also loves sleeping. He only needs brushing once a week except in shedding season. He’s clean and generally doesn’t have a “dog smell.” He’s 22 – 26 inches high.

AKC Size Specification

The height of a male Collie is slightly more than a female Collie. A male dog reaches 24-26 inches, while a female Collie is 22-24 inches high.

Also, the weight of a male dog is more than that of a female dog. A male Collie can weigh somewhere from 60 to 75 pounds. A female dog weighs 50-65 pounds on average. The average life expectancy of a Collie is between 12-14 years.

  Male Female
Height 24-26 inches 22-24 inches
Weight 60-75 pounds 50-65 pounds
Life Expectancy 12-14 years
Collie Dogs
Collie Dogs

The adaptability of a Collie Dog

●       Collie is well suited for apartment life

Collies are loyal and friendly. Their small size makes them well-suited for living inside an apartment. It can be challenging for dogs to live comfortably in a high-rise apartment, but it is not the case with Collie.

Dogs are full of energy, and there is not much space in an apartment. Hence, due to their high energy, they do crazy stuff and might break things. However, the energy level of a Collie is not out of control.

It is playful but knows its limits well. It is usually quiet and remains calm in an indoor apartment setting. These traits make the Collie a perfect dog for apartment living. Collies are ideally suited to the role of therapy dogs.

●       Perfect for novice dog owners

Collie is a low-maintenance dog. It is intelligent and understands the needs and requirements of its human owner. Because of this, even a novice owner without prior experience in owning a dog can pet a Collie.

Collie belongs to those dog breeds that are easier to keep. They are better at training and easy to handle. Once commanded, they would never defy.

Even if there is a change in their routine, they respond fairly well to the change and adapt to it. Also, they are never stubborn.

These are the desirable traits that make owning a dog a delightful experience. The easygoing nature of Collies makes them suitable for novice owners.

●       Tolerance to hot and cold weather

Collie has a thick double coat that protects it from cold. It is native to Scottish highlands and there occur extreme colds.

The double coat protects it from the winter winds. It means that it can stay well outside in the cold.

However, the double coat that protects it from the cold traps the heat inside in the summer. Dogs with double coats get hot easily, even in mild heat.

Hence their resistance to withstand summer heat is low. They should be kept indoors in summer to avoid catching heat stroke.

●       Tolerance of being alone

Collies may be good on many counts, but they don’t like to be alone. Their tolerance to being alone is minimum. They need company all the time and don’t respond well to being alone.

Lack of tolerance for being alone makes them somewhat difficult to handle. It is because they are inclined to bark and misbehave when left alone. Because of this, it is advised that they may not be left alone for long periods.

Collie Behavior

●       Behavior with humans

Collies are affectionate, kind, and friendly to their human family members. They like to be in a family and enjoy being with humans. This is the sole reason they don’t like being left alone even for some time.

Some dog breeds are aloof and independent. They would recline all day in their bed and wouldn’t want to come out.

Collies are not one of them. They have energy and like to display it by being close to their family.

●       Behavior with Children

Collie loves kids and it is loved by kids. It has a thick fur coat and is a joy to cuddle with this dog. It takes care of the children and protects them from any harm. However, it is generally advised that an adult should always supervise the dog-children’s playtime.

●       Behavior towards strangers

Collie is also kind to strangers. It is a gentle dog and behaves well with strangers that often visit its owner’s home. It is not suspicious of strangers in general.

However, Collie has an instinct that alerts it of any dangers. It reacts if it senses any danger and protects the members of its human family from harm.

●       Behavior with other dogs

Collie tolerates the presence of other dogs around him. It is one of those dogs that does not fiercely react whenever a dog enters its territory. They are neutral to other dogs.

If the dog is groomed from the beginning to tolerate other dogs, it feels no danger in the presence of other dogs.

Grooming Requirements of a Collie

Collies have a double coat, and they shed a lot of hair. It is another disadvantage if you are planning to own a Collie. The rough Collie has long hair, and the shedding is very difficult to clean from the carpet and couch.

However, Collie comes clean when you consider its drooling levels. It is a dog that has a minimum to no drooling level.

Drooling makes it challenging to own a dog in an indoor environment. You always have to carry a towel around your dog for cleaning. But it is not the case with Collie.

Grooming a Collie is relatively easy. It is an intelligent dog with a lot of potential to learn and understand commands.

Moreover, it is not a stubborn dog which makes it easy to groom this dog. Grooming requires brushing the coat to keep it clean and healthy.

Regular bathing is also essential to keep the dirt and mud out of the coat. A healthy coat and skin would prevent many dog diseases.

Health Requirements of a Collie

Collie is generally a healthy dog. However, it is vulnerable to certain dog ailments. It must be given special attention to avoid catching a disease.

This breed is vulnerable to skin infections, nasal ailments, eye diseases, and immunity problems. The details of these ailments are described below.

●       Skin disorder

Collie can develop a skin disorder. The skin disease can cause itching, pain, and swelling. An autoimmune skin disease that is common in Collies is Dermatomyositis. This disease not only infects the skin but also hurts muscles and deteriorates joints.

Other than that, if the dog coat is not kept clean, it can lead to multiple parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections because of the fleas, ticks, and burrs that stick to the skin and cause illness.

●      Nasal Conditions

Collies can develop nasal conditions in which the nasal cavity gets sensitive. The skin of the nose starts peeling off. The nose gets extra sensitive, and nasal secretions to flow out of the nose. In severe cases, it can even lead to cancer.

This condition is mostly caused by excessive exposure to sunlight. Protecting the nose from direct sunlight can help alleviate this condition.

●      Eye Diseases

An inherited eye disease in Collies can make them blind. It is commonly known as Collie Eye Anomaly. Changes and abnormalities occur in the eyes.

The changes include thinning the eye’s outer layer and abnormalities in the inner layers. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this eye disease.

●      Gradual deterioration of the Retina

Another eye infection that is common to Collies is the gradual deterioration of the sensitive layer retina. The retina is the layer of the eye that is crucial to your dog’s sense of sight. A gradual deterioration means compromised eye performance. It is an old-age disease common to Collies.

●      Food Allergy

Food allergies are quite common in Collies. There are certain foods that Collies are sensitive to. Consumption of such foods leads to food poisoning. If treated immediately, the health condition gets better. If left untreated, it can lead to bigger digestive concerns.

●      Contact Allergies

Collies are also sensitive to certain contact allergies. A reaction to any particular substance causes these allergies. It may be caused by dog grooming products such as shampoos, dog lotions, or other chemicals. Sometimes, dog bedding is infected and causes contact allergies in your dog. Contact allergies cause discomfort and skin diseases.


Collie is a Scottish dog that is known for its looks and beauty. The long and thick outer coat makes this dog look beautiful.

It goes to the credit of Queen Victoria, who introduced this dog to the world. Before the royal favors, it used to be a farm dog capable of herding animals.

Collie colors are beautiful and light. Sable, merle, and black are the colors that combine on the dog coat. The American Kennel Club recognizes ten Collie colors.

Collie is a loyal, friendly, and trusted companion of humans that stays around and protects the members of its human family. It is a much-loved dog and is rightfully adored by dog lovers.

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References and Further Reading:

[1] American Kennel Club, Collie Dog Information.


blue merle collie dog
Blue Merle Collie Dog
collie dog
Collie Dog



  • Denise Leo

    My name is Denise Leo, and I hail from Australia. My journey with dogs, especially with the delightful Pomeranian breed, has been a lifelong passion extending over 50 years. I have had the honor of breeding and exhibiting close to 100 Pomeranian Champions, dedicating many years to the intricate art of dog training across various disciplines. Beyond the show ring, my experience stretches to the pastoral fields as both a Dairy Farmer and Beef Cattle Breeder, where working with dogs of all breeds has been an integral part of my daily life. This diverse exposure has deepened my understanding and appreciation for these incredible animals. I firmly believe that dogs are the most extraordinary beings in our universe, capable of offering us unconditional love that surpasses even their own self-interest. The countless wonderful dogs that have shared my life over the years have not only brought immense joy and companionship but have also profoundly enriched my existence in ways I could never have imagined. About us page

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