The Rough Collie has a long standing reputation as one of the most beautiful of dog breeds. Though many people may have a mental picture of the Rough Collie as looking like Lassie, or Lassie coloured, the Collie is actually bred in two different coat types and three different colour variations, as above, that add to the breed’s great beauty and appeal. The Collie is a relatively healthy breed, but that is is not the only reason why they make the perfect pet to share your life with. A Collie is happy to run in the woods with its family, walk on a lead with them in town, or herd a gaggle of geese on the farm and can adapt to living in towns or the countryside. Collies bond easily with their families whether they are acquired as puppies or as older dogs. They are joyfully affectionate and playful, with a great sense of fun.

Collies have a well developed sense of home that revolves around the family, in fact, the breed is well known for its intuitive awareness of family activities, to the point where the Collie often senses what is going to happen before it actually does. The dog can recognize things like the step of a family member at a distance or the unique sound of an individual vehicle. even the approaching time when a family member is due home. The breed’s sensitive nature descends from its herding heritage, making the Collie a wonderful housemate, ever watchful and protective of the homefront.

Since the nature of the working Collie’s relationship with the shepherd involves dialogue, the Collie can be quite vocal with a large and interesting range of sounds, from barks of various pitches and intensities to grunts and the famous Collie 'singing', and facial expressions such as the head cocked to one side and the other, puffing cheeks, nods, smiles, nose nudges or even aligator like teeth snapping, all are ways which the Collie communicates with what is going on.

Another benefit of the Collie’s shepherding heritage is the breed’s ability to get along with other dogs and other animals in the same household. The Collie’s original job often involved multiple dogs who had to work together to care for a flock of animals. This translates into a breed which tends to get along well with other dogs, and also tends to be tolerant of other family pets in the household. As a family dog, the breed character of the Collie is that of an intelligent and fully participating family member with a strong desire to please. The breed is a wonderful choice for those who want their dogs to be fully engaged in their family lives.

In general. a good brushing once a week will take care of many mats and tangles and keep a Collies coat in good condition. Collies are clean dogs and only require an annual bath when they moult, and many feel that they shed less coat than even some of the short coated breeds for example Labradors.

SIZE: HEIGHT: Dogs:56-61cm [22-24in] at shoulder
Bitches:51-56cm [20-22in].

The three recognised colours in the UK are Sable & White/Tricolour and Blue Merle. All should have typical white collie markings to a greater or lesser degree.

The Rough Collie is a worker and must never be dismissed as only a pretty face. It should appear as a dog of great beauty standing with impassive dignity with no part out of proportion to the whole. There should be no trace of exaggeration.

Rough Collies should have a friendly disposition with no sign of nervousness or aggression.


General Appearance

Appears as dog of great beauty, standing with impassive dignity, with no part out of proportion to whole, giving the appearance of working capability.


Physical structure on lines of strength and activity, free from cloddiness and with no trace of coarseness. Expression most important. In considering relative values it is obtained by perfect balance and combination of skull and foreface, size, shape, colour and placement of eyes, correct position and carriage of ears.


Friendly disposition with no trace of nervousness or aggressiveness. A great companion dog, friendly, happy and active, good with children and other dogs.

Head and Skull

Head properties of great importance, must be considered in proportion to size of dog. Viewed from front or side, head resembles a well-blunted clean wedge, being smooth in outline. Skull flat. Sides taper gradually and smoothly from ears to end of black nose, without prominent cheek bones or pinched muzzle. Viewed in profile, top of skull and top of muzzle lie in two parallel straight lines of equal length divided by a slight, but perceptible stop or break. A mid-point between inside corner of eyes (which is centre of a correctly placed stop) is centre of balance in length of head. End of smooth, well rounded muzzle blunt, never square. Under jaw strong, clean cut. Depth of skull from brow to underpart of jaw never excessive (deep through). Nose always black.


Very important feature giving sweet expression. Medium size (never very small) set somewhat obliquely, of almond-shape and dark brown colour, except in the case of blue merles when eyes are frequently (one or both, or part of one or both) blue or blue-flecked. Expression full of intelligence, with quick, alert look when listening.


Small, not too close together on top of skull, nor too far apart. In repose carried thrown back, but on alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, that is, with approximately two-thirds of ear standing erect, top third tipping forward naturally, below horizontal.


Teeth of good size. Jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Muscular, powerful, of fair length, well arched.


Shoulders sloping and well angulated. Forelegs straight and muscular, neither in nor out at elbows, with moderate amount of round bone.


Slightly long compared with height, back firm with a slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung, chest deep, fairly broad behind shoulders.


Hindlegs muscular at thighs, clean and sinewy below, with well bent stifles. Hocks well let down and powerful.


Oval; soles well padded. Toes arched and close together. Hind feet slightly less arched.


Long with bone reaching at least to hock joint. Carried low when quiet but with slight upward swirl at tip. May be carried gaily when excited, but never over back.


Distinctly characteristic in this breed. A sound dog is never out at the elbow, yet moves with front feet comparatively close together. Plaiting, crossing or rolling are highly undesirable. Hindlegs from hock joint to ground when viewed from rear to be parallel but not too close; when viewed from side, action is smooth. Hindlegs powerful with plenty of drive. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear effortless. Absolute soundness essential.


Fits outline of body, very dense. Outer coat straight and harsh to touch, undercoat soft, furry and very close almost hiding the skin; mane and frill very abundant, mask and face smooth, ears smooth at tips, but carrying more hair towards base, front legs well feathered, hindlegs above hocks profusely feathered, but smooth below hock joint. Hair on tail very profuse.


Three recognised colours: Sable and white, Tricolour and Blue Merle. Sable: any shade of light gold to rich mahogany or shaded sable. Light straw or cream coloured highly undesirable. Tricolour: predominantly black with rich tan markings about legs and head. A rusty tinge in top coat highly undesirable. Blue Merle: predominantly clear, silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan markings preferred, but absence should not be penalised. Large black markings, slate colour, or rusty tinge either of top or undercoat are highly undesirable. All should carry typical white Collie markings to a greater or lesser degree. Following markings are favourable – white collar, full or part, white shirt, legs and feet, white tail tip. A blaze may be carried on muzzle or skull, or both. All white or predominantly white is highly undesirable.


Height: dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins) at shoulder; bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Reproduced by kind permission of the Kennel Club
Last update April 2012