The Scottish Sheepdog

By BarkUpToday

Image Credit: Pixaby

The Collie, also known as the Scotch Collie, or Scottish Sheepdogs, was bred as a multipurpose farm dog. This super-friendly dog breed is well known for its herding abilities. The name Collie is derived from the Scottish word black sheep, Colley.


This herding dog breed became popular in the early 20th century after Queen Victoria favored the species as a companion dog. It is believed that Collie’s ancestors arrived in Scotland 2,000 years before Queen Victoria did. The Romans brought them over during their conquest of Britain. 

Physical Description

The Collie is strong, powerful, athletic, and graceful. With a long, lean body, wedge-shaped head, and intelligent brown, almond-shaped eyes or blue colored eyes in Merle’s, the Collie has a black nose and high, folded ears. The Collie is a balanced dog, with each body part being in harmonious proportion to the other. The Rough Collie has a long coat that is also a double coat.

The Smooth Collie has a short double coat. These can be found in sable and white, tricolor (black, tan, and white), blue Merle, tricolor, white with sable, or blue merle markings. The Collie’s head never looks heavy and always appears light. Collie’s have an intelligent, bright, and alert look. In the blue Merle, dark brown eyes are preferable.


Dogs 24 -26 inches


55-80 pounds

Life Expectancy

13-15 years


The Collie makes for a wonderful family dog that is kind around children. This breed is active and intelligent, as well as outgoing. Collie enjoys being around family, other people, and animals. This breed is good with horses and other livestock. The Collie is active and responsive and enjoys participating in agility and other canine sports. This breed does not do well with apartment living due to being very energetic. 

The Collie need lots of physical and mental stimulation. Positive puppy training should begin early to prevent unwanted or destructive behaviors. Positive training should be geared toward the sensitivity of this breed, or else they will become shy and skittish. Because this breed is so loyal and intelligent, they are easy to train. 

Daily exercise is a must to promote good behavior and the best temperament. The Collie gets depressed if exposed to harsh handling or treatment. This breed needs lots of love and attention and cannot be isolated.

Activity Level

Moderate to high

Special Needs

The Collie needs to be groomed every day. Daily exercise is necessary with frequent off-leash trips to the dog park and beach. Enjoying a variety of dog activities with your Collie is an excellent way for this breed to exercise. 

Before trying out new or rigorous training with your Collie, it’s best to visit your veterinarian and have a health check. Try out sports like flyball, agility, obedience trials, canine freestyle, frisbee, field trials, and even canine surfing.

Possible Health Concerns

The Collie is an active dog breed that may be susceptible to the following:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly. This is an inherited eye disease that is found in the Collie. It causes abnormal development in layers of eye tissue. Consult your veterinarian if you think that your Collie may have this eye condition.
  • MDR1 Mutation. Collies may be sensitive to certain medications. It is a genetic disposition to adverse reactions to certain drugs. This includes ivermectin, milbemycin, and related drugs. Ask your veterinarian about these.



All dogs need exercise, some more so than others! The Collie dog breed does well with fun exercise schedules. Dogs’ sports like agility are fun for most dog breeds. It is enjoyable for both handler and dog and also reinforces the dog-pet parent bond. Senior Collies can participate as well. Make sure to visit your veterinarian for a health check before beginning any vigorous sports with your Collie. 

Flyball is also another fun activity and is a team sport that is social and stimulating for both dogs and handlers. Obedience trials are famous today, with obedience training being the basic building block for your Collie. The sooner positive puppy training begins, the sooner your Collie understands and responds to what you’re asking him to do. Therapy work is also great for Collies and is an excellent activity where your Collie would help in therapy work. This takes commitment on both the part of handler and canine.

Regardless of whether you’re going to participate in fun canine sports with your Collie, regular daily exercise is a must. Off-leash runs at the dog park or beach work wonders to get your Collie calm and focused. 

Combining that with positive training classes and plenty of socialization which has to begin during the first four weeks of age, allows for your Collie to be the best that he can be. All positive dog training needs to be tailored around the sensitivity and intelligence of this beautiful dog breed. Keep in mind that the Collie was bred to herd. That said, mental stimulation combined with activity for this breed is crucial to achieving a calm focus within the home and outdoors around family, friends, and other animals.


All dogs require the very best in nutrition, just like humans! Without a high-quality diet, dogs may suffer from numerous health conditions, which will cost you a whole lot more in veterinary bills. Health problems arising from poor diets are the following:

  • Skin and coat problems
  • Malnutrition
  • Allergies
  • Fatigue

With options like bison, duck, venison, quail, wild boar, lamb, salmon, and turkey, there are many dog food choices today. Dog food brands offer unique and unusual protein sources that are healthy for dogs. Look out for raw food diets and dehydrated diets for your Collie. Many dogs enjoy these.  

Some dog food diets do not contribute to plaque buildup since they do not contain sugars, salt, or added preservatives. If you travel with your Collie frequently, there are lightweight, easy-to-carry dog food options. The benefits of feeding dehydrated foods are also a healthy alternative to feeding a raw diet to picky eaters. 

Consult with your veterinarian as to the best high-quality dog food diet for your Collie. There is no best diet for all dogs since all dogs have different dietary needs, so it’s always wise to find the best dog food to match your particular dog. 


As with any dog breed, long or short-haired, daily grooming is a must! Dogs tend to chew on matted fur and then develop skin conditions. Dirty coats also promote parasites and sores. That said, the Collie does not mat but needs regular grooming. If females are spayed, they will shed once a year.  

Rough Collies do mat and need to be groomed and bathed regularly. Collies need to have their nails trimmed regularly. Ears need to be kept clean by wiping with a cotton ball or wipe, and an ear-cleanser made especially for dogs. That said, daily teeth brushing is required with doggie toothpaste and a dental brush. Dogs develop gum disease from tartar buildup.

Adopting a Collie

You and your Collie will spend a lifetime together! The human-dog bond between a Collie and a human is like- no- other. Many dog lovers have decided that adoption is the only way to go with so many dogs up for adoption. 

In the weeks after an adoption, you may face numerous problems. These are easily overcome, most especially with a breed like the Collie that shows no aggression. Digging, chewing, and possible house-training issues may arise. Ensure that you have the time, patience, and resources to look after a new furry best friend. Positive dog training is the only way to go. Outdated dog training methods are cruel and don’t work! 

Shelters today help new pet parents with training and behavioral issues. Finding the right match for your lifestyle means visiting and spending time with your new Collie at the shelter first. Speak to shelter workers, and try to find out as much as you can about the dog’s history so that you can move forward and build a positive future filled with stability and kindness.

Woofs & Wags!