The Scottish Collie, a cousin of the more well-known Border Collie, comes in two distinct varieties: Rough and Smooth. The former is most recognized from its onscreen presence - beautifully depicted by Lassie - while the latter boasts an equally charming demeanor but with a much tidier coat!
Today's Rough and Smooth Collies have diverged from their active herding pasts, though the smoother variety may still hold a nostalgic edge. While both benefit from moderate physical activity to stay happy and healthy, one could argue that the smooth collie requires slightly more movement as well mental stimulation in order to reach its full potential!
Collies require lots of affection and attention to stay happy. Leave them alone for too long without other pets or people around, and their boredoms may manifest in excessive barking or destructive chewing habits - not ideal!
What Collies need most is a great deal of personal attention. Collies become unhappy if left for long periods of time without the companionship of people or other pets. Unhappiness can result in chronic barking or destructive chewing.
Rough and Smooth Collies have a soft, sweet personality. They are sensitive dogs who do not do well in an environment with frequent tension or loud voices.
Collies are peaceful with other pets and polite with strangers. As with most sweet-natured breeds, there is potential for timidity, so young Collies need to be thoroughly socialized in order to build a confident temperament.
Collies are known for their mild stubbornness, but with patience and positive reinforcement they can be easily trained. With a calming presence, verbal guidance and plenty of praise you can help your Collie learn the ropes in no time!
Collies are reliable, intelligent dogs that make wonderful companions. While some may be more sensitive and high-strung than others, the Smooth Collie is often a bit more athletic with retained working instincts while its Rough counterpart exhibits calmer behavior. Unfortunately though, frequent barking can arise if these beloved pets become bored or isolated too much; they're meant to have plenty of activities and friends!
If you want a dog who...
Is elegant and graceful, rather than powerful
Comes in two coat lengths and many striking colors
Is sweet-natured and gentle
Makes a good watchdog, but is not aggressive
Is polite with strangers and other pets
Needs only moderate exercise
Is not difficult to train
A Rough or Smooth Collie may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
Providing sufficient exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom
Destructiveness and barking when left alone too much
Shyness or fearfulness in some lines, or when not socialized enough
Chasing things that move (instinctive herding behaviors)
Frequent brushing and regular trimming (Rough coat)
Heavy shedding (both coats)
A Rough or Smooth Collie may not be right for you.
More traits and characteristics of the Rough or Smooth Collie
If I was considering a Collie, I would be most concerned about...
Providing enough exercise and mental stimulation. Though they don't need miles of running exercise, Collies must have regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. Otherwise they will become bored, which they usually express by barking and destructive chewing.
Providing enough socialization. Standoffish by nature, Collies need extensive exposure to people and to unusual sights and sounds. Otherwise their natural caution can become shyness, which is difficult to live with.
Emotional sensitivity. Be honest.... is there tension in your home? Are people loud or angry or emotional? Are there arguments? Collies are extremely sensitive to stress and can end up with neurotic behaviors if the people in their home are having family problems. Scottish Collies are peaceful dogs who need a peaceful, harmonious home.
Barking. Collies, especially individuals who are highstrung or bored, are often too quick to sound the alarm at every new sight and sound. You have to be equally quick to stop them. See Collie Training.
Shedding. Both Rough and Smooth Collies shed a lot. Be sure you don't mind hair on your clothing and furnishings.
Grooming. The Rough Collie needs much more coat care. Without frequent brushing and combing, Rough Collies will become a matted mess. Regular trimming is also needed, especially around the dog's hind end, for sanitary reasons.