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The Rough Coated Collie


Smooth Coated collie

The Smooth Coated Collie


Rough or Smooth title bar  

There are two varieties of the Collie, the rough-coated collie, being the more familiar [the Lassie of book, movie and TV fame], and the "smooth-coated" collie. The Smooth Variety of Collie is judged by the same Standard as the Rough Variety, except that the references to the quantity and distribution of the coat are not applicable to the Smooth Variety, which has a short, hard, dense, flat coat of good texture, with an abundance of undercoat. Learn more about the Smooth Collie in our video at the bottom of this page.

In Celtic history, both varieties existed long ago in the unwritten history of the herding dogs of Scotland and northern England. According to the Collie history that now appears in AKC descriptions, the"rough" collies "protected the sheep" on the grazing lands  in the Highlands out in the "wild" pastures.  The "Smooth" collies managed and penned the sheep for sale at home. No matter what their specific herding tasks, each of the two varieties have four AKC recognized basic color definitions. 

Males, true to breed standard, are from 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 60 to 75 pounds. Females are from 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder, weighing from 50 to 65 pounds. You can also find smaller and larger collies that do not meet the breed standard. Noses of the purebred collies are always long and slim.

And, In addition to the four basic colors, collies may also be designated by a Marking Description of Black and Tan, Blue Merle, Sable or Sable Merle.

  •      Sable and White Collie

The "Sable and White" is predominantly sable (a fawn sable color of varying shades from light gold to dark mahogany) with white markings usually on the chest, neck, legs, feet and the tip of the tail. A blaze may appear on the foreface or backskull or both or neither. Sable and White collies can have many black and dark brown markingsthroughout the coat that adds to their basic color description.

Sable and white smooth  Sable and white rough 1 Sable and white rough 2

  • Tri collie 1    Tri-Color Collie

The "Tri-color" is predominantly black, carrying white markings as in a "Sable and White" and has tan shadings on and about the head and legs. The tri-color description appears to dominate all the tris, both rough and smooth coated.


Tri collie 2 Tri collie 3 Tri collie 4

Blue merle 1

  •    Blue Merle Collie

The "Blue Merle" is a mottled or "marbled" color predominantly blue-grey and black with white markings as in the "Sable and White" and usually has tan shadings as in the "Tri-color." The Blue Merle color can be common in the Smooth Coated collie, as well as the Rough Coated Collie.

Blue Merle 2 Blue Merle 3

White collie

  •      White Collie

The "White" is predominantly white, and usually has sable, tri-color or blue merle markings. To the left is an example of a sable and white marked white collie.  Below are othe examples of the white collie. 

White collie 2 White collie 3 White collie 4


Editor's Note:  All of the collies featured in the photographs on this page ARE indeed SWCR "rescued collies", so this should give you a better idea of what a collie needing to be rescued might look like.


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