Rough Collie Puppies: Everything a New Owner Should Know

  • Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.

Catapulted into the spotlight once the hit television series “Lassie” came onto the scene in the 1950s, the rough collie represents the ultimate family dog. Intelligent, affectionate, and intensely devoted to their humans, rough collies certainly have some admirable traits.

Originally hailing from Scotland, this herding dog was popularized by none other than Queen Victoria, who had a major soft spot for the breed. Thankfully, rough collies arrived stateside in the late 19th century, where they successfully won over the hearts of dog lovers nationwide.

If you find yourself smitten with this breed’s luxurious double-coat or its sweet disposition, you’re far from alone. Here are the essential facts for anyone who’s considering bringing home a rough collie puppy.

Rough collie puppy facts

Could a rough collie puppy be in your future? We’ve broken down the main characteristics of this breed so you can decide whether or not a rough collie puppy could be right for you!

Size Large. Rough collie males will reach a height of 24-26 inches, while females will usually be slightly shorter, reaching around 22-24 inches. Typically, males weigh between 60-75 pounds and females clock in at 50-65 pounds.
Breed Characteristics First, we have to talk about that magnificent hair. The rough collie wins major style points for its long, voluminous double-coat, which comes in white, sable and white, black and tan, and mottled gray. The breed’s expressive eyes radiate intelligence—it’s as if they can understand exactly what we’re saying. Semi-erect ears sit atop the rough collie’s refined wedge-shaped head, giving him an alert appearance. They have a strong and muscular build—perfect for herding or just playing in the yard.
Temperament Famously sociable and people-oriented dogs, the rough collie is a docile pooch who lives to please his owners. Their number one priority: spending time with you! Partial to children, a rough collie makes a doting playmate. If you welcome one of these puppies into your home, you can expect an affectionate, loyal, and mild-mannered companion.
Grooming and Health Needs Despite what you might think, you won’t have to slave away to keep a rough collie’s luxurious locks in tip-top condition. The American Kennel Club recommends giving your collie a thorough weekly brushing to prevent mats and maintain his coat’s healthy sheen. Twice a year, a rough collie will “blow coat”—hair will be flying during this major seasonal shedding, so be prepared to break out the hairbrush every day during this time.

Potential health issues for the breed include bloat (which can be fast and fatal), epilepsy, and eye problems. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is so serious, in fact, that collie breeders are required to screen puppies for eye anomalies prior to selling them. Ideally, collies should have their eyes examined regularly by a veterinary ophthalmologist. Another common problem seen in collies is drug sensitivity, which can become a serious issue if a dog has a bad reaction to a drug.

For a wealth of information concerning rough collie health, check out The Collie Health Foundation.

Training While it’s unlikely you’ll end up with a collie as brilliant as Lassie, you can bet she’ll still be a straight-A student. Rough collies are highly intelligent dogs who pick up their lessons quickly.

Looking for a pup you can enjoy competitive canine activities with? A rough collie will happily oblige. Not only do they adore learning, but they also thrive when given the chance to perform. They have a talent for a variety of activities including agility, obedience, herding, and lure coursing, so there’s something for everyone. Because they’re a rather sensitive bunch, collie owners should practice positive and gentle training for the best results. And keep things interesting! Collie’s are notorious for becoming bored if your routine gets a little too stale and predictable.

One possible negative you may encounter with a rough collie: they can be as stubborn as a mule. Vetstreet points out that, as herding dogs, collies needed to be able to think on their feet and make decisions independently. Their advice? “Learn to appreciate that independence and work with it, not against it.”

Energy Level Get ready to sweat! While they’re not as amped up as the more energetic border collie, rough collies still need to get in a fair amount of daily cardio. A 30-45 minute daily walk should keep this athletic dog in good shape. Fenced-in yards are ideal to give this active canine some extra space to run or play fetch.
Life Expectancy A rough collie will usually live 12-14 years.

Who is the best human for a rough collie puppy?

Rough collies can make incredible pets, but there are certain environments where these dogs will truly shine. For one thing, they love kids. They love playing with them, protecting them, and smothering them with sweet puppy kisses whenever they have the chance. They get along equally well with other pets, so it shouldn’t be a problem if you have another dog or cat at home.

Keep in mind: herding instincts can kick into overdrive during outdoor playtime, and a collie may nip at a child’s heels. They won’t do much damage, but this could be frightening to little ones and irritating to other pets as well.

Nothing makes a rough collie happier than being close to his family. If you’re away at the office all day, it could lead to a depressed and bored dog. And, as some of us are all too aware, a bored dog can quickly become a destructive dog. If you prefer to keep your sneakers and furniture intact, we suggest giving your rough collie loads of attention.

The breed is amenable to both city and country life, as long as they can get enough exercise. Owners should plan to provide at least 30-45 minutes of outdoor activity per day. If a rough collie is given the opportunity to burn off his pent-up energy, he’ll be happy to chill out with the family once he returns inside.

Rough collies aren’t usually well-suited for apartment life because of their tendency to bark when bored. Not something your upstairs neighbors will be thrilled about.

Getting a rough collie puppy

The decision to adopt or to work with a breeder for your new rough collie puppy is a personal choice that requires research. Thankfully, there are many resources out there to help you find a rescue or a breeder who offers healthy, ethically-sourced rough collie puppies.

Adopting a rough collie puppy

It may come as a surprise, but adopting a rough collie puppy is possible. According to the AKC, most shelters report that the majority of their rescue dogs come from individual owner surrender due to a lifestyle change or an incompatibility with the dog. What this means for you: there may be adoptable purebred dogs and puppies out there who are looking for a new forever home.

The main difference between a breeder and a rescue is that a rescue may not always have young puppies to choose from. The benefit, however, is that most are mandated to only adopt out dogs that have been microchipped and spayed/neutered. This means you may end up with a dog who’s already been housebroken and doesn’t need these common medical procedures. You may also find a rough collie mix that has all the traits you want from the breed, but with a little extra thrown in.

Finding a rough collie rescue can be as simple as searching the internet. You can check out the Collie Club of America to find local rescues.

Finding a rough collie breeder

The first step is to do your research. Sadly, there are many puppy mills posing as reputable breeders along with many online scams. Be aware, and reach out to different online forums for conversations about getting your future furry family member.

Be sure to ask questions, and make arrangements to meet the parent dogs or mother. In the end, you must follow your gut. If something seems wrong at a breeder you visit, or the rough collie puppy seems too good to be true, there’s probably something fishy going on. The AKC also offers resources for finding a breeder, with fairly strict guidelines on who they let participate.

Knowing what you’re in for when you get a rough collie puppy is an important step in being a responsible pet owner. Whether you find an ethical breeder or are planning to adopt, prepare yourself for an affectionate and friendly addition to your household.

Rough collie puppy resources

After you find the right rough collie puppy, it’s time to prepare your home! Here are a few resources to get you started.

Featured image via Flickr/Erik Drost

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