Smooth Collie

Smooth Collie dog breed


In the shadow of the popular Rough Collie, the short-coated version has never been able to achieve a high level of popularity. Still, the short-haired Scottish sheepdog, as the breed is officially named by the FCI, doesn't need to hide behind its well-known relative.

Friendly family dog

Thanks to its many positive character traits, the Smooth Collie is a very contemporary and socially acceptable pedigree dog. It willingly follows its owner's instructions and is never nervous or even aggressive in stressful situations. Both its harmonious, cheerful nature and playful, child-friendly manner make it an excellent family and companion dog.

Cuddling over roaming

These sensitive and affectionate pedigree dogs absolutely love being together with their human family – despite their past guarding large herds of sheep, Smooth Collies would never go wandering or roaming of their own accord. Spending too much time alone or even being kept in a kennel are certainly not suitable options for these people-loving dogs. They constantly remain in proximity to their family and attentively observe what is demanded of them. Smooth Collies like to please people and prove highly capable of learning.

Are Smooth Collies easy to train?

As a result, training a Smooth Collie would appear easy. Although they do need steady and consistent leadership like all dogs, they are also suitable for dog novices thanks to their quick comprehension, affinity to people and friendly nature. Once they have learnt what is expected of them, Collies obey their family even without constant training measures. It's important that they can trust in the love of their people – a temperamental or harsh hand are extremely unsettling for these sensitive and friendly dogs.

How much activity does a Smooth Collie need?

The at times stormy temperament and powerful, agile body also show that the Smooth Collie wants to be kept occupied. Although it enjoys stroking sessions with its family and always appears even-tempered, the activity and exercise needs of this former working dog should not be underestimated. However, the Smooth Collie is not at all demanding when choosing its tasks. In contrast to many other sheepdogs, it doesn't seek out responsibility or big challenges, therefore can take pleasure in search and retrieval games or rehearsing little tricks. The Smooth Collie is a very suitable and talented candidate for dog sports too, cutting a good figure in mass sports, agility and also in training to be a companion or tracking dog.


The Smooth Collie doesn't just give a good account of itself in the dog sports arena. From the very first glance, these pedigree dogs captivate with their sleek athletic physique and attentive expression. In comparison to the long-haired variety, Smooth Collies are generally speaking somewhat more robust, powerful and active. Despite their head appearing very narrow when regarded from the front, Smooth Collies are incredible powerhouses and on average 5 to 8kg heavier than Rough Collies.

Well-built powerhouses

Although the indicated maximum weight for males is around 29kg and up to 25kg for females according to the FCI standard, Smooth Collies weighing 35kg (males) or 30kg (females) are not uncommon. Due to the considerable height of 56 to 61cm for males and 51 to 56cm for females, however, Smooth Collies never appear plump or heavy. On the contrary, thanks to their good distribution of muscle that is particularly evident through the short, flat fur, Smooth Collies come across as very active and athletic.

The three Smooth Collie fur colours

The breed standard recognises the three different variations on the Smooth Collie in terms of colour:

  1. Sable-white: light gold tone to a darker mahogany tone (dark sable)
  2. Tricolour: overwhelmingly black and white fur with tan
  3. Blue Merle: silver-grey fur with black spots

All thee colour varieties can show the Collie's typical white spots. Almost all members of the breed have almost entirely white paws. The short, flat fur responsible for the name “Smooth Collie” – in contrast to Rough Collie – is very thick and reliably protects the dog from the cold, wind and rain thanks to the undercoat.


The short fur stresses the Smooth Collie's working dog past. Fur that was too long would have been obstructive for sheepdog work. Although it shares its past with the Rough Collie, it has long remained a pure farm and shepherd dog that was mainly bred based on its utility and less on its appearance, whilst its long-haired brother was soon discovered as a noble fashion dog.

In contrast to its long-haired relative, the Smooth Collie remained unknown outside of its country of origin for a long time. To this day, it's still rare to encounter a Smooth Collie in many countries. On the contrary, farmers on the British Isles were quick to discover these robust, powerful and easily led pedigree dogs and initially bred them to work with herds. When doing so, they were both excellent guardians of the sheep and also constantly attentive and watchful companions for the farmers. The first Smooth Collies were soon found at dog exhibitions in Britain. In 1870, there was already a separate evaluation class for short-haired sheepdogs.

In the shadow of Lassie

Despite the worldwide Collie population in Europe, America and Australia, the short-haired variety always falls in the shadow of the Rough Collie, which became famous through Lassie, no less. Smooth Collies only managed to take the leap from the British Isles to another countries in the middle of the 20th century, mainly in the 1960s. Although these pedigree dogs are gaining more and more devotees amongst dog lovers thanks to their friendly, child-loving and even-tempered character and short, low-maintenance fur, they will probably never reach the popularity of Lassie.

Health and Breeding

An advantage of the very low Smooth Collie population is certainly that diseases typical of the breed are less widespread nowadays than with often “overbred” Rough Collies. The Smooth Collie never had to become a fashion dog and therefore remained protected from breeding attempts that promote certain aesthetic features at the cost of health.

Diseases typical of the Collie breed

Nevertheless, the Smooth Collie has to fight breed-specific diseases from time to time. This mainly entails the MDR1 defect, an intolerance to certain medications that is widespread amongst Collies. Additionally, Collies have a tendency to develop dermatomyositis (a disease affecting the skin and muscles) and the eponymous ocular disease Collie eye anomaly. Since these breed-specific diseases are hereditary, carrying out genetic tests on animals used for breeding can reduce the chance of them spreading further.

What you should watch out for when buying a puppy

If you're interested in a Collie puppy, you should absolutely take care to ensure that the breeder has carried out all stipulated veterinary examinations and vaccinations for their dogs. Although Smooth Collies are generally considered healthy, maintaining breeding rules plays a decisive role in the puppies developing without any defects. Hence, only buy from a responsible breeder who respects breeding guidelines and provides all important documentation and paperwork for their puppies. However, personal impression should also be crucial to the purchase. Even though the risk of encountering an irresponsible breeder focused on quantity over quality is lower with Smooth Collies compared to their Rough counterparts, the breed should still make a friendly impression. You should certainly stay away from breeders who want to get rid of their dogs as soon as possible at a good price and who aren't interested in their future.

Smooth Collie diet

A good breeder will be able to give you lots of information about the diet of its charges. After buying a puppy, it's recommended to initially continue feeding it its usual food from the breeder. You should only gradually switch to adult dog food when your Collie is growing up and its needs change. As they get older, the number of meals per day will also be reduced. Whilst puppies still receive up to four meals per day, one to two meals are enough for adult Smooth Collies.

Is there a special food for Collies?

The food that you serve your dog depends greatly on your personal expectations and opinions. There is no one right food for Collies and even when animal food manufacturers offer compositions specifically targeting the breed, Collies in principle also have the same needs as other dogs. Basically, they need lots of high-quality meat and vegetables for healthy development. In contrast, too much grain or added sugar damages the canine organism.

What you should watch out for when choosing a food

It's important that the food is adapted to your dog's lifestyle. A dog kept merely as a family pet certainly has different needs to a dog that still works with herds of sheep. Factors such as activity level, age, weight and health absolutely must be considered when choosing a food. If in doubt, take advice from your vet or a canine nutrition expert. Only give your dog food with contents that you know are of good quality. Even if cooking food yourself or the BARF method are out of the question for you, you can also take a close look for prepared food. Taking a look at the ingredients on the packaging informs you about the origin, quality and composition of the featured nutrients.

Grooming your Smooth Collie

Smooth Collies in principle don't pose a great challenge when it comes to grooming. In contrast to their Rough counterparts, their short flat fur proves very low-maintenance. Brushing regularly is sufficient to remove the dirt from the fur accumulated when playing and to maintain the shine. However, grooming demands somewhat more attention during the moulting period. A de-felting brush that tackles felted fur and removes it from the undercoat can be helpful at this stage.

For which owners is a Smooth Collie suitable?

Due to its loving nature free from nerves or aggression and its few demands regarding grooming and activities, the Smooth Collie is definitely a grateful companion for dog novices too. Nevertheless, you shouldn't buy a dog on a whim. Everyone in your family should be in agreement about the new pet and pull together regarding housing, training and activity.

Playmate and loyal companion's

Smooth Collies need lots of love and activity. They like to live in close proximity to their human family and enjoy all means of attention. Even-tempered and friendly Smooth Collies generally get on very well with children or other pets. Hence, these excellent sheep guardians are nowadays suitable playmates that join in with almost all forms of silliness thanks to their good nature and playfulness. An owner who has to leave their dog alone a lot due to work commitments is definitely the wrong partner for these sociable and people-oriented dogs. However, if you have the time and inclination to concentrate fully on your dog, the Smooth Collie is definitely a very easy-going and friendly companion that will bring plenty of joy into your home.

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