Breed History / Description

The Rough Collie shares it origins with the Smooth Collie in the working sheepdogs of Scotland. The earliest Collies were smaller than today's dogs and largely black/white or tricolour or black/tan. The first sable, Old Lockie, born in 1868 caused a sensation and from that time the sable/white become the most popular colour. However, the tricolour and the blue merle are still very much evident in the breed. 

It was not until 1870 that there were separate classes for “Sheepdogs Rough” and “Sheepdogs Smooth”. The founder of the Kennel Club Mr S.E. Shirley promoted the Rough Collie and Queen Victoria brought some from Balmoral to her Royal Estates including Windsor Castle. 

Perhaps it is the “glamour” of the coat which attracted many people to the breed at the expenses of the Smooth Collie and for many years the Smooth was considered the poor relation.The Rough collie is part of the Pastoral group 


Physical structure on lines of strength and activity, free from cloddiness and with no trace of coarseness. Expression most important. In considering relative values it is obtained by perfect balance and combination of skull and foreface, size, shape, colour and placement of eyes, correct position and carriage of ears. 


Friendly disposition with no trace of nervousness or aggressiveness. A great companion dog, friendly, happy and active, good with children and other dogs.

Club, K., 2018. The Kennel Club's Breed Standards. 5th ed. London SW1V 2SA: Ebury Press.

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