Smooth Collie

Written by: Jamie
Updated: March 11, 2021

Want to learn about the Smooth Collie, the only Vulnerable Native Breed in the Collie family? Then take a look at our guide below!

smooth collie in meadow

Height: Male 22-24 inches, female 20-22 inches
Weight: Male 20-29 kilos, female 18-25 kilos
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

These are the basic pros and cons of the smooth collie at a glance.


  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Ideal watchdog
  • Excellent service and therapy dog
  • Friendly with other dogs and animals


  • Not a hypoallergenic breed
  • Heavy shedder
  • Not ideal for first-time owners
  • Prone to separation anxiety

smooth collie in forest


The Smooth Collie is one of the less popular members of the Collie family. They’ve been listed as a Vulnerable Native Breed by the Kennel Club.

This title is handed to breeds that produce less than 300 puppies each year. Yet despite this, they’re still used as service and show dogs.

Blue merle coats are more frequently seen amongst the Smooth Collie as opposed to the Rough Collie. For this reason, blue eyes are also more common.

Although the American Kennel Club standard will heavily penalize Smooth Collies with this eye colour, they won’t disqualify them.

Collies have a voice and they will certainly use it! Barking can become excessive through boredom so the quiet command should be top of the list!

Most dogs are housebroken before the age of eight months. The Collie is certainly smart enough to understand and tick this lesson quickly off the list.

Both the Rough and Smooth Collie originate from Scotland. The Rough Collie developed a thicker coat to work in the Highlands, whilst the Smooth Collie had a shorter coat for working in the lowlands.

Unfortunately for Smooth Collies, they never could outshine their long-haired counterparts.

spotted smooth collie


Many believe the Smooth Coated Collie is the same breed as the Rough Collie, the sole difference being their difference in coat. However, in the UK the Kennel Club still regards both breeds as separate.

The KC stopped interbreeding of the Rough and Smooth Collie in 1993. Then in 1994 the Smooth Collie was listed as it’s own breed.

Like the Rough Collie, the Smooth Collies reputation began with Queen Victoria. After viewing the Collies at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 1860, she decided to start her own Kennel.

It then became fashionable to own these breeds. They began to change from a working dog to a companion and show dog.

In the United States and Canada the Smooth Collie is considered to be the same breed as the Rough Collie.

Both breeds are descendants of local Scottish Sheepdogs that were bred with English herding breeds. They were bred to herd sheep and drive cattle in Scotland.

black and white smooth collie

The name Collie is believed to have been given to the dogs after the ‘Colley Sheep’. Originally this word is thought to have derived during the Anglo-Saxon period.

Although some believe there could be Irish links as the Gaelic word for puppy is ‘Cóilean’.

The Smooth Collie Club of Great Britain was established in 1955. They hold two shows every year, an Open Show in May and Championship Show in September.

To promote the breed the Club attends Discover Dogs in London where members of the public can learn all about the Smooth Collie.


The short-haired Collie has acute hearing and is sensitive to loud sounds. Calmer households are better suited for this breed as some Smooth Collies just can’t thrive with all the noise.

These canines are deeply loyal and will form a strong bond with their owner. For this reason, Smooth Collies are prone to separation anxiety.

Smooth Collies are vocal and love the sound of their own voice. They’re energetic but not as much as the other members of the Collie family.

Intelligent and easy to train, this breed is suitable for first-time owners that are willing to put their time into this dog.

Recommended: Take a look at the Rough Collie, commonly known as the Lassie dog. Find out everything you need to know about this magnificent breed.

Are Smooth Collies Good with Strangers?

These canines are wary of strangers but won’t respond with aggression. They’re excellent watchdogs and will instantly alert their owners to anybody approaching their territory.

Guarding isn’t a trait of the Smooth Collie. Whilst they are protective over their families, they won’t make a great guard dog.

standing smooth collie

Are Smooth Collies Good with Children?

This breed can be an excellent family pet, although they are best raised with children from puppyhood. Due to their sensitive hearing they are better in calmer households.

Their previous working background may see them nip or herd children. This behavior needs to be corrected immediately. Older children will be better suited to the Smooth Collie.

Are Smooth Collies Ok with Other Dogs?

Yes, this breed gets along well with other dogs and animals. They can live alongside both canines and cats. Smooth Collies can happily go to the dog park where they’ll socialize and make lots of friends!


The Smooth Haired Collie will need one hour of exercise each day. Smooth Collie puppies will need 90 minutes split into multiple walks. Ideally, this breed should have access to at least a small garden.

Like many dogs, Smooth Collies also have a high prey drive, so a squirrel or neighbours cat could quickly become a target.

This breed doesn’t have a strong impulse to roam, so with good recall, these dogs can be allowed off leash. Mental stimulation is also required. It can be any activity that involves the mind.

Dog sports such as agility, flyball, nose work, herding, and dock jumping are all great for the Smooth Collie.

smooth collie on lawn

Related: Curious about the Smooth Fox Terrier? Learn all about this Vulnerable Native Breed in today’s guide!


Below are the breed-related health issues of the Smooth Collie:

  • Collie Eye Anomaly- This gene mutation is inherited from the parents and affects the development of the eye. Some dogs may suffer mildly whilst others may become blind as a result.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvus- The stomach twists and fills with gas and becomes trapped inside. It is life-threatening and an operation will be needed to untwist the stomach.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy- A degenerative condition affecting the photoreceptor cells within the eye. Blindness will eventually occur as the cells deteriorate.
  • Hip Dysplsia- The ball and socket of the hip joint develop poorly which prevents the hip joint from fitting together correctly. Rubbing and grinding will lead to pain, inflammation, swelling and arthritis.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy- A progressive disease that also affects the spinal cord. It typically affects dogs older than five and will eventually progress to paralysis.
  • Dermatomyositis- An inherited disease affecting the skin, blood vessels, and muscles causing severe inflammation of these tissues.

Intelligence & Training

The short haired Collie is prized for its intelligence! They can make excellent service and therapy dogs. Yet unfortunately, other members of the Collie family just keep stealing the shine!

Smooth Collies are easy to train as their herding trait has slightly reduced over the years.

This breed no longer has the active herding impulse it once did many years ago. Border Collies were more popular for the modern-day shepherd.

However, the Smooth Collie may still show signs of their previous working life by herding, chewing and nipping. This needs to be curbed during puppyhood before bad habits are formed.

smooth collie on the beach

Puppies can quickly pick up on commands just as they can bad habits. Ensure house rules and boundaries have been set and aren’t allowed to be crossed.

Collies need daily exercise and companionship from their owners. Failure to meet their needs could lead to excessive barking and destructive behaviors.

Collies can be timid growing up which is why socialization is so important. Aggression is often a result of fear and anxiety. Ensure a puppy is introduced to different environments, people and dogs whilst growing up.

Reward based training works best, due to their sensitive nature harsh techniques should be avoided. Clicker training is recommended for Collies and their exceptional hearing.

Related: Learn all about the Maltichon, also known as the Maltese Frise.


Whilst the Smooth Collie may not have the extravagant coat seen on the Rough Collie, they need weekly grooming maintenance. Smooth Collies shed quite a bit and won’t be suitable for allergy sufferers.

They should be brushed at least once a week with a slicker brush. Their double-layered coat is made of short, coarse fur.

These canines may get a little muddy so to avoid constant washing, clean their legs and paws with a damp towel. Baths should be given a minimum of every three months.

Frequent bathing could irritate the skin. Due to their short fur, Smooth Collies can be both air or blow-dried.

smooth collie on grass

Every week these canines will need their ears cleaned to remove any built-up debris. Nails will need a trim minimum every fortnight, although regular exercise may file the nails naturally.

Dental hygiene is important and teeth should be brushed at least three times a week. Vets recommend daily brushing.

About the Author

Hi, I'm Jamie! I've always been around dogs and now writing about them is an absolute joy.
Read more about my story here.
Reach me at or connect with me on LinkedIn below.

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