The Rough and the Smooth Collie are the same breed but whilst the Rough Collie developed a long, heavy, thick coat to cope with the harsh Scottish Highland weather, the Smooth Collie's short coat is better suited to the milder, wetter Lowlands.
Most people believe they were bred to herd sheep or drive cattle and so needed to be fit and mentally and physically agile, with the capability of being able to work for long periods at varying speeds in different weather conditions. As with all Collie breeds, their history has ensured they enjoy a close bond with people.
The breed first became popular in the late 19th century when Queen Victoria visited the Scottish Highlands and fell in love with the breed. She kept both Rough and Smooth collies in her kennels.
The Rough Collie has always been more popular than the Smooth thanks to his glamorous coat and fame through the Lassie films. The two varieties are identical except for the length of coat. Some say that the Smooth Collie is more intelligent and athletic than his Rough cousin. Due to his lack of popularity, the Smooth Collie is listed by the Kennel Club as a vulnerable native breed.
Smooth Collies are active, intelligent dogs and make excellent family pets. They are medium sized, 22” to 24” for bitches and 24” to 26” for dogs when adult, and short coated.
They make good house dogs having a reliable and kind nature but they are quick to bark if a stranger is about. They are not aggressive or nervous.
They are beautiful, elegant, friendly, loyal, loving and sensitive. They are real family dogs and are noted for being very people-friendly. Likewise, they are easy to train. In addition to being very clean dogs, they are one of the easiest breeds to socialise.
Typically the Collie is not a one-man dog. If raised properly and treated with respect, they make an ideal pet for the entire family.
The Smooth Collie comes in three colours: sable and white, tricolour or blue merle. The sable colouring can be any shade of brown from a rich gold to a shaded mahogany. The tricolour is predominantly black, white and with some tan markings (on muzzle, eyebrows and legs). The blue merle is a silvery blue splashed with black and with the same tan markings as the tricolour. All three colours may have white collars, legs, feet and tail tip.
The Smooth Collie is generally a healthy breed. In common with many other breeds they can sometimes be affected by the following conditions most of which have little or no effect on daily life: CEA or Collie Eye Anomaly, PRA or Progressive Retinal Atrophy, HD or Hip Dysplasia and MDR-1 or Multi Drug Resistance. All breeding stock should be tested for these conditions before mating.