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Smooth Collie: Care Guide, Pictures, Temperament & More

Written by: Brooke Billingsley

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Dogster Team

Marble smooth-haired collie on green grass

Smooth Collie: Care Guide, Pictures, Temperament & More

We’ve all seen Lassie, and many people wanted to have a Collie after seeing how loyal she is. The thick coat can be a deterrent for some people, however! But did you know that the Collie also comes in a smooth-coated variety? The Smooth Collie has a shorter coat than the Rough Collie, making it more manageable for many owners. Read on for more info on the Smooth Collie.

Breed Overview


24–26 inches


50–75 pounds


12–14 years


Black, white, tan, blue merle, sable merle, sable

Suitable for:

Active families with children, active people who want an exercise companion, people with dog experience


Loyal, gentle, good-natured, active, sensitive

Smooth Collies aren’t a particularly popular breed, even though the breed has a slew of positive qualities. They tend to be very active dogs that can become noisy and destructive if bored. They need lots of space to move and a consistent training regimen. Some of these qualities can make them difficult for some people to handle. They make great family dogs, though, and they’re energetic companions that are usually up for adventures!

Smooth Collie Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

divider-dog paw

Smooth Collie Puppies

Collie Smooth with its puppies lying in nice garden
Image Credit: Zuzule, Shutterstock

If you’re in the market for a Smooth Collie, be prepared to travel to a breeder to get one. This breed can be difficult to come by, and the odds of finding one in a shelter are low. However, you may be able to get a Smooth Collie through a rescue, especially a breed-specific rescue organization.

As puppies, Smooth Collies are fast learners who are eager to please. They are pretty sensitive and may be prone to barking excessively, so these traits should be accounted for, especially during training.


Temperament & Intelligence of the Smooth Collie

The Smooth Collie is a very intelligent and intuitive dog. They are highly trainable, not to mention their tendency to pick up on training quickly. They’re eager to please and love spending time with their people.

Are These Dogs Good for Families?

Smooth Collies are not only good for families, but they are generally known for their love of children. They can be protective but don’t tend to be overprotective, although you can expect your Smooth Collie to shadow your children. Their high energy level and desire for exercise and activities can make Smooth Collies an excellent pick for homes with active children who spend a lot of time outside.

Collie stands in the forest on a sunny clearing
Image Credit: Harald Kreuzer, Shutterstock

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets?

The Smooth Collie can be standoffish with other dogs, especially when first meeting them. Proper introductions and early socialization are crucial to helping a Smooth Collie succeed in interactions with other pets.

This is a herding breed, which means that chasing or herding other animals is not uncommon. You may experience your Smooth Collie herding (or attempting to herd) your cats, as well as other dogs and even kids. This behavior should be discouraged through positive reinforcement and training, but it is instinctual and may be a difficult habit to break.


Things to Know When Owning a Smooth Collie:

Food & Diet Requirements

Your Smooth Collie will need to eat high-quality dog food with formulas that meet WSAVA standards. If your Smooth Collie is more active than the average dog, like if they are used for herding work or long daily runs or hikes, you should look into getting your dog on a high-energy dog food. They aren’t suitable for every dog, especially if they have a normal energy and activity level, but dogs that burn many calories daily need the extra nutritional support these foods provide.


Smooth Collies aren’t always on the go, but they are quite an active breed. Without exercise, they may become bored. A bored, Smooth Collie may be destructive or bark excessively, so finding ways to entertain your dog every day is necessary. Puzzles and games are a great way to tire your dog out when the weather isn’t pleasant, but these dogs do best with plenty of outdoor activity and space. They excel at dog sports, but if you’re just looking for an active companion, a Smooth Collie will happily go on your daily run or hike.


This is a trainable and intelligent dog, but training needs to be consistent. Positive reinforcement and other positive training methods are recommended. Due to their sensitive temperament, Smooth Collies can become stressed from punitive and harmful training methods. Aim to spend at least 10 minutes every day working with your Smooth Collie on obedience and other skills. You may need to exercise your dog a little bit before a training session—just enough to garner their focus, but not so much that they’re left tired afterward.

Marble smooth-haired collie running on green grass
Image Credit: Golland, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Although their coat is lower maintenance than the Rough Collie’s coat, Smooth Collies still require routine grooming. They have a thick double coat that needs routine brushing to maintain. During shedding periods, they will need frequent brushing to help release the undercoat. Keep them brushed in places like behind the ears and elbows, as these areas are prone to getting small mats. Keep your Smooth Collie’s toenails trimmed to an appropriate level, and consider working on dental hygiene at home through frequent teeth brushing and dental treats.

Health and Conditions

Minor Conditions:
  • Skin Infections
Serious Conditions:
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Multidrug Resistance (MDR1) Mutation
  • Bloat
  • Epilepsy
  • Gray Collie Syndrome/ Cyclic Neutropenia
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  • Hip Dysplasia

Male vs Female

Spayed female Smooth Collies typically shed heavily once every year, while intact females are likely to shed a couple of months after each heat cycle. Male Collies typically shed around their birthday every year.

Shedding aside, there are few differences between male and female Smooth Collies. Male dogs may be more loving, while females may be more independent. They usually are both loving dogs, and you can count on loyalty from both. Females may be somewhat easier to train as puppies, while males may mature more slowly, making training take a little bit longer.


3 Little-Known Facts About The Smooth Collie

1. They’ve Been Around for a Long Time

Although the exact time the Smooth Collie breed came to be is unknown, there are some historical indications that their ancestors were brought to modern-day Scotland from ancient Rome around 2,000 years ago. Over time, the Roman herding dogs interbred with the local Scottish dogs, leading to the development of the Smooth and Rough Collies.

2. Queen Victoria Was a Fan

Queen Victoria was very outspoken about her love for Collies. She popularized the breed, elevating it beyond a simple herding dog. Even though Queen Victoria popularized the breed, Collies were first mentioned in historical records around 1800. Queen Victoria didn’t share her love of the breed until later in the 17th century. She spent a lot of time at Balmoral in Scotland, which allowed her plenty of encounters with the resident Collies, growing her love for the breed.

Smooth Collie dog in park at dusk
Image By: Petr Bonek, Shutterstock

3. The 20th Century Was Good to Collies

During the early 1900s, Albert Payson wrote about the adventures of the Sunnybank Collies, whose descendants are still alive and in breeding programs today. Children particularly loved the stories of these dogs. In 1940, Eric Knight released Lassie Come-Home, which began the pop culture phenomenon that was everything Lassie. Lassie had books, movies, a TV series, and various merchandise. People were especially drawn to Lassie’s undying loyalty to her boy, as well as her intelligence and charm.


Final Thoughts

Although not over the top with energy, the Smooth Collie is an active dog that needs daily exercise. They are intelligent dogs that may become stressed and destructive or noisy if bored, so keeping them entertained and trained is essential to Smooth Collie ownership. They usually love children, making them great family dogs, and they aren’t overprotective, so you don’t have to worry about whether your kid can have friends over.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Golland, Shutterstock

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