Back to all breeds
Characteristics, History, and Health


The Collie is a dog breed that originated in the Highlands of Scotland and Northern England. The breed was originally used for herding sheep and cattle, a task for which they are still renowned. It's believed that the name "Collie" derived from the word "colley," which was a type of sheep with black faces that the Collie's ancestors herded. Queen Victoria's love of the Collie is said to have made a great impact on the breed's popularity. During her stays at Scotland's Balmoral Castle, the Collie was in the spotlight and became well-known among her subjects. The Collie's ancestors were believed to have come to Scotland via the Romans when they sought to take over Britain during the 1st century CE. Over time, these dogs were likely bred with other local dogs, eventually giving rise to the modern breed of Collie we know today.

Main Info
England, Scotland
Alternate Names
None known
Life Expectancy
12-14 years
Average Male Height
24-26 inches
Average Female Height
22-24 inches
Average Male Weight
60-75 pounds
Average Female Weight
50-65 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Rough, Smooth
Coat Colors
Black White & Tan, Blue Merle, Blue Merle & White, Blue Merle White & Tan, Sable, Sable & White, Sable Merle, White, Sable Merle & White, White Merle
Coat Pattern
Sable, Black & Tan Markings, Blue Merle Markings, Sable Merle Markings

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Collies are susceptible to gastric torsion, dermatomyositis, seizures, microphthalmia, Collie eye anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy, demodicosis, and MDR1 drug sensitivity. Other conditions may include cyclic neutropenia, degenerative myelopathy, progressive rod-cone degeneration (PRCD), recurrent inflammatory pulmonary disease, dermatomyositis, and hyperuricosuria.

Personality and Behavior

Collies are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and gentle nature. They are extremely family-oriented and get along well with children and other animals. Collies are highly trainable and excel in obedience, agility, and herding trials. Due to their origins as working dogs, they require regular physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Their sensitivity makes them attuned to their owner's needs, and they often work well as therapy or assistance dogs. However, it's important to note that like any dog breed, individual temperaments can vary, and not every Collie will exhibit these traits to the same degree. Also, potential owners should be aware that Collies require regular grooming due to their long, dense double coat.

Fun Facts

The term "tortoise shell" was originally used to describe the color of the Blue merle Collie.

A theory states thta the name Collie comes from a certain kind of black-faced sheep, called colleys, that roamed England.

The 1940 novel titled, "Lassie Come Home" by Eric Knight was made into a long-running TV show that launched the breed into the hearts of millions. The impact that the Lassie franchise had on the breed's popularity remains strong throughout the world, even today.


Screen for health risks and diseases

Recommended by top vets with decades of experience

  • 21 breeds

  • 64 genetic health markers 

  • 50 genetic trait markers 

Learn More
Cat with detailed cat DNA report