Stunning, famous, and highly intelligent, the Smooth Collie breed is a winner when it comes to family-friendly qualities. Closely related to the Rough Collie, (and in some instances even considered one in the same breed), the Smooth Collie has been a fan-favorite for generations.
Are you considering investing in this highly prestigious purebred dog? Then keep reading because today’s article is just for you.
Meet The Smooth Collie
The Smooth Collie is a coat type of Collie dog that not many are aware of.
Height: 20 to 24 Inches
Weight: 50 to 75 Pounds
Lifespan: 12 to 14 Years
Health Issues: Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Collie Eye Anomaly, Multidrug Sensitivity, Epilepsy, Cyclic Neutropenia (AKA Gray Collie Syndrom), and Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (AKA Bloat).
Temperament: Intelligent, Affectionate, Devoted, Eager-to-Please, Trainable, Work-Oriented
Best Suited For: Active Owners or Families, Those with Flexible Schedules, Homes With Yards
Smooth Collie Breed Overview:
The Smooth Collie is often considered synonymous with the Rough Collie, though this depends on where you are in the world. In some countries like the United Kingdom and Australia, the Smooth Colie and the Rough collie are considered two different breeds.
For the most part, it is widely accepted in the United States that there are simply two variations of Collie – the Smooth and the Rough Coated Collie.
The Smooth Collie is built the same as the Rough Collie and with the same temperament and health issues. However, the key difference is that this dog does not have the same long, rough outer coat as the Rough Collie does.
This can play a role in your dog’s grooming maintenance, but otherwise, both the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie are known to be relatively similar in temperament, trainability, health, and athleticism.
They are also highly intelligent, as is touched on in the famous movie Lassie, as well as a number of television shows, novels, and spinoffs.
Is the Smooth Collie right for you? Let’s find out!
The Origin Of The Smooth Collie
The Smooth Collie is a variation of the Rough Collie, which are intelligent herding dogs.
The Smooth Collie’s exact origin is a mystery, though we do know that he was put solidly on the map thanks to Queen Victoria in the 1860s. Hailing from Scotland, the Queen became entranced with these “shepherd dogs” during a visit to Scotland and purchased several to call her own.
Before they became known as a royal breed, Collies of both the smooth and the rough variety were renowned herding dogs. Beloved for their incredible intelligence and eagerness to please, they stand in the ranks of some of the world’s most prestigious canines and working breeds.
After the queen brought her dogs back from Scotland, it became quite trendy for commoners and nobles alike to own the breed. Thus, the Collie went from a common working dog to a dog of royalty and prestige.
Though he was raised throughout much of his history as a working breed, the Smooth Collie takes well to canine companionship. Still, that hasn’t stopped the Smooth Collie from excelling in the show ring and insisting he still has a job to do.
Work-oriented and focused, the Smooth Collie is happiest when he feels he has a purpose. For this reason, he is best suited for dedicated and committed dog owners with an understanding of working breeds.
Along with being a herding dog and canine companion, Colies are also some of the top-performing dogs in agility, obedience, flyball, tracking, and showmanship. Collies have also been used as working dogs throughout history as well, where they have shown their heroism by working as search and rescue dogs, as well as service dogs and therapy dogs.
Is The Smooth Collie A Good Family Dog? Let’s Talk Temperament!
Smooth Collies are highly intelligent and make wonderful dogs for active owners.
The Smooth Collie is an affectionate, intelligent and playful dog who is not known to have aggressive tendencies or guarding instincts. These qualities make him a wonderful companion for active families with children or other pets.
In fact, it is likely that your Smooth Collie will enjoy having youngsters around the home for him to play with. He is also a social dog who will enjoy other canine companions.
Although gentle and sweet-natured, the Smooth Collie is a vocal dog. This trait can be annoying to some, but it also helps to make the Smooth Collie a wonderful watchdog.
This is a breed that is highly devoted, though he will enjoy having company and meeting new friends. He gets along well with other pets and dogs and is an excellent addition to multi-dog households.
Of course, as with all dogs, the Smooth Collie can exhibit some behavioral problems and even aggressive tendencies if he is not properly raised, trained, or socialized.
Furthermore, the Smooth Collie can, like all dogs, growl, nip, or bite if he feels threatened, hurt or afraid.
When raising any child around a dog, it’s vital that parents work with the children and teach them basic canine body language. Teach children how to understand when a dog is giving warming signals, and remind children often that dogs do not like being poked, prodded, teased, tugged on, sat on, or otherwise harassed.
It’s also best not to leave very small children alone with the family dog unsupervised.
So long as you are vigilant, the Smooth Collie is an excellent addition to any active family. He makes a great camping companion and will enjoy going along for hiking adventures or park days. Many Smooth Collie dogs also enjoy swimming and tackling in obstacle courses.
This dog’s intelligence and eagerness to please also helps to make him a joy to work with, as we’ll discuss in more detail below.
What Are The Training And Socialization Needs Of A Smooth Collie?
Smooth Collies should have regular socialization and training throughout their lifetime.
Smooth Collies are incredibly intelligent. However, intelligence doesn’t always mean being easily trainable. Some highly intelligent dogs can be prone to stubbornness and wilful tendencies.
Luckily, this is not the case with the Smooth Collie. This is a breed that is highly trainable and eager to please his family. He enjoys learning new tricks and cues, and this makes him a wonderful companion to committed owners who are excited about working with and harnessing all these skills in their Smooth Collie dog.
When it comes to training, all dogs learn best with positive reinforcement training techniques. This includes training that utilizes treats, praise, and patience. It’s especially important to be gentle and fair with your Smooth Collie during training, as this is a dog that is very sensitive and can shut down if they feel they have displeased you.
Instead of using force, fear, or punishment during training, stick with game-like training sessions that are short and fun for both you and your dog. This will help enhance the bond built between the two of you and further help your dog retain the information you are trying to teach him.
The Smooth Collie, like most dogs, is likely to be highly treat-motivated. When you are training your Smooth Collie, we suggest using high-value treats like the Zuke’s Training Treats listed below.
Zuke’s Training Treats
Zukes Training Treats are made with quality, natural ingredients, and have all the traits needed to ensure they hold your Smooth Collie dog’s attention during training sessions.
The ideal training treat for a dog is a high-value training treat that is small, soft, and very smelly.
The above training treats come in different recipes so you can order them based on your dog’s taste and preferences. They are also low in calories so you don’t have to feel guilty about using them in abundance during particularly challenging training sessions.
Another benefit of using high-value training treats with any dog is that you can also use them when it comes to socialization. Properly socializing a dog is the act of ensuring your dog has as many new experiences as possible during puppyhood, and that these new experiences or first impressions are positive for your dog.
The Smooth Collie can be prone to anxiety and fear-based behavioral issues, especially if he is not properly socialized at a young age.
Of course, while it is important that your Smooth Collie have new experiences, it’s equally important that you do not force your dog to experience situations that could be considered difficult or frightening.
Forcing your dog to “face his fears” could in fact have an aversive effect and even lead to more serious behavioral issues down the road.
Instead, use quality training treats to help your dog associate new situations with something positive, and allow your dog to explore new experiences gently and on his own terms.
Smooth Collie Exercise And Mental Stimulation Needs – How To Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy
Because they are so intelligent, Smooth Collies need routine mental and physical stimulation.
Because they are so intelligent and athletic, the Smooth Collie can be prone to some behavioral issues. This is especially true if his exercise and mental stimulation needs are not routinely met, or if he is left alone without much to keep him busy for too many hours throughout the day.
The good news is that keeping up with a routine exercise regiment as well as ensuring your dog is kept properly and mentally stimulated will help reduce behavioral issues like destructive chewing, barking, or marking, and can ensure your dog is both mentally and physically fit.
Exercising A Smooth Collie
Like most working breeds, the Smooth Collie is going to require at least 60 minutes of dedicated exercise each and every day.
This could include walks broken up in morning and afternoon outings, hikes, jogs, and even swimming.
Along with dedicated exercise with his owner, the Smooth Collie will also need to have free playtime to himself. Because he is a bit vocal and so athletic, this is a dog that is not ideally suited for apartment living. He does best in homes with plenty of space for him to play and will particularly enjoy a securely fenced backyard where he can explore freely.
When properly trained and socialized, the Smooth Collie will enjoy going to dog parks and playing with other dogs of the same size and energy level. And because the Smooth Collie is so family-oriented, there will be nothing that beats playing a game of fetch or frisbee with his favorite person.
Easy Walk Front Clip Dog Harness
Walking your dog is going to be an important part of your daily routine, so it’s important you invest in the proper walking equipment to ensure the daily exercise is fun and safe.
Though the Smooth Collie is not known to be a particularly hard-pulling dog, there are times he can get ahead of himself on outings. Instead of purchasing prong collars or choke chains to reduce pulling in your Smooth Collie, we recommend using the front clip harness listed above.
This harness is designed to clip at the chest and helps reduce the pressure put on your dog’s throat or trachea. These types of harnesses help reduce pulling by making walking feel more natural for your dog. If your dog does get ahead of himself on walks or outings, the front clip harness will gently redirect your dog back to you without causing him harm or injury.
Keeping Your Smooth Collie Mentally Stimulated
As we briefly mentioned, the Smooth Collie can become destructive if he is not kept properly mentally stimulated throughout the day. Remember, this is a working breed at heart, and he will be happiest when he has a job to do and a feeling of purpose.
Since the Smooth Collie is so easy to train, giving him chores to help with around the home should be simple and fun. Smooth Collies can be trained to help sort the laundry, bring in the mail or newspaper, take out the trash, and even load the dishwasher.
Aside from teaching your dog how to be a helpful part of the family, it’s also important to provide him with plenty to do while you’re away at work.
This is where puzzle toys or KONG toys can come in handy. Puzzle toys that utilize food and challenge your dog can help keep him busy for long periods of time, and KONG toys stuffed with your dog’s favorite treats can help ensure he is nice and distracted, as well as happy while you are gone.
The Nina Ottosson Puzzle Toy
If you’re looking for a quality puzzle toy for your clever canine, we recommend the above puzzle toy by Nina Ottosson. This puzzle toy is designed for especially brainy breeds and works by hiding treats in small cubbies. The toy encourages your dog to solve the puzzle in order to retrieve the treat.
We also like that this puzzle toy is made of dog-safe material. It is free of dyes and you can use it either as a slow feeder for kibble, which we will talk about in more detail below, or you can use this as a treat dispenser to help keep your Smooth Collie busy and occupied.
Because this is such an intelligent breed, the Smooth Collie can become depressed if left alone for too long with nothing to occupy him. For this reason, he is best suited for owners with flexible schedules and does well in homes with owners who understand the unique thinking of working breeds.
Grooming A Smooth Collie – What You Should Know
Compared to a Rough collie, shown above, the Smooth Collie is easier to groom and maintain.
The Rough Collie, shown above, is famous for his long, dense coat. This type of Collie is time-consuming to groom due to the fact that his coat can be prone to tangles, matting, and other issues.
When it comes to grooming a Smooth Colie, you’re at an advantage. This dog does not have a double coat and, though he does shed, he sheds less heavily than his Rough Collie counterpart.
He only requires brushing once or twice a week with a slicker comb or deshedding tool, and bathing should be done occasionally every few weeks or so.
Burts Bees Hypoallergenic Dog Shampoo
Although relatively healthy, the Smooth Collie can be prone to skin allergies and issues. These issues can be exasperated if your dog is over-bathed, or if he is bathed with a shampoo that is made with dyes, parabens, or other ingredients not suitable for your dog’s coat.
To be on the safe side, we recommend using hypoallergenic dog shampoo like the Burts Bees Dog Shampoo listed above. This shampoo is made with natural, soothing ingredients like chamomile and oatmeal. Not only does it smell delightful but it can help soothe itching, hot spots, and allergies.
Outside of brushing and bathing, your Smooth Collie should also have his nails trimmed or ground down regularly. You can opt to have this professionally done, or you can learn to do it yourself.
If you prefer to trim your dog’s nails yourself, we recommend investing in a nail grinder as opposed to nail clippers.
Electric Nail Grinder
The electric nail grinder above for dogs is made with quality material and includes a safety that helps reduce grinding your dog’s nails too short. This grinder is also safe and will not harm your dog if it touches his fur or skin.
We also suggest you pay close attention to your Smooth Collie dog’s ears and keep them clean and free of buildup, moisture, or debris. Doing this routinely can help reduce your dog’s chances of ear infections.
Last, it’s wise to try and brush your Smooth Collie dog’s teeth at least once a day with a dog-safe toothpaste and toothbrushing kit.
This is because canine periodontal disease is one of the leading diseases dogs suffer from in the United States, and it can lead to other major health issues including an increased risk of cancer in your dog.
And speaking of health issues, it’s now time to talk about the Smooth Collie’s health issues and lifespan.
Smooth Collie Health Issues And Lifespan
Like all dogs, the Smooth Collie can be prone to suffering from genetic health issues.
Though he is a large breed dog, the Smooth Collie is relatively long-lived. In fact, this is a breed that has a decent lifespan of between 12 and 14 years.
And while he doesn’t suffer from a long list of serious health issues, he can be prone to a few particular genetic health issues that a potential owner should be prepared for.
These health issues include but may not be limited to:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Collie Eye Anomaly
- Multidrug Sensitivity
- Cyclic Neutropenia (AKA Gray Collie Syndrom)
- And Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (AKA Bloat).
What You Should Know About Gastric Dilation-Volvulus
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, also known as Bloat, is a serious and sometimes life-threatening condition that is common in large, deep-chested dog breeds like the Smooth Collie. The condition occurs for a number of reasons, but it commonly happens after a dog has swallowed air and this air fills the stomach and intestines.
When this happens, these organs can flip, stopping blood flow to the dog’s lower quarters. Bloat requires immediate medical attention and can come on suddenly, without warning.
The good news is that there are some ways you can combat bloat, as well as a number of the other health conditions listed above.
First, it’s important that your Smooth Collie is on quality dog food specified for his age, weight, and activity level. You might also consider investing in a puzzle feeder to help reduce the chances of Bloat developing.
A puzzle feeder, also sometimes called a slow feeder, is a dog bowl that is designed with maze-like walls on the inside. This helps slow your dog down while eating, in turn reducing the amount of air he may swallow during mealtimes.
Slow feeders can not only help combat Bloat, but they can also help encourage healthy eating habits and even add some fun to your dog’s mealtime routine.
Along with investing in quality dog food for your Smooth Collie and considering a Slow Feeder, we also recommend you schedule and keep routine vet visits.
Most veterinarians recommend that large breed dogs be seen at least once a year until they reach the age of seven, at which point it is suggested they begin being seen for wellness exams twice a year.
Keeping up with a routine exercise regiment and grooming schedule will also help ensure your Smooth Collie stays happy and healthy throughout his lifetime.
Last, it’s important to attempt to get your Smooth Collie from a reputable source. If you opt to buy your Smooth Collie from a breeder, we suggest going through responsible breeders with a history of breeding this type of dog.
Avoid breeders selling puppies for much more or much less than they are worth and steer clear of backyard breeders, online sellers, or those who cannot provide you with certificates proving health and pedigree.
If you opt to rescue, you might consider having your dog’s health screened early on using a canine DNA kit. These kits can help give you a wealth of information about your dog’s genetics, including potential health issues your Smooth Collie may be genetically predisposed to as he ages.
Are You The Right Owner For A Smooth Collie Dog?
Smooth Collies are unique, working dogs at heart. They do best with owners who are prepared for their unique personality.
Smooth Collies are a wonderful addition to a variety of households and families, though they could be overwhelming for some owners.
The ideal Smooth Collie owner is going to be an active dog lover with an understanding of working breeds. Remember, this is also a dog that can be vocal, and he is energetic to boot. This means the Smooth Collie is not ideally suited for apartment living and he will be happiest in homes with land or a yard where he can play.
Otherwise, when well trained, raised, socialized, and exercised, the Smooth Collie is a family-oriented purebred that does well with children and other pets. He enjoys meeting new people and makes friends easily, and his trainable nature makes him a joy to work with.
Are you interested in the Smooth Collie? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Thanks for reading!
Jen Jones is a professional dog trainer and behavior specialist with more than 25 years of experience. As the founder of ‘Your Dog Advisor’ and the ‘Canine Connection’ rehabilitation center, she applies a holistic, empathetic approach, aiming to address root causes rather than merely treating symptoms.
Well known for her intuitive and compassionate approach, Jen adopts scientifically-proven, reward-based methods, encouraging positive reinforcement over punishment. Jen specializes in obedience training, behavior modification, and puppy socialization. Her innovative methods, particularly in addressing anxiety and aggression issues, have been widely recognized. Jen has worked with many of the world’s leading dog behaviorists and in her free time volunteers with local animal shelters and rescue groups.