The Smooth Collie is believed to have descended from the shepherd dogs that Romans brought with them to Scotland in the 5th century. It is a high-energy dog that is hardworking, loyal and smart. Not as popular as its Rough cousin, the Smooth Collie is on The KC’s vulnerable native breeds list.
Ready to welcome a Smooth Collie into your home? Here is a brief background of this hardworking dog with a dignified appearance.
The Smooth Collie, along with its cousin the Rough Collie, is believed to have originated from the shepherd dogs that Romans brought to Scotland during the 5th century. Some say the name Collie comes from Scottish sheep with black faces called the Colley, while others argue it referred to the dark colour or coaly coat of the early shepherd dogs.
Queen Victoria became a huge fan of Collies and had her own kennel of both Smooth and Rough Collies during the 1860s. Because of this, owning these shepherd dogs were particularly fashionable and became sought-after show ring dogs, family pets and companions. The Smooth Collie was recognised by The Kennel Club in 1994. Unfortunately, the Smooth didn’t enjoy the same popularity of its Rough cousin and its numbers severely dropped and is now included on the vulnerable native breeds list.
Appearance and Grooming
The Smooth Collie is a well-balanced medium dog that has a noble and dignified appearance. Standing 51 to 61 centimetres at the withers and weighing 45 to 65 pounds, it is slightly longer than it is tall, having a level back and a deep chest. It has a well-proportioned head with a flat skull and a wedge-shaped muzzle that tapers to its black or brown nose. It has a slight stop, a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite, almond-shaped dark brown eyes (blue for merle coats) that are set obliquely, and moderately wide ears worn back when relaxed and forward when excited.
The Smooth Collie has a flat, short and harsh outer coat paired with a thick undercoat. The accepted colours are sable & white, tricolour and blue merle. Since its coat is close lying, it is low maintenance in the grooming department. A weekly brush and wipe with chamois leather will suffice. However, during shedding seasons (spring and autumn), brushing needs to be done more frequently to remove dead hair. To complete its easy grooming regimen, brush its teeth daily or at least three times a day, trim its nails regularly and clean its ears to remove wax as it can harbour infection-causing bacteria.
Temperament and Intelligence
The Smooth Collie is an alert, loyal and hardworking breed. It is not suitable for first-time owners and families with young kids since it can sometimes be snappy. It thrives in a family of experienced dog owners that lead active, outdoor lives. It is important to start training and socialisation as soon as the puppy arrives at home and gradually set out the rules. Once it knows its place in the pack, it tends to become more obedient.
This breed loves the sound of its voice so it is easy to bark when it feels strangers are about. This, along with the fact that it is naturally suspicious of strangers, makes it a good guard dog and watchdog but can be a problem for the neighbours when it becomes excessive. It gets on well with other animals it grows up with but considers other people’s pets as fair game. It is better to avoid introducing smaller animals to an adult Smooth Collie altogether.
Because the Smooth Collie is such an intelligent breed that easily learns new things, it is highly trainable especially in the right hands. It is also quick to pick up bad behaviour so it is important to be firm. Trainings should be kept short and interesting so it does not get bored and disobedient. It will be a good idea to include canine sports to training since this breed impressively excels at them.
Nutrition and Feeding
A typical serving for an adult Smooth Collie is 1.5 to 2.5 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. Take note that the amount of food and feeding frequency depend on your dog’s age, physique, size, activity level, and metabolism. Talking to your veterinarian about your dog’s nutritional needs is very important. Typical calorie needs of adult Smooth Collie per day:
- Senior and less active: up to 1,250 calories daily
- Typical adults: up to 1,410 calories daily
- Physically active/working dogs: up to 2,350 calories daily
Provide the Smooth Collie with a diet rich in protein from beef, lamb, chicken, and fish, and pair it with complex carbohydrates like sweet potato, oats and rice. Its food intake needs to be boosted during days of heavy work. That being said, owners must avoid giving it heavy meals right before or after an exhausting physical activity. Measure its food and avoid free-feeding because overfeeding can be as problematic as underfeeding.
Health and Exercise
The Smooth Collie is generally healthy and potential owners will be glad to know that its lifespan can actually reach 15 years. However, there are certain health issues it can be predisposed to that are worth knowing, including eye problems like Collie Eye, Cataracts and Progressive Retinal Atrophy. It can also develop bloat, multi-drug sensitivity, allergies, Epilepsy, Hip Dysplasia, and Patent Ductus Arteriosus.
When it comes to exercise, the Smooth Collie is an active dog that needs 40 to 60 minutes of physically and mentally challenging activities. It will gladly accompany you while jogging or hiking or perform canine sports such as flyball, agility and obedience. It must also be allowed to roam freely in a securely fenced area.
Cost of Ownership
Purchasing a Smooth Collie puppy means going on a waiting list as this breed is rare in the UK. It is not as pricey as other breeds since you can buy a well-bred Kennel Club-registered pedigree puppy from £100 to £800. To ensure it stays healthy at whatever age, you will need to feed your dog high quality dog food and treats, which can set you back £40-£50 a month. You would also need to spend on dog accessories such as leads, collars, eating bowls, crates, beds, and toys. The combined initial cost for these things is estimated at £200.
Moreover, you need to consider paying for pet insurance to offset veterinary bills in case your dog suddenly falls ill or gets into an accident. Depending on where you live and your dog’s health and age, a time-limited cover can cost £20 a month while a lifetime one can cost up to £43 a month. Generally, insurance companies do not cover routine veterinary consultations, initial vaccinations, boosters, and neutering or spaying, so you may also have to spend an additional £1000 annually for these services.
On average, the minimum cost to care for a Smooth Collie is £80-£100 per month depending on your pet insurance premium. This estimate does not include the rates for other services such as walking and grooming.
Smooth Collie Breed Highlights
- The Smooth Collie is a medium pastoral breed that is active and hardworking.
- It is an intelligent and loyal dog that builds a strong bond with its owners.
- Quick to alert when it senses strangers in the property, it is a good guard dog and watchdog.
- It is more suitable for experienced dog owners and families with no young children.
- Its short close-lying coat makes grooming a breeze.
Are you sure the Smooth Collie is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.
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