Rough Collie Lifespan: How Long Do These Dogs Live?

Written by Alanna Davis
Published: February 25, 2024
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Let’s be honest, there are few dog breeds in the world that compare to the elegance and beauty of rough collies. In addition to their good looks, these dogs also have a wealth of wonderful personality traits. Owners describe them as loyal, loving, highly intelligent, and friendly. Despite their gentle nature, rough collies are protective of their families. With so many excellent qualities, it’s no surprise that so many people have fallen in love with this breed. If you’ve decided to adopt one of your own, it’s important to educate yourself on how long these dogs typically live and common health issues. Let’s discuss the average lifespan of rough collies and explore ways you can ensure that yours has a happy, healthy, and long life!

Rough Collie: A Brief Introduction to the Breed

Rough collie

The famous dog Lassie is a rough collie.


The rough collie is one of two different types of collie. According to the American Kennel Club, “The full coated ‘rough’ collie is the more familiar variety, but there is also a sleek ‘smooth’ collie. The collie is a large but lithe herder standing anywhere from 22 to 26 inches tall. The rough variety boasts one of the canine kingdom’s most impressively showy coats; the smooth coat’s charms are subtler but no less satisfying.” Both of these variants are predecessors of ancient herding dogs from Scotland and Wales. Their stunning looks have made this breed popular in the show dog world. However, rough collies excel in family life just as well. This breed is famously friendly with other animals, children, and strangers, and they love nothing more than making friends.

Although rough collies are famously gentle and kind, these dogs have the capability of being fiercely protective over their families. As such, many people believe this breed is well suited to serve as a working animal. Rough collies are highly intelligent and take instruction well. This combined with their sharp hearing and natural athletic capabilities makes them an excellent candidate to become guard dogs. However, they’re also very gentle with those they love, and becoming a service animal is a viable path for them as well. With the proper training, this breed is bound to succeed in both of these roles.

Average Life Expectancy of a Rough Collie

The age each rough collie will live to depends on a variety of factors. The most important of these is the ethicality of the breeder you purchase them from, and whether or not any genetic testing was done. Other factors that will influence the age your rough collie lives to are their diet and exercise. On average, rough collies have a lifespan of somewhere between 12 and 14 years old. However, it’s absolutely possible for rough collies to exceed this range, and many of them do! The oldest rough collie lived to be 20 years old.

Health Problems Common in Rough Collies

A rough collie receives an ear examination at a veterinary clinic

On average, rough collies typically weigh between 50 and 70 pounds.


Generally speaking, rough collies are a very healthy breed. These dogs love to play, exercise, and bounce around all day long, and many of them do so well into their senior years! Despite this, it’s important for owners to be aware of common health problems diagnosed in rough collies in order to be prepared for an emergency. One of the most common medical issues rough collies face is collie eye anomaly. This is an inherited disease that can be diagnosed while your collie is still very young. Because of this, many breeders recommend taking your rough collie to the vet for an initial health screening after bringing them home in order to detect this and prepare accordingly. In some cases, the breeder will offer monetary compensation.

Cyclic Neutropenia, also known as “grey collie syndrome,” is another condition diagnosed in young collies. It is a neurological disease that affects the immune system of the dogs it impacts. Unfortunately, treatment for this disease isn’t very effective, and many puppies who receive this diagnosis pass on shortly thereafter. Other health issues commonly diagnosed in rough collies are hip dysplasia, MDR1, epilepsy, and Central Progressive Retinal Apathy. If your collie does receive a diagnosis listed here, try not to panic. Luckily, many of these conditions are manageable through medication and surgery and these collies still have the chance to live a long and comfortable life.

How Your Rough Collie Can Live a Long and Healthy Life

Rough Collie playing

Rough collies are a highly active breed. They love playing with their families and other animals.


The first and most important step in ensuring your rough collie has a long lifespan is to purchase them from a reputable breeder. Rough collie puppies typically cost somewhere between $750 and $2,250. Where the price falls within this range will depend on factors like your location and the dog’s pedigree. If you find breeders offering rough collie puppies for well below the typical price range, it’s best to avoid them altogether. This indicates that the breeder is engaging in unethical behavior, such as failing to perform genetic testing on their animals. Purchasing a puppy from them can put owners at risk of adopting a sick dog. Depending on the condition they have, treatment can range from medication to surgery. In the worst cases, your rough collie can even die prematurely. Buying from reputable breeders avoids all this heartache, and ultimately saves owners a lot of money in veterinary bills.

Making sure your rough collie gets enough exercise is essential in maintaining their overall health. These dogs are highly active and need about one to two hours of activity throughout the day. This can be met by taking walks, playing fetch, exploring the backyard, or taking your rough collie to the dog park. In addition, a nutritious diet is also crucial. In order to maintain their silky coat, eating a diet rich in meat and low in grains is preferred. Feeding your rough collie two and a half to three and a half cups of high-quality dog food split into two meals per day is sufficient. Although preventative care is important, the best safety net is pet insurance. Although many rough collies go through their life without facing a number of medical issues, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry.

The Importance of Annual Health Screenings

Rough collies are excellent family dogs.


The best way to ensure that your rough collie lives a happy and healthy life is to take them to the vet for annual health screenings. Once a year around their birthday, schedule an appointment with your local vet to perform a routine check-up. During this time, they might be able to detect a medical condition that your dog wasn’t necessarily showing symptoms for yet. Because rough collies are strong and athletic animals, they might be hiding that they don’t feel well, even if they do. Many owners like to think that they’d be able to pick up on the signs of a medical issue. However, in many cases, by the time a dog begins displaying symptoms, it may be too late.

Taking your dog in for an annual check-up is a great way to further engage in preventative care. Depending on where you live, the cost of this screening will vary. On average, owners can expect to pay about $75 for this screening, and an additional $400 for a bloodwork panel if it’s appropriate. This will help ensure that your rough collie has the longest lifespan they possibly can.

Final Thoughts

In essence, rough collies are healthy, hardy dogs. They make wonderful additions to a number of different family dynamics, and they’re generally easy to take care of. If you’ve been thinking about bringing one into your family, don’t hesitate! Although medical emergencies can happen, it’s not something owners of this breed should worry themselves with day to day. As long as you feed your rough collie a nutritious diet, give them enough exercise, and bring them in for annual check-ups, rest assured that you’re doing the absolute best to preserve their health!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © OlgaOvcharenko/

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About the Author

Alanna is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering insects, animals, and travel. In addition to writing, she spends her time tutoring English and exploring the east end of Long Island. Prior to receiving her Bachelor's in Economics from Stony Brook University, Alanna spent much of her time studying entomology and insect biology.

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