Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie: What’s the Difference?

rough collie vs smooth collie
© Harald Kreuzer/Shutterstock.com

Written by August Croft

Updated: October 25, 2022

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Have you always wanted to know the differences between a rough collie vs smooth collie? You may recognize the rough collie for its Lassie fame, but what about the smooth collie? How many similarities and differences do these two dog breeds share, and do they look different enough for you to tell them apart upon first glance?

In this article, we will compare and contrast the rough collie and the smooth collie so that you can have a greater understanding of both of these breeds. We will go over their physical differences as well as their ancestral and behavioral similarities. Let’s get started and talk about collies now!

Comparing Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie
The rough collie’s fur is straight and coarse atop a soft undercoat, while the smooth collie only has the soft undercoat as their fur.
Rough CollieSmooth Collie
Size20-24 inches tall; 40-65 pounds20-24 inches tall; 40-65 pounds
AppearanceLong, straight, and coarse outer coat with a soft undercoat; found in a variety of colors including tan, brown, white, black, and merleShort and soft coat found in a variety of colors, including brown, tan, white, black, and merle. Essentially looks like a rough collie with a very good haircut!
AncestryBred in Scotland for herding sheepBred in Scotland for herding sheep
BehaviorExtremely intelligent, loyal, and easy to train. Very patient with children and strangers, and highly activeExtremely intelligent, loyal, and easy to train. Very patient with children and strangers, and highly active
Lifespan13-16 years13-16 years

Key Differences Between Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie

Both the rough collie and the smooth collie come in the same sizes.

©Lisjatina/Shutterstock.com

There are only a select few differences between the rough collie and the smooth collie. The primary difference is that rough collies have long fur, while smooth collies have short fur. The rough collie’s fur is straight and coarse atop a soft undercoat, while the smooth collie only has the soft undercoat as their fur. Otherwise, these two breeds are nearly identical.

Let’s talk about rough collies and smooth collies in more detail now.

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie: Size

rough collie vs smooth collie

Rough collies look far more impressive and fluffy compared to the humble smooth collie.

©Yps71/Shutterstock.com

Both the rough collie and the smooth collie come in the same sizes. The collie ranges in size from medium to large, and is built on compact, capable legs. For example, the rough collie reaches 20-24 inches tall on average, as does the smooth collie. They are an ideal height for herding sheep and other livestock.

You can find collies in different weight limits as well, depending on gender. The average collie weighs anywhere from 40-65 pounds, and this includes both rough and smooth collies. The average female collie weighs less than the average male collie, but it depends on the individual dog!

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie: Appearance

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie

Both the rough collie and the smooth collie have double coats. The only difference is that the rough collie’s coat is longer and the smooth collie’s coat is shorter.

©Rita_Kochmarjova/Shutterstock.com

The one and only difference between rough collies and smooth collies is in their individual appearances. Both the rough collie and the smooth collie have double coats. The only difference is that the rough collie’s coat is longer and the smooth collie’s coat is shorter. This makes it easy to tell these two breeds apart, given that rough collies look far more impressive and fluffy compared to the humble smooth collie.

Both of these collie varieties come in the same markings and colors, including black, white, brown, tan, and merle. They are the same body shape and size, and they even have the same eye colors. The smooth collie looks like the rough collie if you got your rough collie a really excellent haircut and shave!

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie: Ancestry and Breeding

rough collie vs smooth collie

Both the rough collie and the smooth collie are equally capable herding breeds.

©Yps71/Shutterstock.com

Both the rough collie and the smooth collie were originally bred in Scotland for herding and farming purposes. These highly intelligent breeds make quick work of herding sheep, organizing and ushering them on as swiftly and smoothly as possible. Both the rough collie and the smooth collie are equally capable herding breeds.

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie: Behavior

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie

Overall, rough and smooth collies are sensitive and empathetic dogs.

©OlgaOvcharenko/Shutterstock.com

There are no real behavioral differences between the rough collie and the smooth collie, though each dog owner may have their own individual experiences. For example, both rough collies and smooth collies are friendly, loyal, and dedicated working breeds. They are extremely intelligent, capable of learning a variety of tricks and commands with little effort.

Overall, rough and smooth collies are sensitive and empathetic dogs. They can sense a variety of energy in the home in which they reside, and are extremely perceptive in their behaviors. They are not typically wary of strangers, but they can sense when a potential person is aggressive. However, both rough and smooth collies are extraordinarily patient with children, making them ideal family companions as well as herding dogs.

Rough Collie vs Smooth Collie: Lifespan

rough collie vs smooth collie

Rough collies and smooth collies live anywhere from 13-16 years on average.

©Harald Kreuzer/Shutterstock.com

Both rough collies and smooth collies have the same lifespan. They are a fairly healthy dog breed, especially when you consider that they are medium to large dogs. Large dogs live shorter lives than small dogs, but the collie has an above average lifespan considering their 40-65 pound size.

Rough collies and smooth collies live anywhere from 13-16 years on average. Given their larger frames and working tendencies, both of these dog breeds may experience joint and tendon issues as they age, including hip troubles and arthritis. However it all depends on the individual dog and the care that it receives!

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About the Author

August Croft is a writer at A-Z Animals where their primary focus is on astrology, symbolism, and gardening. August has been writing a variety of content for over 4 years and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Theater from Southern Oregon University, which they earned in 2014. They are currently working toward a professional certification in astrology and chart reading. A resident of Oregon, August enjoys playwriting, craft beer, and cooking seasonal recipes for their friends and high school sweetheart.

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