The Collie Breed Standard

Frequently when an owner is walking their Collie in public, strangers will come up and remark on the dog’s beauty.  Whether seeing a Collie in person or in movies or television, people are attracted to Collies not only because of a Collie’s appearance but for the personality that shows through their expression.

Overview of Visual Characteristics

The Collie breed is divided into two varieties: the Rough Collie and the Smooth Collie.  The Rough Collie is the more well-known with its abundant outercoat, especially the “ruff” around its neck and long bushy hair on its chest and tail.  The Smooth Collie has the same overall structure and markings but its outercoat is short and dense.  Both varieties have an abundant undercoat close to the skin.

There are four recognized colors of Collies:

  • The “Sable and White” color is predominantly sable or light gold to dark mahogany with white markings on the chest, neck, legs, feet and the tip of the tail. 
  • The “Tricolor” is predominantly black with white markings like the “Sable and White” and has tan shadings on and about the head and legs.
  • The “Blue Merle” is a mottled or “marbled” color predominantly blue-grey and black with white markings as in the “Sable and White” and usually has tan shadings as in the “Tri-color.”
  • The “White” is predominantly white with sable, tricolor or blue merle markings.

Overview of Personality Characteristics

Collies were bred to work with people to herd sheep and other animals. This makes the Collie well suited as both a family dog and for participating in performance activities. Well-known as being intelligent and good with children, Collies are gentle by nature but can be ready to protect their human family.

Breed Standard

Each purebred dog has a “Breed Standard” which describes in detail the characteristics of that breed.

The official Breed Standard for Collies can be found at the following websites:

For additional information on the Collie, please see our club’s page on “The Collie