The Rough Collie is the same as the Smooth Collie with the exception of coat length.

Although Rough and Smooth Collies have a working heritage, they don't need to live somewhere with acres of garden and only need moderate exercise. Smooth Collies, in general, are more energetic than Roughs. They are more athletic and agile, more outgoing, and retain more working instincts.

Collies have a soft, sweet personality, they are generally good with other pets and polite with strangers. Despite the Rough Collie’s immense coat, there is a misconception that they require daily brushing and regular bathing. However, they only need to be brushed about once a week with the hair trimmed from around their feet and hocks every month or so. The need for brushing may increase during moulting - once a year for males, and after a season for females. Collies can be very vocal and anyone that has ever owned one will understand the term that they can 'talk' to you. They can be very determined when telling you that they want something, ie: tea time or going for a walk, and won't shut up until they get what they want.

Collies are also a very clean breed and are noted for not having a doggie odour.



Access to a fresh supply of drinking water
A good balanced diet
Daily exercise
Socialization from an early age
Love, affection and company

Collies are a healthy breed, and generally only need their puppy boosters and annual vaccinations, but if they are sick you should seek advice from your vet, ie: refusing food, lethargic, diarrhoea  - with or without blood, trauma, difficulty breathing, exposure to toxic substances,  extended abdomen or abdominal pain,  urinary problems, seizures, unconscious.


Before you bring your new puppy home, check your garden, and repair any gaps in the fence.  Remove any toxic chemicals ie: weed killer and slug pellets out of their reach and cover ponds.  You should also think about any poisonous plants they may be able to eat.
Your new puppy can ride home in the back seat on a passenger’s lap or in a crate but not loose in the car If you’re on your own, then crate him –for his safety and yours.   Your puppy may cry a little, this is completely normal, his whole world has changed and he needs time to get to know you and adjust.  Have some towels or newspaper to hand in case he is sick on the journey, remember, he may have only have been in the car once before for a check up by the vet.    Go straight home, it is not the time to stop off visiting relatives/friends, keep things calm and simple.
Please avoid lots of new visitors for your puppy and allow time for you both to adjust as this can be quite a stressful time both the puppy and the new owner.

When you get home, walk your puppy outside in your garden as he will want to relieve himself, he will be distracted at first, but usually nature calls quite quickly, and remember to give your puppy lots of praise when he goes in an area you have chosen.
Some puppies may race around the house in over stimulated overdrive, others will curl up underneath something and watch their new world wide-eyed. Imagine if you were suddenly whisked away to a world you had no idea existed, adopted by beings you have never met before.

Don't be in a hurry to introduce your new puppy to any other pets in the house, it is better to make introductions gradually so they have time to adjust to each other.   Baby gates are useful for pets to see and smell each other, without being in each other’s space.


Your puppy is at the stage when everything “can be chewed”. Suggested “home made toys” include empty plastic milk bottles / cartons. Any empty juice or water bottle but please ensure the ring around the neck is removed first. Finished kitchen and toilet rolls are also appreciated plus any small cardboard cartons are also very attractive until shredded!

Please do not give soft rubber toys, or children’s toys with “eyes” that may be removed or swallowed. There are many specialist puppy toys available especially those that squeak and can be washed. The purchase of a “Puppy Kong” will also bring many hours of enjoyment.


It is common, normal and expected for your puppy to have accidents and relieve himself in places other than your garden.  Take your puppy outside as soon as he wakes up, after food, and during play when he starts circling and sniffing and getting ready to squat, remember to stay with the puppy and give lots of praise.  Puppies under 16 weeks of age don't have the same control of their muscles as older dogs, be patient, and he will soon catch on.  


Bear in mind that up until now your puppy has spent his whole life surrounded by the warmth of his mother and siblings and they now have a new environment to cope with.  It is obviously not unusual for them to feel some anxiety and they may cry when left.    Their natural instinct is to cry, howl and sometimes squeal on their first night.  Some ideas to help are leaving the radio on, a light, a ticking clock and a dog toy to cuddle up to.   Some people feel comfortable keeping their new puppies with them for the first few days, and letting them sleep in the bedroom in a crate/dog bed.  This can give them a sense of security, but isn't always practical and getting them used to sleeping in the kitchen or a room of your choice, can save problems later.

Introducing your puppy to other dogs in the family

Always supervise any interactions between other family pets, especially for the first one to two weeks as they get to know each other. Do not leave them alone. Keep all existing routines, such as walks. playtimes and meal times normal. Make the puppy fit into the routine you already have. Be very careful to monitor situations which may trigger aggression, for example when you come home, when guests visit, walk times, playtimes and meal times, both yours and theirs. It is also very important to spend time alone with each dog, so that your older dog continues to receive the one to one attention they are used to and your puppy gets the chance to develop a bond with you.

Remember that the older dog will try to teach the puppy some manners and show it how to behave so some snapping and correction may happen. However do not let this become excessive and also don't let the puppy continually harass your dog. If they do start to fight, stop it as quickly as possible so that they don't develop a pattern of aggressive behaviour. With time and patience both dogs will learn to accept each other, but until this point always make sure that they are not left alone together as far as is possible, keeping them in separate rooms or parts of the house if necessary. Taking the few steps listed above will ensure that your new puppy becomes part of the family with as little fuss as possible.


Your breeder will have given you a diet sheet and some food, it is advisable to keep your puppy on the food given by the breeder, at least for the first month or so, and any changes to a puppy’s diet should be made gradually.   The puppy’s daily allowance should be split into four meals from 8 weeks of age.  At around 4 months you can reduce to 3 meals a day, then at 6 months to two.

All reputable manufacturers will supply guidelines, on the packaging, with regard to the amount to be offered. For your guidance, Collie puppies and youngsters are classed within the medium range of dog. Collie puppies and adults do not have strong digestive systems and are often very happy eating the same food on a daily basis. Changing foods is best done over a period of 3-4 days by introducing the new food in small quantities until the process is complete.

Should you find that your puppy develops an upset tummy but he still seems fit and well, it is usually from over-feeding. Just cut down / out all milky foods and cut down the amount of food for a period of 24 hours. If there is NO change after this time – PLEASE, CONSULT YOUR VETERINARY SURGEON.

A healthy puppy should have a good appetite, if your puppy refuses food, it may be that they are feeling off colour.  Look out for any diarrhea and consult your vet if the problem does not resolve in 24 hours.  A light diet may be needed for a day or two, and you can give your puppy boiled chicken breast (skin and bone removed), boiled long grain rice, natural yoghurt and scrambled egg.  Dogs digestion does not cope with cows milk,  but most puppies enjoy goats milk. 

Do not feed your puppy chocolate, as this is poisonous to all dogs.  Puppies have very sharp teeth up until around 6 months of age, whilst teething their gums are often sore, they have a natural instinct to chew.   If you don't provide something ‘acceptable’ for them to chew on, they will find something else!  You can buy teething chews from your local pet store, and also give them clean socks, or clean wet rag that has been put in the freezer.


Your new puppy should not be taken out into the public space where there have been other dogs until they have finished their vaccinations.   Your vet will give you advice on vaccinating your puppy, but they can usually have their first vaccination at 8 weeks of age, a second one two weeks later, and can be taken out a week after.  

Your puppy will have been wormed regularly by the breeder, and they will tell you when her next worming date is due.
Please continue the worming programme, especially if there are young children in the house.

  Under NO circumstances use a product containing Ivermec or Ivermectin, or any of its derivatives. This substance is not fully licensed in the UK as a worm dose but used as part of other products can be lethal to your collie. Should you have any problems with your vet, concerning this product, please contact your breeder


A practical guide to puppy shots
from Dogs Naturally magazine


Do not use any Ivermectin based worming or combined worming/flea products on your Collie,
see article on MDR1 for other drugs to avoid. 


Everyone has different preferences on the type of collar/lead they use on their Collies. Most people will use either a rolled leather slip lead, or an adjustable half check leather collar, and the purchase of a good leather collar and lead will last you the lifetime of your dog. Your average pet shop probably wont sell the type of lead best suited to a Collie and I have given some links below of recommended online shops where they can be purchased. When buying a half check leather collar, many prefer to buy an adjustable one, which can be used from puppy stage to adulthood.



A young puppy will tire easily, and spend a lot of time sleeping.  Do not let them run with older dogs for any length of time, and should only  have short walks (5 mins per month of age is often recommended ie: 3 months of age = 15 minutes per day) up until they are 9 months of age when their bones are more developed.

    Always carry “poo-bags” when walking out and please clear up after your dog. There are others around who do not appreciate and in some areas, you could be fined!

Great article here which explains the growth plates in a puppy and the impact of too much exercise



Your young puppy will not have been lead trained. Socialization, once vaccinated, may be carried out by meeting other people / dogs and although collie puppies are very responsive, repetitive work is not within their nature and they can or will rebel at any given time. This is where your understanding of the Collie mind will come into play. Your puppy will look to you for leadership and guidance. Be firm but gentle at this early stage. Praise often and if required complete this with a puppy treat.


Grooming keeps you dogs coat in good condition, and also helps building a close bond with your puppy. Your puppy will not require bathing. The only times bathing is considered, is just after the first major coat loss at approx. 14 months old. Groom out all the dead and loose hair. If the weather is kind, then he may be bathed outside using a specialist dog shampoo (One with an insect repellent is very useful) Once bathed he can be allowed to shake off the surplus wet and then towel dried. Should your puppy be unfortunate to acquire fleas, then treatment with a product similar to “Frontline” may be used obtainable from your Vet.

Puppies need to get used to brushing as young as possible, and short little and often sessions with a soft brush to start with gets them used to the idea and it will become a pleasant experience for both of you. Some puppies will not be ready to stand still and be brushed, but don't let them play with the brush, it is not a toy. It can be a good idea to stand them on a sturdy non slip table, and get someone to help to ensure they don't jump off and hurt themselves. Reward and praise them throughout the grooming session and finish with a cuddle and a treat.

The Rough and Smooth Collie have different grooming needs.   The Smooth Collie has a ‘wash and wear’ coat, and a once weekly brush with a rubber curry comb, and/or a wash leather, and a slicker brush when moulting is sufficient.

Rough Collies do require a little more work but with the correct tools and a little practice, you can keep your Collie in good condition with a weekly brush.Your puppy's breeder will be able to offer advice.  Collies are naturally clean dogs and do not need regular baths, and even if they get muddy, once the mud dries, it can easily be brushed off.  A bath once or twice a year when moulting is usually sufficient.

Please note, that whilst it may feel like clipping would keep the dog cooler, it is likely to do the opposite. Clipping a Collie's coat stops it insulating against the heat and keeping cool in the summer.

Everyone has their own favourite items of grooming equipment, but the basics would be a Bristle Brush/Maxi Pin Brush, comb and scissors to trim the hair around the dogs paws, and underneath between the pads.

The weekly brushing routine should start with a brush first, and finish with a comb, work to a routine so you don't miss anywhere, paying particular attention to behind the ears and behind the front legs.
I often wipe the dogs coat over with a baby wipe or damp flannel and spray the coat with a light misting of water or a specialist grooming spray
which keeps them fresh and clean.

Useful step by step photos on trimming your Rough Collie's feet- click HERE


Spray the dogs coat with water/grooming spray and brush the coat in the opposite direction to how it grows.  Special attention should be made to the soft fluffy hair behind the ears and behind the dogs elbows where knots can occur. 

If your dog does get a knot, hold the base of the knot as near to the skin as possible, and gently tease the knot with a comb or slicker brush, do not tug or pull.  You can however buy specialist de tangling products which are useful to keep in your grooming kit.


It is worth noting however, that once spayed/neutered, the loss of hormones can have an effect on your Collies coat. It can become fine and wispy and not as easy to manage and most people are against spaying/neutering unless there is a good reason to do so. This is purely a cosmetic change, but you do need to be warned about it, especially as some vets try and encourage new owners to book their dog in for spaying at the initial booster vaccination appointment! If you really want your Collie spayed/neutered, at least give it time to reach adulthood and wait until after 12 months of age.

Here are pictures of one of my girls coats, she was 10 years old when this photo was taken and was spayed at aged 6 due to a pyometra (womb infection)
She has to be brushed twice weekly but due to the texture of her coat I can groom the other four Roughs in the time that it takes me to groom her.
She had been brushed a few days before these photos were taken, and as you can see her coat is a totally different texture and almost like cotton wool and that of a sheep.
Best way to get through the coat is to bath her and get the blaster dryer on her which gets right down to the skin and removes any dead hair.

and it isn't just Collies who's coat is affected when being spayed/neutered - see article here from a Cocker Spaniel reader

The excess hair should be trimmed from the dogs feet so it is flush with the dogs pads, some people prefer blunt nosed scissors, and around the outline of the dogs paw.

Please check eyes and inside of the ears and also the length of the toe nails. If these get too long a few good walks on a concrete surface should keep them under control, or if required, they may need to be clipped. Keep a close watch on the length of the dew-claws, which can be found just above the foot on the inside of the front legs.

Like all dogs, Collies teeth should be kept clean, there are lots of products/dogs toothpaste on the market, and a weekly clean will avoid expensive vet bills and problems later on.  Adults can also be given a raw marrow bone to chew on, do not give your dogs any cooked bones as these can splinter and cause internal bleeding. 

If you would like any further grooming advice, please see our list of Collie owners in your area here