Scotch Collie
Information, Behavior and Training

Back in time, when many families relied on their farms, the Scotch Collie was the ideal dog to have. This multipurpose farm dog was truly an asset and fit the role of the loyal and hardworking herder just perfectly.

While not as popular as several centuries ago, today these valuable farm dogs are experiencing a comeback courtesy of some small, hobby farms spread across North America and Europe.

Whether you are thinking about buying a puppy or adopting an adult dog and want to know if this is the right breed for you or just want to learn more about this breed, I hope this article will help you find the answers to your questions.

Breed History

Historians believe that the sheep herding dogs were introduced to Britain by Roman invaders and all herding breeds, including the English Shepherd, the Border Collie, the Bearded Collie, modern Collies and the Australian Shepherd owe their existence to those dogs.

The Scotch Collie dog is not a breed per se, but rather a type of a herding dog used for cattle herding and general farm work. These dogs were often referred to as Farm Shepherds, Farm Collies and Old Farm Collies.

Back in time, all collie-like dogs were simply of one kind: the Farm Collie. But that began to change with the introduction of the dog show circuit in the middle of the 19th century. That's when general appearance became more important than working abilities. This caused farm collies to divide into 2 distinct types: a show dog known today as the modern Collie and a working dog, the Scotch Collie.

As the twentieth century rolled in, other, more specialized breeds, such as the Border Collie, gained in popularity at the expense of farm collies.

There is little literature in regards to when collie-like dogs first arrived in the Unites States from the British Isles but, most likely, it happened during the early colonial period.

Today, a small population of Old-Time Scotch Collies remains and much work is being done to preserve these dogs.

Breed Profile

Because Scotch Collies are not a breed but rather a type of dog, there is no standard to adhere to. Old literature describes this dog as being medium in size, broad-headed, with a short jaw for strength. Much is being done today to reproduce the qualities of this old-fashioned dog.

The best working dogs were claimed to be not too large. Medium-sized specimens appeared to do best. The neck was moderately long, strong and arched. A firm back led to well-sprung ribs. The chest was deep and fairly broad. The moderately long tail had a sweep toward the end.

The forelegs in this working dog were straight and muscular, with strong, flexible pasterns. The rear legs boasted well-bent hocks and stifles. The feet were oval, with well-arched toes.

The eyes were expressive and the ears were depicted as being erect and never low or floppy. The muzzle was pointed and fox-like, with a strong jaw. The nose was not long as seen in the modern Collie or short as seen in the English Shepherd.

The coat was smooth, long and heavy, with a suggestion of ruff in the chest area. Sable, tri-color, black and white and blue merle were common colors.

    Height Weight
  Male 22 to 25 inches 45 to 70 pounds
  Female 20 to 23 inches 40 to 60 pounds


This dog is described as being sweet-natured and good with children. There shouldn't be any hint of aggressive or hyperactive behavior. While friendly with the people he knows, the Scottish Collie can be reserved with strangers. They usually get along with other dogs and non-canine pets.

An above average intelligence was typical. Back in time, many Scotch Collie owners were often complaining about how this dog's intellectual qualities downgraded when it was refined for better looks.

Typically, Scotch Collies were content to lie down and rest in between working sessions but were always ready to spring back into action as needed. As multi-purpose working dogs, they were engaging in multiple tasks such as herding livestock, guarding property and playing with the children.

Best Owner and Living Conditions

The best owner of a Scottish Collie is, obviously, a farmer who can keep this dog working as he was meant to. Because Scotch Collies are being bred more for their working abilities rather than their looks, they need an owner that can provide them with a job.

The best place to raise Scotch Collie puppies is a farm with plenty of livestock and daily activities. However, if you don't have a farm with animals, don't worry - a property with some acreage or a large yard may suffice.

Activity and Exercise

While this is mainly a working dog, he can be kept as a companion as long as his exercise and mental stimulation needs are met. You may enroll this fellow in herding trials to give him a purpose and keep him extra happy. At a minimum, this breed requires several long walks every day.


This dog requires once or twice-a-week brushing sessions to keep his coat in top shape and free of tangles. Bathe when needed.

Health Concerns

The Scotch Collie dog is generally healthy and strong, with no major health concerns seen in more refined breeds. However, some specimens may be subject to Collie eye anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy, collie nose and canine hip dysplasia.

Visit dog health problems to learn more about dog diseases and health care.

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to prevent small problems from becoming big problems) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Scotch Collie dogs is between 13 and 16 years.

Final Thoughts...

Loyalty, faithfulness and devotion are just a few of the many qualities of this wonderful dog. If you are nostalgic and are looking for those special traits found in your old grandfather's farm dog, you may find this dog to be an excellent example. Yet, expect Scotch Collie breeders to put you on a waiting list as this breed is not an easy find.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Scotch Collie rescue and adoption center. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

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