Collie Care

The Collie is one of the most famous dog breeds in existence, thanks to the popularity of the Lassie film and TV series. These dogs come in Rough- and Smooth-coated varieties, but the care needed for both variants is essentially the same. (The Rough variety--of which Lassie was one--is more common, so this breed is often called the Rough Collie.) Regardless, Collies are whip-smart, friendly, and energetic, and have strong herding instincts that make them extremely protective and loyal. Overall Rough Collie care and maintenance won't take too much work, and will need to include a good bit of daily exercise--along with plenty of TLC, of course!

Here you'll find plenty of details on looking after a Collie: puppy care and development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and other assorted Collie tips are all covered. Get answers to your questions about raising a Collie in the following sections!

Collie Exercise Needs

As an active and energetic herding breed, Rough Collie exercise needs are fairly extensive. These dogs are highly intelligent and task-oriented, so they'll need a variety of daily activities that both condition them physically (walking, fetch) and stimulate them mentally. They make good jogging and bicycling companions as well.

Specifically how much exercise does a Collie need each day? Adults, depending on their age and overall activity levels, will need 45-60 minutes of dedicated exercise per day. You can start exercising your Collie puppy when it's three months old by taking it on short walks, then you can increase the walks' length as the pup grows.

Precautions with Collie exercise:

  • Don't exercise puppies too hard before they're nine months old
  • Strong herding instincts mean a leash is required when exercising in public; leash training during puppyhood is recommended
  • Yards must be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off
  • Possible separation anxiety; exercises should be done together with people

It's important to exercise your Collie every day. These dogs have strong work ethics and they bore easily, and without consistent activity they'll become anxious and disobedient--and they're sure to bark excessively! Regular exercise will be great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind. A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 20-minute walks (or 15-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: Collies love chasing a ball, stick, or Frisbee
  • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, Collies enjoy the company of other dogs
  • Canine Sports: These dogs can excel at obedience, agility, or herding trials and other events
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity

When indoors, giving your Collie access to balls or toys will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also good to have a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks or jogs after breakfast and dinner and playtime in the afternoon.

Collie Maintenance

In terms of overall maintenance, these dogs don't need a ton of care. Collie shedding is seasonal: fair for most of the year, and heavier during shedding season.

These dogs have two coat types: Rough, with thick, medium to long hair, and Smooth, with shorter, flat hair. Both coat varieties are double-layered, and both shed moderately most of the time--but when they blow their undercoats in the spring (and often in the fall as well), the shedding is more profuse. Owners can brush their Roughs a couple times a week with a pin brush (and a bristle brush for Smooths) to keep the Collie dog shedding to a minimum, and hair cleanup--vacuuming the floors, and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will be necessary from time to time. (Brushing and cleanup will obviously be required more often during shedding season.)

And a Collie rarely drools. If your Collie is drooling excessively, that might be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is needed.

Collie Diet

Collie food will need to contain animal proteins and healthy carbs, vitamins and minerals, and omega fatty acids--nutrients every dog needs to maintain its health in the long term. This means the best "Lassie" dog food is premium dry kibble, as it has balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Adult Collies, depending on their size, age, and activity levels, will need about three cups of dry food per day, divided into two meals. Collie puppy food portions are a bit smaller: again depending on age, about two cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months of age.

For more info on feeding a Collie puppy through adulthood, here's a handy Collie feeding chart:

Feeding Chart
Dog AgeDog WeightFood TypeAmountFrequency2 Months10 lbsDry (Puppy formula)0.33 cups3 times/day3 Months20 lbsDry0.5 cups3 times/day6 Months40 lbsDry0.75 cups3 times/day9 Months50 lbsDry* (Puppy/Adult)1.25 cups2 times/day12 Months60 lbsDry (Adult formula)1.5 cups2 times/day

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by mixing in adult formula with the puppy formula, in slowly increasing amounts with each meal, for one week.

Try if possible to stick to the above-listed portions. Though not especially prone to obesity, if these dogs are constantly overfed (and under-exercised) they certainly can become overweight--and a fat Collie dog will have numerous health problems and a potentially shortened lifespan. You can help control your Collie's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps (and easy on the Lassie dog treats!), and by not leaving food in the dog' bowl all the time.

If you're worried your Collie is overweight, try this simple test: run a hand along the dog's side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time--which means less food and more exercise!

Living Environment

Collies are definitely inside dogs. While they'll definitely need a good bit of outdoor exercise each day, these dogs will be much happier if they're allowed to live inside with (and protect!) their human family members. And for a Collie, apartment living is all right, as long as they get some daily outdoor exercise. Overall, though, Collies are best suited to homes with large fenced yards.

Climate is another consideration for Collie owners--and dogs with the two different coat varieties have different needs. In colder weather, Collie dogs will be okay, regardless of whether they have a Rough or Smooth coat. The Rough Collie, because of its thicker coat, tends to overheat easily, so those dogs fare better in mild to cool climates.

Temperature Range

The ideal climate for a Collie depends on whether it is of the Rough or Smooth variety. Rough Collies, because of their thick fur, will overheat quite easily, so they are better suited for cooler climates. Smooths are generally more adaptable to a wider variety of temperatures. Regardless of the weather, both varieties need plenty of water, and will require some shade when the temperature rises.

Collie Grooming

Read the grooming requirements for Collies including coat care and other maintenance.

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About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:October 21, 2019