What are rough collies like?
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    What are rough collies like?

    Just wondering what those of you who have owned rough collies can tell me about your breed. I've read in a few places that rough collies are the low-energy dogs of the herding world, so I'm wondering what living with one is like.

    Anybody have any stories or experiences?

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    Senior Member Abbylynn's Avatar
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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    I had a RC when I was 14 years old. She had 13 puppies. (Scheduled Breeding to a RC) I had a rescue RC also that someone shot. I also had a Border Collie. In my experience my RC's were lower energy than my BC was. But then again I was 14 years old and my dogs went everywhere with me .... like non stop .... They had a ton of exercise ... and I mean a ton of it! Lol!

    The are however intelligent, biddable, and loyal ... and mine were also protective if need be. I remember my female RC "Missy Dawn" ..... she jumped off of a porch banister .... sailed through the air .... to knock down one of my boyfriends who was playing too roughly chasing me in the yard for fun. You know how little kids play. She went straight for his stomach and knocked him flat on his rump.

    They are my Heart Breed although I no longer own any. ... but sometimes wish I still did.
    Last edited by Abbylynn; 08-11-2013 at 06:33 AM.


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    Senior Member Daenerys's Avatar
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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    I don't know a ton about them because I've never had one, but my fiance did growing up and he said his RC Noel was very much a family dog. She was protective of him and his sister, like Abbylynn said, and she was lower energy and was just fine laying around the house with them. She shed a ton, though. She's been gone for years (died of old age) and they are still finding her hair everywhere.

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    Senior Member elrohwen's Avatar
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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    I only know one reasonably well. He's definitely a low key mellow guy. He comes off as really low drive, and his owner had to go through 10 treats before she found one he would get mildly excited about during a training seminar. She does say that he goes nuts for deer and other prey though. His owners have a small farm with poultry, sheep, and goats, and he takes it upon himself to look after all of them and be their protector. She says he's very gentle with them.

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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Daenerys View Post
    I don't know a ton about them because I've never had one, but my fiance did growing up and he said his RC Noel was very much a family dog. She was protective of him and his sister, like Abbylynn said, and she was lower energy and was just fine laying around the house with them. She shed a ton, though. She's been gone for years (died of old age) and they are still finding her hair everywhere.
    Sounds like our family dog (an Aussie)! Vacuuming is useless when he's around.

    I wonder... They're such pretty dogs, do you think the roughs have had some of the working drive bred out of them? I mean, since they're less active than the smooth collies, apparently, despite being the same breed, I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with being shown in AKC... (I don't really know anything about their history, though.)

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    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    Quote Originally Posted by puppycat View Post
    Sounds like our family dog (an Aussie)! Vacuuming is useless when he's around.

    I wonder... They're such pretty dogs, do you think the roughs have had some of the working drive bred out of them? I mean, since they're less active than the smooth collies, apparently, despite being the same breed, I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with being shown in AKC... (I don't really know anything about their history, though.)
    Once you take the focus off of the work, any breed is going to lose its drive for that work. It may take several generations, but come back in 100 years and you'll have a dog that can no longer do the work that its ancestors could.

    I know a few RC's. One youngster that I know could be described as relatively high drive, though not over the top.

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    Senior Member Rowdy's Avatar
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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    Rough collies are on the lower scale of drive compared to the rest of the herding group, BUT... there are a lot of very driven collies, if that is what you want. There are lots of collies competing in herding and agility. You have to look into what the particular breeder is selecting for. Some are breeding more for looks, others more for herding ability, although a good breeder keeps both aspects in mind. Both of my guys are extremely low key until they see a sheep, goat or deer. Then the transformation is amazing. They both become focused, intense herders. But collies are not go, go, GO like the ACDs or BCs. They are happy to lie around if they don't have a reason not to.

    Collies are generally very people and other animal friendly. My guys never meet a stranger. But they know who THEIR people are. They are protective of their families but generally not in an aggressive way. An ACD or BC might meet a threat by going at it head on. A collie will find a way to deflect the aggression without pissing off the other animal more.

    I saw this in action once when Toby was @ 2yrs old. He and I went to a dog park. At one point, I was standing and chatting with a woman. Her very poorly trained dog kept running over and jumping on me. It would start on one side of the park, run toward us, jump on me, and then run to the other side. Then it would run back and jump again. Toby saw this from where he was playing on the other side of the park. He came over to us, and when the dog came running toward me, he ran along side of it, between it and me. He stayed between us until the dog was past me and then let it run on. When the dog came back from the other side, he did it again. He kept this up until the woman got a clue and leashed the dog. He never got in it's face. He just guided it past us in a gentle, playful way.

    Collies love to learn, but they get bored with repetition, so you have to come up with clever ways to keep them interested. They can also be stubborn, especially if they think you're going about something the wrong way.

    They can be very vocal. But this varies a lot dog to dog.

    They shed. There's no way around this. I will say, though, that my smoothie sheds more than the rough guy. Toby blows his coat twice a year. During that time we have clumps of fur everywhere. Then he's done. Cameron sheds ALL THE TIME. If you don't like hair, don't get a collie.

    If you want a guard dog, or an intimidating dog, don't get a collie. They are great watch dogs and will alert you to anyone coming to the house, or approaching on a trail, but they are not attack dogs. And no one is afraid of "Lassie". (Although I don't think Toby would ever let anyone or anything hurt me. I've mentioned this many times: Toby has come between me and a bear on two separate occasions.)

    I think I've run on enough. I'd be happy to answer any questions I can.

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    Senior Member Rowdy's Avatar
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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    Quote Originally Posted by puppycat View Post
    Sounds like our family dog (an Aussie)! Vacuuming is useless when he's around.

    I wonder... They're such pretty dogs, do you think the roughs have had some of the working drive bred out of them? I mean, since they're less active than the smooth collies, apparently, despite being the same breed, I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with being shown in AKC... (I don't really know anything about their history, though.)
    I think the difference in activity level is more about the breeder and less about whether they are smooth or rough. Traditionally, the rough was the one the rancher used to round up the sheep and the smooth was the drover that took them to market. Both had to be very active dogs.

    There's a lot of controversy in the collie community about keeping the herding instinct in the breed. I think it's paralleled in the BC and Aussie communities as well, and has a lot to do with showing in the AKC.

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    Re: What are rough collies like?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdy View Post
    Rough collies are on the lower scale of drive compared to the rest of the herding group, BUT... there are a lot of very driven collies, if that is what you want. There are lots of collies competing in herding and agility. You have to look into what the particular breeder is selecting for. Some are breeding more for looks, others more for herding ability, although a good breeder keeps both aspects in mind. Both of my guys are extremely low key until they see a sheep, goat or deer. Then the transformation is amazing. They both become focused, intense herders. But collies are not go, go, GO like the ACDs or BCs. They are happy to lie around if they don't have a reason not to.

    Collies are generally very people and other animal friendly. My guys never meet a stranger. But they know who THEIR people are. They are protective of their families but generally not in an aggressive way. An ACD or BC might meet a threat by going at it head on. A collie will find a way to deflect the aggression without pissing off the other animal more.

    I saw this in action once when Toby was @ 2yrs old. He and I went to a dog park. At one point, I was standing and chatting with a woman. Her very poorly trained dog kept running over and jumping on me. It would start on one side of the park, run toward us, jump on me, and then run to the other side. Then it would run back and jump again. Toby saw this from where he was playing on the other side of the park. He came over to us, and when the dog came running toward me, he ran along side of it, between it and me. He stayed between us until the dog was past me and then let it run on. When the dog came back from the other side, he did it again. He kept this up until the woman got a clue and leashed the dog. He never got in it's face. He just guided it past us in a gentle, playful way.

    Collies love to learn, but they get bored with repetition, so you have to come up with clever ways to keep them interested. They can also be stubborn, especially if they think you're going about something the wrong way.

    They can be very vocal. But this varies a lot dog to dog.

    They shed. There's no way around this. I will say, though, that my smoothie sheds more than the rough guy. Toby blows his coat twice a year. During that time we have clumps of fur everywhere. Then he's done. Cameron sheds ALL THE TIME. If you don't like hair, don't get a collie.

    If you want a guard dog, or an intimidating dog, don't get a collie. They are great watch dogs and will alert you to anyone coming to the house, or approaching on a trail, but they are not attack dogs. And no one is afraid of "Lassie". (Although I don't think Toby would ever let anyone or anything hurt me. I've mentioned this many times: Toby has come between me and a bear on two separate occasions.)

    I think I've run on enough. I'd be happy to answer any questions I can.
    I'm a woman and don't have any plans to get married anytime soon, so I wouldn't mind a protector, but I don't think I can keep up with the energy levels of many of the more intimidating breeds, and I'm a bit hesitant to say I can provide them with the right leadership. I think a dog who's big enough and possibly has some sort of protective instinct is all I really need if I'm looking for a protector. That isn't really a priority, but collies sound like they'd fit the bill well enough.

    Funnily enough, I was looking at coonhounds as well and the Black and Tans caught my eye. I don't know if anybody would seriously believe that one is part Doberman (coonhounds aren't really common around here), but apparently they're just so friendly that they may not be the best protectors :P It's not the reason I was looking at them, but I wouldn't get one for that particular reason regardless.

    Anyway, not really looking for a dog with high drive. I'd prefer lower drive, actually. My family has a working line Aussie and I feel bad for him-- he isn't destructive, but I'm still sure that he'd be happier with more attention and a job. I like the Aussie temperament, but short of maybe an older and very low-drive dog from a show line, the breed just doesn't fit my energy level. I guess that's why I was asking about rough collies-- since they'd still have a herder's "personality", but most would have a lower drive than our Aussie.

    I'm headed to college though, so short of possibly getting a dog as an emotional support animal after I've made sure I have the time (even though I'm considering cats, my favorite cat breeds make that...a little irrelevant, possibly.) I'm not necessarily looking to get a dog right now... Possibly doing a little research just in case, but mostly, I'm just curious about the breed.

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