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History of the Smooth Collie     by Doris W. Werdermann

  The popularity of the Smooth Collie has increased significantly all over the United States in the past 20 years.  The improved quality of smooths has enhanced their success in intervarietal competition at Specialty shows and among all breeds in Groups and BIS classes.  Rough and Smooth Collies are still being interbred today and it is not surprising to find the two varieties becoming more competitive in the show ring.  The Smooth Collies has also gained greater recognition as a companion and obedience dog.

     The Smooth Collie differs from the rough variety only in coat.  The correct coat is as important to the overall quality of the smooth as the full coat is to the rough.  The Smooth Collie is a double-coated dog with a short, soft, dense undercoat required for insulation as in roughs.  The outer coat should be straight, harsh and close to the body and of sufficient length to cover the undercoat.  The head and ears are smooth, as are the forelegs and hindlegs below the hock joint.  The neck is furnished with slightly longer, thicker hair forming a slight ruff.  The hair forming the pants, or skirts, on the hindquarters is slightly longer and more abundant than the body coat.  In breeding and judging both varieties of Collies, an understanding of the correct coat characteristics is imperative.

Early Smooths in England

     During the mid-1800s the Smooth Collies of Northern England were, in general balance and conformation, closer to today's type for the variety than were the rough-coated dogs of Scotland, for the rough variety.  These tended to be short-legged and long-bodied, with short, forward-thrust necks.  Rough/Smooth crosses were common at that time.

     H. E. Packwood wrote in Show Collies Rough and Smooth-Coated, published in 1906 in Manchester, England, that smooths had made good progress in the previous ten years and were equally as good for show or shepherd work as their rough brothers.  He noted that the smooth was not so popular with the public and entries at shows ere small.

     The show history of Collies had begun in 1860 at the Birmingham National Dog Show where one class for dogs and bitches of all varieties of sheepdogs was offered.  By the 1870s the variety had taken hold and enough smooths were being exhibited for a few large shows to offer separate classes for them.  One of the first smooths bred for the show rings was Eng. Ch. Pickmere, a tricolor dog from a rough/smooth cross, bred by F. Hurst and exhibited by A. H. Megson.

     Another early influence on the smooth variety was Eng. Ch. Heathfield Dot, sired by a rough brother of Eng. Ch. Metchley Wonder, the well-known winner, from a blue merle smooth working bitch, Blue Light.  Packwood wrote that Dot was ..."an ideal quality blue merle with a perfectly chiseled head, nice ears, pleasing expression and a coat that is seldom equaled."

     Eng. Ch. Babette of Moreton (1900) was the top smooth bitch up to that time.  She was a great-granddaughter of Heathfield Dot and was almost entirely of smooth breeding.  in 1902 she won the Challenge trophy for Best Collie of Any Variety at the Collie Club show.  Babette has been described as ideal, a lovely true type, an exquisite quality bitch with hardly a fault in her conformation.  In 1906 at the same show, Ormskirk Venice won the championship, repeating the performance of Babette by winning the Challenge trophy.

     A particularly beautiful and versatile smooth was the blue merle bitch, Eng. Ch. Laund Lynne (Hetman ex Primly Primula), owned by W. W. Stansfield,  Whelped in 1917, Lynne herded sheep and cattle, retrieved and also had an illustrious show career.  She was the winner of 17 challenge certificates, and was placed Best in Show all-breeds or Best Bitch in Show 95 times.  Her record included the cup of Best of All-Breeds at the English Kennel Club show.  She also won outright the silver jardiniere of the Kennel Club for Best Bitch in Show by winning it three straight years.  Lynne was never bred during her youth owing to the demands of her show career.  Remarkably, at ten years of age she reared a litter of seven puppies.

Early Smooths in America

     The earliest record of smooths being shown in the United States is the Westminster catalogue of 1888.  There was a class for "smooth-coated Collies and bob-tailed Sheepdogs," sexes combined, which attracted five entries.  By the 1890 Westminster, rough and smooth Collies were mixed in all classes except for open, which was divided by coat, but in Smooths combined in sexes.  In the next decade four champions appeared:  Ch. Clayton Countess (1901) finished in 1906, Ch. Ormskirk Mabel in 1907 and er daughter, Ch. Ormskirk Lucy, the following year.  Then came Ch. Warran Patience in 1909.  Smooth entries later declined, with no record of the variety being shown at all from 1923 to 1940.

     During the Golden Age of Collies in America the popularity of roughs rendered the smooth variety all but extinct.  In an attempt to overcome this condition, a syndicate was formed in 1939 consisting of such prominent fanciers as H. R. Lounsbury of Halmaric Kennels, Mrs. Clara M. Lunt of Alstead, Robert G. Wills of Alloway, Arthur Foff of Tamalgate and Mrs. Genevieve Torrey Eames of Torreya.  They imported Laund Blue Peter, a blue smooth male, and Laund Loftygirl, a smooth tricolor bitch, the the Laund Kennels in England.  The pair were bred twice with the members drawing lots for the puppies.  Unfortunately the syndicate disbanded after a few years due to lack of interest and the progeny of the pair scattered.  Their influence remains today, particularly in midwestern smooths.

     Due to lack of competition, there were no opportunities to make up smooth champions during this period.  However, Hewmark Hallmark, an imported tricolor bitch, won Best of Breed over roughs for three points and went on to place second in the Working Group at the Hampton Roads Kennel Club show in Norfolk, Virginia in 1941.

Written By Sandra Hamilton 

The Smooth and Rough Collie  are allowed to be bred together in Canada .


Identical to the Rough Collie in all respects except for coat length, the Smooth Collie is of the same lineage. Though the Smooths were also herding dogs, they proved to be more popular for driving sheep. Collies take their name from the black-faced Scottish sheep that were known as “colleys” (meaning black) and were called “colley dogs.”


Loyal, trainable, affectionate and kindly, the Smooth shares the same temperament traits as the Rough Collie and is reputed to be excellent with children.

Activity Level

As a herding and drover dog, the breed likes to keep busy but it possesses a calm nature. Regular outdoor activity is needed to keep the Smooth Collie in condition and because of its size, it is better suited to suburban or country living.


Adult males will measure 24-26 in (61-66 cm) at the shoulder and weigh 60-75 lb (27-34 kg), while females will average 2 in (5 cm) and 10 lb (4.5 kg) less.


The Smooth Collie carries a short, hard, dense, flat outer coat over an abundance of undercoat.


Like the Rough, the Smooth Collie may be tri-colour, sable, sable merle, Blue  merle or white.


Thorough and regular brushing are all that’s required. Lower maintenance that the rough coat 




The Smooth coat is a dominant gene. In order for a dog to be Smooth it must carry the dominant smooth gene...if it does carry the gene it is Smooth.. There is no such thing as a recessive smooth gene.

If your dog is Rough it has no Smooth gene to pass on. The only way to get a Smooth from a Rough is to breed it to a Smooth. In that breeding, you will get some Smooth and some Rough..The Roughs again cannot produce a smooth, (the smooth gene is never a recessive remember) but the Smooths can produce Roughs as rough is carried as a recessive gene.

If you breed two Smooths together (both having a rough parent therefor carrying a rough recessive will get some Smooths WITH a recessive rough gene that can produce roughs. It inherited one dominant smooth gene and one recessive rough gene ...and some Smooths that will only produce Smooths as they inherited two Smooth genes, one from each parent, they have no recessive rough gene so they will not produce a Rough no matter what you breed it too, And, you may get a Rough (inheriting two recessive rough genes). Even a rough from two smooth parents cannot produce a smooth. It is never a recessive.

The people that say they do not want to use a smooth in their breeding program because they don't want to lose their nice full coat factor do not understand the genetics of the coat factor. Using a rough from a smooth parent will in no way make the rough hair less never mixes.

You don't have to worry about a smooth coming along later in your breeding program either as I have heard some say......IT IS NEVER RECESSIVE.

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