Shelter Dog Meal Donation Count:

Learn More

10 Dog Breeds Similar to Collies

Written by: Arlene D.
| Published on February 20, 2024

Collies have long been celebrated for their intelligence, elegance, and herding capabilities, making them a beloved breed among dog enthusiasts worldwide. Originating from Scotland and Northern England, these dogs have become synonymous with loyalty and agility, often seen in various roles from family companions to diligent working dogs. Their striking appearance and friendly nature have made them a favorite in literature and film, further cementing their status in popular culture. However, the Collie is just one of many breeds that share similar traits, whether it be in appearance, temperament, or working ability. For those who admire the Collie but are curious about related breeds with similar characteristics, there are several options to consider. Each breed brings its unique history, personality, and physical traits that make them well-suited to families, work, or companionship. This article explores ten dog breeds that share similarities with Collies, providing insights into their backgrounds, what makes them similar to Collies, and why they might make a great addition to your home.

1. Shetland Sheepdog

The Shetland Sheepdog, often affectionately known as the Sheltie, bears a striking resemblance to the Collie, only in a smaller package. Originating from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, these dogs were bred for herding sheep and ponies. Shelties share the Collie’s long, luxurious coat, keen intelligence, and strong herding instinct. Their smaller size, typically weighing between 15 to 25 pounds, makes them more adaptable to various living situations, including apartments. Shelties are known for their loyalty, affection towards their families, and wariness towards strangers, making them excellent watchdogs. Their eagerness to please and trainability make them outstanding competitors in obedience and agility trials. Like Collies, Shelties have a gentle nature, making them fantastic companions for children and adults alike.

2. Border Collie

Border Collies are renowned for their intelligence and are often cited as the smartest of all dog breeds. Originating from the Anglo-Scottish border, they were developed to herd livestock, especially sheep. Border Collies share the Collie’s strong work ethic, intelligence, and agility. They are highly energetic and require significant amounts of physical and mental stimulation, more so than Collies. Their coat can be smooth or rough and comes in various colors, although black and white is the most common. Border Collies excel in dog sports and are keen learners, making them ideal for active families or individuals interested in competitive dog sports. Their ability to form strong bonds with their owners and desire to work closely with them mirrors the Collie’s loyalty and companionship traits.

3. Australian Shepherd

Despite their name, Australian Shepherds were actually developed in the United States to herd livestock. They share the Collie’s intelligence, versatility, and herding ability. Australian Shepherds have a medium-length coat, which can be straight or slightly wavy, and comes in a variety of colors, including blue merle, red merle, black, and red, often with white and/or tan markings. They are well-known for their striking eyes, which can be blue, brown, or amber. Australian Shepherds are highly energetic and thrive in active households where they can get plenty of exercises and mental stimulation. Their loyalty and protective nature make them excellent family pets, similar to Collies. However, their high energy levels and need for engagement mean they are best suited for experienced dog owners.

4. Rough Collie

The Rough Collie is what most people envision when they think of Collies, largely due to the popularity of Lassie, the fictional Rough Collie. They share a close genetic lineage with Shetland Sheepdogs, showcasing the long, flowing coat that is iconic to the breed. Rough Collies are known for their elegance, friendly temperament, and intelligence. They are incredibly loyal to their families and are known to be great with children, making them excellent family pets. Their herding instinct is strong, but they are more adaptable to a relaxed lifestyle compared to some of the more high-energy breeds mentioned. Rough Collies are sensitive and responsive to training, eager to please, and relatively easy to train, sharing many of the admirable traits of their Collie cousins.

5. Smooth Collie

The Smooth Collie is essentially the short-coated version of the Rough Collie, sharing the same breed standards except for the coat length. Smooth Collies offer the same intelligent, gentle, and loyal temperament as their Rough counterparts but with a lower maintenance coat. They are versatile, excelling as family pets, in obedience, herding, or as therapy dogs. Their adaptability and friendly nature make them suitable for various environments, from apartments to farms. Smooth Collies are known for their alertness and can be excellent watchdogs, signaling the presence of strangers without showing aggression. Their easy-going temperament and trainability make them a great choice for first-time dog owners who admire the Collie breed but prefer a dog that requires less grooming.

6. Belgian Tervuren

Belgian Tervurens are part of the Belgian Shepherd family and share many traits with Collies, including their intelligence, work ethic, and protective nature. They have a distinctive long, flowing coat, most commonly seen in rich fawn to russet mahogany colors with black overlay. Belgian Tervurens are highly energetic and excel in various dog sports, including agility, herding, and obedience. They are loyal and form strong bonds with their families, often taking on a protective role. Their high intelligence and energy levels mean they require ample mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. Belgian Tervurens are best suited for active individuals or families who have experience with working breeds.

7. Old English Sheepdog

The Old English Sheepdog is a large breed known for its shaggy coat and distinctive bear-like gait. While they might not resemble Collies in appearance, they share the herding background and friendly, easygoing nature. Old English Sheepdogs are known for their playful disposition and adaptability, fitting well into family life. They are intelligent and trainable but can be a bit stubborn, requiring consistent and patient training. Their coat requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep them looking their best. Old English Sheepdogs are excellent with children and make loyal, affectionate family members, similar to Collies in their devotion and protective instincts.

8. Bearded Collie

Bearded Collies, or Beardies, are known for their long, flowing coats and bouncy, joyful demeanor. Originally bred in Scotland for herding sheep and cattle, they share the Collie’s working heritage and intelligence. Bearded Collies are extremely friendly and outgoing, often greeting friends and strangers alike with enthusiasm. Their energy and playfulness make them great companions for active families or individuals. They are adaptable and can thrive in various living situations, provided they get enough exercise and mental stimulation. Bearded Collies are known for their herding instinct, often displayed through herding children or other pets in the household. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them responsive to training, though they can be independent thinkers.

9. Welsh Sheepdog

Welsh Sheepdogs are a less well-known breed but share many characteristics with Collies, particularly in their herding abilities and intelligence. They are native to Wales and have been used for centuries to herd sheep and cattle. Welsh Sheepdogs are energetic and require plenty of exercises, thriving in environments where they can run and work. They are highly trainable and often used in competitive dog sports, showcasing their agility and obedience. Welsh Sheepdogs have a strong work ethic and are loyal to their families, making them excellent companions. They are best suited for active households that can provide them with the physical and mental stimulation they need.

10. Australian Cattle Dog

The Australian Cattle Dog, also known as the Blue Heeler, is a robust, hardworking breed developed in Australia for herding cattle over long distances. While they have a shorter coat and a more compact build than Collies, they share the intelligence, energy, and work ethic of the Collie breed. Australian Cattle Dogs are known for their loyalty and protective nature, making them excellent family pets for those who can meet their needs for exercise and engagement. They are highly trainable and excel in various dog sports, showcasing their agility and intelligence. Australian Cattle Dogs have a strong herding instinct and can sometimes try to herd children or other pets, a trait they share with Collies.

While each of these breeds shares similarities with Collies, from their herding heritage to their intelligence and friendly nature, they also bring their unique qualities and needs. Whether you’re drawn to the smaller Shetland Sheepdog, the energetic Border Collie, or the loyal Australian Shepherd, there’s a breed similar to Collies that can fit into a wide range of lifestyles and households. When choosing a dog, it’s essential to consider not only the traits that resemble Collies but also the specific needs and characteristics of each breed to ensure a perfect match for your family.

What Are Collies Like? How Are They Different Than Other Breeds?

Collies are one of the most recognizable and beloved dog breeds, known for their intelligence, elegance, and herding capabilities. Originating from Scotland and Northern England, these dogs have played various roles, from herding sheep on rural farms to becoming cherished family companions. This article delves into the unique characteristics of Collies, highlighting their differences from other breeds and shedding light on what makes them such special companions.

Historical Background and Purpose

Collies have a rich history that dates back centuries in the British Isles, where they were primarily used for herding and protecting livestock. This working background has endowed the breed with remarkable intelligence, agility, and an innate sense of responsibility. Unlike breeds developed primarily for companionship, hunting, or guarding, Collies have been bred to work closely with humans, demonstrating an exceptional ability to understand and respond to commands.

Physical Appearance

One of the most striking features of Collies is their appearance. They are medium to large-sized dogs with a distinctive, refined head, expressive almond-shaped eyes, and a lush double coat that can come in several colors, including sable and white, tri-color, blue merle, and white. Collies are divided into two main types: the Rough Collie, with its iconic long coat, and the Smooth Collie, which has a short, dense coat. This variation within the breed allows potential owners to choose a Collie that fits their lifestyle and grooming preferences, setting them apart from breeds with only one coat type.

Temperament and Behavior

Collies are renowned for their gentle and friendly temperament. They are exceedingly loyal to their families, often forming a close bond with one member in particular but showing affection to all. Unlike some breeds that may exhibit strong guarding instincts or high prey drive, Collies tend to be more focused on their human companions, making them excellent family pets. Their herding heritage does instill a protective nature, but they are more likely to herd people (especially children) gently than to show aggression.

Intelligence and Trainability

Collies stand out significantly in terms of intelligence and trainability. They are quick learners, eager to please, and capable of performing a wide range of tasks, from obedience to agility. This makes them versatile dogs that can excel in various activities, including herding trials, dog sports, and therapy work. Their intelligence sets them apart from breeds that may be more challenging to train or those with a more independent nature, making Collies ideal for first-time dog owners looking for a trainable and responsive companion.

Exercise and Activity Needs

While Collies are adaptable to different living situations, they thrive with regular exercise and mental stimulation. Their energy levels are moderate compared to more high-energy breeds like Border Collies or Australian Shepherds, but they still require daily walks, playtime, and training sessions to stay healthy and happy. This balance of activity needs makes them suitable for families or individuals who can provide regular but not overly demanding physical activities, differentiating them from breeds with higher or lower energy levels.

Health and Longevity

Collies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain genetic health issues, such as Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and hip dysplasia. Responsible breeding practices have reduced the prevalence of these conditions, but potential owners should be aware of the breed’s health considerations. Collies typically have a lifespan of 12 to 14 years, which is on par with many breeds of similar size but longer than some larger breeds, highlighting the importance of good care and regular veterinary check-ups.

Collies in Comparison

When compared to other breeds, Collies offer a unique combination of traits that make them particularly well-suited to a variety of roles and lifestyles. Unlike breeds developed for specific tasks like guarding or hunting, Collies are versatile, capable of adapting to roles ranging from active family member to competent working dog. Their intelligence, coupled with their gentle demeanor, sets them apart from more independent or aggressive breeds, making them ideal companions for those seeking a responsive and affectionate pet.

The Role of Collies Today

Today, Collies continue to be popular both as working dogs and family pets. Their ability to adapt to different environments and roles demonstrates their versatility and enduring appeal. Whether participating in competitive dog sports, serving as therapy dogs, or simply being loving family members, Collies bring joy and companionship to their owners’ lives.

Collies are a breed apart, known for their intelligence, loyalty, and striking appearance. Their rich history as working dogs has endowed them with a unique set of skills and characteristics that make them adaptable to a variety of roles. Compared to other breeds, Collies offer a balanced blend of energy, intelligence, and affection, making them ideal companions for a wide range of individuals and families. For those seeking a dog that combines elegance with intelligence and a gentle nature, the Collie is an excellent choice, embodying the best qualities of man’s best friend.

Recent Articles

Interested in learning even more about all things dogs? Get your paws on more great content from iHeartDogs!

Read the Blog