Rough Collie vs Golden Retriever – Which One Is Better?

Any list of the most popular dogs in the world would be seriously lacking if Rough Collie and Golden Retriever were not included.

Both breeds were first developed in Scotland and rose to fame due to their prominent appearances in movies and on TV.

There’s hardly a person in the world who hasn’t heard of Lassie, Air Bud, or some other popular roles these two starred in.

In part because of their pop-culture prominence, but also because they are both very affectionate, playful, and loyal, these two are among the most popular family dogs today.

However, they were initially bred for different purposes.

When comparing Rough Collie vs Golden Retriever, you’ll notice some differences mainly due to the fact that the former was developed as a herder while the latter was bred to be a hunting dog.

Below, I’ll look into those differences and what they could mean for potential owners.

So, let’s dive in!

Attributes Rough CollieGolden Retriever
Good For First Time OwnersNoYes
Good Guard Dog With Enough Training Not The Best Choice
Apartment FriendlyYesYes
Good Family DogYesYes
SheddingHighModerate To High
Barking And Howling HighLow
Height22-26 inches (55-65 cm)20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
Average Life Expectancy12-14 Years10-12 Years


Rough Collie – Dog Breed Information

Hailing from the Scottish hills, Rough Collies are one of the most beloved and recognizable breeds in the world.

Most people know this breed as Lassie from the hit TV series and movies.

However, few know that their popularity goes back to the 19th century when they were Queen Victoria’s favorite dogs.

Originally used to herd sheep, today this beautiful and majestic breed mostly serves as family dogs.


Rough Collie is a medium to large-sized breed, instantly recognizable due to its luxurious coat.

They are strong and athletic with graceful and elegant gait.

The long and abundant double coat is the main feature of a Rough Collie. The undercoat is soft and dense, keeping them warm at all times.

The topcoat is more coarse and long, a bit more abundant around the neck and on the legs.

There’s also a variant with a smooth and shorter topcoat.

The color patterns mostly include different combinations of white, black, blue merle, and tan.

Besides the coat, the most distinctive feature is a smooth and wedge-shaped head. The eyes are dark and almond-shaped, while the ears are semi-erect and set high on the head.

Males can grow about 24-26 inches (60-66 cm) and weigh 60-70 pounds (27-32 kg).

Females are 22-24 inches (55-61 cm) high and weigh 53-65 pounds (24-29 kg).


Rough Collies are good-natured, well-behaved, and extremely friendly dogs. They never show aggression and are very careful and gentle with children.

They do bark quite a lot, but more as a means of communication than to express aggression.

Still, due to their herding origins, they tend to get nippy. In addition, they get along great with other animals.

Rough Collies are also very loyal and live to please their owner and are ready to do anything their human asks them to.

The natural obedience, coupled with a fairly high level of intelligence, makes them easy to train.

They are also very active and highly energetic dogs. This means that you’ll have to provide them with a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

Otherwise, they can easily get bored and even become destructive. Rough collies are very adaptable and can do well both in the city and country.

Golden Retriever – Dog Breed Information

Just like Rough Collies, Golden Retrievers were developed in Scotland.

Their origins go back to the 1800s when they assisted members of the British aristocracy in hunting.

They have a great sense of smell and are fantastic trackers and retrievers. Today, they’re mostly known as one of the most popular breeds of family dogs.


Golden Retrievers are medium-sized dogs with muscular, and athletic bodies. Despite their sturdy bodies, they move with both grace and power.

They have a lush and abundant double coat. It’s fairly long, thick, and waterproof.

Depending on the individual dog, the topcoat hair can be either straight or wavy. It is usually a bit longer on the chest, legs, and tail.

They mostly feature golden colors appearing in a wide range of different shades. As a rule, they don’t have any visible markings.

Golden Collies have a rather large head with a characteristic intelligent and soulful gaze. The ears are floppy and set on top of the head.

Males grow to about 22-24 inches (56-61cm) and weigh 60-80 pounds (27-36 kg).

Females Golden Retrievers are 20-22 inches (51-56 cm) high and can weigh around 55-70 pounds (25-32 kg).


Golden Retrievers are known as one of the friendliest and sweetest dog breeds. Their calm and affectionate nature is what makes them so popular as family dogs.

Due to these traits, they’re also often used as therapy dogs.

More than anything else, they like to spend time with their family and engage in various activities with them.

Their main goal in life is to please their owners.

Goldies get along great with kids and other animals but are also very friendly towards strangers.

This is why they don’t make very good guardian dogs.

This breed is easy to train as they are very smart in addition to being obedient. They like a challenge and enjoy being stimulated, both mentally and physically.

Be prepared to set aside plenty of time for exercise as they are very energetic and active.

Without enough activity, Golden Retrievers can easily become bored or even depressed.

Rough Collie vs Golden Retriever – Which One is Better?

Rough Collie Golden Retriever

Which one of these breeds will suit you and your family better mainly depends on personal preference and living arrangements.

These breeds share some excellent qualities, as they are both very friendly, playful, great with kids, and devoted to their families.

Also, each of them is a fairly good choice for inexperienced owners and highly trainable.

While they’re both active breeds, Rough Collies still need a bit more space and exercise.

They are also less perfect for apartment living due to the higher shedding level and more grooming requirements.

If you live in an apartment building, you should also know that they’re also more vocal and will bark more.

Golden Retrievers are more adaptable of the two and can handle different living situations.

Rough Collies are more sensitive and prefer regular daily routines.

Neither of these breeds is among the best guard dogs, but Collies are somewhat more alert and protective.


If you’re looking for a perfect family dog, Rough Collies and Golden Retriever should be at the very top of your list.

Each of these breeds is a joy to have around and will make life-long friends for all members of your family.

The kids love them and they will also get along with any other pet you may have.

Still, remember that these are fairly large and long-haired dogs with high exercise needs.

So, while the ownership of a Rough Collie or Golden Retriever is extremely rewarding, they still do require a responsible owner.

If you think you can handle this, either of them is a great choice for a new family member.

Authored By

Madeline Wright

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