Part of being a responsible dog owner includes making sure you choose a dog that fits in with your lifestyle and making sure you consider how any changes to your lifestyle might affect your dog.
Collies are one of the most commonly returned dogs to animal shelters. This is heartbreaking for collies who form strong connections with humans and have so much love to give to their families, so it’s crucial to figure out whether a collie is a good fit for your family before you go out and get one.
Collies are loyal, friendly dogs that make great pets for active families with children. Collies are not aggressive and get on great with children, other pets, and other dogs. Due to their high exercise and training requirements, collies are only recommended for families who have the time to look after them properly. Since they are prone to loneliness and separation anxiety, collies can’t be left alone for long periods.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the pros and cons of owning a collie as a family pet, including how they get on with other family members, children, and other pets.
Are collies good family dogs?
Collies are great family dogs for active families who spend a lot of time exercising. A collie’s friendly nature makes them ideal for living with kids and other pets, and their high energy levels are great for keeping up with hectic family life.
However, collies can become unruly and wild if they do not receive sufficient exercise or mental stimulation. Collies can also feel neglected if they are left alone for long periods so they are only suitable for families who will be around for most of the day.
Can collies be left alone with children?
Collies can be left alone with older children who understand the need to be gentle when handling dogs. Just like with other types of dog, collies shouldn’t be left around very young children. Since collies are very hyperactive, they might run around or knock over very small children.
If your children like to spend time outdoors playing in the garden then a collie is the ideal canine companion for them. Both collie and child will be able to keep each other entertained, tiring themselves out. It’s a win, win.
However, keep in mind that collies can sometimes be overbearing and children may not appreciate a rowdy collie rampaging away with their ball!
Are collies good with babies?
If introduced correctly, collies and babies will get along just fine.
The jealous nature of collies can sometimes be challenging when introducing a new member into their ‘pack’, so your collie may need additional support during a baby’s settling-in period.
Check out our ‘New babies Guide‘ for everything you need to know about helping your collie happily accept a new baby into their life.
Border collie herding children
Collies just love herding, it is after all what they were bred for and if children are a viable option you can pretty much guarantee your collie will have a go at rounding them up! However, with appropriate training collie and kids can live harmoniously.
Herding is hardwired into collies and children running about quickly can trigger their natural herding instinct. Of course, it is impossible to expect your children to sit still simply to not catch your collie’s attention so it is vital you take action to teach your collie some self-control.
This herding behavior may be amusing to begin with but if your collie starts nipping at your kids’ ankles then this is definitely a problem and you will need to find more suitable ways to keep your collie’s mind occupied. Check out our ‘Mental Stimulation Ideas‘ for some handy tips!
Do collies get on with other dogs?
Collies tend to prefer to be the only dog in the household as they can be prone to jealousy and like to be center of attention.
They were bred to work closely with humans and as a result often develop an intensely strong connection with their owners, leaving no room for another dog to be part of this bond.
Collies are friendly and non-aggressive, and although they love other dogs, they love their ball even more. Collies are full of sass, and are very selective about which dogs they play with. They may completely ignore other dogs if they don’t find them interesting, and will end the playtime abruptly if something more interesting enters their world.
There is nothing a collie will appreciate less than an obnoxious dog pouncing at them the same way you would probably not appreciate an obnoxious stranger lunging at you for a surprise hug!
Your collie simply wants to enjoy their day without other overbearing dogs invading their personal space. Often your collie will snarl, raise their hackle, or bark to communicate they do not want to be involved in such boisterous play.
It’s important to mention that your collie doesn’t hate other dogs, often they are just so focused on their own job (often chasing down a ball) that they fail to socialize with other dogs, especially as they mature out of their puppyhood.
Collies may develop closer friendships with a limited number of dogs and they may actively involve themselves in socializing with these few, however, on the whole, collies are the introverts of the canine world.
Do collies get on with other pets?
Collies get on well with other pets, but tend to favor spending time with their humans rather than keeping company with other animals in the household. Just like humans, collies have varying personalities and will get on great with some pets and cause friction with others.
Collies can suffer from jealously so just be sure your collie is receiving the attention they crave and not to favor another pet over them as this can provoke a negative reaction from your collie.
Collies are sensitive dogs and if another pet is taking priority your collie may become withdrawn from the family unit and may even display aggression towards the other pet in question. Read our ‘Guide to Managing Jealousy in Collies‘ for some ways to promote a harmonious household.
Do collies get on with cats?
Collies who have grown up around cats will most likely get on well with them, however, collies have very strong chase instincts and a collie who has not lived with cats before will find it difficult to resist the urge to chase them. Collies have strong herding instincts and your feline friend could be the next target!
Collies do not mean to upset cats, they simply see it as their job to round them up, however, this is no consolation to a cat at the receiving end of a collie’s antics and may potentially result in injury as the two animals come to head.
Read more about collies and cats in our ‘collies and cats guide’.
Do all types of collies make good family pets?
All collies make great pets, but it’s important to keep in mind that collies have very high exercise requirements, and must be adequately stimulated both mentally and physically to prevent them developing compulsive behaviors.
If you’re willing to put in the work, collies are one of the most rewarding family pets a family could ever ask for.
Let’s look at the specifics of some different collie breeds:
Do border collies make good family pets?
Border collies make good family pets for active households. Border collies are super loyal, good with kids, and always up for adventures. As an added bonus, they require minimal grooming.
However, if you can not provide a border collie with a minimum of 2 hours off-leash exercise every day then a potentially perfect family pet can turn into a real-life nightmare as they find undesirable ways to exert all of their energy, often through destructive behaviors.
Do welsh collies make good family pets?
Welsh collies can make good family pets but are better suited to a working environment and are not an ideal option for first-time dog owners.
They require at least 2 hours of off-leash exercise every day and lots of mental stimulation activities to keep them happy and content. Without meeting their physical and mental needs, welsh collies will wreak havoc, often destroying your precious belongings as a way to relieve their boredom.
Welsh collies are good with kids but do not appreciate being around loud environments and do not enjoy rough handling. This means that playtime with very young kids and welsh collies should be surpervized.
Do rough collies make good family pets?
Rough collies have an excellent temperament and make great family pets.
Rough collies are great with kids and will gladly accept as many hugs, cuddles, and rough and tumble play without complaint. They don’t shy away from noisy children and will gladly involve themselves in the action.
Rough collies do require a lot of daily exercise, but the good news is that they get along well with other dogs so as long as you have two hours to devote to daily walk, a rough collie will be more than happy to share the dog park with any other pup pals.
Rough collies do require daily grooming as they have a long, thick coat that can get matted easily. So if you are thinking about making a rough collie part of your family pack, daily grooming is something you must consider to keep your collie happy and healthy.
Do Smooth collies make good family pets?
Smooth collies are simply a short-haired version of the rough collie and they share the same desirable characteristics which make them great family pets.
Smooth collies are great with children and will love nothing more than endless playtime! This tires out your collie and your kids, what’s not to love?
Better yet, smooth collies require minimal grooming and their coat is very low maintenance. This can make them ideal family pets for those with busy active lifestyles.
However, smooth collies will require a minimum of two hours of off-leash exercise every day, or else you may end up with a devil dog, destroying everything in your home as their own personal form of entertainment.
Conclusion – Are Collies Good Family Dogs?
To sum up, collies are great family dogs, but they need a lot of exercise and training and won’t suit every family.
Collies need around two hours of off-leash exercise every day and lots of stimulating playtime to keep their minds and bodies happy. They are not the best choice for families who are out of the house at work or school all day, since collies can become lonely easily and are prone to developing compulsive behaviors.
Collies are gentle dogs, and can be left alone with children and other pets. Although some collies chase cats, collies that have grown up around cats will get used to them and it won’t be a problem.
Border Collies, Rough Collies, Welsh Collies, and Smooth Collies all make excellent family dogs.