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Miniature Collie

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By Nicole Cosgrove

shetland sheepdogs in field

Height: 13-16 inches
Weight: 14-27 pounds
Lifespan: 12-13 years
Colors: Merle, Blue Merle, Sable, Tri-color, Black & White, Sable & White, Black & Tan
Suitable for: Active families, those looking for an agility dog
Temperament: Affectionate, playful, and loyal

A smaller cousin of the famous Collie, the Miniature Collie is a compact, elegant dog with an affectionate temperament. Consistently ranked as one of the world’s most intelligent breeds, this herding dog is a sensitive and obedient companion. Keep reading to learn all about this distinctive breed.

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Collies and Miniature Collies

Collie and Mini Collie
Image Credit: PxHere

So, what’s the difference between a Collie and a Miniature Collie? Though they look very similar, these dog varieties are distinct breeds.

Collies were initially bred thousands of years ago to herd sheep. These instantly recognizable dogs can be up to 26 inches tall and weigh as much as 75 pounds. Collies are known for their beautiful long coats, which can be white, tricolor, sable, or blue merle. Less commonly, they may have short, smooth coats. Collies also have elegant, narrow faces, and if you’ve ever seen “Lassie,” you know that these sweet, loving dogs are especially affectionate with children.

Standing about 10 inches shorter, Miniature Collies look quite a bit like their larger relatives, but always have long, full coats. They’re also known as Shetland Sheepdogs, often shortened to Shelties. Like the famous Shetland ponies, these compact little dogs were bred to withstand the rugged northern climate of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. Don’t be fooled by their small size — these dogs were bred to be effective, resilient sheepherders.

Miniature Collie Puppies – Before You Buy…

Miniature Collie puppy
Image Credit: Pxfuel

What do these puppies cost?

A Miniature Collie can cost anything from $800 to $1,200, depending on the breeder and the puppy’s pedigree.

It may be tempting to save money and look for an inexpensive Miniature Collie, but you could end up with an unhealthy, poorly-bred dog. It’s important to fully research breeders to ensure safe, healthy, and responsible breeding and training practices.

You can check the websites of well-known dog organizations like the American Kennel Club and the United Kennel Club for lists of reputable breeders. You may also want to ask for recommendations from fellow dog owners or see if your veterinarian has a list of high-quality local breeders.

Once you’ve found a breeder, you may want to ask about the facility and look at the bloodlines. If possible, you may want to visit the facility to make sure that the dogs appear well cared for and healthy. You’ll also want to make sure your breeder doesn’t separate puppies from their mothers too early. Experts recommend separating puppies at between eight and 12 weeks. High-quality breeders will also include health screenings, microchips, and detailed information about your puppy’s bloodline.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Miniature Collies

1. Collies first reached the United Kingdom 2,000 years ago, brought by the Romans as early herding dogs.

2. You can thank Queen Victoria for popularizing this beautiful breed. This famously dog-loving queen’s favorite was a Collie named Sharp.

3. Miniature Collies were bred to be smaller because they eat less food, an important consideration in their harsh native climate, where food was scarce.

Female Miniature Collie
Image Credit: Pixabay

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Physical Traits of the Miniature Collie

Miniature Collies look quite a bit like their larger cousins. They have long, straight outer coats and dense undercoats that can be black, blue merle, or sable colored, with white markings. This breed has a wedge-shaped head and small, three-quarters erect ears.

Miniature Collies have a seasonally-shedding double coat. The outer layer is long and straight, while the inner coat is short and dense. You’ll need to brush your Miniature Collie’s coat multiple times a week to prevent matting and control shedding. You’ll also want to give your Miniature Collie monthly baths and keep its nails trimmed.

How big is a full-grown Miniature Collie?

As their name suggests, Miniature Collies are fairly small dogs. They can stand between 13 and 16 inches tall at the shoulder and typically weigh between 15 and 25 pounds.

How long do Miniature Collies live?

Healthy Miniature Collies typically live between 12 and 13 years.

Miniature Collie

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Intelligence, Temperament, and Personality Traits

Though they can be reserved with strangers, Miniature Collies are very eager to please and highly trainable. Gentle, obedient, and self-assured, these dogs can be loyal family pets. They’re also playful and good-natured and can be particularly affectionate with children.

They’re intelligent and do well with basic obedience training and sufficient early socialization. That high level of intelligence means they learn quickly, but it also means that they need constant mental stimulation and activity. If you leave a Miniature Collie alone for too long, you may return to find that your furniture or shoes have been chewed up.

These smart, sensitive dogs are particularly well-suited to therapy and service work. They pay close attention to verbal cues and respond well to positive reinforcement.

Miniature Collies can make effective watchdogs, barking to alert their owners to intruders. However, they’re not highly protective and may be too small to scare off intruders.

Miniature Collie tongue out

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Things to Know When Owning a Miniature Collie

Food & Diet Requirements

Miniature Collies do well with high-quality dog food and don’t generally have particular dietary needs. If you notice a digestive reaction to your dog’s food, you may want to consult your veterinarian. As with all breeds, Miniature Collies can develop allergies to wheat, chicken, and other common ingredients.


Since Miniature Collies were bred as working dogs, they have significant energy and need quite a bit of exercise. These compact dogs adapt well to city living, though they need regular walks and trips to the park. They’re intelligent, active, and agile and typically excel at canine sports such as agility, obedience, and herding. To keep a Miniature Collie engaged and active, you may want to regularly provide new challenges like puzzles and games.

Miniature Collies were bred as herding dogs, instinctively chasing after stray sheep. They’re particularly alert to moving things like passing squirrels and cars and tend to chase them without warning. If you leave your dog unattended in your yard, make sure your fences are solid and free of holes. While on walks or in the park, you may want to keep your Miniature Collie attached to a leash or on firm voice command.


Because they’re intelligent and alert, Miniature Collies are fairly easy to train. To make the process even easier, you may want to keep these three tips in mind.

1. Start training and socialization early.

Socializing as puppies can help dogs learn how to safely interact with other dogs. Your breeder will likely start this process before you pick up your puppy, but you’ll want to make sure your dog is comfortable with people and other dogs. Early obedience training establishes your relationship with your pet and teaches it to look to you for cues. This crucial training is the foundation of all of your dog’s future tricks.

Training can be especially important to control undesirable behaviors like barking. Miniature Collies tend to bark, whine, and growl quite a bit, but with some training, you’ll be able to limit these behaviors.

2. Use plenty of positive reinforcement.

Miniature Collies are sensitive dogs that pay quite a bit of attention to the verbal cues and moods of their owners. This means that you won’t have to be overly firm or harsh in training. Because these dogs are very eager to please, they respond well to positive reinforcement like treats and petting.

3. Don’t forget the leash.

Because Miniature Collies were bred for herding, they instinctively chase moving objects. This can include squirrels, cars, and other dogs. To keep your Miniature Collie from racing off, you’ll probably want to keep a tight hold on its leash. Experts also recommend strong, solid fences for your yard to prevent escapes.

Health Conditions

Miniature Collies are overall very healthy dogs. Here are a few health issues to keep an eye out for:

Minor Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Dermatomyositis (skin conditions)
  • Epilepsy
  • Arthritis
Serious Conditions
  • Thyroid disease
  • Gallbladder mucoceles
  • Eye diseases
  • Von Willebrand’s disease

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Final Thoughts

The Miniature Collie is a compact, energetic dog with a distinctive face, beautiful long coat, and excellent agility. Sweet, obedient, and intelligent, these dogs are popular companions and family animals. They’re famously patient and affectionate with children.

Bred as a herding dog, the Miniature Collie needs quite a bit of exercise and can make a very alert watchdog. Exceptionally smart, this sensitive dog responds well to cues and can be trained as a service or therapy dog. You will need to regularly groom your Miniature Collie and provide it with plenty of stimulation.

We hope this comprehensive guide to the Miniature Collie helps you understand this beautiful, energetic breed. If you’re looking for an intelligent, active family dog, the Miniature Collie could be for you!

Read about other interesting dog breeds:


Feature Image Credit: Erkki Makkonen, Shutterstock

Further reading

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