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What kind of dog is that? Smooth coat border collie

People stop me all the time to ask what kind of dog Lilly is. Some have guessed Canaan dog. Others think Kelpie. Both of which are not common at all. Those without a guess usually say, “What kind of dog is that? She looks like a fox.” And, when I say, she’s a smooth coat border collie, countless people (including those who work in pet businesses) say “border collie mix”? or “Really?” … like I’m making it up.

Yes, really.

While border collies with smooth coats, rather than rough ones, are not as common nor as familiar, they are well known in border collie circles. They simply have smoother coats and more angular features.

And, here’s a shocker, not all smooth coat border collies are black and white. Some are even tri-colored.

Smooth coat border collie

Yes, Lilly came from a shelter without any pedigree papers. However, thanks to the AKC’s ILP (indefinite listing privilege) program — now called PAL (purebred alternative listing), she’s recognized as a purebred smooth coat border collie. That means she can compete in AKC events like agility or herding, but not conformation. That’s the formal name of what regular folks call a “dog show.”

To receive an ILP, I had to prove she is spayed. I also completed a detailed application that included information about her height at the withers, her weight, her build, and her instincts to show how she met the breed standard. I sent photos, and I included a letter of recommendation from the Rocky Mountain Border Collie Rescue volunteer who evaluated Lilly before she was put up for adoption. She essentially wrote … “Yep, that’s a border collie.” And, Lilly was approved.

Now, it honestly doesn’t matter to me if my dogs are pure-bred or mixed breeds. The only reason it’s important for Lilly to have this designation is so that she can compete in AKC agility events when (if ever) she’s ready. There are other agility venues who allow dogs of all breeds and mixes, but in Colorado there is a preponderance of AKC events. So, if you want to do this a lot (and not have to travel out of state), there you go.

smooth coat border collie dog blog champion of my heart

Answers to common questions

So, to recap my answers to the most common questions:

Yes, she’s a border collie.

No, she’s not particularly small. She’s dead-on the breed standard for size.

No, they are not all this shy, but (as I’ve mentioned before) they each have their own brand of crazy.

Yes, she’s very smart and very active.

Yes, she really can jump (as high as my head) and does it all the time when she’s happy. In fact, if I don’t see it coming, she’s given me bloody noses, a fat lip, and broken sunglasses.

Thank you. Yes, she’s the Champion of my Heart.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Ruth - December 15, 2010

Ha ha! I can fimialrise with you! Whenever I take my smooth Border Collie Sheila (striking resemblance to Lilly, by the way) anywhere, people always aks, “What breed is she?” And whenever I say border collie, they are a little surprised.

Love the blog by the way, I’ll be back often!

Rox - April 26, 2007

In the edit screen, those first 2 photos were side by side. Sorry, I’m still figuring this out.

The top one is a Canaan dog. The bottom one is a kelpie.

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