Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Gollie
Meler2 / Wikipedia.org

The Gollie, or Golden Collie, is a designer dog that has been created by breeding together the placid Golden Retriever with either the Smooth or the Rough Collie. This dog typically inherits a serene and gentle personality with a high tolerance for children. They are an active dog that is both biddable and intelligent and, while their parents were working stock, they don’t tend to be as highly-strung or demanding as others bred from similar pedigrees.

Gollies are a medium to large-sized dog with long, straight fur that is often golden but can also be white, black and brown. Their most noticeable physical features are their long muzzle and inquisitive eyes. As they tend to be leaner than their Golden Retriever parent, they have an athletic silhouette.

About & History

While both parent breeds have Scottish roots, it is believed that the very first litter of Gollies was bred within the United States. Much like the other designer dog breeds, the first Gollie was likely established towards the end of the 20th century, though we do not have any records to prove this.

The Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are renowned for their loving, easy-going personalities and many owners with babies or toddlers will choose a Golden Retriever as a pet for this reason alone. They were bred to have soft mouths for game retrieval and would participate in hunts within their Native Scotland during the 1800s. Water lovers, they were apt at hunting on both land and water, making them more desirable than many other local breeds.

They originated from the Tweed Water Spaniel and the Flat Coated Retriever, as well as other dogs, including the Red Setter (Irish Setter).

Some will still be used on the hunt today, while others are employed as assistance dogs; a role that suits them well thanks to their compliant personalities. While once only present within the United Kingdom, they are now seen all over the world and are currently one of the most popular breeds in existence.

The Collie

Collies were made famous in the 1950s when a television show called Lassie was aired and children all over the world begged their parents for their very own Lassie. As with the Golden Retriever, they hail from Scotland, though were never used to hunt and were instead employed as herding dogs on farmyards. To excel in this role, they required brains and agility – both of which they have in spades.

Collies were first exported to the States in the late 1800s and, from there, they made their way gradually around the world. The Kennel Club recognise them within their Pastoral Group and they emphasise the general public’s desire for the Rough Collie’s ‘glamorous’ coat, using it as an explanation as to why they are far more in demand than the closely-related Smooth Collie.


Gollie Large Photo
Meler2 / Wikipedia.org

Gollie dogs generally look a lot like a Golden Retriever that has been streamlined! They have the impressively long muzzle of the Collie and beautiful deep-set, oval eyes that may be brown but are usually hazel. Their triangular ears may sit semi-erect or hang down to the side of their forehead as they are set rather high. They have a broad neck and deep chest with a rectangular-shaped body and long, lean limbs. Their tail is medium both in length and width and typically densely furred.

It is customarily the Rough Collie that is used to create the Gollie, however, those with Smooth Collie in their bloodline will often have a shorter coat. The average Gollie (bred from a Rough Collie) will have an impressively long and thick coat that is straight and prone to matting. Some may have a solid golden coat, as is seen in the Golden Retriever, while other will inherit the black, white and browns of the Collie. Thicker fur is mostly found on the face, ruff, limbs and tail. A mature Gollie is a tall dog that stands at 56cm to 61cm and will weigh in somewhere between 25kg and 30kg.

Character & Temperament

Good golly are Gollies jolly! A happy-go-lucky breed that has a sunny disposition, spending time with a Gollie is sure to put you in a good mood. These dogs are never spiteful or manipulative, instead viewing the world with an open heart. They are playful and kind, relishing their time spent with people, especially young children. They have an enormously high threshold for the normal rough and tumble of children and toddlers, though it is always wise to keep an eye on them when in the company of young ones.

Gollies are incredibly intelligent and enjoy being given challenges and being kept on their toes. Owners can indulge them by playing with interactive toys and encouraging them to use their brain by setting up scenting games, obstacle courses and similar activities.

A useful watch dog, the Gollie will always be sure to let their family know when a new person has arrived at the home. While they won’t act in a hostile manner, they will not be as friendly as they usually are with someone they don’t know and are more likely to greet them with a loud woof than a waggly tail.


Training a Gollie can be great fun and even a novice should be able to achieve good results. They can learn a vast array of training cues and will respond to them with glee, simply happy to be pleasing their master. They are particularly food-driven, another trait that makes training that little bit easier.

Good behaviour can be rewarded and encouraged with small titbits, such as sliced hot dog or roast chicken. Some individuals may be a little sensitive and will become upset if criticized harshly or not rewarded frequently enough. Build up their confidence with plenty of vocal praise.


There are a number of health issues that can plague the Gollie, though most will live normal lives into their early teens.

Hip Dysplasia

Malformed hips can easily be identified on a plain x-ray. Dogs do require a deep sedation or a general anaesthetic to allow for good positioning and good quality x-rays and it is also important that an experienced vet analyses the radiographs produced.

Those proven to have hip dysplasia should be neutered as to breed them would be irresponsible, now that we know for sure that hip dysplasia can be passed on.


Epilepsy is the condition a dog has when they have seizures that occur for no known reason. Some dogs will have seizures but are not epileptic, for example, those with brain tumours or liver disease.

It is critical that a dog who has a fit has several diagnostic tests performed to ensure they are not caused by something other than epilepsy. This is especially true of those over the age of six, as most dogs who have epilepsy will have their first fit before this time.

Atopic Dermatitis

‘Itchy skin disease’ or ‘atopy’ occurs when an animal over-reacts to things in its environment, such as grasses or house dust mites. The skin becomes inflamed and pruritic and, in an attempt to relieve the itch, the animal will tend to rub and scratch so much that they damage the skin and introduce secondary infections.

Medication to reduce the itchiness can be especially helpful and other medicines, such as antibiotics and prescription shampoos are also typically required during a flare up.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Due to this dog’s size and their love of the great outdoors, it is best if they are provided with a suitably large home, as well as a good amount of space outside. If possible, they should have some time off lead where they are able to roam and sniff. Most will be fabulous swimmers and will take the opportunity to go for a dip in any body of water in their vicinity (so have a towel handy in the car!).


Depending on which coat the Gollie inherits, it usually needs to be brushed from nose to tail about three or four times a week. During shedding season, this will increase to daily as these dogs can shed a great deal.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.