Lab Collie Breed Information, Characteristics and Facts

Labrador Retrievers and Rough Collies are some of the most preferred purebred dogs all over the world. But what about a cross between them? Are they as cute and smart as their purebred parents?

This article will give you all the details that you need to know about this adorable designer dog. Who knows? They may turn out to be just the dog you have been looking for so far—pore over to find out.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Lab Collie

When it comes to hybrid dogs, people tend to have lots of doubts and questions. Lab Collies are no different. Such queries may include:

  1. Is Lab Collie a healthy dog?
  2. How is Lab Collie as a family dog? 
  3. Is a Lab Collie suitable for me?
  4. Are Lab Collie Cross high maintenance?
  5. How do I find a Lab Collie Cross?

These questions are just the sliver of the full scope. We are sure that many other queries may be playing merry-go-round in your head. However, do not take stress because that’s why we are here. The upcoming sections will relieve you from all your apprehensions and misapprehensions regarding this breed. 

Introducing the Lab Collie

These adorable cross of two famous purebred dogs, Rough Collies and Labrador Retrievers are particularly remarkable for their friendly, playful and attentive nature. With the genes of two highly intelligent and loyal family dogs, your Lab Collie is bound to be a perfect companion and family dog.

The upcoming sections will discuss the minutest of facts related to this popular Lab Collie mix. Consequently, you will come to know almost everything you need to know to raise these adorable hybrid dogs. Besides that, you will have a clear vision of what to expect from these dogs when you intend to adopt one.

However, for that, you first have to know about their origin or emergence.

Emergence of the Lab Collie Cross

To put it in one line, the Lab Collie cross is what we term as a ‘designer dog.’

Unfortunately, this mixed dog breed has still not been enrolled in the International Designer Canine Registry.
Also, there is no information regarding who, when, and why was a Labrador Retriever crossed with a Rough Collie.

As it is quite apparent, our knowledge base on this hybrid dog is very restricted. However, you can have a fair idea of these mixed breed dogs if you get a small glimpse of the history of their parent breeds.

Labrador Retriever Origin

Whatever the name may suggest, the Labradors originated in Newfoundland, Canada and not in Labrador. They are the descendants of what is famously known as the St. John’s water dogs.

These highly active and intelligent dogs were acknowledged as the fishermen’s best friends due to their retrieving services. They were employed by the fishermen to retrieve nets and fishes from the North Atlantic’s icy waters.

With their never-ending energy and even temperament, they won the hearts of the English nobles who visited Canada in the nineteenth century. These English Nobles who were involved in sporting and hunting activities took some of these intelligent gun dogs with them to England.

During the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth century, these working dogs grew so much popular that in 1903, the Kennel Club of England gave them official recognition. The American Kennel Club followed by acknowledging them 14 years later.

Today, the Labrador Retrievers are identified as the most preferred purebred dogs globally.

Rough Collie Origin

The Collies are assumed to be tracing their origin in the highlands of 18th century Scotland. Their primary purpose was to guard and herd the flocks.

According to the records, these dog breeds were Queen Victoria’s personal favourite. That explains how and why these dog breeds became so famous in England and subsequently, in the whole world.

These dogs began to be reared for show or conformation from the 1860s. They were taken to the United States in 1879, where the Collie Club of America, one of America’s earliest speciality clubs was established in 1886.

Today, Collies are acknowledged as one of the most prefered family dogs. You will find two different variants of Collies- Smooth and Rough. Even though they appear mostly similar, their coats distinguish them from each other.

What should you expect from a Lab Collie Mix

Being a hybrid dog, your Lab Collie will receive the traits of both of its purebred parents. And those traits will include both desirable and undesirable ones.

However, unfortunately, you won’t be able to predict which of the temperamental and physical characteristics your pup will receive from its purebred parents. For that, you will have to do some thorough research on those two purebred dogs.

Besides that, we will advise you to meet your Lab Collie’s parents personally. It will assist you to gauge your pup’s potential physical and temperamental characteristics.

Appearance of a Lab Collie Cross

Keeping in mind the above section, we will first look into the general appearance of your Lab Collie’s purebred parents to predict their impact on your pup’s overall appearance.

Let us begin with the Rough Collie.

General Appearance of a Rough Collie

If you have read or watched the iconic novel, cum film Lassie Come Home, you already have some idea about how a Rough Collie looks like. For those who don’t know, these dogs tend to possess a rough coat that is long and covers every part of their body except legs and head.

Their body coat comes in four colours with sable being the most prefered and most popular one. It is mainly because Lassie is described to be possessing this coat colour.

So far, their size is concerned, you can put them in the large to medium category. They tend to be 22 to 26 inches in stature, and their weight varies between 50-75 pounds.

Rough Collie Coat Colour

As mentioned earlier, Sable is the most loved Rough Collie coat colour. However, there are other colours as well. These include: 

  1. Tan, White and Black.
  2. ‘Blue Merle’ ranging from a faint greyish blue to deep grey colour with dark black spots all over the body.
  3. White, probably with some markings on the head area.

Whatever be the body colour of your Rough Collie, it will receive some features that are unique to the Rough Collie as a breed. These features include a white tail tip, collar, feet, legs and chest with some white or blaze markings on the face.

General Appearance of a Labrador Retriever

Just like Rough Collies, Labrador Retrievers also tend to be large to medium in size. While a female Labrador’s stature ranges between 21.5 to 23.5 inches, a male Labrador tends to be 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall. The former’s weight varies from 55 to 70 pounds. In contrast, the latter weighs between 65 to 80 pounds.

Being a dog originating in extreme weather conditions, Labradors possess a double coat with the undercoat shedding two to three times a year. The fur on the topcoat is dense, short and water repellant. Because their topcoat protects them from extreme weather conditions, people often call it the ‘Guard Coat.’

The ‘otter-like’ tail is the signature of this famous breed.

Labrador Coat Colours

According to the American Kennel Club database, Labrador Retrievers’s coat tends to come in three colours- yellow, black and brown.

General Appearance of a Lab Collie Mix

As you have already inferred, the only similarity between your Lab Collie’s purebred parents is that both of them tend to be large to medium in size. Besides that, their coat type, face structure, colouring and almost every other thing tends to differ. Consequently, your Labrador Collie Mix can end up inheriting a vast range of physical and temperamental combinations.

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You can have a black coloured Lab Collie cross or of any other colour with different kinds of markings. Whatever physical features your Lab Collie may inherit from its parents, one thing is sure.

Your Lab Collie will grow up into a dog of large to medium size. Accordingly, your Lab Collie’s weight will vary between 60 to 80-pounds in males and 50 to 70-pounds in females. Besides that, you can expect your dog to inherit its Labrador parent’s double coat that sheds two-three times a year. The fur length will be medium, and you have to be ready with brushes, shampoos and vacuum cleaners to manage this kind of coat.

Overall Temperament of Lab Collie Cross

Truth to be told, you can never guarantee a dog’s temperament. It all depends on your socialisation and obedience training.

However, certain personality traits are considered unique to a particular breed. As far as your Lab Collie Mix is concerned, it can inherit the temperament of any of its purebred parents. You can never be sure which of the personality traits your pup may receive from its parents. The only thing you can do is assume, and your assumptions will be based on your knowledge of your pup’s parents’ general temperament.

So, let us look into the personality traits of Rough Collies and Labrador Retrievers.

General Temperament of Labrador Retriever

If you ask why Labradors are so preferred as family dogs, the answer will definitely be their temperament. They are loyal, social and affectionate. They are famous for their highly active and intelligent nature. As family dogs, they are so social that they will welcome even a stranger with their wagging tail.

As working dogs, they are incredibly useful both in water and land. You can take them for hunts, jogging, trekking and other sporting activities. Besides that, they are employed as guide dogs, therapy dogs and search and rescue dogs. Therefore, perfect for both conformation and agility.

General Temperament of Rough Collie

If you have read about Lassie, you must have a fair idea about a Rough Collie’s temperament. Graceful, proud and dedicated are the precise terms you can use to describe this breed. They are not that active like the Labrador Retrievers, but definitely intelligent.

Just like Labrador Retrievers, they are specifically remarkable for being the perfect family dog. They are kind towards kids and accommodative of other family pets. Besides that, they become alert and protective when faced with a stranger.

Although they are not what we generally describe as aggressive dogs, they have a tendency to bark. According to a recent inquiry in Sweden, it is mainly because Rough Collies tend to have anxiety-related issues which run primarily in their genes.

Lab Collie Cross Temperament

As you can infer, both of your Lab Collie’s parents are loyal, intelligent, friendly and outgoing. Consequently, there is zero per cent doubt that your pup is going to inherit all these qualities. However, because your dog’s Collie parent has some genetic anxiety-related issues, your puppy has 50 per cent chances of inheriting this trait.

Nevertheless, proper socialisation, obedience training and lots of praises and love can help in limiting this problem of your Lab Collie cross. Consequently, you will have a healthy and happy dog lightening up your home’s atmosphere.

Socialising your Lab Collie Mix

As already mentioned, whatever be your dog’s inherent nature, proper socialisation can check a lot of issues. With some reserved breeds, you have to give an extra effort to make them open to a vast range of situations, persons, places and animals. But that doesn’t indicate that you don’t require to socialise a naturally social dog.

Always remember, the more you work on your dog’s socialisation skills, the less it is likely to develop conditions like anxiety and fear. So far, your Lab Collie is concerned, you will be pleased to know that your dog is going to be naturally friendly and social.

And why not?

After all, both of its parents are remarkable for their outgoing and welcoming nature. Therefore, you won’t have to put too much effort into developing your pup’s socialisation skills.

Lab Collie Cross Training and Exercise

When it comes to Labrador Retrievers, long walks can definitely not be considered an exercise. They need a lot more than that. You cannot shed off their excess energy unless you have engaged them in some sporting activities like running, swimming, fetching, hunting and so on.

Rough Collies, on the other hand, are a bit toned off when compared to the Labrador Retrievers. They do need exercise to keep themselves physically and mentally healthy. However, in their case, a long walk twice a day can more than suffice.

But that doesn’t mean they do not excel in sporting activities. You must know that Rough Collies are excellent in herding and agility. Besides that, they excel and enjoy obstacles and obedience courses a lot.

Because your Lab Collie cross has these dogs’ genes, there is hardly any place for doubt that your pup is going to be an active one. It will require an ample amount of exercise, and we will advise you for an early socialisation and obedience training.

You must keep in mind that your Lab collie must be exercised enough to keep it physically exhausted yet mentally sound. Your dog is an intelligent one. So, some mind stimulating games will keep your dog in line with your command.

Be pleased that your dog is going to be an easily trainable one.

General Health of Lab Collie Mix

Now that you are aware of your Lab Collie’s potential physical and temperamental characteristics, you must be wondering about its general health. Well, your pup’s health will primarily depend on what potential health issues it has received from its parents.

Obviously, for that, you have to be aware of all the health problems your Lab Collie’s purebred parents generally suffer from. So, here is a brief insight into the diseases and disorders that Rough Collies and Labrador Retrievers frequently encounter.

General Health of Labrador Retrievers

Here is a list of some common health problems often faced by Labrador Retrievers.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

Like all other large dog breeds, Labrador Retrievers tend to have a high chance of developing conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia. These are joint issues that entail malformation of balls and joints. Consequently, such balls and joints rub and crush each other, causing tremendous pain and discomfort. Your dog can also turn lame due to this problem.

Therefore, we advise you to verify your Lab Collie’s Labrador parent’s joint health before you plan to adopt one. In case your dog develops this condition, get it treated immediately by your vet. An early diagnosis is the only solution for this kind of joint issues.

Obesity

A significant reason behind Labradors developing conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia is their tendency to become overweight. According to a study of 2015, Labradors tend to be more obsessed with food than any other dog breeds.

Another study that came in the public domain the following year linked Labrador Retrievers’ food obsession with a genetic mutation. Whatever be the reason behind their food obsession, the issue is that this personality trait tends to make them more susceptible to conditions like obesity.

And you must remember that besides joint problems, obesity is often considered the main culprit behind ailments like diabetes, cancer and cardiac issues. Therefore, we recommend you to ask your breeder to furnish you with your dog’s Labrador parent’s all the required medical records.

Eye Issues

Labradors often tend to develop eye problems like Cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Retinal Dysplasia. Some of these issues are genetic. Therefore, you must ask your breeder for eye records to ascertain that your Lab Collie is not carrying any of these genetic eye problems.

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Exercise Induced Collapse

A particular mutation in genes often serves as a primary cause behind Labrador Retrievers developing conditions like Exercise Induced Collapse. Therefore, do verify whether your pup’s Labrador parent has a history of weak muscles or not.

Other problems that Labradors often tend to suffer from.

  1. Aortic Stenosis – It is a hereditary heart problem.
  2. Lumbosacral Stenosis – A condition in which the spinal cord becomes narrow. It can be both genetic and acquired.
  3.  Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anaemia (IMHA) – It is a disease that leads to low production of red blood cells in dogs. Your pup may develop blood clots in its brain and lungs due to this condition.
  4. Bloat

General Health of Rough Collies

Being a large breed like Labradors, Rough Collies are susceptible to bloat and joint issues like hip dysplasia. Besides that, they can inherit genetic eye issues like Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which often cause them to turn blind.

However, there are specific health issues that are unique to this breed. These problems include:

Collie Eye Anomaly

It is a hereditary, developmental issue that is often present in the Rough Collies at birth. Unfortunately, vets cannot diagnose this problem unless it is too late. Accordingly, the  Collie Club of America suggests that you must get your Collie’s eyes checked between 5 to 6 weeks after birth to verify whether it has inherited this developmental issue or not.

Drug Sensitivities

Collies are a herding breed, and herding breeds tend to be sensitive to some specific group of drugs. These drugs include Ivermectin, a standard medicine administered for controlling heartworms. Therefore, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) suggests that you must get a Multiple Drug Sensitivity test done to find out which drugs are inappropriate for your dog’s immune system.

Lab Collie Cross General Health

As your Lab Collie is a hybrid dog, it can receive the health problems of either or both of the parents. Therefore, you have to ascertain that your breeder has done a thorough health screening of your dog.

Your dog’s medical records must include DNA tests, hip and elbow scores, eye tests and multiple drug sensitivity tests. For diseases that cannot be detected beforehand, you have to get a detailed family history of your Lab Collie’s parents.

A reliable breeder will furnish you with all the ibid details related to your dog’s health.

Life Expectancy of Lab Collie Cross

So far Rough Collies are concerned, their average lifespan varies between 12-14 years. Labrador Retrievers, on the other hand, generally live for 10 to 12 years.

Keeping in mind the average life expectancy of these two breeds, you will be pleased to know that your Lab Collie’s average lifespan is most likely to vary somewhere between 10 to 14 years. That’s quite a long time. Isn’t it?

However, you must remember that it is just an estimation because your dog’s life expectancy will primarily depend on its general well being.

Do Lab Collies have any chances of shedding?

The answer is definitely yes. Both Labradors and Collies are dogs of extreme climatic conditions. Consequently, both of them have a double coat that undergoes seasonal shedding. It is quite evident that a pup born from the crossing of these two breeds will inherit a heavy to moderately shedding body coat.

Grooming Needs of a Lab Collie Cross

Both Labrador Retrievers and Rough Collies have a coarse coat that needs to be combed and brushed two to three times a week. As mentioned earlier, both of them have a double coat and therefore require a lot of precautions to limit the shedding issue.

Your Lab Collie cross will inherit the same coat type. The only variation can be in the hair length as Rough Collies tend to have longer hair strands than Labrador Retrievers. Therefore, we advise you to be ready with combs, brushes, de-shedding shampoos and vacuum cleaners to prevent your pup’s dead hairs from messing around.

Getting a Lab Collie Cross

If you wish to purchase a Lab Collie Mix, we will advise you to do a thorough investigation to find a reliable breeder. A responsible breeder will furnish you with all the details related to your dog’s pedigree and medical history. Besides that, they will be open about your pup’s breeding and let you spend some time with your pup’s purebred parents.

Avoid online or retail pet stores at all cost as most dogs found in these places come from puppy mills. Dogs born in puppy mills tend to be mainly a result of mass production. Consequently, you won’t have a single idea about your pup’s family history and potential health problems.

Are Lab Collie Mixes good family dogs?

Having the genes of two most loyal, friendly and social dog breeds, your Lab Collie will indeed prove to be an ideal family dog. However, when it comes to genetics, you can never be sure how the genes will react with each other. Besides that, each dog has a distinct personality.

Therefore, we will advise you not to depend on genetics. Instead, you should treat your dog’s brain as a tabula rasa. In other words, you should concentrate on your Lab Collie’s socialisation and obedience skills.

Conclusion: Merits and Limitations of getting a Lab Collie Cross

Having your brain processed so much of information must have made you confused about whether a Lab Collie Mix will suit you or not. So, we will wrap up this article by giving you an overview of the merits and limitations of owning a Lab Collie Cross.

Limitations

  1. These hybrid dogs are not readily available in the market. Consequently, you will have to do a lot of investigation to find a trustworthy breeder.
  2. Lab Collies tend to be highly energetic. Therefore, if you don’t have enough time and space in your house, we will advise you not to get this breed.

Merits

  1. Lab Collies tend to be really friendly and accommodative. So, you won’t face any problem if you got children and other pets at your home.
  2. They are loyal and intelligent. You will have a great companion if you wish to go outside or spend some time with them.
  3. They are extremely trainable. Hence, you won’t face much problem while working on your dog’s socialisation and obedience skills.

As you can infer, the pros of owning these dogs easily surpass the cons. So, why wait? Bring your Lab Collie Mix and lighten up your home.