Are Collies Protective?

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Are Collies protective? Yes, Collies are naturally protective of their families (though not aggressive or overly territorial). In fact, Collies were originally bred to be herding dogs, which means their primary instincts revolve around working closely with their humans to keep their flock safe and secure.

That being said, Smooth ColliesRough Collies, and Border Collies all possess a natural instinct to protect their families (Collies protect people, not property), and this can be seen in their behaviors, especially when they feel their loved ones are in danger. This protective nature is one of the reasons why Collies make such great family pets, as they are often gentle and affectionate with children, yet vigilant and alert when it comes to protecting their people.

It’s important to note that not all Collies will display the same level of protectiveness, as this can vary based on factors such as individual temperament, upbringing, and socialization. However, in general, Collies are known to be a dog breed that is both loyal and protective.

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The history of Collie protection

Historically, Collies were bred as herding dogs, responsible for managing livestock on large farms and estates. Their exceptional intelligence, agility, stamina, and strong herding instincts made them perfect for this task, and they quickly gained a reputation as excellent working dogs. In addition to herding, Collies were also used for guarding and protecting livestock from predators, which may have contributed to their intense stare and protective instincts.

Collies gained popularity in the United States in the late 1800s, thanks in part to the influence of Queen Victoria, who was a known admirer of the breed. The herding breed’s popularity skyrocketed in the 20th century with the advent of the Lassie franchise, which showcased the dog’s intelligence, loyalty, and protective nature.

The loyalty of Collies

One of the key factors that contribute to the protective nature of Collies is their unwavering loyalty to their families. Collies want to please their owners and forge deep emotional connections with them. This loyalty both – makes Collies excellent companion animals, as well as, contributes to their protectiveness.

Collies are known for their Velcro-like tendency to stick close to their owners, often following them from room to room and staying close by their side. This constant companionship helps to strengthen the bond between Collies and their people. The more time a Collie spends with its family, the more likely it is to recognize and respond to potential threats.

This loyalty can also be seen in the way Collies interact with their families. They are often described as “intuitive” and “empathetic,” able to pick up on subtle changes in their owner’s mood or emotional state. This heightened sensitivity can make them more attuned to their family’s needs, including their need for protection.

Collie's protective traits and behaviors

Collies are known for their intelligence, trainability, and strong work ethic, which makes them well-suited for a variety of roles, including that of a family protector. Some of the protective traits and behaviors that Collies may display include the following:

alert rough collie in a field

Alertness and vigilance

Collies are known for their keen senses and ability to remain alert and vigilant, even when at rest. This makes them excellent guard dogs, as they are likely to notice any unusual activity or potential threats in their environment.


While Collies are not typically known for being excessive barkers, they will bark for periods of time when they perceive a threat or when they feel their family is in danger. This can be an effective deterrent to any would-be intruders or possible threats. If you encounter excess barking with your Collie, check out our article including tips and tricks to help reduce barking.

Physical protection

Although Collies are not aggressive dogs, they are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to protect their families if necessary. This may include standing between their loved ones and a perceived threat or using their bodies to shield their human family from danger.

Herding instincts

As mentioned above, Collies were originally bred to be herding dogs, and this instinct can be seen in their protective behaviors. Collies may attempt to herd their family members away from danger or keep them close together in order to better protect them.


Collies are known for their ability to sense changes in their environment and can often pick up on subtle cues that something is amiss. This intuition can be invaluable when it comes to keeping your family safe, as your Collie may be able to alert you to potential dangers before they escalate.

How Collies keep your family safe

Now that we’ve discussed the protective traits and behaviors of Collies, let’s explore how these amazing dogs can help keep your family safe.

cute Border Collie laying on sofa

Watchdog duties

Again, Collies are naturally alert and vigilant, which makes them excellent watchdogs. They are likely to notice any unusual activity or potential threats in their environment and will bark to alert their family to the potential danger. This can be a great deterrent, as the sound of a barking dog can often be enough to make someone think twice about targeting your home.

Protection during outdoor activities

Collies are active and energetic dogs (Border Collies are more energetic than Collies of the Smooth or Rough variety), which makes them great companions for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, or simply playing in the backyard. Their protective instincts and intuition can help keep your family safe during these activities, as they are likely to notice and sense any potential dangers.

Companionship and emotional support

In addition to their physical protection, Collies also provide valuable emotional support and companionship to their families, which can be especially important during times of stress or upheaval. Their loyalty and dedication to their families can help provide a sense of security and stability, which can be helpful in maintaining your family’s overall wellbeing.

Training your Collie for effective protection

In order to ensure that your Collie is an effective protector, it’s important to invest time in proper training and socialization. Here are some tips to help you train your Collie for effective protection:
two cute rough collie puppies on the floor

Start early

The best time to start training your Collie is when they are a puppy, as this is the period when they are most receptive to mental stimulation, as well as, learning new behaviors and forming strong bonds with their families. Remember to always consult with a reputable breeder when looking for your new family furball.


Expose your Collie to a variety of different environments, people, and animals from an early age, in order to help them develop into well-adjusted and confident adults. This will also help them learn to recognize the difference between normal, non-threatening situations and those that may actually pose a threat to their family.

Obedience training

Teaching your Collie basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come” is an essential foundation for effective protection training. These commands will help you maintain control over your Collie in potentially dangerous situations and ensure they respond appropriately to your commands.

Dog Training Guide

dog training guide

Boundary training

Teaching your Collie to respect boundaries, whether it’s the perimeter of your property or the confines of a livestock pen, is essential for their role as a protector. Use clear, consistent commands and positive reinforcement to establish these boundaries.

Wireless Pet Fence

wireless pet fence kit

Alert training

Train your Collie to alert you to potential dangers by teaching them to bark or perform another specific action when they sense a threat. This can be done using a variety of methods, such as clicker training or verbal cues.

Dog Training Clickers

pet training clicker

Positive reinforcement

Use positive reinforcement techniques, such as praise and treats, to reward your Collie for displaying protective behaviors when appropriate. This will help to reinforce these behaviors and encourage your Collie to continue to act in a protective manner when necessary.

Dog Training Treats

blue buffalo dog training treats

Patience and consistency

It’s important to be patient and consistent in your training and expectations, in order to provide your Collie with a clear understanding of their role as a protector. Make sure that all members of your family are on the same page when it comes to training, in order to avoid any confusion or mixed messages. Remember that your Collie is eager to please, so with time and effort, they’ll likely excel in their protective role.

Consider professional help

If you are still unsure of how to train your Collie for protection, you always have the option of hiring a professional dog trainer, or you can even attend a dog protection course. Either way, sometimes the best option is to seek the help of an expert.

Smooth Collie dog in autumn scenery


While Rough, Smooth and Border Collies may not be the first dogs that come to mind when it comes to family protection, their natural instincts, protective traits, and behaviors make them a valuable addition to any family seeking a loyal and dedicated protector. With proper training and socialization, Collies can help keep your family safe by providing both physical and emotional protection, as well as serving as vigilant watchdogs.

So, the next time someone asks you, “Are Collies protective?”, you can confidently respond with a resounding “Yes!” and share your knowledge of this incredible breed’s protective abilities. And if you’re considering adding a Collie to your family, you can rest assured that you’ll be gaining a loyal, intelligent, and protective companion who will do their utmost to keep your family safe and secure.

*This article was written with the help of Chatsonic.

  • We have six children and our collie is very protective of them. He keeps them all together when out walking, by gently moving around the outside of them and herding them into a group. He makes a noise if someone in the group lags behind too far. He is gentle as can be at home, but very alert when out. His favourite place to be is with the children and he would give his life for them.