|NOTE: The Standard is the revised 1992 standard.
The Interpretation, when 'old standard' is mentioned is 1950.
GENERAL APPEARANCE: Appears as a dog of great beauty, standing with impassive dignity, with no part out of proportion to the whole.
The old standard was far more clear on general appearance. It stated, in addition to the above, that an abundance of coat, mane and frill with shapeliness of head and sweetness of expression all combine to present a pleasing and elegant picture. He should appear gifted with intelligence, alertness and activity and his movements, governed by perfect anatomical formation, should be smooth and graceful. 1 don't know why this information was cut from the standard as 1 feel the present version of general appearance could apply to many dogs.
CHARACTERISTICS: Physical structure on lines of strength and activity, free from cloddiness and with no trace of coarseness. Expression, most important in considering relative values, is obtained by the perfect balance and combination of skull and foreface, size, shape, colour and placement of eyes, correct position and carriage of ears.
The Collie's physical structure is such as to allow him to fulfil a natural bent for sheepdog work. The head as a whole, and particularly the eyes and ears, determine the Collie's (facial) expression. Expression, as it pertains to dogs, may be used to denote the entire action, behaviour and temperament of a particular dog. To quote Milo Delinger, The Complete Collie, 1947, 'The popularity of the Collie breed was founded upon its level-headedness, its dignity, alertness, comprehension and intelligence. These attributes are all betrayed in the facial outlook of a good Collie. The eye, the ear, the head structure, and what goes on inside the head, all contribute to tile correct expression.' He then goes on to quote three sentences from Packwood, who says about the Collie expression: "Do you ever study the countenance of your dog? It is as true an index of his character as that of the face of a human being. The expression peculiar to the typical Collie may be described as suggestive of combined intelligence, devotion, obedience, cunningness, and wistfulness." The old English standard calls for all head properties to be 'all harmoniously blended to produce that dreamy, yet alert, outlook which makes the perfect Collie the most beautiful of the canine race.'
TEMPERAMENT: Friendly disposition with no trace of nervousness or aggressiveness.
The Collie has a natural liking for humans young and old. Despite what one may read in the newspapers it is foreign to a Collie's temperament to attack or bite. In fact they rarely fight among other dogs and once the eldest male has established his rightful position in the kennels, 1 have always been able to run my bitches and males together without problems. They have excellent hearing and therefore are good watchdogs, barking only when the home territory appears threatened. Therefore any form of nervousness or unwarranted aggression should be penalised in the show ring.
HEAD AND SKULL: Head properties are of great importance, and must be considered in proportion to the size of the dog. Viewed from the front or side, the head resembles a well blunted clean wedge, being smooth in outline. Skull flat. Sides taper gradually and smoothly from ears to end of black nose, without prominent cheekbones or pinched muzzle. Viewed in profile, the top of the skull and top of the muzzle lie in two parallel straight lines of equal length, divided by a slight, but perceptible 'stop' or break. A mid-point between inside corner of eyes (which is centre of a correctly placed 'stop') is the centre of balance in length of head. The end of the smooth, well-rounded muzzle is blunt, never square Underjaw strong, clean cut. Depth of skull from brow to underpart of jaw, never excessive (deep through). Nose always black.
The new standard states that the skull should be flat but has omitted, 'and moderately wide between the ears,' as in the old standard. There has been some conjecture that 'moderately narrow' would be a better interpretation so perhaps this is why it has been left out. Whoever was responsible for changing the standard was possibly unable to make up their mind. However, 1 feel it is most important to mention the width, even if only to say 'moderate space' between the ears. 1 found the old standard clear and more correctly expressed. For interest sake 1 shall repeat it here.
'The skull should be flat and moderately wide between the ears with a gradual tapering towards the eyes- the width depending upon the combined length of skull and muzzle- the whole to be considered in conjunction with the size of the dog. The muzzle continues in an almost unbroken line towards the nose and must not show weakness or be snippy or lippy.'
Too wide a skull means coarseness, and the width can be considered only in proportion to the whole dog. Narrowness can also be overdone, and years ago some writers said that the narrow skulls threatened us with a Collie without power in his jaw. Therefore the correct width of the skull Is determined by the over-all length of the head and by the proportion in length of muzzle to top skull.
Not only must there be no rounding or dome to the top of the skull, there should also be no 'occipital protuberance,' the large bump at the top of the skull between the ears. Neither do we want a prominence in the skull's centre just above the eyes. Such bumpiness of skull is frequently found in heads over-elongated and lacking balance between top-skull and foreface. It is often referred to as the alligator bump, because it gives the head an alligator-like expression. A suggestion of a median furrow between the brows is more acceptable but of course not desirable.
An overlong foreface gives a foreign appearance whereas shortness of foreface gives a 'common' appearance.
FAULTS OF PROFILE
The line of the skull and the line of the muzzle if prolonged should form two parallel lines, close together, but should never meet. The receding skull, when the line of the skull drops back- forming an obtuse angle with the foreface, is most undesirable.
Other deviations are when the Muzzle is deflected downward, known as down-face, or when it is deflected upward into what is known as a dish face.
The Roman nose is a downward rounding of the top line of the Muzzle, no stop, and is presumed to be the result of the alleged introduction of Borzoi blood into the Collie. Many otherwise good muzzles carry a wave in their top-line, a mere rise and fall somewhat behind the nose. While it would be better not to have such a deviation it is not considered a serious fault unless pronounced
EYES: Very importance feature giving sweet expression. Medium size (never very small set somewhat obliquely, of almond shape and dark brown colour, except in the case of blue merles when eyes are frequently (one or both, or part of one or both) blue or blue-flecked. Expression full of intelligence, with a quick, alert look when listening.
If the size, shape and/or placement of the eye is incorrect it will usually follow that the whole head structure out of kilter
The obliquely placed eyes are set within the planes of the checks, but not so close together as to appear small-natured, cheap or ungenerous in outlook. To give full vision to a dog with a Collie’s length of' muzzle and slight stop, the eye must be set obliquely and be of almond shape
The big, round, melting eye, is usually found in a coarse skull with too deep a stop. But neither should a Collie have pig-eyes or squint eyes as 1 have heard them called. Possibly the latter is the most likely to be missed by judges not familiar with the Collie eye. They are most objectionable and should be penalised.
The prominent haw, or third eyelid as it was frequently referred to, is rarely seen in the show ring today. Besides being ugly such eyes are a nuisance, as they tend to be watery with the overflow of tears staining the hair below the eye. Fortunately, it is usually only one eye which is affected.
Some have the mistaken belief that wall-eyes in the blue merle are obligatory. This is not the case, but they are a frequent occurrence. Accepted and even desired by some breeders. Yellow eyes, in any coat colour, are objectionable.
The very dark eye, sometimes encountered in the tri colour, can often appear' blind', or 'dead' as described by some Judges. This can be disconcerting. However, by fully alerting the dog this can usually be overcome and is certainly not a fault.
EARS: Small, not too close together on top of the skull, nor too far apart. In repose carried thrown back, but on alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, that is with approximately two thirds of the ear standing erect, top third tipping forward naturally, below horizontal.
The old standard asked for the ears to be small and moderately wide at the base and not too close together on the top of the skull, nor too much to the side of the head. 1 feel that this describes the ear better than the description 'small'. A small ear, as required for many other breeds, would be difficult to have the correct break and carriage as required for the Collie. The semi-erect, small ear was difficult to breed and in the effort to breed them many ears were inclined to go prick. However, for showing purposes, this was more easily overcome than the heavy, lopped car. The correct ear, in its formation, is somewhat rounded at the tip, without being blunt.
When judging it is important to remember that a dog facing into the wind may appear to have pricked ears. If this happen face the dog out of the wind and observe if the ears break naturally (it may be necessary for the handler to turn the tips slightly to save time). Excited stud dogs may also prick their ears, and sadly I have been aware of bitches in season being deliberately flaunted in front of such dogs before entering the ring for special awards. Puppies when teething rarely carry their cars perfectly. At least not all the time either both or just one ear may be carried pricked or flopped. The flopped ear is often hard to assess. However, by placing the thumb inside the ear and the fingers behind at the base, the ears can be raised and It is usually possible to get an idea of placement and size. Pricked ears can be rolled gently at the tips so that when released they should spring into the semi-erect position. If they spring directly erect they are probably going to be a problem.
The standard says that when in repose the ear is carried thrown back. Actually the ear is folded lengthwise and thrown backward into the frill, what is known as a 'rose ear'. This may happen when the dog is not at all in ‘repose'. A nervous, shy or indifferent dog will frequently do this.
Great emphasis has always been placed upon the necessity for the correct size, shape, placement and carriage of the cars. However, this emphasis can be overdone when judging dogs in the show ring. Whilst from the handler's point of view it is an advantage to show a dog who stands always with ears alerted, a good dog should not be penalised for not doing so. 1 find that by making a noise most will lift their ears. Also, from experience, I have learnt that this is best done after the dog has been examined, as the very odd one can become suspicious and on guard. To alert by sound has an added benefit. 1 know that the dog is not deaf, 1 get a better chance to judge expression and 1 can be confident that the dog is truly an alert animal. Some dogs are so well trained for standing passive in the show ring, not withstanding the raised ears, that when approached they appear as though in a world of their own. It is almost impossible to appraise expression or alertness in such dogs. Throwing objects to the ground is not satisfactory. It possibly proves that the dog is alert and can move his cars, but in most cases the head goes to the ground and the ears fall forward from gravity. Even more objectionable is the waving up and down of the hand in front of the dog’s face.
MOUTH: Teeth of good size. Jaws strong with a perfect regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping, lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
I can't comment on what is meant by 'square to the jaw’. It is new to the standard and I've never heard the expression before pertaining to teeth. Possibly it means that the teeth must be straight; i.e. not to protrude (such as buck teeth), or slant in any manner. However it is important that the Jaws be strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite.
It is rare for Collies to develop an undershot jaw, in which the lower incisors protrude beyond the upper ones. Nevertheless they do pop up now and again, unfortunately sometimes not presenting until the dog is over twelve months of age. 1 have bred only two undershot jaws in all my years of breeding. In both cases the dogs had perfect bites until twelve months of age - one a good show pup and challenge winner. Despite his other good qualifications he was placed as a pet. 1 would penalise strongly such a jaw in the show-ring.
The old standard permitted a very slightly overshot jaw, in which the upper teeth protrude to leave space between them and the lower ones. It possibly became necessary to leave this clause out of the new standard as too much lenience was being given to dogs with such mouths The slight space grew so as to be unacceptable. However, and 1 quote from 'The New Collie', Collie Club Of America, pg.179, 'a high percentage pups will go one-eighth inch or more overshot during the third - through - seventh month stage and then even out to the scissor bite.'
Missing teeth such as pre molars and incisors are another problem which must be taken into consideration as this is definetly an hereditary problem. I don’t mean teeth knocked out by an accident. It is usually easy to spot the difference.
NECK: Muscular, powerful, of fair length, well arched
The neck is an important feature of the Collie and a short neck deprives the dog of the desirable graceful and lithe outline. The arched neck or 'crest' permits the high, graceful, confident carriage of the head. There is also a strong relationship between the neck and the shoulders. Shoulders, which slope well back into the long wither, permit of the insertion of a long and strong neck. The Collie with long, sloping shoulders and considerable forechest will have a deeper and more muscular neck- -- and can support a longer one - than a dog with upright shoulders and no forechest.
FOREQUARTERS: Shoulders sloping and well- angulated Forelegs straight and muscular, neither in nor out at the elbows, with a moderate amount of round bone
The well made Collie must have a ‘shoulder well laid back'. The sloping shoulder permits a long stride with front leg to accommodate whatever length of step may be taken with the rear leg. Also, a correctly made forehand absorbs the shock of the action and permits the animal to work longer, harder, and faster with less fatigue than is possible with a badly made forehand. With this kind of shoulder and a small angle, as nearly, 45 degrees as possible, between the shoulder blade (Scapula) and the upper arm (humerus), which extends forward from its junction with the lower arm at the elbow, the dog has a considerable forechest.
The old standard stated that the forearm should be somewhat fleshy, with pasterns showing flexibility,, without weakness. 1 feel that it is a pity this clause was discarded, and that 'round' bone has been added to the new standard. It is, in my opinion, misleading to request round bone A novice Collie judge was heard to say that none of the Collies had 'round' bone. If expecting to see round, like a table leg, one will obviously be disappointed.
Looked at face on, the front of the Collie is quite straight, the forearm dropping straight from the elbow to the pastern Joint, which should have a little give in it, without weakness, to absorb the jar of the dog's action. Actually, it is only from the side that this minute break at the pastern becomes apparent.
The width of the front of the Collie is moderate, neither too narrow or too wide, and since the forearm drops perpendicularly from the elbow, the distance between the elbows and the distance between the feet should be equal. The feet should turn neither in nor out.
BODY: Slightly long compared with height, back firm with a slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung, chest deep, fairly broad behind shoulders.
One hears many different opinions as to whether a dog is too long or too short in body. The experienced Collie breeder and Collie judge has a clear photo image in his or her mind as to what is the correct length in ratio as to the height of the dog. If wrong it jars the senses immediately. However, apparently not all judges have this image for all too often dogs who are far too short in body are receiving top awards. The too long bodied dog is less likely to deceive, as if the back itself is too long it is often weak and will in all probability show the undesirable ‘sway back', that is a distinct dip in the middle.
Clare Moloney says, in her Interpretation of the Standard, (The Popular Collie, Margaret Osborne, 1957,) that forequarters, body and hindquarters must be considered together when evaluating the length of a Collie's body and 1 agree with her. A long body does not mean a long back. Length comes from sloping shoulders and good strong hindquarters in combination with the back. Milo Denlinger, The Complete Collie, 1947, pg. 15S. explains length of body in the Collie quite simply. He Says that 'the length of the Collie overall, from the point or front of the shoulder to the rear of the buttocks, is greater than the height at the withers at the top of the shoulder blade.' He goes on to say that a normal Collie should be some two and a half to three inches longer than his height, all such measurements to be made with the eye rather than the rule.
Many may disagree with this measurement and the most popular opinion is as ‘nine is to ten'. Possibly it is somewhere in between the two theories. From my own observation 1 am inclined to agree with Mr. Denlinger.
A long Collie must not be confused with a long-backed Collie The length of the back is to be considered as the distance from the top of the shoulder to the pelvis, whereas the length of the dog is over-all.
The Collie should not be cobby nor appear so, but neither should he be long in back and loosely knit in loin. He Is designed for long. and arduous labour; climbing, twisting, turning, walking, trotting, as his duties may require, over rugged terrain. He must possess a flexible and enduring body to perform his tasks. The power with which the dog moves is developed in the hindquarters and transmitted to the foreparts through the spine. Therefore the spine must be strong and the loin short for the best transmission of power, but long enough for flexibility.
The ribs must be deep, extending at least to the point of elbow, and well sprung. The well sprung rib does not imply barrel-like rib. The spring of rib comes with width of back from which the rib descends with a slight curve.
The correct top line of the Collie shows a very slight rise over the loin with a long croup which slopes somewhat from the pelvic bones to the set on or point of insert for the tall. The loin is deep and the tuck up belly is slight.
It cannot be stressed enough that length of body comes from sloping shoulders and good strong, correctly angulated, hindquarters.
HINDQUARTERS: Hind legs muscular at thighs, clean and sinewy below, with well bent stifles. Hocks well let down and powerful.
The line from the hip to the Joint at the point of hindquarters should be long and sloping and form an angle of about 90 degrees with the thigh bone.
The hind legs when viewed from the. side should the curve of a well bent stifle and well let down hocks. The lower leg with the dog naturally and firmly, brings the hock joint and the hock into a line dropped perpendicularly from the rear of the buttocks.
It is important that the hocks be upright, neither a mere extension of the stifle nor angled forward under the dog. With the former construction, the whole hindleg a mere prop, it is impossible for the dog to take a long stride.
With the latter construction, the weight of the dog on the hock fatigues the animal unnecessarily. (Sometimes a dog may stand with his hocks angled forward, such as when crouching in a spring position, or if' pulling backwards on the front legs. Do not confuse this with a badly constructed dog. Move the dog a few paces and if the dog is correctly constructed the hindquarters should fall into place naturally.)
Viewed from behind, the hind legs should he perfectly straight, whether standing or moving, with hocks neither turning out or in (cow hocks).
FEET: Oval: soles well padded. Toes arched and close together. Hind feet slightly arched.
It is thought that the oval foot is subject to less wear in sudden turning, such as a herding dog may be called upon to perform, than the short round cat-foot. However, standards for the foot for other working, herding breeds often call for a round foot. So obviously this is not the only reason. The oval foot certainly looks better on a Collie, being more in balance with the rest of the dog. Too many Collies, in my opinion, are being shown with round, cat-feet. Some exhibitors even go out of their way to achieve this look in grooming. This is especially noticable in heavy boned puppies, with small round feet, in some cases so small they appear to be nearly an extension of the leg - and it is wrong.
However, if the foot is to deviate from the standard's call for oval shape, cat~feet are to be preferred to long, hare-feet.
Whatever the shape of the feet they must he deep, tight and closely knuckled. A thin foot with splayed toes apart from being ugly is a handicap to a Collie at work.
TAIL: Long with bone reaching at least to hock joint. Carried low when quiet but with a slight upwardswirl at tip. May be carried gaily when excited, but never over back.
The tail is inserted below the top line of the back, at the end of the long moderately sloping croup. The tail is strong and a good handful at its base if grasped as in a handshake. When excited, or moving, the dog may carry his tail level with the back line, but anything much above this is too gay. A stud dog may raise his tall well above the horizontal if confronted with a bitch in season. However, it will not be habitually in the air if correctly set on. A Collie moving around the show ring with its tail over the back is an ugly sight and the fault is usually accompanied by too short a body and a tight stilted gait.
The standard calls for a slight upward swirl at tip. Unfortunately, a tight kink in the tail is often mistaken for the desired upward swirl. This is objectionable, and it would be better for the tail to hang perfectly straight, no swirl at all, than have any suggestion of being ringed or kinked. In fact many of our top Collies have had perfectly straight tails. Admittedly, it may be argued that a straight tail is usually a short tail. But the standard only states that the bone must reach at least to hock joint and 1 am yet to see a Collie with a tail shorter than this.
Hair on the tail is very profuse and often called the ‘brush’.
GAIT/MOVEMENT: Distinctly characteristic in this breed A sound dog is never out at elbows, yet moves with front feet comparatively close together. Plaiting, crossing or rolling is highly undesirable. Hind legs from hock joint to ground, when viewed from rear, to be parallel but not too close; when viewed from side, action is smooth. Hind legs powerful, with plenty of drive. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear quite effortless.
Gait is the test of structure, and a correctly constructed Collie with ample angulation fore and rear, with muscular quarters, low set hocks, feet turning neither in nor out, is likely to move as well as he stands.
However, sometimes it is necessary to move a dog several times for it to move at its best. (The time factor often prevents a judge from doing this in the show - ring and many a good dog has had to pay the penalty.) If the dog is soundly constructed, 1 feel that some allowance should be made for temperamental failure of the dog, not performing at its best when moved for the first time.
The Collie should move without constriction or stiffness and the action of all paces should be free, light and, graceful. He should raise his feet sufficiently to clear the ground and not drag his feet; and whilst the walk and trot should be slow and springy, high - stepping ‘hackney’ action is most undesirable. The stride with rear legs should not be greater than the stride with the front feet not- should he take high short steps with the rear legs.
The increased layback of shoulder and greater angulation of the foreleg assembly, plus the longer, more flexible body, in conjunction with the more rounded hindquarters and increased stifle joint angulation permit the Collie when trotting, to reach farther with all four legs or feet and in toward the centre of track or balance. At a moderate trot the hind legs are powerful and propelling and viewed from the side the stride is smooth and even, keeping the back line firm and level. The strong and flexible back should never appear to roll whilst the Collie is in action, and the gait should suggest effortless speed combined with the dog's herding heritage, requiring it to be capable of changing its direction of travel almost instantaneously.
The Collie should come toward you straight, with feet turned neither in nor out, and without paddling, (throwing his feet side-wise) or weaving (crossing or tending to cross his front feet in action). The front legs swing in arcs perpendicular to the ground The standard says that the dog moves with front feet 'comparatively close together. The old standard, drawn up in 1950, never mentioned 'gait' and there were many disagreements as to whether the Collie should single track
Back in 1958 1 wrote to Ted Kattell, a well known American Collie breeder and author of 'Pet Collie'. It appeared to me, that Collies had a tendency to single track at certain speeds. So after reading his description of the Collie gait, in the above book, 1 asked his permission to reprint it in the R.A.S.K.C. Journal. I thought Mr. Kattell's explanation as to why the Collie single tracked very sound. But then his definition of single tracking certainly went further than just moving with 'front feet comparatively, close together'. 1 quote from his book, Pet Collie, pg. 12.
'When trotting, one front foot tracks nearly in front of the other never crossing over, and the hind foot on that side of the dog comes down right on top of the track made by the same foot. This gait is termed ‘single-tracking’. It is thus easy to see why wild animals use this gait when travelling long distances and over rough ground through thick bush. This is termed by naturalists, 'Natures Conservation of Space'; and whereas a dog working at a lope or double tracking at a trot over very rough ground will tear his foot pads badly, a single tracking animal will trot over the same ground with comparative ease, and end with sound feet'.
The article appeared in the Journal, also in 1958, and 1 wasn’t prepared for the reaction it brought. Many agreed, but others, especially one ‘All Breeds Judge’, thought 1 had committed heresy of some kind.
To confuse the issue for me 1 was also studying ‘The Complete Collie’, by Milo Denlinger. Mr. Denlinger wrote that the dog should move toward you with the front legs, equidistant apart at ground and elbows. He had earlier written, in his description of ‘The Front of the Collie’, that since the forearm drops perpendicularly from the elbow, the distance between the elbows and the distance between the feet are equal. The latter of course is correct, but as the speed of the gait is increased, it has been my observation, that the Collie moves with its front feet comparatively close together, as called for in the present standard. Head carriage, as the dog moves, also seems to play a part in just when this happens. The lower the head carriage the more the dog will tend to centre track.
1 would certainly never penalise a Collie for not moving towards me with front feet comparatively close together in the show ring. Unless of course the reason for not doing so was too broad a chest or lack of shoulder angulation. Dogs will vary in what is their most comfortable trotting gait.
Before gait was written into the standard (and occasionally still), many judges penalised Collies for moving with the front fee merging towards the centre line and they were wrong to do so. My own opinion is, that if the Collie is moving, with a good stride, at a reasonable speed, he will reach in toward the centre of track or balance. However, this is so smoothly and naturally done that it is, as one writer once wrote, almost like an optical illusion
The standard requires the hind legs from hock joint to ground, when viewed from the rear, to be parallel but not too close. No mention is made of the hind legs conforming to what is the correct ‘single tracking’ when in movement and 1 doubt if this would be apparent in the show ring.
The hind legs must he powerful with plenty of drive. The feet should move straight ahead, turning neither in nor out. The hocks should be upright, the hock joints being the same distance apart as the feet. There should be no turning inwards of the hocks (cow hocks), or the converse fault which is the tendency of the hocks to diverge, that is for the hocks to fall outwards, (spraddle or bowed hocks).
Good side movement is most important in the Collie. That is a good reach in front, level back with no roll and strong thrust from behind.
COAT: Fits outline of body, very dense. Outer coat straight and harsh to touch; undercoat soft, harsh and very close almost hiding the skin; mane and frill very abundant; mask and face smooth; ears smooth at tips, but carry more hair towards the base; front legs well feathered, hind legs above hocks profusely feathered, but smooth below hock joint. Hair on tail very profuse.
It is most important that the outer coat fits the outline of the body. The outer coat is straight and harsh, with no waves or curls. Except for around the neck, (mane and frill) the Collie's outer-coat should never stand out in 'powder puff' style.
A proper textured and correct fitting coat allows the outline of the body to be seen. All too often, dogs with soft, open outer coats, brushed so as to stand out from the body, are deemed to be well coated and win awards accordingly. It is also not unusual for such coats to hide a multitude of body faults.
The undercoat which is soft, close and furry, supports the outer coat, and it is usually this undercoat which is lost when a dog goes 'out of coat'. A dog, with the correct Length and texture of outer coat will still look presentable despite the loss of undercoat; and if it is a good dog in all other respects it will often continue to win in the show-ring, as most judges will make allowance for what is considered to be a temporary imperfection.
Trimming is allowed and is usually necessary below the hocks and around the feet. Some exhibitors like to trim the ears and cut of the whiskers. However, it is not permissible to show a Collie with any dressing in its coat such as powder or starch. If used for grooming purposes it must all be brushed out before entering the ring.
COLOUR: Three recognised colours: Sable and White, Tricolour and Blue Merle.
SABLE: Any shade of light gold to rich mahogany or shaded sable. Light straw or cream colour highly undesirable.
TRICOLOUR: Predominantly black with rich tan markings about legs and head. A rusty tinge in top coat highly undesirable.
BLUE MERLE: Predominantly clear, silvery blue splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan markings preferred, but absence should not he penalized. Large black markings, slate colour or rusty tinge either of top or undercoat are highly undesirable.
WHITE MARKINGS: All above should carry typical white markings to a greater or lesser degree. Following markings are favourable white collar, full or part, white shirt, legs and feet, white tail tip. A blaze may he carried on muzzle or skull, or both. It is important to remember that the standard only says are favourable. Some of our best Collies have been without full white collars and other markings, which should never take precedence over other more important qualities such as conformation, head (including eyes and ears) and soundness.
The old standard said that colour and markings are immaterial but other points being equal, a nice showily marked dog is preferred. 1 think it is a pity that this clause has been dropped from the standard. It did act as a safeguard against colour consciousness in the ring and it is important for the future of the Collie that all colours be well represented. It was also a safeguard against the Collie being judged on glamour only. For the richly coloured dog with spectacular markings will always be an eye catcher.
However some took olour Immaterial', in the wrong context. They presumed that any old colour would do so long as it could be classed as sable, tri or blue merle. This is not the case and each colour has its own characteristics.
Just how the word sable came to be employed to designate the shades it denotes as pertains to Collies is obscure. The dictionary defines the word as black or the extremely dark brown of the sable. However, as it pertains to Collies it means no such thing. It can be any shade of light gold to rich mahogany or shaded sable. Highly undesirable is light straw or cream colour and white and red setter colours. (The white Collie is recognised in America.)
1 feel that the standard is unclear in its description of tricolour. A tricolour must have the three colours of' black, white and tan and this is not explained properly. Tricolours are black with usual white markings and tan, as bright as possible, but not ‘Setter red', on sides of face, inside ears, distinct spots above the eyes, underside of tail and where black joins white on legs. The throat and chest is usually white and it may, but it is not essential, have a full white collar encircling the neck.. White forelegs, white hind legs below hocks, and a white tipped tail are desirable though not essential, and a white blaze on the face is optional. Whilst a rusty tinge in the coat is undesirable, dogs losing coat will often show this Colour in the dead coat as will puppies shedding their puppy coat.
Blue Merle: Colour counts a great deal in the Blue Merle. A clear pigeon-blue splashed with small irregular patches of black all over, and preferably with the usual white markings is required, and bright tan markings, in the usual places where carried by a tri colour are a great improvement, though not absolutely essential. 'Merle' is thought to be a corruption of the word 'marbled', which the dictionary defines as 'to stain or vein like marble'. 1 feel this is a good description. Too dark a blue, too heavy black markings and particularly a rusty blue or sable tinge are undesirable.
The Blue Merle colour is one of the very oldest in the Collie breed and blue dogs were frequently seen on farms as companions and workers For this reason - because they were considered common - merle Collies almost disappeared from the show-ring and the colour could have become extinct (merle puppies were drowned at birth) but for the efforts of a few breeders in the latter part of the nineteenth century, who set about resuscitating this colour. The Second World war also played havoc with the breeding of the merle colour, making them once again almost extinct, until breeders such as Margaret Osborne, Mrs George and Miss Clare Moloney set about re-establishing the colour and the first months of 1949 were epoch-making for the blues as two 'history -making' litters were born in this period.
The Blue-Merle has come a long way since those days and we have some very fine specimens in Australia.
Dogs 56-61 cm (22-24 Ins) at shoulder;
Bitches 51-56 cm (20-22ins)
Dogs 45-65 lbs;
Bitches 40-55 1bs.
As we don't weigh dogs in the show-ring, nor do we measure Collies, it is only necessary to have a mind view as to the expected weight. An undersize or an oversize Collie is penalised according to the extent to which the dog appears to be undersize or oversize.
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault is regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.
The old standard listed the following faults:
Length of head apparently out of proportion to the body and head of the Borzoi type are to be strongly condemned.
Receding skull or unbalanced head,
Prick ears, low set ears,
Weak, snipy Muzzle; over-shot or undershot mouth
Heavy or gooseberry-cooured eyes, and glassy, staring eyes are most objectionable.
Domed skull, high-peaked occiput,
Prominent cheeks, dish-face, Roman-nosed
Body flat-sided, short or cobby,
Weak, long pasterns, out at elbows, crooked forearms;
Cow-hocks, straight hock (joint),
Large open, flat or hare feet; feet turned outwards or inwards
Tail short or carried over the back, kinked or twisted to one side.
A short silky, or wavy coat, or insufficient undercoat
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.