The Collie is a lithe, strong, responsive, active dog, carrying no
useless timber, standing naturally straight and firm. The deep,
moderately wide chest shows strength, the sloping shoulders and
well-bent hocks indicate speed and grace, and the face shows high
intelligence. The Collie presents an impressive, proud picture of true
balance, each part being in harmonious proportion to every other part
and to the whole. Except for the technical description that is essential
to this Standard and without which no Standard for the guidance of
breeders and judges is adequate, it could be stated simply that no part
of the Collie ever seems to be out of proportion to any other part.
Timidity, frailness, sullenness, viciousness, lack of animation,
cumbersome appearance and lack of over-all balance impair the general
The head properties are of great importance. When considered in
proportion to the size of the dog the head is inclined to lightness and
never appears massive. A heavy-headed dog lacks the necessary bright,
alert, full-of-sense look that contributes so greatly to expression.
Both in front and profile view the head bears a general resemblance to a
well-blunted lean wedge, being smooth and clean in outline and nicely
balanced in proportion. On the sides it tapers gradually and smoothly
from the ears to the end of the black nose, without being flared out in
backskull (cheeky) or pinched in muzzle (snipy). In profile view the top
of the backskull and the top of the muzzle lie in two approximately
parallel, straight planes of equal length, divided by a very slight but
perceptible stop or break. A mid-point between the inside corners of the
eyes (which is the center of a correctly placed stop) is the center of
balance in length of head. The end of the smooth, well-rounded muzzle is
blunt but not square. The underjaw is strong, clean-cut and the depth of
skull from the brow to the under part of the jaw is not excessive. The
teeth are of good size, meeting in a scissors bite. Overshot or
undershot jaws are undesirable, the latter being more severely
penalized. There is a very slight prominence of the eyebrows. The
backskull is flat, without receding either laterally or backward and the
occipital bone is not highly peaked. The proper width of backskull
necessarily depends upon the combined length of skull and muzzle and the
width of the backskull is less than its length. Thus the correct width
varies with the individual and is dependent upon the extent to which it
is supported by length of muzzle. Because of the importance of the head
characteristics, prominent head faults are very severely penalized.
Because of the combination of the flat skull, the arched eyebrows, the
slight stop and the rounded muzzle, the foreface must be chiseled to
form a receptacle for the eyes and they are necessarily placed obliquely
to give them the required forward outlook. Except for the blue merles,
they are required to be matched in color. They are almond-shaped, of
medium size and never properly appear to be large or prominent. The
color is dark and the eye does not show a yellow ring or a sufficiently
prominent haw to affect the dog's expression. The eyes have a clear,
bright appearance, expressing intelligent inquisitiveness, particularly
when the ears are drawn up and the dog is on the alert. In blue merles,
dark brown eyes are preferable, but either or both eyes may be merle or
china in color without specific penalty. A large, round, full eye
seriously detracts from the desired sweet expression. Eye faults are
The ears are in proportion to the size of the head and, if they are
carried properly and unquestionably break naturally, are seldom too
small. Large ears usually cannot be lifted correctly off the head, and
even if lifted, they will be out of proportion to the size of the head.
When in repose the ears are folded lengthwise and thrown back into the
frill. On the alert they are drawn well up on the backskull and are
carried about three-quarters erect, with about one-fourth of the ear
tipping or breaking forward. A dog with prick ears or low ears cannot
show true expression and is penalized accordingly.
The neck is firm, clean, muscular, sinewy and heavily frilled. It is
fairly long, carried upright with a slight arch at the nape and imparts
a proud, upstanding appearance showing off the frill.
The body is firm, hard and muscular, a trifle long in proportion to the
height. The ribs are well-rounded behind the well-sloped shoulders and
the chest is deep, extending to the elbows. The back is strong and
level, supported by powerful hips and thighs and the croup is sloped to
give a well-rounded finish. The loin is powerful and slightly arched.
Noticeably fat dogs, or dogs in poor flesh, or with skin disease, or
with no undercoat are out of condition and are moderately penalized
The forelegs are straight and muscular, with a fair amount of bone
considering the size of the dog. A cumbersome appearance is undesirable.
Both narrow and wide placement are penalized. The forearm is moderately
fleshy and the pasterns are flexible but without weakness. The hind legs
are less fleshy, muscular at the thighs, very sinewy and the hocks and
stifles are well bent. A cowhocked dog or a dog with straight stifles is
penalized. The comparatively small feet are approximately oval in shape.
The soles are well padded and tough, and the toes are well arched and
close together. When the Collie is not in motion the legs and feet are
judged by allowing the dog to come to a natural stop in a standing
position so that both the forelegs and the hind legs are placed well
apart, with the feet extending straight forward. Excessive "posing" is
Gait is sound. When the dog is moved at a slow trot toward an observer
its straight front legs track comparatively close together at the
ground. The front legs are not out at the elbows, do not "crossover,"
nor does the dog move with a choppy, pacing or rolling gait. When viewed
from the rear the hind legs are straight, tracking comparatively close
together at the ground. At a moderate trot the hind legs are powerful
and propelling. Viewed from the side the reasonably long, "reaching"
stride is smooth and even, keeping the back line firm and level. As the
speed of the gait is increased the Collie single tracks, bringing the
front legs inward in a straight line from the shoulder toward the center
line of the body and the hind legs inward in a straight line from the
hip toward the center line of the body. The gait suggests effortless
speed combined with the dog's herding heritage, requiring it to be
capable of changing its direction of travel almost instantaneously.
The tail is moderately long, the bone reaching to the hock joint or
below. It is carried low when the dog is quiet, the end having an upward
twist or swirl. When gaited or when the dog is excited it is carried
gaily but not over the back.
The well-fitting, proper-textured coat is the crowning glory of the
rough variety of Collie. It is abundant except on the head and legs. The
outer coat is straight and harsh to the touch. A soft, open outer coat
or a curly outer coat, regardless of quantity is penalized.- The
undercoat, however, is soft, furry and so close together that it is
difficult to see the skin when the hair is parted. The coat is very
abundant on the mane and frill. The face or mask is smooth. The forelegs
are smooth and well feathered to the back of the pasterns. The hind legs
are smooth below the hock joints. Any feathering below the hocks is
removed for the show ring. The hair on the tail is very profuse and on
the hips it is long and bushy. The texture, quantity and the extent to
which the coat "fits the dog" are important points.
The four recognized colors are "Sable and White," "Tri-color," "Blue
Merle" and "White." There is no preference among them. The "Sable and
White" is predominantly sable (a fawn sable color of varying shades from
light gold to dark mahogany) with white markings usually on the chest,
neck, legs, feet and the tip of the tail. A blaze may appear on the
foreface or backskull or both. The "Tri-color" is predominantly black,
carrying white markings as in a "Sable and White" and has tan shadings
on and about the head and legs. The "Blue Merle" is a mottled or
"marbled" color predominantly blue-gray and black with white markings as
in the "Sable and White" and usually has tan shadings as in the
"Tri-color." The "White" is predominantly white, preferably with sable,
tri-color or blue merle markings.
Dogs are from 24 to 26 inches at the shoulder and weigh from 60 to 75
pounds. Bitches are from 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder, weighing from
50 to 65 pounds. An undersize or an oversize Collie is penalized
according to the extent to which the dog appears to be undersize or
Expression is one of the most important points in considering the
relative value of Collies. Expression, like the term character, is
difficult to define in words. It is not a fixed point as in color,
weight or height and it is something the uninitiated can properly
understand only by optical illustration. In general, however, it may be
said to be the combined product of the shape and balance of the skull
and muzzle, the placement, size, shape and color of the eye and the
position, size and carriage of the ears. An expression that shows
sullenness or which is suggestive of any other breed is entirely
foreign. The Collie cannot be judged properly until its expression has
been carefully evaluated.
The Smooth Variety of Collie is judged by the same Standard as the Rough
Variety, except that the references to the quantity and distribution of
the coat are not applicable to the Smooth Variety, which has a short,
hard, dense, flat coat of good texture, with an abundance of undercoat.
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