THE COLLIE STANDARD
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 character.
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 heavily
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 accordingly. In grown males, a monorchid or cryptorchid is disqualified.
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 undesirable.
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 oversize.
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.
Approved May 10, 1977