Border Collie Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.
Let’s Talk Breed Education!
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Official Standard of the Border Collie Preamble : The Border Collie originated in the Border country between Scotland and England where the shepherds' breeding selection was based on biddable stock sense and the ability to work long days on rugged terrain. As a result of this selective breeding, the Border Collie developed the unique working style of gathering and fetching the stock with wide sweeping outruns. The stock is then controlled with an intense gaze known as "eye", coupled with a stalking style of movement. This selective breeding over time developed the Border Collie's intensity, energy and trainability which are features so important that they are equal to physical size and appearance. The Border Collie has extraordinary instinct and an uncanny ability to reason. One of its greatest assets is the ability to work out of sight of its master without commands. Breeding based on this working ability has made this breed the world's premier sheep herding dog, a job the Border Collie is still used for worldwide. General Appearance: The Border Collie is a well balanced, medium-sized dog of athletic appearance, displaying gracefulness, power and agility in equal measure. Its hard, muscular body conveys the impression of effortless movement and endless endurance. The Border Collie is extremely intelligent, with its keen, alert expression being a very important characteristic of the breed. Those aspects of structure, movement or temperament that enhance the dog's ability to function as a herding dog are virtues that should be strongly rewarded. The Border Collie is, and should remain, a natural and unspoiled true working sheep dog whose conformation is described herein. Honorable scars and broken teeth incurred in the line of duty are acceptable. Size, Proportion, Substance: The height at the withers varies from 19 to 22 inches for males, 18 to 21 inches for females. When viewed from the side, the body from the point of shoulder to point of buttocks is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The length to height ratio is approximately 10:9. Correct bone must be moderate, strong and oval. Overall balance between height, length, weight and bone is crucial and is more important than any absolute measurement. Dogs must be presented in hard working condition. Excess body weight is not to be mistaken for muscle or substance. Head: Expression is intelligent, alert, eager, and full of interest. Eyes are set well apart, of moderate size, oval in shape. Any eye color is acceptable, but blue eyes in dogs other than merle are not preferred. Eye rims should be fully pigmented. Ears are of medium size, set well apart, one or both carried erect and/or semi-erect (varying from one-quarter to three-quarters of the ear erect). When semi-erect, the tips may fall forward or outward to the side. Ears are sensitive and mobile. Skull is relatively flat and moderate in width. The skull and muzzle are approximately equal in length. In profile the top of the skull is parallel with the top of the muzzle. Stop moderate, but distinct. The muzzle is strong, tapering slightly to the nose. The sides of the head should taper smoothly into the muzzle. The underjaw is strong and well developed. Nose should be fully pigmented. Nostrils are well developed. A full complement of strong healthy teeth should meet in a scissors bite . Neck, Topline, Body: Neck is of proportional length to the body, strong and muscular, slightly arched and blending smoothly into the shoulders. Topline - Back is level with a slight muscular rise over the loin, falling to a gently sloping croup. Body is athletic in appearance with a deep, moderately broad chest reaching no further than the point of the elbow. The rib cage is moderately long with well sprung ribs. Loin is moderately deep and short. Underline should have a slight but distinct tuck up. The tail is set on low and is moderately long with the bone reaching
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at least to the hock. The ideal tail carriage is low when the dog is concentrating on a given task and may have a slight upward swirl at the end like a shepherd's crook. In excitement it may be raised, but the base of the tail should not curve forward over the back. Forequarters: Forelegs should be parallel when viewed from front, pasterns slightly sloping when viewed from side. Because sufficient length of leg is crucial for the type of work the breed is required to do, the distance from the wither to the elbow is slightly less than from the elbow to the ground. The shoulder blades are long and well laid back. Shoulder blades and upper arms are equal in length and meet in a right angle as nearly as possible. The prosternum is easily felt but not pronounced. There is sufficient width between the tops of the shoulder blades to allow for the characteristic crouch when approaching and moving stock. The elbows are neither in nor out. Feet are compact, oval in shape; pads deep and strong, toes moderately arched and close together with strong nails of moderate length. Dewclaws may be removed. Hindquarters: Broad and muscular, in profile sloping gracefully to the low set tail. The thighs are long, broad, deep and muscular. Stifles are well turned with strong well let down hocks. Proper length of hock is approximately one-quarter to one-third the height of the dog. When standing with the hocks perpendicular to the ground the toes of the rear feet should be in line with the point of buttock. Rear feet should be parallel, but may toe out slightly when freestanding. Feet are compact, oval in shape; pads deep and strong, toes moderately arched and close together with strong nails of moderate length. Dewclaws should be removed. Coat: Two varieties are permissible, both having close-fitting, dense, weather resistant double coats with the top coat either straight or slightly wavy and coarser in texture than the undercoat which is soft, short and dense. The rough variety coat may vary in length without being excessive. Proper texture is more important than length. Forelegs, haunches, chest and underside are feathered and the coat on face, ears, feet, fronts of legs is short and smooth. The smooth variety is short over entire body, is usually coarser in texture than the rough variety and may have slight feathering on forelegs, haunches, chest and ruff. Neither coat type is preferred over the other. Seasonal shedding is normal and must not be penalized. Excess hair on the feet, hock and pastern areas may be neatened for the show ring. Whiskers are untrimmed. Dogs should be presented naturally, without excessive trimming or sculpting. Color : The Border Collie appears in all colors or combination of colors and/or markings. All colors are to be judged equally with no one color or pattern preferred over another. White markings may be clear white or ticked to any degree. Random white patches on the body are permissible but should not predominate. The predominant ear color should match the primary body color. Color and markings are always secondary to physical evaluation and gait. Gait : The Border Collie is an agile dog, able to suddenly change speed and direction while maintaining balance and grace. Endurance is its trademark. The head is carried level with or slightly below the withers. When shown, Border Collies should move on a loose lead and at moderate speed, never raced around the ring with the head held high. When viewed from the side the trot covers the ground effortlessly with minimum lift of feet. The topline is firm with no roll or bounce. Front reach and rear drive are symmetrical, with the front foot meeting the ground directly under the nose and the rear foot pushing back without kicking up. When the rear foot is coming forward, it should reach to the spot just vacated by the front foot. Viewed from the front, action is forward and true without wasted motion. Viewed from the rear, hindquarters drive with thrust and flexibility with hocks turning neither in nor out, moving close together but never
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touching. The legs, both front and rear, tend to converge toward the center line as speed increases. Exaggerated movement is not efficient, and therefore is not useful to the Border Collie. Temperament : The Border Collie is energetic, intelligent, keen, alert, and responsive. An intense worker of great tractability, it is affectionate towards friends but may be sensibly reserved towards strangers. When approached, the Border Collie should stand its ground. It should be alert and interested, never showing shyness, fear, dullness or resentment. Faults : Any deviation from the foregoing should be considered a fault, the seriousness of the fault depending upon the extent of the deviation, and the degree to which working ability would be impacted.
Approved: April 21, 2015 Effective: July 1, 2015
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BORDER COLLIE
By Kelly Whiteman
order Collies originat- ed in the border area between Scotland and England. Often called the world’s premiere sheepherding dogs,
but also the uncanny ability to know how far o ff the perimeter they need to stay in order to not disturb their “flock” from these early hunting dogs. Border Collies have traditionally been bred solely for working ability. Because of the di ff erence in terrain between the Eng- lish lowlands and the Scottish highlands, farmers raised di ff erent breeds of sheep based upon their locality. Th e type of stock and the surrounding topography led to dif- ferent physical attributes being required for the dogs to be e ffi cient workers. For example, to survive in the rough hills and rocky crags of the highlands, sheep had to be light and fast. Th us, the good work- ing dogs in the highlands tended to have longer legs and leaner bodies. In contrast, the lowlands could support slower, heavier sheep. To work these large, heavy sheep on gentler land, the dogs did not need as much speed and agility. Instead, they needed a lower center of gravity and enough size to be able to withstand a charge from big, angry ewes defending their lambs. Th ere- fore, the dogs in the lowlands had shorter legs and heavier bodies. So, even though the dogs were bred for working ability (as opposed to being bred for “looks”), recog- nizable physical styles evolved. Th e first sheepdog trial was held in Bala, Wales on October 9, 1873. Trials were designed to showcase the working ability of the dogs by having the dogs
move sheep through a series of obstacles, penning the sheep and shedding one or more sheep away from the rest of the flock. Th e International Sheepdog Society (ISDS) was formed in 1906. Th e ISDS developed the first Border Collie stud books and still registers working Bor- der Collies today. Th e ISDS hold annu- al competitions to determine National Champions in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Th e National Champions then compete for the ultimate goal—the International Supreme Champion sheep- dog. Th e first sheepdog trial to be held in America was in Philadelphia, PA in 1880. Th e first US National Championship sheepdog trial was in Staunton, Virginia in 1941. Today the United States Border Collie Handlers Association (USBCHA), the American Herding Breeds Associa- tion (AHBA), the Australian Shepherd Club of America (ASCA) and the Ameri- can Kennel Club (AKC) hold herding trials all across America. Th e trials have various courses and formats and also have choices of sheep, cattle, ducks, geese or goats as stock. Many trials, including the very first one in 1873, also had a “type” competi- tion after the dogs ran the course. Th e “type” competition was, essentially, what we call today a dog show. Th e dogs were evaluated on physical structure to deter- mine which was best suited to perform the
Border Collies are renowned for their ability to move sheep in a silent and con- trolled manner, all at the will of their mas- ters. Border Collies control stock by using their “eye,” which has been described as “the ability to control stock by staring at them in a fixed and steady manner.” Although their history is unrecorded, it is commonly accepted that they developed from crosses between the Roman drover dogs and the progenitors of the Finnish Spitz. As time went on, the dogs were also crossed with other working and sporting breeds, including beardies, setters, point- ers and sight hounds. Sporting breed records indicate that certain lines of pointers worked di ff erently in the days when birds such as grouse and partridge were hunted on foot with nets rather than with guns. Like modern-day dogs, these particular lines were able to point to where a covey of birds was hiding in the underbrush. But instead of flushing the prey, the dogs would circle around the perimeter of the covey, indicating to the hunters exactly where to lay their net to capture the birds. It seems likely that Bor- der Collies inherited not only their “eye”,
“Often called the world’s premiere sheepherding dogs, BORDER COLLIES ARE RENOWNED FOR THEIR ABILITY TO MOVE SHEEP IN A SILENT AND CONTROLLED MANNER, ALL AT THE WILL OF THEIR MASTERS.”
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job of sheepherding. Th e farmers and shepherds who participated in the first trials and type competitions were, above all else, stockmen. (Women did not get involved in sheepdog trialing until much later.) As stockmen, they were comfortable with the idea of evaluating an animal’s physical structure against a standard based upon the animal’s purpose: whether that purpose was wool production, meat for marketing or working stock. Working col- lies were shown in the conformation ring in New Zealand as early as 1886 and Aus- tralia in 1907. Th ey were shown in Europe at FCI shows before being recognized by the Kennel Club in Great Britain in 1976. Canada did not allow Border Collies in conformation until 2007. Border Collies were in AKC’s Miscel- laneous group for forty years—from 1955 to 1995. Th ey could only enter obedience and tracking events. Border Collies weren’t
very prevalent in AKC in the early years, but even in small numbers they made their presence well known in obedience tri- als. By 1990, Border Collies were becom- ing more popular as the sport of agility appeared and became more widespread throughout the US. Th eir popularity grew even further when AKC started o ff ering agility trials in 1994. Meanwhile, AKC’s herding program began in 1989. At that time, AKC only allowed breeds listed in the Herding Group to participate. Since Border Collies were listed in the Miscellaneous group, as herd- ing trial popularity grew, full recognition became an issue. In December 1994, the AKC made its decision to fully recognize Border Collies. Registration would begin April 1, 1995, and the first Championship points would be awarded October 1, 1995. Since AKC recognition in 1995, popular- ity of the breed continues to grow—in
2012 Border Collies were number 44 on AKC’s most popular breeds list as deter- mined by number of registrations. In his book Th e Intelligence of Dogs , Stanley Coren announced that Border Collies are the most intelligent breed. Th eir trainability, willingness to work and athletic prowess make them an excellent choice for people interested in sports like obedience and agility. Th eir speed makes them desirable flyball competitors. Th eir grace and beauty appeal to those who want to show in conformation. And their unsurpassed abilities to read and control livestock make them outstanding herding trial competitors. Border Collies compete in just about any activity available and excel at most. Th eir desire to work hard and please their owner is directly related to how the breed developed. One cannot truly appreciate this breed without under- standing that history. 4 )08 4 *()5 . "(";*/& " 13*- t
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! hen evaluating Border Collies in the show ring against a breed standard, the qualities that make the Border Collie the world’s premiere sheep herding dog should be considered of primary importance. Border Col- lies’ working style is di ff erent and unique from other herding breeds. Specifically, Border Collies use “eye” to control the stock. All Border Collies have some degree of eye, the amount depending on what lines they come from.
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When using their eye to move live- stock, Border Collies lower at least their heads, and often the entire front portion of their bodies, into a creeping or crouch- ing position. Border Collies have the abil- ity to drop to the ground instantaneously, which is called “clapping”. Additionally, the amazing stopping, turning and general agility of the breed is unsurpassed. It is only after the dog can meet the physical standards required for its job should other, non-functional traits be con- sidered. But, some of the things that may be thought of as “cosmetic” actually have a working purpose. Pigmentation is one example—a well-pigmented dog is less likely to su ff er sunburn. Whiskers should remain untrimmed because whiskers help pick up the scent of sheep that are out of sight. Even the white tip on the end of a tail carried in an upward swirl has a purpose. It is known as the “shepherd’s lantern” because many times the tip of a tail would be all that would lead the shepherd home in the dark after a long day’s work. Herding instinct and ability can- not be assessed in the conformation ring, but the physical qualities that
enhance the dog’s ability to work can. For instance, only a dog with a well- angulated, sound front will be able to crouch in true Border Collie fashion. This posture also requires the scapula to be further apart when the dog is stand- ing than many other breeds. Because of the need for agile, fast turns, the Border Collie’s length of body should be pri- marily in the ribcage; not in a long loin which might be susceptible to injury. Border Collies must have moderate, oval bone—light enough for speed, but sub- stantial enough for stamina. Border Collies historically come in four distinct styles. In her classic treatise, Key Dogs from the Border Col- lie Family , Sheila Grew identified four individual types within the Border Col- lie breed. The types are divided by phys- ical looks, but general working style and temperament also seem related to type. She called them: 1) Northumbrian type; 2) Wiston Cap type; 3) Nap type; and 4) Herdman’s Tommy type. The AKC breed standard was purposely written to be broad enough to include all four. No one style is preferred over the others.
This can be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the development of the breed. Regardless of its particu- lar style, it is the judge’s job to pick the best representative in the ring that day. A final lineup that includes a variety of styles does not mean the judge doesn’t know what he or she is doing. Instead, it reflects judging that respects the range of variety acceptable in this breed. Only when two dogs are of equal quality should a judge choose based upon any personal preference for one style over another. Having four historically distinct styles does not mean that breed type should be ignored. When a judge is standing in the middle of the ring looking at a lineup that has just come in, there should be no question that the dogs are Border Collies. If one has to look for a tail to determine whether a dog is an Austra- lian Shepherd or a Border Collie, breed type is lacking. In addition to head and body shape, one of the most important aspects of breed type is movement. Some dogs manage to look great on the stack, but fall apart when moved.
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Border Collies should move out on a loose lead, with their head carried low. Many judges reward fast and flashy move- ment. This is incorrect. Efficient movement is imperative because these dogs must be able to cover miles of rough ter- rain daily. A properly moving Border Collie seems to glide or float as it covers the ground smoothly and effortlessly. This is described in some countries’ breed standards as the ability to move with “stealth”. Although stealth is often associated with the crouch that Border Collies use when approaching livestock, it is also apparent in the free-flowing movement when the dog is being gaited in the ring. When viewed from the side, the trot covers the ground effortlessly with mini- mum lift of feet. The topline should be firm with no roll or bounce. Front reach and rear drive are symmetrical, with the front foot meeting the ground directly under the nose and the rear foot pushing back without kicking up. When the rear foot is coming forward, it should reach to the spot just vacated by the front foot. This easy facility of move- ment is a hallmark of the breed. Even though some Border Collies may never see sheep in their lifetime, they should still have the physical attributes necessary to perform their original function as working sheep- dogs. Breeders, exhibitors and judges each play an important role in the quest to respect and maintain that heritage. BIO Kelly Whiteman was the first American breeder-specialist judge voted by the Border Collie Society of America (BCSA) membership to judge a National Specialty. She has presented many Judges’ Education seminars and regularly provides ring- side mentoring for those interested in applying to judge Border Collies. She is the Recording Secretary for BCSA and Secretary of the Kentuckiana Tartan Border Collie Club (KTBCC). She cur- rently serves as Chair of the BCSA Standard Committee. +,,,"-%&".&/0%&1"*/& )12"#/3-/&3*2%'/*& ".&!#%%$&/42%&)*& 1"5%1%-/,6
! order Collie people, no matter what their chosen venue, under- stand one thing that is universal about the breed. Border Collies are “quirky”. Th e words that come to other peoples’ minds when they talk about BCs are “smart” and “ener- getic”. Th ey generally are. But some of mine are so laid back they could be mistaken for 10 year old bulldogs. An all breed professional handler once called my special “ Th e Narcoleptic Border Collie”. One of mine is so dumb she is downright embar- rassing. But, without exception, they are all quirky. Border Collies take quirky to a whole new level. One has to spin three times before I set her din- ner bowl down. One can only go in her kennel by passing me on my left side. If I block that side, she cannot go around me and enter her kennel. It’s the rule. I think obsessive/compulsive may be another explanation, but they live their lives by rules they make up and only they understand. It makes them sound neurotic, but it is funny and harmless. Con- ner has to run around the dog yard three times before joining us on a walk. Jazz must gently bite my nose each morning as I wake up or he frets and paces. Sam (aka “Woo Woo”) greets the breaking dawn by declaring “Woo WOOOOO!” each and every morning. Quinn has to bark at Bertha before he goes on a run behind the “Gator” (Bertha hates it when he does it). Th ey have their rules about toys, food, each other, me, their living space, their routine. Everything. Border Collies were bred to herd sheep. I will substitute the word “organize” for the word “herd”. My opinion is that that is the reason for their funny behavior. Th ey feel compelled to “organize” their environment like they would their sheep. Th ey put the most colorful and imaginative spins on that pursuit, that their humans are awed, amazed, frus- trated, and most of all, entertained by this lovely, funny, quirky breed.
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BORDER COLLIE MOVEMENT
T he dog and handler approach the post. With a soft sound, the black and white dog casts to the right towards the sheep 500 yards away. As the dog approaches the rear of the sheep, he slows from a gallop to a walk, moving the sheep forward at a steady pace. If you attend a sheepdog trial, you will see dog after dog cast to the right or the left on an outrun towards sheep that are the size of a dot. The dogs run full-out at a gallop and then, after stopping on a dime, skillfully guide sheep to the handler’s feet. Border Collies have been selectively bred for many years to be able to do these things instinctively—making them the world’s premier sheepdog. You will never see dogs moving at a gallop in the conformation ring, nor will they exhibit the characteristic Border Collie crouch, but you will see dogs that should be capable of both. Border Collies have a truly unique way of moving around the conformation ring; they are agile and capable of changing speed and direction quickly. As a result, they should appear athletic and graceful. The Border Collie should move on a loose lead with its head level or slightly below the withers. You should see the dog’s head drop down and the neck stretch out as it reaches full speed, which should be moderate. The space between the shoulder blades, felt when the dog is standing, makes this movement possible. The topline should remain firm, with no
IN THE FIELD AND IN THE RING
BY LISA PRUKA
roll or bounce. When viewed from the side, the trot should appear effortless with minimum lift of feet, the ground-covering gait attesting to the dog’s endur- ance. The movement should not be fast and flashy; you should be able to envision the dog running out over 500 yards toward sheep in a field, bringing those sheep to the handler and then moving them around the course.
BORDER COLLIE MOVEMENT: IN THE FIELD AND IN THE RING
Front reach and rear drive are symmetrical. The front foot should reach to the nose and the rear foot should push back without excessive kick. Anything more is wasted motion; the Border Collie is the picture of efficiency. When viewed from the front, action is forward and true, neither wide nor narrow, elbows should be neither in nor out. Viewed from the rear, the hindquarters drive with thrust and flexibility. The hocks should turn neither in nor out, moving close together but nev- er touching. In another spot in the standard, it mentions that the Border Collie’s rear feet may toe out slightly. This slight turning in of the rear hocks enables the Border Collie to make quick turns and easily transition from a “down” to move- ment, but this should never be seen while the dog is moving. The legs, both front and rear, converge as the dog gains speed so that, at a fast-enough pace, Border Collies “single track.” A few words about how the Border Collie’s structure con- tributes to its ability to move with unique grace and beauty: • the length of leg is crucial for the dog to be able to work as required; • the distance from wither to elbow is slightly less than from elbow to ground; • the prosternum should be felt but not seen; • the chest should reach no further than the elbow; • a space between elbow and chest should be visible, which enables the Border Collie to turn on a dime and move back and forth like a cutting horse. These structural attributes allow the Border Collie to get into the quintessential “crouch.” In this position, Border Col- lies will often employ the legendary “eye” in their efforts to move sheep. And then we come to the tail end of things. The Border Collie’s tail is set low and is moderately long. The ideal tail carriage is low when the dog is concentrating on a task. We often can tell when a dog is playing vs. working by the way it is carrying its tail, and for many dogs the conformation ring is fun. Tails may be raised in excitement but should not curl over the back. Tails that may come up while the dog is mov- ing should settle down when the dog stops moving. These structural characteristics make the Border Collie the agile, graceful, and efficient dog that excels at herding and so many other things.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lisa Pruka works full-time for the U.S. Postal Service and in her free-time she breeds under the prefix Czechmate. She also trains and competes with her Border Collies in Herding, Obedience, Rally, Agility, and Conformation. Additionally, she serves on the Board as the AKC Delegate and is an AKC Herding Judge.
BORDER COLLIE APPEARANCE: COAT, COLORS & EARS
Border Collie Appearance COAT, COLORS & EARS BY KAREN BELL
Mary Fish Arango photography
TEXTURE Like many Herding dogs, Border Collies have two coats. The outer coat should have a coarse, slightly wiry feel. The outer coat is straight or may be a bit wavy (especially as a dog ages) and is designed to shed water and protect from wind and snow. The undercoat is softer and somewhat wooly, and provides insulation from cold and also from heat. The undercoat is the “temperature regulator.” COLORS: COAT, EYES & NOSE Border Collies come in a wide variety of colors in addition to the well- known black and white. All colors are acceptable, including red/brown, blue, lilac, gold, sable, seal, and brindle. Dogs can have white markings, tan points, merle patterns, or none of the above. White markings often appear in the classic Irish patterns, (white blaze, collar, tail tip, front legs, and back feet), and although predominantly white dogs are not preferable, there is no color that is not allowed in the conformation ring. No color or marking is preferred; all should be judged equally. Unique markings, such as white spots on the back or side or tail, which can be disqualifying in other breeds, are not faults in the Border Collie. Color and markings are always secondary to movement. For many breeders, it is fun to watch the rainbow of colors appear as puppies are born. Border Collies come in such a wide array of colors that occasionally DNA testing is the only way to determine the actual color of a dog. Eye color can vary with the predominant body color of the dog. Dark-col- ored dogs should have correspondingly dark eyes. Eye colors can range from dark black/brown to amber, gold, green, or blue. While blue eyes on a dark dog are not preferred, it is not a fault. Merles can have two of the same color eyes, two different colors, and/or the “merle” eye which is a two-toned eye. Eyes should be oval in shape and, preferably, have dark pigment surrounding the rim. The nose should be fully pigmented with well-developed nostrils.
SUCH AS WHITE SPOTS
ON THE BACK OR SIDE
OR TAIL, WHICH CAN BE
DISQUALIFYING IN OTHER
BREEDS, ARE NOT FAULTS
IN THE BORDER COLLIE.
BORDER COLLIE APPEARANCE: COAT, COLORS & EARS
THE BORDER COLLIE IS, AND SHOULD REMAIN, A NATURAL AND UNSPOILED TRUE WORKING SHEEPDOG.
PRESENTATION Border Collies are subject to seasonal shedding. Movement and structure should be given higher priority than the amount or length of coat; dogs should not be penalized for being “out of coat” due to seasonal shedding. When being shown, it is expected that the dog be presented natu- rally. Feet may be trimmed and hocks may be neatened. Whiskers are left untrimmed. Border Collies should never appear “sculpted.” With proper coat maintenance, little else is needed before ring time. Rough- coated dogs are often wet down and the top coat is blown straight. In the ring, the coat should appear flowing with the movement of the dog. Often, on a heavily coated dog, hair is thinned over the hips so that it does not “flop” to-and-fro and distract from the overall appearance. The Border Collie is, and should remain, a natural and unspoiled true working sheepdog. Although a full complement of healthy teeth with a scissors bite should be presented, broken teeth and other scars incurred in the line of duty are acceptable.
LENGTH OF COAT Border Collies have two coat varieties, rough and smooth. While quite common in dog sports and herding, the smooth variety of Border Collie is still uncommon in the conforma- tion ring. There is currently a renewed interest in presenting the smooth variety on equal footing with the rough coats. Our national specialty will have dedicated classes for the smooth variety and you may see smooth classes at your local shows soon. The breed standard calls for them to be judged equally, but many conformation judges have never seen them in their rings. The gene for smooth coat is the dominant coat variety, so breeding quality conformation dogs should be able to be done within a few generations. Rough and smooth varieties can be born in the same litter. Smooth-coated dogs should still have the double coat described above. The texture of the topcoat is coarse (think Labrador Retriever) and the dog may have furnishings on the legs. There is a lot of variability in the amount and length of rough-coated dogs, with some hav- ing huge coats and others more closely resembling smooths; however, rough coats should never be excessive, and shedding should not be penalized in the show ring. Coat type, color, markings, and length are all secondary to proper movement. EAR SET Ears are of medium size, set well-apart, and carried in any number of ways, including both up, both down, one up and one down, rose or tipped forward or out to the side.
Karen Bell, Board Member at Large, has been in the breed for 38 years. She started showing in 2006, finishing 17 Champions and multiple Grand Champions. Karen has bred 17 Conformation Champions and one Herding Champion. She is an AKC Breeder of Merit Bronze.
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