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.
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