q&A collie apparent when you viewing from the side. A Collie is not a square dog. They should be slightly longer in body. Per- sonally, I like a lower to the ground Collie. They should have a nice arch of neck that is in balance with the rest of the dog. There should be a slight rise in the end of the loin leading into a gentle but obvious slope to the croup. This ends with a correct tail set without carrying the tail over the back. LR: The five traits that I look for when judging the breed are as follows: expression, balance, head detail, side move- ment and single tracking. The ultimate hallmark of the breed is expression. 2. How has the breed changed since you became involved with it? Do you see any trends you think are moving the breed in the wrong direction? Any traits becoming exaggerated? WB: The top-notch Collies of yesteryear were very similar to the ones currently being shown but the general quality overall has improved greatly. For a while I was worried the Collies were getting too small and short-legged but that seems to improving. The eyes are still too small and often poorly placed. SF: The breed generally is probably “prettier” which is not bad in itself but “cute” is not to be found in the Standard. Tendency to shortleggedness or just undersize Collies. I think it was over-reaction to the rather rangy type preva- lent in the breed when I came in. But when you shorten leg bones you also get a shorter head—easier to fix pro- file but lacking balance. Too, maybe many of those dogs lacked coat, but it was correct texture, not like too many poofy over-groomed and trimmed fluffies today. The Col- lie has always been a natural breed and ears today are too artificial, being put up in braces before puppy teeth are even in. Coloring, coat enhancers and scissoring are as common in the Collie ring as down the line in Poodles. Don’t blame it on the judges, they can only pass on what is brought to them, but I do fault breeder-judges for aid- ing the parade and rewarding these trends which are foreign to our heritage RH: The breed has moved forward from where it was when we began exhibiting and breeding. There are always fades the breed goes through. Movement and balance have improved but head qualities tend to be harder to maintain. Every breeder, breeds for certain traits or type and the selection process dictates the outcome. Not all who breed select for the same virtues and many new to the breed do not have the same knowledge that can only be learned from experience. All these factors influence the breed along with those who judge the breed. SH: Rears have improved tremendously since I first started judging. Side movement has also improved. Smooth Col- lies have gotten better. RJ: There have been a couple of changes I’ve noticed over the years. Some breeders have selected breeding stock with smaller eyes producing a harsh not sweet expres- sion. The eye placement has become wider set as well.
In bodies breeders have bred to dogs with incorrect straight fronts because they think a straight shoulder is “showy” or “stylish”. This detracts from balance and distorts what I consider as my mental picture of our stan- dard. This includes breeding a shorter backed “cobby” body, forgetting a Collie is longer than it is tall. I worry about the average size of the Collie being at the bottom of our standard in many cases. This trend started several years ago and is still strong today in the breed. While these things bother me, I think the Collie breed has improved a lot in the last 40 years by breeders who are true stewards of our breed. GK: I think overall the quality is higher today. There is more uniformity. Generally today’s dogs are sounder with better fitting coats. When I first started going to shows in the late 60s, the entries were much larger… almost fourfold! With the higher numbers, there were many more mediocre dogs. However, I think the really good ones in those days would be just as competitive today as they were then! Grooming and presentation has changed dramatically! When I first started going to shows, a little water, a couple brushes, Foo Foo and St. Aubrey’s Coat Dressing were all we needed. Handling today is much more sophisticated. The breed is always evolving and there will always be trends! Depending on what families of dogs are paving the way at a particular time, the breed will start tak- ing on those characteristics of the popular, prominent families… for good and for bad. Currently there are quite a few dogs being shown with excessive width between the eyes (which really spoils expression). All it takes is a popular sire with this trait and soon, the majority of dogs will exhibit this trait (especially concentrated in certain areas). Another trait I am seeing more is a short upper arm. When a dog is presented and he is standing down in the front, with a higher rear end, that’s generally what is going on. Sometimes excessive coat on the rump will give this impression, but all that takes is a hands- on examination. Usually moving the dog will confirm because they almost always will appear like a wheel barrel when moving (head down, butt up). Another trend in the last ten years or so is size. Some of the Collies in certain parts of the country are becoming quite small. Rarely do you see a dog too big. When I first started, overall the dogs were much bigger. While the Collie standard does not have size and weight disqualifications, it does have guidelines… “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.” HM: The emphasis on grooming has increased tremendous- ly. In the old days, a brush and a spray bottle of water was all you needed to take to the show, though of course the dogs were bathed and trimmed somewhat at home. I do not like the overdone grooming techniques that I find in some parts of the country, and I am concerned about “foreign substances.” I do not like the very small eyes
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