Collie Breed Magazine - Showsight

q&A collie

I sometimes see in the ring. Some breeders have gone too far in selecting for smaller eyes. The standard calls for a moderate eye. MR: In the 70s Collies on the west coast were taller dogs. Our standard says males are 24" to 26". Most males were close to 26". Today the males are around 24", sometimes less, but rarely over 25". Bitches are supposed to be 22" to 24". Forty years ago, they were mostly 24". Now bitches are usually 21" to 22". Personally, I like the size Collies are now. Head detail definitely improved over the last 4 decades. There were many receding back skulls in the 70s and 80s causing two-angled heads. The standard calls for parallel planes. This has definitely improved. The stop area is also better. The one area of the head that needs improvement is eye set. The Collie eyes have become very wide set. I feel this has come from breeding for extremely lean heads. The standard calls for a dark, medium, almond eye that is set obliquely. Many people have bred for eyes that are way too small that give a pig- eyed look. I feel this is also what has caused the wider set eyes. LR: I think that the breed has made significant improvement in movement. This can be seen in the number or Collies that are placing in the Herding Group, and in the RBIS and BIS. The Collies placing in the Herding Group were much less, when I stared showing dogs. I think eyes were getting too small, and that affects expression. However, I also think breeders realize this is a fault and are striving to correct it. 3. Do you find a difference in conformation or quality between Smooths and Roughs? WB: The smooths have better skulls than the roughs but many are too square. SF: Probably overall average quality in Smooths brought into the ring today is higher but body type which is out there for all to see is worse, toplines in particular. RH: Not really, the smooth variety has improved the most in the past 25 years and now both varieties are equal in quality. Many who once only breed roughs now breed and exhibit both varieties. SH: There are good and bad in both varieties. It is certainly easier to hide faults under a rough coat. I think roughs still have the edge, but I still find some exceptional smooths. RJ: There is very little difference in the quality of roughs and smooths these days. When I first started showing there were only a few good smooths. Now I think roughs and smooths have similar depth of quality depending on what part of the country you are in. I think we always need to remember there are more roughs than smooths but at any given show, a BOB can just as easily go to the smooth. GK: Generally today I think there are many smooths on equal footing with the rough Collies, but that wasn’t always the case. When I first started in the late 60s and early 70s, smooths were nowhere near as popular nor as good as they are today. It took one great smooth sire to turn everything around! As a result, smooths have made great strides in quality while becoming way

more competitive. Gone are the old days when a handful of smooths would be showing at the end of the day, when everyone else was packing up to go home. In those days, “Best of Breed” to the rough was a given. Nowadays that most certainly is not the case and many smooths beat the roughs even at our National! HM: I do not find a difference in quality between roughs and smooths, though the rough coat can certainly hide some faults. MR: Rough and smooth Collies are the same except for the coat. However I feel the smooth seems to be a heartier dog. Smooths and roughs can be in the same litter because they are different coat genes. The smooth new- born is solid feeling where the rough pup is much softer feeling. It’s hard to explain but one answer can be that the smooth Collie was bred as a drover. He helped the shepherd take the sheep to market. This could take days over different types of terrain. The rough Collie stayed with shepherd in fields watching the flock while they grazed. The smooth Collie has a shorter double coat so in the different terrain, there was no problems. The rough also has a double coat however much longer. He mainly was in grassy fields that wouldn’t cause an issue with the coat. LR: I do not think there is a difference in conformation between the smooth and the rough Collie. They both have the same standard. I find that it is easier to judge the smooth, as the rough coat and skillful grooming can disguise a fault until you go over the dog. However, this is sorted out upon examination of the dog. I would say quality depends on the entry. I have had the privilege of judging both smooths and roughs that I would love to have in my yard. 4. Describe what you look for in Collie movement: WB: This breed should be athletic, be able to turn quickly, jump quite high and trot and trot and trot. Over-reach and extreme action is not the correct Collie gait and should not be rewarded. SF: Movement should be true, free and floating. Speed is not to be equated with correctness, however. The Collie at work is able to twist and turn handily. He does not gallop at speed to catch prey but outwits the sheep feinting against them or jogs effortlessly all day behind the herd or flock driving beats to market. RH: The Collie is a strong active dog moving effortlessly, single tracking without a rolling gait or prancing front. A Collie should come to a natural four square stop without being hand stacked. SH: I want clean movement coming and going. I don’t want to see hocks touching, or crossing, or any front hackney- type action. While the Collie is not going to have the reach and drive of a Shepherd, it should be balanced, and not piddy-paddy around the ring. RJ: While head and expression are paramount in our stan- dard, a Collie is a herding dog. I always look for single tracking dogs with decent reach and drive. I look for a level topline with a slight rise over the loin being

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