Collie Breed Magazine - Showsight

q&A collie

acceptable on the side gate. A Collie should not roll on the sides. Front structure is extremely important to me. Finding a good post sternum when I judge thrills me! The Collie is a very versatile dog. It is able to compete in herd- ing, agility, obedience, tracking, rally and so many other performance areas. The Collie breed must stay sound. GK: Collies have a unique movement as they single track both front and rear. Our standard is very explicit and I feel does a great job of explaining what to look for: “Gait is sound. When the dog is moved at a slow trot toward an observer its straight front legs track compara- tively close together at the ground. 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.” HM: The Collie needs a strong, light, ground-covering move- ment that would allow him to work stock for hours. As he picks up speed going from a walk to a trot, he will tend to single-track both front and rear. I feel that correct rear movement is the hardest thing to find in today’s Collies. LR: What I look for in Collie movement is good reach and drive, a clean front and single tracking in the rear. I try to reward single tracking when possible and it may be the deciding factor in placements if all things are equal. 5. Is there anything Collie handlers do you wish they would not? Any grooming practices you see that bother you? WB: Some thinning of excessive rump hair common in some puppies should be thinned to see the true outline but other body sculpting is unnecessary and offensive. Collie handlers understand their dog’s temperament for the most part and bring out the best in their animals. SF: Overgrooming, overbaiting, brushing up while the judge is trying to make a judgment, racing around the ring. RH: A Collie should be shown naturally on a loose lead and be well groomed but not overdone. SH: The handlers do an excellent job in the ring. Grooming? Get all the chalk out! RJ: I think Collie handlers do a nice job overall. However, because I judge Junior Showmanship, it bothers me when handlers leave their leash dangling. I think it looks silly for a show lead to be raised above a handlers head while presenting the dog and frequently it comes with the handler’s knee in the dog’s chest. I wish more handlers

were aware of where the judge is standing when they do the individual down and back. While none of these issues are serious, I don’t see these practices in other breeds as much as in the Collie ring. I think over trimming is the worst thing a groomer can do to a Collie, rough or smooth. A Collie is not meant to be sculpted. When you trim make it look natural. Make sure it feels natural. If you can’t, don’t trim the body on a rough or a smooth except to neaten them up! Be careful with color and masks on faces. If it doesn’t look natural ask someone for help or leave it be. GK: I hate to see dogs strung up. I like to see them shown on a loose lead whether posing or moving. And I do not like to see handlers and dogs racing around the ring at breakneck speeds. Another thing is orange faces that don’t match the rest of the dog’s coloring. Over trimming is another distraction… especially when it is noticeable and scissor marks are evident with gaping holes and resulting loss of coat color. HM: Having to keep ears taped and in training all the time the dog is not in the ring results in a stiff appearance and trimming the ruff to stand up is annoying to me. MR: As in many other breeds, Collies are groomed to perfec- tion at the shows. Sometimes they are over groomed. The one thing that really annoys me is the scissoring. Some exhibitors and handlers scissor the Collie like a Poodle. I understand thinning out the excess undercoat on the rear and shoulders. If they are left too fluffy, it affects the appearance of the top line and causes the dog to look soft in back. Shaping of the entire body, is not correct. The feet and head should be neatened up, but not to the extreme of sculpting them all over. Collies should be gaited on a loose leash if at all possible. Some handlers string the dog up and front feet barely touch the ground. The speed should be what is comfortable and natural for the dog. No dog needs to be made to race around the ring. Faster isn’t always better. 6. Anything else you’d like to add? WB: I admire judges who find outstanding young dogs and carry them to high awards before they become well- known to everyone. RH: We love the Collie breed, there are no other breeds that compare to their human like emotions, being inquisitive, eager to please and easy to train. Their mild mannered and sweet temperament sets them apart from other breeds. I would tell anyone new to the breed to seek out those that have proven to be successful and learn from them. Study the history of the breed and look at families, study pedigrees and find photos of those dogs to see how they produced desired virtues. Read as many articles as you can and ask questions. Start with the best you can and be willing to see the difference when you win or


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