«Extended Breed Standard of THE BORDER COLLIE Produced by The Border Collie Club of Victoria Inc in collaboration with the Australian National Kennel ...»
A correctly set, well carried tail, with sufficient furnishings, is most important in the assessment of overall balance of the Border Collie. If he carries his tail high, his balance is affected and he loses his smooth flowing movement, sometimes having an ungainly rear action. You may also find that he has a high set on tail.
The bone of the tail should reach at least to the hock joint with no kinks or knots.
When on the move the tail should ideally be carried horizontally or lower than the line of the back.
The (upward) swirl in the tail is a feature of this breed, as is the white tip on the end of the tail.
The moderately long, low set tail of the Border Collie (with its upward swirl, whilst the dog is moving) is not only a feature of this breed, but serves a functional purpose as well. While concentrating at a given task the tail is carried low and is used almost like a rudder to help balance the dog when turning. Consequently judges should be aware that tails which are too short lack functional usefulness.
Standard - The movement is free, smooth and tireless, with a minimum lift of the feet, conveying the impression of the ability to move with great stealth.
The action, viewed from the front, should be straight forward and true, without weakness at shoulders, elbows or pasterns. Viewed from behind the quarters thrust with strength and flexibility, with hocks not close nor too far apart. When trotting, the dog’s feet tend to come closer together as speed increases, but when the dog comes to rest he should stand four square. Any tendency to stiltiness or to cowhocks or bow hocks is a serious fault.
One of the characteristics of the Border Collie is to move with great stealth. This is best defined as ‘to pass by unnoticed’. While working it will seem as if it is crouching, the head and neck appear to become a continuation of the body. This is to help the Border Collie attract minimum attention to itself whilst working. It gaits with a moderately low head carriage - compared with most other breeds. The head is pushed forward and slightly higher than the level of the back.
The Border Collie is an agile dog able to suddenly change speed and direction without loss of balance and grace. It should have a smooth, balanced, low action, displaying a minimum of up and down movement giving the impression of being tireless. The head, shoulders, back and rump should not appear to rise and fall with each stride.
No reference is made to speed being desirable. Fast movement does not necessarily mean good movement. The dog should be moved at a speed that conveys the impression of a smooth, tireless gait with a minimum lift and maximum extension of the feet. When viewed from the side the stride should cover maximum ground with minimum effort. With correct extension and balance, an imaginary vertical line can be drawn from the nose to the extended foot - see page 20.
The words ‘free, smooth and tireless’ eliminates short-stepping, strutting movement.
Judges should not expect a high-headed, high stepping dog as this is not typical of the breed.
The only serious fault mentioned in the standard is ‘any tendency to stiltedness, or to cowhocks or bow hocks’. These would affect the dog’s movement and hamper endurance.
Any deviation to a sound moving dog is also a fault, e.g. crabbing which is usually associated with a short coupled or square dog. Overreaching, lack of reach and drive normally also relate to incorrect structure. In final assessment, gait is an essential factor confirming physical evaluation.
To appreciate the correct movement of a Border Collie it is preferable they be moved on a loose lead.
Extended Breed Standard of the Border Collie - Page 23 COAT Standard - Double coated, with a moderately long, dense, medium textured topcoat while the undercoat is short, soft and dense, making a weather resisting protection, with abundant coat to form mane, breeching and brush. On face, ear tips, forelegs (except for feather), hind legs from hock to ground, the hair is short and smooth.
Body coat of the Border Collie should not be so abundant or curly, as to detract from the graceful outline of the animal. The coat may be straight or have a slight wave.
The complete absence of undercoat is to be regarded as a fault in an adult dog as this will reduce the coats insulating quality. The medium textured top coat gives a waterproofing quality and together with the undercoat will effect the dog’s capacity for enduring working conditions. Bitches are generally not as heavily coated as dogs.
The hair should be sufficiently long on the rear of the front legs, between elbow and pastern, to form a distinct feather, and on the rear of the thighs the coat should form a breeching. The tail should have an abundance of coat to form a brush.
Each colour of coat, including white, tends to have a different texture.
The Baby Puppy Border Collie has one coat until he/she is about four to five months old, and then his/her second coat (or outer coat) will start to grow from the shoulder blades area and down the back, growing in length until it eventually covers the first coat, which is then the undercoat. This coat is usually much softer than that required for an adult Border Collie, and could possibly retain ‘puppy fluff’ around the head and breeching.
Standard - Black and white, blue and white, chocolate and white, red and white, blue Merle and the tri-colour black, tan and white. In each case the basic body colour must predominate and be the background colour of the dog.
Extended Breed Standard of the Border Collie - Page 24 Blue merle Predominantly clear silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. If tan markings are present they should be a rich tan. Large black markings, slate colour, or a rusty tinge either on the top or under coat are undesirable.
Black, White & Tan Black being the predominant colour with white markings and tan usually over the eyes, on the cheeks and under the tail. Tan may also occur on the forelegs and stifles (where coat colour and white markings meet). Black, white and tan is the only tri-colour recognised in the Standard.
There should be no doubt about what colour the coat is and each specific colour should be distinguishable from the others, i.e. there should be no confusion between the black and the blue colours, nor between the chocolate and the red colours.
White usually occurs in the following places but lesser amounts of white are equally acceptable - on the muzzle, a blaze extending from the muzzle between the eyes, over the head, and through to a full or part white collar around the neck; on the forechest and underbelly; on the front legs to the elbow; rear pasterns to the hock, feet, and approximately the last one quarter of the tail.
Beware - uneven markings can create optical illusions of structure or movement. For example, a vertical line from withers to elbow can create the impression of a straight shoulder and uneven leg markings can be confusing to the eye when the dog is moving.
Markings are secondary to breed type.
Standard - Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
! NOTE Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
BREECHING Hair on the outside thighs and on back of buttocks.
BUTTERFLY NOSE Parti-coloured nose, e.g. dark spotted with flesh colour.