A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.
From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as undesirable or highly undesirable, it is strongly recommended that it should not be rewarded in the show ring.
Appears as gifted with intelligence, alertness and activity. Stands with dignity governed by perfect anatomical formation, with no part out of proportion, giving appearance of working capability.
Physical structure on lines of strength and activity, free from cloddiness and with no trace of coarseness. Expression, most important. In considering relative values, it is obtained by perfect balance and combination of skull and foreface, size and shape, colour and placement of eye, correct position and carriage of ears.
Friendly disposition with no trace of nervousness or aggressiveness
Head and skull
Head properties of great importance, must be considered in proportion to size of dog. Viewed from front or side, head resembles a well blunted, clean wedge, being smooth in outline. Skull flat. Sides taper gradually and smoothly from ears to end of black nose, without prominent cheek bones or pinched muzzle. Viewed in profile, top of skull and top of muzzle lie in two parallel straight lines of equal length divided by a slight, but perceptible stop or break. A mid-point between inside corner of eyes (which is centre of a correctly-placed stop) is centre of balance in length of head. End of smooth, well-rounded muzzle blunt, never square. Under-jaw strong, clean-cut. Depth of skull from brow to underpart of jaw never excessive (deep through). Nose always black.
Very important feature, giving sweet expression. Medium size (never very small), set somewhat obliquely, of almond-shape and dark brown colour, except in case of blue merles when eyes are frequently (one or both, or part of one or both) blue or blue-flecked. Expression full of intelligence, with quick, alert look when listening.
Moderately large, wider at base, and placed not too close together nor too much on side of head. When in repose carried thrown back, but on alert brought forward and carried semi-erect, that is, with approximately two-thirds of ear standing erect, top third tipping forward naturally, below horizontal.
Teeth of good size, jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Muscular, powerful, of fair length; well arched.
Sloping shoulders, well laid back. Good return of upper arm placing elbow below withers. Elbows turning neither in nor out. Forelegs straight and muscular. Moderate bone. Flexible pasterns without weakness
Slightly long compared with height, back level and firm with slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung; chest deep and fairly broad behind shoulders.
Hindlegs muscular at thighs, clean and sinewy below, with well-bent stifles. Hocks well let down and powerful.
Oval soles well padded. Toes arched and close together. Hindfeet slightly less arched.
Long with bone reaching at least to hock joint. To be carried low when quiet but with a slight upward swirl at tip. May be carried gaily when excited, but never over back.
Distinctly characteristic of this breed. A sound dog is never out at elbow, yet moves with front feet comparatively close together. Plaiting crossing or rolling are highly undesirable. Hindlegs, from hock joint to ground, when viewed from rear, parallel. Hindlegs powerful and full of drive. Viewed from side, action is smooth. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear quite effortless. Absolute soundness is essential.
Short, flat, topcoat of harsh texture, with very dense undercoat. Not trimmed or clipped.
Three recognised colours: Sable and white, Tricolour and Blue Merle.
Sable: any shade from light gold to rich mahogany or shaded sable. Light straw or cream colour is highly undesirable.
Tricolour: predominantly black with rich tan markings about the legs and head. A rusty tinge in top coat is highly undesirable.
Blue Merle: predominantly clear, silvery blue, splashed and marbled with black. Rich tan markings preferred but absence should not be penalised. Large black markings, slate colour or rusty tinge top or undercoat are highly undesirable.
All may carry typical white collie markings to a greater or lesser degree. Following markings are favourable: white collar full or part, white front, legs and feet, white tail tip. A blaze may be carried on muzzle or skull. White markings not to extend behind withers or above the hock. All white or predominantly white is most undesirable.
Height: dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins) at shoulder; bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins) at shoulder. Weight: dogs: 20.5-29.5 kgs (45-65 lbs); bitches: 18-25 kgs (40-55 lbs).
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 and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
*Note for prospective puppy buyers
Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.