We are not trying to create a new breed but to define a very old breed which up until now, has been loosely classified as “Farm Collie” by many. This breed has, over the past 100 years or so split into, or been used in creating, many separate breeds, sub-breeds if you will, what we are attempting to do is to define the characteristics of the original parent breed with the intention of differentiating it from all the others which have evolved from this stock. You may want to read my Old-Time Scotch Collie FAQ.
Reading the old accounts of these dogs, four characteristics stand out as defining them and setting them apart from separate but closely related breeds like English Shepherds and Border Collies. These should be the predominant defining elements of the Old-Time Scotch Collie today, they are:
- Coat – Ideally, smooth on face but with longer fur at cheek and chest, indicating at least a suggestion of a collie ruff; fur long and dense over most of the body, and smooth legs below hocks, though feathers can occur.
- Muzzle – pointed and fox-like.
- Ears – semi-erect, sometimes fully erect, never low set or floppy.
- Temperament – sweet, gentle nature with no hint of aggressiveness or hyperactivity, sagacious.
Note: This is nothing more than a proposal, any and all comments, suggestions and criticisms are welcome here. The more input we receive the better, use the comment section at the bottom of this page to contribute to the discussion.
Head: Moderate length, neither too long like modern Rough Collies, nor too short like some lines of English Shepherd, with a moderate and well defined stop. No pick-headed types. Not overly narrow.
Muzzle: A sharp, fox-like muzzle should be the goal of any breeding program, however a moderately broad muzzle is acceptable as long as it is not overly short. Flews should show no sloppiness or drooping.
Eyes: Variable from round to almond with a slight oblique set, never should eyes be overly small. Eyes should express shrewd intelligence, and willingness to please.
Ears: Small, lying close to the head when relaxed and standing erect or partly erect when on alert. Never should ears be overly long or droopy showing any inclination towards hound or spaniel ears.
Neck: Strong, reasonable length and arched.
Body: Slightly long compared with height, back firm with a slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung, chest deep, fairly broad behind shoulders.
Tail: Moderately long with sweep toward end. Natural bobtails are acceptable up to eight inches long. Gay tails are acceptable.
Gait: Viewed from the front at a fast trot, front feet stay close together. Hindlegs powerful with plenty of drive. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear effortless.
Coat: Over 2″ in length, most abundant on tail, breeches, mane and frill, smooth on face, front of forelegs and below the hocks. The longer and heavier coat is a distinguishing characteristic of the Scotch Collie helping to differentiate it from other, closely related breeds.
Color: Predominate colors are sable, tri-color (black, tan and white), black and white and blue merle, any combination thereof is acceptable.
Size: Height: 20 – 24″, weight: 35 – 65#, lean and fit condition.
Temperament: Gentle, caring, not high strung at all, friendly yet reserved with strangers, eager to obey, of above average intelligence. Content to lie about when not needed but ready to spring into action at a minutes notice. This is the most important item of all for it was the Scotch Collie’s temperament more than its beauty that made them so popular 100 years ago. This breed may serve well on a farm herding livestock for the same reasons it may serve well in town playing with children, bidability, sagacity and reciprocity. Any unjustified aggression should disqualify a dog.
More reading: Some of the historical sources on which this standard is based are listed below.
- The Shepherd’s Dog – 1829
- British Rural Sports – 1875
- What Did the Pre-Dog Show Scotch Collie Look Like?