The Scotch Colley – Poultry Monthly 1881

Early Scotch Collie illustration

Of all the canine race, the Scotch Colley is the most intelligent. The herder’s help-mate and friend, and gentleman’s pet. He, with wonderful intuition, anticipates your wants to such a degree as to cause the writer to assert that the Colley reasons, and in support of the position will relate an occurrence he is knowing to and can vouch for. Mr. F. was not long since packing some matter, and as is often the case, found himself in the position of both hands employed, and to leave himself would involve ‘the doing over again what he had already done, and needing a paper to complete the job, he whistled for his dog Ned and sent him to the house for paper, which the dog got. He thought no more of the occurrence, but some eight days afterward, being called from the house, he answered from the same room that he would come shortly. The dog was lying in the yard, and hearing him, without being spoken to by any one, went to the house got the Herald and carried it to Mr. F. The dog remembered the occurrence of the week before, reasoned that Mr. F. was in a like need of paper and carried it to him. I ask the question, did Ned reason or not? With this prelude, I take up the purpose of this article, to present a pen picture of what I call a perfect Colley in form and color; to present a standard for him, and score-card for his use, and to give my idea of how he should be judged. The time has come in which we should be governed by some definite rule or law. Breeders can ill afford to breed to standard to have their labor ignored in the bench show by a judge who awards the premiums in accordance with his personal taste, or love for any certain family.

There should be a distinction made between the English sheep dog; German shepherd and the Scotch Colley. But if all are exhibited in our shows as Scotch Colley, they should be judged by the Colley standard, and by no means to lower the Colley standard to the advantage of off-colored specimens or English or German varieties. These last two could compete on the same basis of any color competing and no injustice done. But to judge them by the Colley standard, ignoring color altogether, is a gross injustice to the race of Colleys, which to be perfect demands a fixed definite color.

All authorities demand for the Colley that he be “black with pale tan points, with little or no white.”

The English sheep dog may be any color. The German sheep dog fawn colored. In fact, any color.

Let there be three classes then one to be called:

Class one—Colley.— These to be judged strictly by the standard and score cards used for Colleys.

Class two — English Shepherd.— In which all shepherd dogs not of Colley color could compete, being judged independent of color. Standard to be made.

Class three—Scotch Shepherd.—These to take the short and close-haired black and tan sheep dog that have no Colley coat. This then would do away with the correspondence in relation to coat. A Colley would mean a Colley then.

Color of the Colley, I have said the standard authority says, “black with pale tan or fawn markings, with little or no white”—Lee Stonehenge in Dogs of America, and the wording of the standard now used, “the tan, the tan paled out.” Nearly all my readers have seen a pile of tan bark that has come from the vats that has been exposed to the weather and dried by the sun. Some would conceive a more correct idea of the color if described as a reddish fawn. Charity to the taste of all breeders would be to say that the Scotch Colley shall be black with tan or fawn markings, and such, if no white (or a few hairs on tip of tail and small spot between fore legs not exposed to general view), may be deemed perfect in surface color. This is a fair interpretation of the reading.

The points or markings of this tan or fawn color are the upper lips, under jaw, small round spots over the eyes, the hair of inside of ears, a crescent or shield-shaped spot at throat, shoulder points inside of legs and flank, feet and up the outside of legs to a point below the knee and hock joints. All this should be of the light color described, the balance black with the rear of hind legs black or dark brown. While in this connection comes the under or Colley coat. This in color should be a grayish fawn or black, and when wholly of a tan, fawn or black, defective, as the skin generally follows the color of the under coat. This under thick coat lifts the outer wiry coat into a wavy and sometimes quite rough appearance, which shows the under coat through in a strong light, but altogether making a thick bushy coat of hair. The head, breast, belly and legs have little or none of this woolly coat described. It seems to be nature’s thatch that keeps the Colley dry under all circumstances, as wind, rain or snow will not penetrate it.

I have said nothing so far of form of structure to save repetition, as I present form and color of each section in the proposed standard description.

The standard scale of points :
Symmetry 10 points
Size 8 points
Condition 8 points
Colley coat 10 points
Head and cars 10 points
Throat and neck 8 points
Breast and lower body 10 points
Back and loin 10 points
Rump and flank 10 points
Feet and legs 10 points
Tail 6 points
Total 100 points

Standard Description.

Symmetry— To be perfect must combine in harmony all the other sections, they being perfect in form, as described by the standard, general appearance, style, carriage and form being considered under this head and if perfect has a value in the scale of ten points.

Size or weight—The latter perhaps most perfect, as a male weighing forty-four or more pounds and a female weighing forty or more pounds should be deemed first class. While those falling below should be cut one point to each pound of deficit when in good healthy not over fat condition. Full value of this section eight points.

Condition—Controls our action in relation to health, condition of flesh, unhealthy condition of hair and skin, and when the specimen is exhibited all right in this respect has a full score which is eight points.

Colley coat.— This is the soft woolly under coat of hair growing upon neck, back and sides of the dogs, and seems to be nature’s provision to keep dry and warm the animals much exposed. Exposure increases its development and for the herder’s use much to be preferred; but for the gentleman’s pet the less of it the better. Therefore in saying what shall be perfect in the show pen, we say in view of these two interests, so long as the coat is fairly developed it with all heavier development shall be entitled to the full score, and shall be cut for defect, as it shall diminish, from one to ten points, and where total absence of the coat is the case the coat shall be cut the full number and value ten points.

Head and ears. — The head should be rather broad and indicative of intelligence, having good brain development, muzzle fine, apparently long, lower jaw fine and taper, showing but little below the upper lip ; ear small, erect to the extent of two-thirds its length, the upper third falling to the front over the ear cavity ; head proper, outside of ears, upper surface of muzzle and around the eyes black in color, lower jaw, upper lips, inside of ears, and two round spots over the eyes, pale tan or fawn. Value of section ten points.

Throat and neck.—The throat should be clean cut. the hair growing down and outward curling to the front at the ends, thus making a frill from back of ears to chest, making a shield shape pale tan surface viewed from front; neck of equal length with head put on to shoulder at an angle of about thirty degrees; covered with a rough coat of black hair, under coat being generally darkest at this point. Value eight points.

Breast and lower body.—Breast prominent and black in color of hair which terminates in a point between shoulder points: shoulder blade long and flat, color black ; shoulder points strong and pale tan or fawn in color. Lower body wedge shape giving free action to limbs and in hair black or may shade from black at back to a reddish brown at line with belly. Value ten points.

Back and loin.—Back, owing to the bridge shape low body, may be said to be broad and long (the well turned sloping rump with back give the dog a long appearance for his height). Loin broad and full and deep in flank all of which is covered with a black heavy wavy coat of hair. Value ten points.

Hump and hips.—Rump long and well turned, sloping somewhat to tail; hips broad as consistent with back and loin development but not so high as to appear prominent; color of hair black, which in a strong light will sometimes show reddish, it being the effect of the under coat which is often light in its color at this point. Value ten points.

Feet and legs.—The legs fine in bone and apparently long, the fore legs quite straight, the hind legs much curved being long from hip to hock and short from hock to foot; thigh broad and flat inside of legs, feet and outside up to a point near knee and hock, pale tan or fawn color ; rear of hind legs black or reddish brown ; balance of limbs black. Feet should be oblong and not spread. A loose spread round foot being a defect. Value ten points.

Tail.—Long and curved, taking a second downward curl at the tip and to the right side generally; when moving in an animated way the tail is carried gaily but not much above the spine line in height. The tail is well flagged with black hair the lower fringe generally more or less mixed with grayish fawn and black giving the tail a shaded black to slate color in appearance. Value six points.

Remarks.-In the above standard description we give a pen picture of a perfect Colley dog. This absolute perfection is seldom and we may say never seen; to posses whose whole eleven sections are perfect would be a wonderful sight, yet in making a standard we would not do other than describe the perfect. When we apply a perfect standard to an imperfect specimen it is then that we detect the outs, and thus we say if a dog be small in loin, light in flank, too short in legs, and carries his tail over his back, that he is faulty in symmetry at least 2-1-1-1-5 points out in symmetry, now the same specimen will be faulty in all the sections named, and as we reach these sections we say small in loin, 2; light in flank, 1; too short in leg, 1; and feet it may be spread a little, 1. While if the muzzle be black in the upper lip 1 to 1 1/2 points will have to be cut there and thus we have a specimen scoring 11 1/2 points out of 88 1/2 points. We take another case to wit.

Sample No. 2.-Symmetry perfect:
Size: weighing 42 pounds out… 2 points
Condition hair dead, hot and dry… 2 points
Head shape is all right but has white between the eyes and the tip of muzzle (color)… 2 points
Breast narrow white stripe down the center cutting the black points in twain… 1 points
Colley coat but partially developed… 3 points
Back and loin all right… 3 points
Rump and hips… 3 points
Legs and feet… 3 points
Tail one-half white… 1 points
Total… 11 points

Or scoring 89 points

We claim by this standard to give 15 points for color. The question for the judge to ask mentally when an out appears is, what percentage of the whole section does it effect. The practice of cutting 1-2 or 3 points without considering the natter as I suggest, often will prove unwise and severe in judgement. For instance a tail half white would seem to be faulty to a degree that should demand a cut of more than one part but the standard admits a little white and the tip of the tail is the place where in most cases it appears, but as we could not call color more than two of the six points to cut one point for such a defect seems just. One thing is certain, the specimen should be cut something standard does not describe a Colley with a white tail. We believe judges will be compelled to come down close to standard points and use a score card and until they do we shall not have good even judging. Hoping that time is not distant I am yours truly.
I.K. Felch

Excerpted from The Poultry Monthly, September 1881

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1 Comment

  1. “There should be a distinction made between the English sheep dog; German shepherd and the Scotch Colley. But if all are exhibited in our shows as Scotch Colley”

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