Thursday, February 10, 2011

Border Collie Short Coat and Curly Coat

Border Collie For most of the history of the breed, the physical appearance of Border Collies was of secondary concern, perhaps more determined by climate and personal preference or random factors. The priority was always on the dog’s working ability. For a number of years (and continuing to the present) the recognition of the Border Collie breed by the American Kennel Club and the UKC had been strongly opposed by advocates of the breed who believe that a focus on breeding for specific appearance standards will generally weaken the working ability of the breed. Despite objections, in 1995 the AKC recognized standards for the Border Collie breed in the Herding Group.

Border Collie Standards. As a result of AKC and UKC registration, there now exists a standard of appearance in these breed-focused registries. Other stock dog registries (such as the North American Sheepdog Society - NASDS and the American Border Collie Association (ABCA) also continue to register litters from proven working dogs but are opposed to any type of conformation standard. So a “registered” Border Collie could mean a dog that comes from a number of different registries that are focused on very different standards. Given the diversity in appearance that has existed in the breed, all the variations in eye color, ear shape, size, color and coat type continue to be recognized as part of the Border Collie breed.

The American-International Border Collie Registry, Inc (AIBC) states that male Border Collies can be between the sizes of 18” to 24” in height at the shoulder and females 17” to 22”. It is not uncommon for males and females to be of the same size in this breed. Weight is from 30 and 60 pounds. The AKC supports a more narrow standard (Males 19” – 22” and 18” – 21” for females).

Eye Color. Variations are recognized in Border Collie eye color, which can be shades of brown from dark brown to light gold, or blue eyes. Variations in eye color: soft dark brown Shayla, blue-eyed Tessa, and light brown Kylie. The red-coated BCs often have lighter brown eyes. Border Collies can also have a greenish cast to their eyes, flecking (although that eye colorations is more common in Australian Shepherds) and eyes of two different colors (called bi-eyed).

Coat. Perhaps the area of most obvious variety is in coat, first in color and color pattern and second in coat length. Coat texture can vary from hard/coarse to soft/silky. Medium and long coats can also be straight, curly or wavy. The ideal coat (short or long) is double, with a dense undercoat and a somewhat coarse, outer coat.
Color: The “traditional” Border Collie is a medium sized dog (35-45 lbs), with a rough (medium long) black coat color with white markings arranged in the typical “collie” pattern (white blaze on face and white muzzle, white ruff encircling the neck, white chest, four white feet and a white tip on the end of the tail).

The second most frequent color of Border Collies would be the “reds”. This color can be seen with traditional white markings or variations in the white pattern with the reddish brown ranging from a dark mahogany brown to a pale rust shade. Other variations to the classic “collie” patterning also occur regularly. These dogs, called “patterned whites” come in many variations, from large areas of black, red or merle to mostly white on the body.

A less common basic color would be blonde/light tan with traditional white pattern. In some countries this strawberry blonde color is called “red” and the darker reddish-brown is called “brown”. Although seldom seen in rescued dogs, Border Collie coats have been produced in blue or red merle color, or a lilac cast (muted blue/gray), lemon/white (light gold) and even brindle coloring. Any of the colorations can also have small spotting (often called “ticking”) on the white areas (legs, face and chest). The ticking can vary from a few spots to very dense. Some refer to profusion of lots of small size ticking as a coat color called “sooty”

Coat Type (Length): When people become interested in Border Collies they often comment that they didn’t realize BCs could have short coats. In reality coat length varies from very short (called smooth coats), through medium, to a long, thick double coat (called rough coats). Usually the rough coated dogs have longer fur (feathering) on the backs of their legs and tail plume and a longer ruff (around their neck), with shorter fur on
the face and front of legs and feet. Examples of the variety of coat length are pictured here.

The Border Collie is an agile dog, able to suddenly change speed and direction without loss of balance and grace. When intent upon an object of interest (a toy, a treat, or stock) there is often a crouch or stalk position with a steady gaze (the Border Collie “eye”) and a lowered head. The movement is free, smooth and tireless, with a minimum lift of the feet and an overall balanced appearance. Typically the body is slightly longer than it is tall, and is capable of speed and quick reactions. Even the more appearance-focused breed registries (i.e., AKC) state that in Border Collies color and markings are always secondary to physical evaluation and gait.

When and if you decide to adopt a rescued Border Collie, understand that every dog is a unique individual with his own personality. Intelligence, trainability and instinct vary with each dog. The rewards of living with a Border Collie are many, once you understand the commitment.


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