The following Standard of Excellence is taken from A History and Description of the Collie or Sheep Dog in His British Varieties by Rawdon Lee. Published 1890 by Horace Cox, London.

The Scottish Collie Club Standard of Excellence, 1890


Head moderately long in proportion to the dog's size, covered with short soft hair. Skull flat, moderately wide between the ears, and gradually tapering to the eyes. There should be a very slight elevation of the eyebrows, and very little stop.

Muzzle of fair length, tapering to the nose, which, whatever the colour of the dog, should be black. The teeth, which are white and of good size, should not be over nor undershot. Both are faults, the latter the greater of the two.

Eyes, of fair size, but not prominent, are placed rather close together, and set obliquely in the head, which gives that cunning foxy expression so characteristic of the breed. Colour, any shade of brouwn, the darder the better, yellow eyes being a great fault. Dogs of a mirled colour should have a mirled or china eye, and sometimes both eyes are of this colour.

Ears small, placed rather close together at the top of the head, covered with short soft hair, and carried semi-erect when at attention; at other times thrown back, and buried in the frill.

Neck long, arched, and muscular.

Body rather long than short, ribs well rounded, chest deep and narrow in front, but of a fair breadth behind the shoulders, which should be oblique. Loin rather long, and slightly arched, showing power.

Legs.--Fore legs straight and muscular, with a fair amount of flat bone, the fore-arm moderately fleshy, the hind legs less fleshy, very sinewy, and hocks well bent. Pasterns long and light in bone. Feet oval in shape, the soles well padded, and the toes well arched and close.

Tail, moderately long, carried low when the dog is quiet, gaily when excited, and almost straight out when running.

Coat.--This is a very important point. The coat, except on the head and legs, should be abundant, the outer coat harsh to the touch, the inner coat soft and furry, and very close, so close that it is difficult on parting the hair to see the skin. The hair very abundant around the neck and chest; this is termed the frill. The mask is smooth , the fore legs slightly feathered, the hind legs below the hocks smooth. Hair on the tail very profuse, and on the hips long and bushy.

Colour.--Any color.

Size.--Dogs 21 to 24 inches at shoulder, bitches 2 inches less.

Weight.--Dogs 45 lb. to 60 lb., bitches 40 lb. to 50 lb.

General Appearance.--A lithe active dog, with no useless timber about him, his deep chest showing strength, his sloping shoulders, and well-bent hocks speed, and his "bawsint" face high intelligence. The face should bear a sharp, doubtful expression. As a whole, he should present an elegant and pleasing outline, quite distinct from any of our other domesticated breeds, and show great strength and activity.

Faults.--Domed skull, high peaked occipital bone, heavy pendulous ears, full soft eyes, heavy feathered legs, short tail.

Scale of Points
Head 15
Eyes 5
Ears 10
Neck and shoulders 10
Body 10
Legs and feet 15
Tail 5
Coat 20
Size and general appearance 10


The smooth collie only differs from the rough in its coat, which should be hard, dense, and quite smooth.

Back to website table of contents.