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  • Writer's pictureLara Sullivan

A standard to stand by

The Old Time Scotch Collie has a standard that Colonial OTSC aims for in preserving the old scotch collies. We want to preserve and save, not change.

Breed Standard


The Old-Time Scotch Collie has always been a landrace breed, having never been made to conform to a rigid standard, rather being predominantly selected based on the needs of the farmer, this “standard” does not seek to change that but rather to define the breed and distinguish it from other breeds that have descended from the Scotch Collie. Towards maintaining the Old-Time Scotch Collie as a landrace breed this standard is intended as a broad set of descriptions with plenty of room for individual breeders preferences and different dog types that all fall within the spectrum of looks that make up the Old-Time Scotch Collie landrace.

Overall Appearance

The Old-Time Scotch Collie is a well-balanced, athletic, alert and intelligent dog. The overall emphasis is on moderation with no part exaggerated or out of proportion like the long nose or superabundant coat of the modern Rough Collie. The original Scotch Collie was a rugged working dog, able to cope with various situations and environments easily, sound in body and mind, likewise our modern dogs should show this same heartiness and versatility whether they are used as hard-working farm dogs or as faithful companions.


The Old-Time Scotch Collie should be steady, bold, sensible, quick to learn and responsive. Content to lie about when not needed but ready to spring into action at a minutes notice, reserved with strangers, yet never snappy, vicious or shy. Biddability, sagacity, intelligence and reciprocity are the hallmark of the breed. While hyper-activity, shyness, cowardice, inane stock chasing, excessive barking, lack of watchfulness or low intelligence are serious faults.

Size and Substance

Females measure 17 to 23 inches and weigh between 32 and 70 pounds. Males should measure 19 to 25 inches and weigh between 35 and 80 pounds. In proportion slightly longer than tall, lean and fit, neither bulky and heavy-bodied nor and frail and spindly.


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. A moderately flat, wide skull with a stop is an essential feature distinguishing the Old-Time Scotch Collie from the modern Rough Collie. Pick-headed types, overly narrow or overly wide heads and too-long heads are faults. Muzzle should not be overly long nor too short, teeth have a scissors bite, jaw is neither undershot nor overshot. Lips tight and well-fitted.


Medium size, pointed at the tip, erect or partly erect when alert, lying close to the head when relaxed. Never should ears be overly long or droopy showing any inclination towards hound or spaniel ears.


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. Brown in color, except in the case of merles when one or both eyes may be blue or streaked with blue.


Slightly long compared with height, back firm with a slight rise over loins; ribs well sprung, chest deep, fairly broad behind shoulders. Abdomen moderately tucked up.


Moderately long with sweep toward end. Natural bobtails are acceptable up to eight inches long. Gay tails are acceptable.


Viewed from the front at a fast trot, legs are straight, front feet stay close together. Viewed from the side, the reasonable long, reaching stride is smooth and even, keeping the back line firm and level. Hind-legs powerful with plenty of drive. A reasonably long stride is desirable and should be light and appear effortless.


Dense double coat, outer coat straight and harsh to the touch, under coat soft and furry. Over 2″ in length, most abundant on tail, breeches, mane and frill, smooth on face, front of forelegs and below the hocks. Overly thin coat, lack of undercoat and excessively heavy or long coat are faults.


All colors and markings traditionally found on collies are acceptable. The most common colors are: Sable, including clear and shaded, ranging from light gold tones to deep mahogany red, with or without white markings. Black with white and/or tan markings; blue merle with white and/or tan markings. White markings most commonly consist of all or some of the following: White face blaze, collar, chest, feet, tail tip.

Defining Characteristics

The Scotch Collies of 100 years ago, like those found today, were a highly versatile dog capable of adapting and thriving in a multitude of situations. Not every OTSC may have the ability to demonstrate the characteristics below but we would like to think that they all have the ability given the proper circumstances.

Biddable – meekly ready to accept and follow instructions; docile and obedient

Intelligence – dogs of outstanding, and sometimes surprising intelligence.

Herding – the ability and desire to move livestock

Hunting – the desire to pursue and/or kill wild game or farm-yard vermin

Guardian – the natural inclination to bark at and chase off strange animals or people, also protecting livestock from predators


An Old-Time Scotch Collie has a distinctive character or quality which surrounds it like an aura. This spirit could be likened to the majesty of a lion, the pride of a great thoroughbred stallion, the confidence of a Winston Churchill. All good Scotch Collies possess this ambiance.

Modified February, 2016

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