Comment on the Sable Merle issue and CCA

Categories:The Sable Merle Collie

As a breeder and exhibitor from Canada, where Sable Merles are a
recognized color, and have been for a while now, this same frustration
and bias still rears its' head. When we have American and other foreign
judges who adhere to the American standard and think this standard
prevails across the entire North American continent, rather than check
our own country's standard, and our own dogs are excused for coat
coloring or eye color, this is a cause for concern.
 As far as the CCA
goes dealing with this issue, I must say it is about time. I am truly
glad to see that what is a natural occurring colour and not defective
at that, being seen for what they are. For what it is worth, I
personally prefer that a sable merle have two dark eyes. That being
said, I have seen SM's with one of each and even both blue, that have
taken my breath away with such exquisite soft expression. I have also
seen dogs with two dark eyes that have expression so harsh and unsoft
that it is offensive and not just from sable merles. What might that
say? The SM should only be penalized for its' eye color to the extent
that the eye color detracts from expression. They should not to be
excused for it.
 With expression being as it says in the AKC standard
"one of the most", and in the CKC standard "one of the more" important
points in judging the relative value of collies, I say let's get on
with judging the collie based on the standard. As far as Canada's
standard goes, ( and I am truly hoping that the CCA/AKC standard would
do the same) our standard recognizes a natural occurring color that has
occurred for generation after generation of collies, let alone the fact
that sable merle collies have played signficant roles in the
development of the modern collie, more than we may really know or might
care to admit. Tri, sables and blues can have that expression that just
melts us or have expression that says, Oh no!!!! The same goes for SM's
and they should be judged accordingly as to that part of the standard
and not rejected, nor cause scandal because they are excused from
rings, or put to the back of the pack in a class simply because they
have a blue flecked eye, one blue eye etc etc. If the expression is
affected, judge it accordingly and let's move on……Uniformity in
this area, I hope would address the issues that happen far too often in
our rings up here in Canada because judges may not be aware of the
differences in the standards. Will uniformity in standards alleviate
bias? Likely not, but it would significantly reduce the places for
judges to hide when it comes to the sable merle collie in 2009.

Hats off to you for taking this on. I hope to be able to join the
discussion on this issue in Springfield.
Could someone provide me with
the exact date and advise me whether or not this discussion is an open
one, as I see Sylvie Lingenfelter provided a time and place in this
blog but nothing further.
J. David Clarke

Davenloch Collies Reg'd
Gwynne, Alberta, Canada
 Immediate Past President
Collie Club of Canada

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