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  Border Collie Breed Information -
 
 
About the Border Collie
 
The Border Collie is an extremely intelligent and athletic breed. Possibly the most intelligent of all breeds, they can be trained to excel at almost anything where a dog is used. While the Border Collie is most known for working livestock, they are also often seen in search and rescue, and dog sports such as agility, flyball, and Frisbee.

Border Collies can vary greatly from one dog to the next. They have an average weight of 30-50lbs. Their coat can be either rough (medium to long), or smooth (short). The Border Collie can also be seen in many different colorings. Most common are black and white, black tan and white (tri), blue merle, red and white, and red merle.

 
One of the distinct features of the breed is its ability to "eye," a stare which wills the sheep to move and turn. The Border Collie was selected for its finesse at strong-eye, coming to prominence with the advent of sheep-herding trials, in which the breed excels.
 
The closest relative to the Border Collie is probably the generic "collie" of Auld, Scotland. Border Collies are often referred to as "farm collies" or "working collies" and remain excellent working dogs, aiding farmers and stock owners in sheep-herding and as cow dogs. Border Collies are very energetic and need to have a job. An outlet for their energy.

History of the Border Collie

The Border Collie originated in the border country between Scotland and England. The earliest reference to the working sheepdog is from the 1500’s in John Caius’s book, De Canibus Britannicus (Treatise on Englishe Dogges). While farmers were using dogs to work their livestock for hundreds of years, the Border Collie as we know it today can most notably date back to 1893 with Adam Telfer’s dog, Old Hemp, who was undefeated at trials and sired more than 200 dogs, and an unknown number of bitches. Old Hemp was a model of the breed and, because of his extensive breeding, a large number of good working dogs today can be traced back to him.

The Working Border Collie

The Border Collie’s ability to work livestock is legendary. Their instinct to drive sheep back to their master has led them to become the sheepdog of choice, and they dominate sheepdog trials. The working dog has been helping man manage his livestock for hundreds of years. There is a saying “You can’t have a good flock without a good shepherd; And you can’t have a good shepherd without a good dog.”

Bred for working in hill country in Scotland the Border Collie can work far from sight of the shepherd. They are used to gather flocks of sheep that often are scattered far from each other on hilly, rocky terrain, and miles from the shepherd, and bring them back to the shepherd for things such as sheering or dipping. The Border Collie controls the sheep with what is known as “eye”. This refers to the concentration the dog shows on the stock. The Border Collie’s “eye” can stop stock in its tracks, or force it to move away from the dog as the dog approaches and balances the stock between it and the shepherd.

Notable Border Collies -

Old Hemp
Owned by Adam Telfer and born in 1893.
 Undefeated at trials and one of the most notable stud dogs in Border Collie history. Old Hemp sired more than 200 dogs, and a countless number of bitches. Bred for his looks and impeccable working ability. Old Hemp is an ancestor of most Border Collies today. Old Hemp died in 1901.

 

   
Old Kep
Born in 1901, Old Kep was a very kind and friendly dog. One of his contributions to the breed was his "Eye" which resulted in 45 first place wins at trials. 
Don (ISDS 11), a son of Old Kep, was exported to New Zealand where he contributed to the Australian Border Collies.

 

   
J.M. Wilson's Cap
(ISDS 3036). Born 1937. Also known as "Wartime Cap" due to his living during World War II. Due to the war he never got to compete, but he fathered 188 registered Border Collies. His offspring were great trial dogs, including his son, J.M. Wilson's Mirk (ISDS 4438), International Champion in 1950.

 

   
Gilchrist's Spot
(ISDS 24981). Great-grandson of J.M. Wilson's Cap, and winner of the Scottish Nationals in both 1965 and 1966. His descendants were champions in trials in the '70s.

 

   
Wiston Cap
(ISDS 31154). Born in 1963. Descendant of J.M. Wilson's Cap, and winner of the International in 1965. Winston Cap was a prized stud dog that produced countless offspring. Most Border Collies today are related to Wiston Cap. He died in 1972.

Border Collies in Dog Sports

The intelligence and physical capabilities of the Border Collie make it ideal for most dog sports. In the sport of Agility the dog is trained to master different obstacles such as weave poles, teeter totters, jumps, and tunnels. They then compete on an obstacle course and the fastest dog to complete the course wins. Points are deducted for improperly performing the obstacle, or doing obstacles out of order. It is kind of like equestrian jumping competitions. The Border Collie’s speed and trainability are the key factors here. In Agility the Border Collie is able to jump the highest jumps with no problem and it’s speed allows it to fly through the agility course quicker than most dogs. The Border Collie is so good at agility that in England there are even agility trials that run the Border Collies separately from the other dogs. It’s hard to compete against a Border Collie in any dog sport.

Flyball is a sport where a team of 4 dogs will compete against another team. The goal is to have the fastest time. The dogs will take turns, relay style, running straight down a course with four jumps to a spring loaded box, that they hit, which shoots out a tennis ball. The dog catches the ball and runs back over the four jumps and immediately the next dog takes off. Border Collies, again, excel at this sport. It is a very fast paced, energetic, exciting sport. The jumps height is determined by measuring the dogs and is set 4” below the shortest dogs shoulders. So teams more often than not have one short dog on the team. Because of this, to the objection of many, some people have started breeding Border Collie/Jack Russell mixes (Borderjacks) for the sole purpose of competing in flyball.

Frisbee, or Disc Dogs, is another sport where Border Collies do very well. At the “open”, or expert, level the dog and handler have a set amount of time to perform their routine or frisbee tricks. The routine is set to music and choreographed. The goal is to earn as many points as possible within that time period. Points are given for jump distances, amount of discs caught, jump height, tricks, etc. This dog sport is gaining popularity fairly quickly. Many professional teams spend a lot of time at special events throughout the year putting on shows, or just performing demonstrations.

Border Collies as Companions

Border Collies make great companions, for the right people. If you don't get out much or don’t have a lot of time to spend with your dog then the Border Collie is not for you. They require a lot more exercise and stimulation than most dog breeds. But if you have the time and dedication required, the Border Collie can become the best companion dog. Border Collies bond strongly with their owners. They are known to be a bit clingy. They always want to be with you and will be at your side as much as you allow. And Border Collies that don’t get enough attention or exercise can also become destructive. They will find a way to occupy their time and burn off energy on their own, if you don’t do it for them. If you wish to get a Border Collie for a companion dog, you are encouraged to adopt from a rescue organization. If you decide to go with a breeder then make sure that the pup is properly temperament tested, and that it’s temperament will fit into your families lifestyle and needs.


 
 

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