A Border Collie is a hard-working, extremely intelligent breed of
herding dog that originated in the border country of England and Scotland. Like
most working dogs, they have a tendency towards neurotic or destructive
if not given enough to do. They are still frequently used on farms all over the
world for assisting with the handling of livestock. Though known to be reserved
with strangers, these dogs can also be protective of a human family member and
affectionate to those they know.
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Comment "my border collie is red, tan and white and is named Ben. he's my baby.....
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Because Border Collies have historically been selected for working ability,
and not looks, they vary widely in appearance. In general, they are medium-sized
dogs without extreme physical characteristics and a moderate amount of coat.
Their double coats can be anywhere from slick to lush, and can come in many
colors, although black and white is by far the most often seen at conformation
shows and herding trials and therefore the most common in public perception;
tricolor (black/tan/white) and red and white also occurs regularly, with other
colors such as, blue and white, red merle, blue merle, or sable seen less
Eye color varies from deep brown to amber or blue with occasionally
one eye of each color. The ears of the Border Collie are also highly variable --
some have fully erect ears, some fully dropped and other are semi-erect (similar
to that of the Rough Collie). Although working Border Collie handlers sometimes
have superstitions about the appearance of their dogs (many handlers do not
prefer red dogs, or mostly white dogs), in general a dog's appearance is
considered to be irrelevant. It is much more useful to identify a working Border
Collie by its attitude and ability, not its looks.
Those dogs bred for the conformation ring are much more uniform in appearance
than working Border Collies, since to be successful show dogs they must conform
to kennel club standards that are specific on many points of the anatomy and
furnishings. Kennel clubs specify that the Border Collie must have a keen and
intelligent expression; the preferred eye colour is generally brown. In
deference to the dog's working origin, scars and broken teeth received in the
line of duty are not to be counted against a Border Collie in the show ring.
This is Max - Sent in by Cliff & Charmaine - Thanks
Max is a 2 year old Border Collie. Loves playing with our son,
he follows our son where ever he goes and always walks circles around him. Max
is a typical collie but his colours are in reverse, he is white with black
instead of the normal black with white. Max is no doubt "a mans best friend",
such a loyal and loveable dog.
Border Collies are extremely energetic and require a lot of attention. They
are better off in a household that can provide them with plenty of exercise and
a job to do. Like most herding breeds, they will attempt to herd family members,
cats, squirrels, bicycles, cars, or anything else that moves in the absence of
other charges. Border Collies make bad pets for people who cannot provide a
considerable amount of daily exercise, both physical and mental. Many Border
Collies end up in shelters or rescue groups because families, attracted by their
appearance, discover that they cannot provide the attention and effort required
for this driven, active, easily bored breed—though this problem can be
alleviated by giving the dog lots of mental and physical stimulation.
be done by taking them to training classes and for long, brisk walks.
Participating in dog sports such as dog agility, flyball, sheepdog trials, dog
sledding races and obedience are also popular with Border Collie owners for this
reason. It may also help to have more than one dog. Among some breeders of the
breed in Britain, there is a common saying: "no sheep, no collie", referring to
the dog's usual unsuitability to people who just want a "smart dog". Border
Collies love to play and do not always know when to stop on their own; owners
must ensure that they do not overexert themselves, especially in hot weather,
which can be dangerous.
Hip dysplasia is widespread among purebred Border Collies. Elbow dysplasia
also occurs, along with epilepsy and hypothyroidism. Ceroid lipofuscinosis (CL)
is an inherited neurodegenerative disease found in a number of breeds of dog.
The mutation causing the form of the disease found in Border Collies has
recently been identified in the laboratory of Dr Alan Wilton, University of New
South Wales, Sydney, Australia.
The mutation, or change to the structure of the gene, probably occurred
spontaneously in a single dog but once in the population has been inherited from
generation to generation like any other gene. The disorder shows an autosomal
recessive mode of inheritance: two copies of the defective gene (one inherited
from each parent) have to be present for a dog to be affected by the disease.
Individuals with one copy of the defective gene and one copy of the normal gene
- called carriers - show no symptoms but can pass the defective gene onto their
offspring. When two apparently healthy carriers are crossed, 25% (on average) of
the offspring will be affected by the disease, 25% will be clear and the
remaining 50% will themselves be carriers
The DNA test not only diagnoses dogs affected with this disease but can also
detect those dogs which are carriers, displaying no symptoms of the disease but
able to produce affected pups. Under most circumstances, there will be a much
greater number of carriers than affected animals in a population. It is
important to eliminate such carriers from a breeding population since they
represent a hidden reservoir of the disease that can produce affected dogs at
The test is available now and information on submitting samples is given
Breeders will be sent results identifying their dog as belonging to one of
CLEAR: the dog has 2 copies of the normal gene and will neither develop
ceroid lipofuscinosis, nor pass a copy of the ceroid lipofuscinosis gene to any
of its offspring. CARRIER: the dog has one copy of the normal gene and one copy
of the mutant gene that causes ceroid lipofuscinosis. It will not develop ceroid
lipofuscinosis, but will pass on the ceroid lipofuscinosis gene to 50% (on
average) of its offspring. AFFECTED: the dog has two copies of the ceroid
lipofuscinosis mutation and will be affected with ceroid lipofuscinosis.
Carriers can still be bred to clear dogs. On average, 50% of such a litter
will be clear and 50% carriers; there can be no affecteds produced from such a
mating. Pups which will be used for breeding can themselves be DNA tested to
determine whether they are clear or carrier.
Dogs homozygous for the merle gene are likely to have eye and/or hearing problems.
Collie eye anomaly (CEA) can now be tested for genetically.
Some Border Collie breed clubs are active in promoting research into hereditary diseases of this breed.
Photo of Jess sent in by Pauline - Thanks
|This is my dog Jess taken in our yard when she was 9 and half weeks, she’s
now five months, a red, white and tan border collie. Jess took a long time to
settle after we brought her home, as she was leaving her 10 brothers and
sisters. She’s a very lovable dog, but a lot of hard work. She’s going to
training classes, but thinks she should be playing and not training! She has
her KC Puppy Assessment Certificate, but I’m not sure how!!!! We have been
‘heel’ training for a while, but she still hasn’t cottoned on, unless there’s
food on offer! - Pauline
As is the case with many breeds of dogs that are still used for their
original purposes, breed standards vary depending on whether the registry is
more interested in a dog that performs its job superbly or a dog whose
appearance meets an ideal standard.
There are two types of tests, or standards, to determine the breeding quality
of a Border collie. The original test was the ISDS sheepdog trial, where a dog
and handler collect groups of livestock and move them quietly around a course.
The 'standard' comes from the fact that, the world over, there are certain
standard elements to this test. Sheep must be gathered without being too much
disturbed, from a distance farther than the typical small airport runway.
then must be directed through obstacles at varying distance from the handler,
and then the dog must demonstrate the ability to do work close at hand by
penning the sheep and sorting them out. It is these elements which have shaped
the working abilities of the Border collie and defined the breed until very
recently. These dogs are necessarily capable of incredible feats of athleticism,
endurance, intense focus, and high levels of trainability.
In nearly every region of the world, the Border collie is now also a breed
which is shown in ring or bench shows. For the people who participate in these
events, the Border collie is defined by the breed standard, which is a
description of how the dog should look.
In New Zealand and Australia, where the
breed has been shown the longest, the Border collie standards have produced a
dog with a long double coat (smooth coats are not allowed), a soft dark eye, a
body slightly longer than square, a well-defined stop, and a gentle and friendly
expression. This style of Border collie has become quite popular in winning show
kennels around the world, as well as among prestigious judges, so it is to be
expected that this type will soon predominate even in countries like the US
where the native lines are very different.
Photo of Ollie sent in by Gill - Thanks
This is Ollie The Border Collie, He is now 15 weeks
old, and our first collie so we are on a steep learning curve. He is a pleasure
to train, and great company too. His eyes are green at the moment, perhaps they
will change...quite stunning. Photos are not capturing his presence but you will
get the idea I hope. - Gill
It is possible for a dog to do both, but a working dog's options for
competition in conformation shows might be limited depending on its ancestry and
on the opinions of the various kennel clubs or breed clubs involved, and most
handlers of working Border Collies are uninterested in participating in dog
shows. Conformation-bred dogs are less commonly seen on the sheepdog trial
In the UK, there are two separate registries for Border Collies. The
International Sheep Dog Society  encourages breeding for herding ability,
whereas the Kennel Club (UK) encourages breeding for a specific appearance. The
ISDS registry is by far the older of the two, and ISDS dogs are eligible for
registration as pedigree Border Collies with the Kennel Club (KC) - but not vice
versa. The only way for a Border Collie without an ISDS pedigree to be added to
the ISDS registry is by proving its worth as a herding dog so that it can be
Registered on Merit (ROM).
In the United States, the vast majority of Border Collies are registered with
the American Border Collie association, which is dedicated to the preservation
of the working dog. However, the breed was also recognized in 1995 by the
American Kennel Club, which promotes standards based on appearance and promotes
registration of dogs whose parents were registered. The recognition was under
protest from the majority of Border Collie-affiliated groups, such as the
United States Border Collie Club, that felt that emphasis on the breed's working
skills would be lost under AKC recognition.
Some people believe that the emphasis placed on appearance might ruin the
breed for its traditional livestock work because breeding for appearance
eliminates emphasis on intelligence and working ability. Others believe that, in
today's world, where livestock work is uncommon, the beauty of the breed is the
factor that should be preserved.
The many people who depend on the breed for their livelihood in managing
livestock know that Border collies bred strictly to work are the best
representatives of the original premier livestock working breed. Breeding for
"beauty contests" has long been understood to water down this ability.
However, many people who own Border Collies as pets and also compete with
them in the wide variety of dog sports available to them prefer to have Border
Collies who come from working lines, not show lines, because the intelligence,
drive, and athleticism are preserved over a lush coat or standard size and
weight. The future shape of this breed is still very much in question and is
largely dependant on whether working breeders will accept being marginalized or
whether they can educate people to appreciate the breed for what it really is, a
premier livestock working dog.
Border Collie from BBC Blue Peter
(1971-1987) was a famous Blue Peter dog, a border
collie. Shep was bought by the BBC to replace Patch, one of
Petra's puppies, born in 1965. He became the main Blue Peter
dog when Petra died in 1977.
remembered by British TV viewers as inseparable from Blue
Peter presenter John Noakes. Shep was excitable, and
Noakes would often have to restrain him. Noakes' common
refrain, "Get Down Shep!", became a catchphrase, and The
Barron Knights released a song with that title. Shep left
Blue Peter when Noakes departed in June 1978.
Shep also appeared with Noakes in five
series of Go with Noakes, from 1976 to 1980. Contrary
to popular legend, while Shep belonged to the BBC, Noakes
was not required to return Shep to the BBC when he left.
Although Noakes retained Shep, he was forbidden to use him
for advertising purposes, even though the payments he
received for Shep's upkeep whilst on the programme ceased.
Noakes used a similar looking dog named 'Skip' in a series
of TV ads for dog food in 1978, which infuriated the BBC's
Blue Peter production team. Shep died in 1987. Noakes has
often become emotional when asked about Shep. He openly wept
on an edition of The Weakest Link when hostess Anne Robinson
asked him about the dog.
Dog activities and sports
These collies can take direction by voice and whistle at long distances when
herding. Their great energy and herding instinct are still used to herd all
kinds of animals, from the traditional sheep and cattle, free range poultry, and
pigs, to deer and ostriches. They are also used to remove unwanted wild birds
from airport runways, golf courses, and other public and private areas.
Border Collie competitions may involve actual herding or simulated tasks.
Shepherds in Britain have taken the most critical elements of herding and
designed a sheepdog competition. Originally farmers used such competitions to
evaluate possible mates for their working dogs, but they have now developed into
a true sport with many competitors from outside the farming community taking
part. In the US, the national body for these competitions is the USBCHA. In
Britain it is the International Sheepdog Society, and in Canada the CBCA.
Because of their working background, Border Collies excel at several dog
sports. They dominate the higher jump heights at dog agility competitions, so
much so that in England the Border Collies occasionally are given competitions
separate from all other breeds.
Famous Border Collies
- Rico. Dog who was studied for recognizing dozens of objects by name.
- Shep. Long-term companion to John Noakes of the BBC's Blue Peter and also
Meg, companion of Matt Baker, current presenter of Blue Peter.
- Fly and Rex from the movie Babe
- Bingo from the movie Bingo
- Nop's Trials by Donald McCaig. Book about a man's search for his Border
Collie, Nop, with lots of herding stories.
- Dog in the cartoon strip Footrot Flats.
- Mike. Dog in the movie Down and Out in Beverly Hills.
- Angelo, Rinoa's pet in the video game Final Fantasy VIII
- Maui from Mad About You (border collie mix)
Pictures of your dog wanted
Send a picture of your dog attached to this
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|my border collie is red, tan
and white and is named Ben. he's my baby and i don't know what I
would do if I didn't have him. he's 4 1/2 years old and we do
agility. he is very good at it too, very fast.
|I have a wonderful border
collie. She has brought so much joy to those who know her and me of
course. She is easy going and patient but never think that BC are
born well behaved. Lots of love and sensible training goes into a
well behaved dog. They are not a breed that is happy waiting at home
for you. They need to be part of your life. I love them.
|Border Collies are beautiful
animals! There was a Border Collie at a nearby Animal Shelter, and I
remember her eyes danced at me! I almost immediately knew she wanted
a home with me but I didn't adopt her because she was already in
process of being adopted...
|i love border collies and