The Border Collie was created to guard and drive sheep herds in the highland border areas between Scotland and England. Its boundless vigour, tenacity and work ethics make it a brilliant herding dog. This smart and complaisant breed also thrives in different canine sports especially in agility and obedience competitions. The Border Collie is considered to be the smartest breed in the world.
The pedigrees of all modern-day Border Collies can be traced back to herding dogs, which were brought to England with the Roman invaders in the first century B.C. After the downfall of the Roman Empire Vikings aggressors are believed to have introduced to this region more compact sSitz-type dogs, which also were proficient sheepherders. The herder interbred them with stockier Roman dogs in order to create smaller and swifter herding dogs. The resulting animal was well-adjusted to the harsh climate and hilly terrains that stretched out along the borders between Scotland, England and Wales. Besides it was a true expert in controlling its subordinate stock and had inborn capability to operate independently numerous hours on end.
Scotch Sheep Dogs were first exhibited to canine fanciers in 1860 at the second Dog Show ever conducted in England. Soon Queen Victoria noticed one of these canines on her journey to Balmoral Catle and became a loyal admirer of the breed. In 1876 R.J. Lloyd Price initiated the first in the history sheepdog trials. 100 wild Welsh sheep were ushered into the Alexandra Palace in London in order to demonstrate the dog’s prowess in managing these animals. Audience were amazed at the intelligence of the Scotch Sheep Dog who performed very complicated tasks under the guidance of only gestures and whistles of the trainer.
The breed was renamed in 1915 by the then-secretary of the International Sheepdog Society, which was established in Scotland in 1906. «Collie» was most likely used in its name as reference to the Scottish Highland colley sheep, which was frequently herded by these dogs. «Colley» is translated from Anglo-Saxon dialect as «black» and implies to black coloration of these sheep. Another hypothesis says that the word «collie» stems from Gaelic term for «useful», which very accurately describes this dog.
Nowadays the Border Collie is reckoned to be one of the most talented herding dogs in the world. It remains an indispensable assistant of farmers and ranchers and invariably successfully participates in herding and agility competitions. It is also used as as narcotics and bomb detection dog. The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognized the Border Collie in 1965. The American Kennel Club (AKC) began registering the breeds’ members in 1995.
The Border Collie is a vigorous, clever and joyous dog, which thrives on human companionship. Because of its outgoing nature it is apt to experience sharp separation anxiety if it has to stay alone for a long time on a regular basis. That’s why it won’t become an ideal pet for an extremely busy person. Its resourcefulness and insatiable playfulness makes it a children’s favourite although this super active dog won’t do well in households with toddlers. Moreover it possesses very powerful herding instinct and without proper training it may try to herd familiar children by nipping their heels.
The vast majority of Border Collies are quite all right with strangers. Nonetheless some of them can display shyness and watchfulness while meeting guests in your house. This dog has certain potential of becoming a good watchdog because of its natural alertness and innate bravery. However it is too affable and unsuspecting to be suitable for the role of a guardian.
Canine aggressiveness is fairly common for the Border Collie (mostly males) and especially it concerns strange dogs of the same sex. So it’s a good idea to release your dog off leash only in a securely enclosed yard. Without appropriate socialisation it also may be assaultive towards other small animals. On the contrary the well-brought-up specimen will tolerate the presence of a home cat although it may pester it with its herding attempts.
The most common problems for the breed include:
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• eye problems;
• Collie Eyes Anomaly;
• neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinoses (NCLs);
• trapped neutrophil syndrome.
The Border Collie is a rather low-maintenance breed. It long and thick coat should be brushed on a weekly basis in order to keep it free from dead hair as well as to evenly spread the natural oils. This breed will lose its fur in small portions throughout the year and much more intensely during the change in seasons.
The frequent bathing is absolutely unnecessary and should be avoided. This dog has drooping ears, which quickly gets dirty. Regular cleaning is a good way to prevent ear infections and irritation. Other than that your Border Collie will also need periodic nail trimming and teeth brushing.
The Border Collie is a super intelligent and observant dog, which can be trained successfully with very modest efforts. It also easily adopts to various undesirable behaviours such as opening closets and doors. It’s crucial to start the obedience training of this dog while it’s still a curious and obliging puppy otherwise it can grow into a true boss of the household.
This dog responds adequately only to positive reinforcement and calm and confident but firm handling. Be mindful that the Border Collie reacts to disrespectful attitude with a grudge or even aggressive outbursts. It usually competes at the highest level in any canine sports, which require agility, stamina and speed.
Because of its herding background the Border Collie stands out for its incredible hardiness and high work drive. It should be provided with ample ways to channel its excessive energies in order to remain well-behaved indoors. Daily playtime in a safely enclosed territory is essential if you want your pet to stay happy and healthy.
This breed fits best to the countryside where it would have plenty of opportunities to run and roam freely. If you a city dweller and decided to keep this breed be sure you have a daily excess to some yard or garden where your dog can run freely. Remember that an under exercised Border Collie tends to become destructive, hyper active and completely unruly.