Breed Profile of the Border Collie
Sections on this page
Introduction - The Three aspects of the Border Collie
Jump to - The Kennel Club Border Collie
Jump to - The ISDS Border Collie
Jump to - The Unregistered Border Collie
Jump to - Breed Profile Section Menu
|Here we outline what a Border Collie is - The breed is not easy to define - it's not all 'Black and White'.|
Introduction - The three aspects of the Border Collie
Not very much of the information on
this page has anything to do with the 'Breed Standard' or
Pedigree, as defined by the Kennel Club.
Dogs that fit into that definition form a small proportion of Border Collies around today.
This breed profile of the Border Collie takes into consideration all Border Collies. There are now three obvious 'classifications' of the breed.
The first part of this page looks at how we got to this point and the following three sections cover the three distinct classifications.
The Kennel Club registered Border Collie, The International Sheep Dog Society registered Border Collie. The unregistered Border Collie.
Following this is the Breed Profile which is divided into 9 sections, each one of which looks at a different aspect of the breed.
There is a menu that enables you to jump to individual sections and a link at the end of each section that takes you back to the menu.
Everything on this page is written in sequence. The best way to understand it all is to read it in sequence by scrolling down the page.
Some of the dogs that are generally known to us as Border
Collies, if registered with the Kennel Club, have to
be registered as 'working sheepdogs' unless they are from KC
registered Border Collie Bloodlines, which allows them to register under the Border Collie title.
The KC pedigree 'Border Collie' has little to do with the sheepdogs
that we see in farmers fields or in sheepdog trials, but to keep their
puppies viable KC breeders need to breed in genes from working dog lines to
stop their bloodlines being affected by recessive or deleterious traits
Dual registration or KC registration is also allowed for pups with
both ISDS registered parents or an ISDS registered Dam with a KC sire.
Kennel Club Registered
What about the ISDS (International Sheep Dog Society) -
where do they come in?
It only seems confusing and
mysterious if your not used to the different systems and understand why
they both exist.
So what about the rest of the 'Border Collies' - those
that are not from bloodlines registered with either organisation?
There is great diversity in the appearance of such Border Collies
because many generations back when the breed became established as an
exceptional working dog farmers and shepherds bought pups and took them
home and bred them into their native working dog lines in order to add
the skills of the Border Collie into their own bloodline.
Is it right to class these unregistered dogs as Border
It gets through to the pure lines eventually when an unregistered dog of dubious parentage gets accepted onto the ISDS register on merit and joins its blood to the ISDS pool that KC breeders call on to keep their lines healthy. A slow trickle of 'Hybrid Vigour'.
This 'unclassified' category forms the biggest group of dogs we know as Border Collies and it is dogs from this unregistered selection that are most likely to end up in peoples homes as pets.
This category includes most farm bred dogs, puppy farm bred dogs, small scale commercially bred dogs and casually bred dogs from occasional breeders who have not kept records of their bloodlines.
They are all rooted in working lines with working instinct to one degree or another and are therefore capable of being unpredictable in their reactions in environments unsuited to them or when handled by people who have little experience and knowledge of the breed.
An environment and lifestyle that suits one of these dogs may not suit another
and this is the problem. It is difficult to see how any individual will
cope or settle down in a particular home. No two are really alike. They
may look very similar but seeing what's on the surface is not enough.
The Kennel Club Registered Border Collie
|From Kennel Club Registered Bloodlines - Spruce (Left) and Mick.|
The KC classes the Border Collie as a 'Pastoral' breed. So lets have a dig into the Thesaurus and look up some synonyms for -
'Pastoral' and 'Working', then see what the Dictionary has to say about 'Sheepdogs'.
|Pastoral - meaning 'Bucolic' or 'Rural'|
|Thesaurus -- Bucolic (adj.) - synonyms - Simple - Agrarian - Tranquil - Idyllic - Halcyon - Serene - Quiet.|
|Thesaurus - Rural (adj.) - synonyms - Country - Countrified - Provincial - Rustic - Agrarian|
|Thesaurus -- Working (adj.) - synonyms - Practical - Applicable - Applied - Active.|
- Sheepdog (noun) - A dog that watches and works with Sheep.
So here we have - A serene, countrified, active dog
that watches and works with sheep.
Or - A simple, provincial, applied dog
that watches and works with sheep.
|Pick your own combination from the above synonyms - add the noun - and make your own definition of a Border Collie!|
Kennel Club (KC) stud book registers 'Pedigree' bloodlines that seek to
adhere to a Breed Standard, as defined by the KC for the purposes of
showing. This breed standard is based on appearance. Dogs are
judged by their conformity to this breed standard at 'exemption shows'.
Crufts is the top event in this category. There are many other exemption shows around the UK, most of which are qualifiers for the main event.
Border Collies are not the only victims of conformity. The KC sets a breed standard for all breeds - if they choose to recognise a breed.
As far as the KC is concerned, only Border Collies from bloodlines registered with the KC have the right to be described as Border Collies - the rest they call 'working sheepdogs' and can be registered for competition but not for showing. They don't need to be so pretty.
for competition means that a dog with no KC Pedigree can be entered into
KC regulated events run under KC rules and participate alongside dogs
with KC registered Pedigrees - but this does not extend to the Show ring
where only KC Pedigree dogs are allowed to enter.
It may help to understand the structure of completion at the top level of exemption shows in the UK. Here is a brief summary.
At Crufts each breed is judged in its own class against others of the same breed. There will be a male and female winner in the class that then compete against each other to be crowned Best of Breed.
The KC puts similar breeds into Groups. There are seven groups. The Border Collie is in the 'Pastoral' group.
Best of Breed winners of each breed in the group compete to become Best in Group.
Each Best in Group winner then competes against the others for the ultimate title, Best in Show.
You may ask what the point is and why people put their dogs through it all. This is not a natural thing for a dog to be doing. They have to put up with a lot. The answer is not complicated. At each level achieved the value of stud services or pups from the winner of that level increases.
As well as exemption shows, the KC runs competitive events in various interactive disciplines like Agility, Flyball, etc. These events are run all over the country at various levels with competitors vying for a place to compete at the main event - Crufts.
With reference to Border Collies, these events are open to all, registered or unregistered. Unregistered Border Collies need to be entered as Working Sheepdogs. All can compete against each other under Kennel Club rules.
The path to Crufts in each of these discipline's follows the same path as that of the exemption dogs. Local, and regional qualifiers.
The KC also registers and regulates dog clubs in these various disciplines and obedience trainers and classes who follow Kennels Club procedures. There are standards and qualification levels that are designed to encourage good and responsible dog ownership.
Pedigree registered Border Collie from Kennel Club lines - or is it a Fox?
|Some KC Pedigree show lines can be as difficult to keep in the pet home as the average farm dog, but there are breeders on the KC register these days who claim to be breeding more for temperament than showing, and with the pet market in mind.|
possible advantage of taking one of these dogs to be your family pet is
that they are supposed to be bred, reared and socialised under a set of
rules and principals that will reduce the risk of you getting a dog with
hereditary problems or strong herding drive that would be a liability in
your home and around your family. Pedigree dogs exposed and more recent
revelations does cast doubt on these claims.
There are good and bad breeders and some are only in it for the money, so it's buyer beware.
You need to be aware that the Kennel Club is a private members club and is run by people elected by its members for the purposes of the benefiting its members, many of whom are dog breeders. It does not exist for the benefit of dogs. It is not a charity but it does put a small proportion of profits into a charitable trust that funds research into some aspects of dog welfare. Mainly health and factors relevant to its members.
|It has to be said that these days that there is no guarantee of that a KC bred BC will meet these requirements or make a suitable pet and that the same basic precautions should be applied if you seek to take a dog from any source.|
The Border Collie has been around long before the KC became involved. KC registered bloodlines form the smallest proportion of Border Collies in existence today, however the KC does have a strong influence on the fortunes of any breed it recognises.
The Border Collie was recognised in 1976.
ISDS pedigree bloodlines make up a rather more substantial group of Border Collies, however the vast majority of Border Collies are unregistered working bloodlines kept by farmers and stockmen for herding purposes.
The use the description 'working sheepdog' by the KC implies lowlier breeding and therefore less value than a KC registered 'Border Collie' from a KC registered line. It adds weight to the claim that KC registered breeders should be able to charge higher prices for their pups than could be achieved for a 'working sheepdog'. If an unregistered Border Collie fetches 3 to 4 hundred pounds, obviously a registered one is worth more.(?)
In that context the term is a misuse of it's original application which was given to dogs that had high value because they were of use to man in a working capacity. They help put food on tables and contributed to the countries economy in a big way. The term attempts to stand logic on its head, implying that a dog that does the work of 10 men is of less value than one bred to be a pet and companion or look good in the showring.
The word 'Collie' means useful in 'the Gaelic'. A 'collie dog' - a useful dog. The word Border in the name describes the marches of England and Scotland and England and Wales where the breed was originally developed. So - Border Collie - 'a useful dog from the Borders'.
Working sheepdogs had nothing to do with pedigrees or breed standards to govern appearance. A working sheepdog was a dog with a purpose.
If a KC enthusiast tells you that your dog - the dog you think is a Border Collie is, in reality, a working sheepdog because it has no pedigree, don't be offended. The use of the term in this way implies a limited knowledge of the breed by the user and a narrow perspective to the extent of the breeds history development, purpose and abilities and should not be taken too seriously.
The BC has certainly been around for at least a couple of hundred years, possibly since the early 1600's. The KC only became involved in 1976!
You certainly do not have a working sheepdog if your dog does not work sheep. It is confusing and misleading to described it as one that does.
Actually, the last thing you want in your living room is a working sheepdog unless it is working sheep. One that is frustrated because it wants to, but is not able or allowed to work sheep can be a big problem! That's why it pays to be very carful in acquiring one as a domestic companion.
The International Sheep Dog Society Border Collie
Nell - Dot - Flint
The ISDS was formed in July 1906 by a group of Shepherds and Sheep Dog enthusiasts from Scotland and the English Border Counties who banded together under the chairmanship of George Clark, with J Wilson as secretary and a committee of 10 into the International Sheep Dog Trials Society. Their first official trial was held near Edinburgh in August that year and attracted 27 entries and a profit of £9.
winner of that first event was Richard Sandilands who ran his dog Don.
The dogs and handlers came from Scotland and England.
Sheep Dog trials had been going for some time before that, with
the first recorded 'International' trial taking place at Bala in North
Wales in 1873 between Welsh and Scottish Shepherds. All the dogs
running in the first ISDS trial were winners of commendations at
previous local events.
stated object of this group was to increase public
interest in the work of the Shepherd, improve the qualities of the
Sheep Dog and provide support for members and their widows. No
doubt these founding members would have been proud to have witnessed the
first 'World' Sheep Dog Trial which took place at Bala, Wales in
September 2002. It was clear by the public attendance and
media coverage of this event that interest had indeed been increased.
People came from all over the world to see the best of the best
compete. Much was televised and the finals on Sunday went out live
on channel S4C. We were there. It was a great event with so many Border
Collies of all shapes and sizes.
Societies influence is now world-wide, as is its membership. Every country
has it's own version of the
Kennel Club, but there is only one ISDS.
Like the Kennel Club, the ISDS is a club of breeders but it is also a registered charity so all it's income has to be applied for the furtherance of its objects. It has very few paid staff and the events and trials it runs are organised and staffed by volunteers.
there are many sheepdog breeds throughout the world, the ISDS is the
custodian of the International stud book for Border Collies in their
capacity of Working Sheep Dogs. This facility was instituted in 1915 by
the, then, secretary, James Reid. The first volume was published
in 1955 and contained, as its first entry, details of a bitch named 'Old
Maid'. There have been attempts in the past to open supplementary
registers within the ISDS for other sheepdog breeds, but so far this has
Nap and Jess - Unregistered working Border Collies from Pedigree ISDS lines - just having a romp
ISDS stud book registers only the offspring of existing ISDS registered
parents, although it is possible within their regulations for a good
unregistered Border Collie to be accepted and registered because of its
outstanding ability on the trials field. When such a dog is accepted and
registered it is said to be registered 'on merit'. This is not
that common an occurrence, but the Society is open to such and it does bring new blood
into the registered lines and increases their vigour. Subsequently that
new blood eventually finds it's way into KC lines.
rules govern the admission of pups into the ISDS
register. Notice of the mating has to be submitted to the
Society within 14 days of the pairing on a supplied card. On
approval of this notice a form is sent out for the Registration of the
litter which must be filled in and returned within 4 months of the date
of birth. A certificate of verification is also supplied by the
Society for each litter registered.
This should be filled in by a Vet to confirm that the mother declared is truly the mother of the litter.
Not only do the Sire and Dam have to be existing registered dogs, but they must also be screened and proven free of hereditary eye conditions such as Centralised Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Collie Eye Anomaly, so that these conditions cannot have been passed on to the pups
The owner of the Dam must also be a member of the ISDS. If all these criteria are met, the society will issue consecutive registration numbers for each puppy in the litter, and in the case of litter born outside of the UK, the number will have a prefix letter or letters to indicate the country of origin.
this way, the ISDS seek to ensure that Border Collies registered in
their stud books have been properly bred and screened and their lineage
traced clearly on collation of pedigree. It also clearly indicates
through pedigree research, the qualities or faults likely to be found in
succeeding generations and allows the purchasers of registered puppies
to make an informed choice as to whether a particular pup is likely to
develop the qualities they are seeking. Dogs registered with the ISDS
are registered as Working Sheep Dogs, although the Society does not
insist that such registered dogs need to actually be working in a
Pedigree registered Border Collie from ISDS lines
registered with the ISDS are the only dogs entitled to enter sheepdog
trials run under ISDS rules, but any dog and handler, from any walk of
life, can enter local open trials - providing the dog is trained to sheep!
If the dog proves it's worth in open trials it may be registered on merit.
These ISDS registered lines are bred to work and they do appear to be more intelligent than the KC lines.
Because of this breeding they are not domestic pet material. Some individuals may make suitable Agility dogs or Flyball dogs.
As it is a members club it is influenced by its members and over recent years many breeders of Border Collies from the Kennel club have joined its ranks. Dual registration is becoming popular and in some instances it does work both ways. Like the KC it has good and bad breeders.
One major difference is that, unlike the Kennel Club, it does not have any attraction for big (or small) commercial breeders to join because the main purpose of registered dogs is to work and the main market of puppy farmers is to sell to the public.
Most of these breeders stick to the Kennel Club where it is easier to get pups registered and the screening process is less strenuous.
|Blake - Lael - Boz - Dell|
rest of the Border Collie clan
The unregistered or Non Pedigree Border Collie
This is by far the largest category of Border Collies around today and some, mainly from farm stock, will have their origin in strong and ancient bloodlines rooted in working dogs going back many generations. Some will be privately bred in puppy farms or by backyard breeders for profit or hobby breeders for the sake of the love for their dogs and their desire to replicate them.
All will have links back to working bloodlines but no pedigree to show it.
Because there is generally no research or regulation to their breeding, very few of these dogs or their ancestors will ever have been screened for hereditary disease. In some case hereditary issue would be obvious to the initialed but unnoticed by the breeder because they didn't know.
The signs may also pass unnoticed by people wishing to purchase the,.
Taking any unregistered dog carries a risk of acquiring a dog that may prove to have a variety of health and/or behavioural problems.
Additionally, because unregistered dogs directly from working backgrounds are bred by shepherds and farmers precisely for the working ability of the puppies, many of these dogs will have strong chase and herding instinct which will make them problem pets in a domestic environment.
It should also be said that not all KC or ISDS registered pedigree breeders are as good as they should be. Some lines have been spoilt by intensive inbreeding, intended to cement and re-enforce required traits but resulting in offspring with terrible temperament and physical problems.
Deliberate breeding of merles is an example. It carries high risk of serious physical and temperament issues even if you know what you're doing. Merling is cased by a genetic abnormality. It can occur naturally. When it does it's usually brown and white on black. The genes that create the patterns of flecking in the coats of merles go hand in hand with genes that can cause blindness, deafness, bowel problems and other issues.
Some individuals will breed from dogs they have purchased from these registered lines thinking they will produce high quality puppies with good pedigree backgrounds but all they are doing is passing on problems to future generations and polluting the overall gene pool of the breeder. Hereditary problems may come out in the offspring of the affected parents but in some cases the pups can carry the problems without manifesting them and pass them on to future generations who do.
Private individuals from all walks of life are seeking to breed pets from unregistered dogs, but this is very risky indeed as most of these individuals really do not understand what they are doing and the results are hit and miss to say the very best about them.
Breeding is a science based on a knowledge of genetics, hereditary diseases and behavioural problems, without which problems are inevitable.
Farm Bred Border Collie. Unregistered. Advancing on the sheep.
only Border Collies that will make good pets are those non-workers with
little or no residual herding instinct, whether registered or not.
One other matter to clear up - at the start there was mention of the KC only recognising non pedigree Border Collies as mongrels.
There is a difference between a mongrel and a crossbreed. A mongrel is a dog of no particular defined type. There may be many breeds in its ancestry, it's sire and dam may have many breeds in their ancestry so it can't really be classified by name as anything in particular.
A crossbreed is the result of a pairing between two different breeds of dog. Two breeds are crossed to produce puppies of a certain type.
The qualities of the puppies are supposed to reflect the best qualities of both breeds - although this is not always the case!
Border Collies crossed with Labs or Retrievers are generally a lot less intense than a Border Collies but more focused than a Lab or Retriever.
Border Collies crossed with German Shepherds tend to be larger and more inclined to guard than chase.
Border Collies crossed with any breed of Spaniel are generally not a very good idea by any standards - but it happens!
For many domestic applications a Border Collie Crossbreed is more suited. The intensity of the Border Collie is diluted but it's loyalty and overall appearance remains pretty true to the breed and it is much more likely to adapt to urban and suburban environments.
Border Collie genes tend to dominate the appearance of crossbreed mating's and produce pups that look a lot like Border Collies with less issues.
Three Border Collies - One ISDS Pedigree, One KC Pedigree and One farm bred with no Pedigree.
The breed profile section menu is directly below
We have divided our profile of the breed into sections laid out below. Scroll down or use the links to read the rest.
Collie Rescue - Breed Profile
Scroll down to read
sections in order of
sequence or use the links to jump to any section that interests you most.
The following areas are covered.
Origins, Name and Purpose -
Physical Characteristics -
Hereditary/Health Problems - Special Needs - Other Issues/Problems
or - go back up page to the introductory sections -
Prologue - Kennel Club Border Collie - ISDS Border Collie - Unregistered Border Collie
Breeding and sources
might think that the more you pay - the better the quality of puppy you
are going to get. That's not always true.
people who acquire a Border Collie do not take on a dog that has any careful selection in its background of breeding as
that which goes into KC or ISDS registered pedigree dogs. You should not
expect any dog, other than those from
registered lines, to display the qualities that are outlined and sought
by the KC or ISDS pedigree breeders. But do you want, or need, a dog
with the qualities expects from a KC or ISDS registered dog?
Do you want to show your dog or herd sheep with it?
If not, KC registered show lines and ISDS registered working lines are not for you.
Even with registered lines there is a margin for error. Some KC dogs are born without the right markings or shape to conform to a breed standard.
This will be obvious at birth or at least at a few weeks old.
Some ISDS dogs will not have strong enough instinct to herd but it will take months to discover this as instinct to herd usually takes time to develop, although in some pups it is obvious from a few weeks old.
The dogs with the wrong markings or shape and those with poor working instinct will have little value to the breeder or if sold on, their owners.
It is in their peer group that they would hold their highest value and in that group they would be seen as not to be fit for purpose.
The pet market is the next best thing because some people may take pride in owning a dog from bloodlines with a history of champions and although this may not necessarily make the dog worth the price asked, they will pay for its lineage and wear it like a badge.
|An example would be
a puppy from registered parents that displays
a high proportion of white in its markings. This will not be highly regarded
in either KC or ISDS circles. In KC shows it would loose points
due to this 'fault', which deviates from the breed standard.
In ISDS circles, a predominantly white pup will be perceived as likely to be less able to control and work livestock because it's colour is less of a threat to the instincts of sheep. Most predators are dark and sheep will react more attentively to dogs with a good proportion of black markings.
It is also known that a pup with predominantly white markings stands a higher risk of carrying other genetic problems that may cause blindness, deafness, epilepsy, hip problems and intestinal problems as well as increasing the possibility of temperament problems.
Therefore, within these circles such dogs will not have a huge financial value to their breeders.
However, in the competitive Obedience, Agility or Flyball world, a dog with this type of marking would not be a handicap and because of its pedigree and registration, within those circles it could command a higher price than it would if sold as a pet.
If the dog is a merle it would be even more popular because of its coloured, flecked markings and even though merles carry an even greater risk of hereditary and temperament issues it could command an even higher price.
Shrewd breeders will see an opportunity to maximise the price they will get for a pup by aiming it at a particular market.
Unfortunately, being a member of the ISDS or the KC does not make a breeder any more scrupulous than a breeder of unregistered dogs.
pups can also be exploited in this way and sold into the pet
Farm bred pups from unregistered parents are not worth a great deal of money in the farming community unless the parents are renowned workers and the breeder known for their diligence and care, in which case the pups are likely to be sold or passed on by word of mouth to other farmers and shepherds known to the breeders or recommended to them by friends and neighbours.
A farmer or shepherd may breed a little from their best workers in order to get one or two pups to keep, selling the rest of the litter on.
The general public do not often get offered these dogs to be pets because they have value as potential working dogs within the working community.
Those from parents with less ability are generally not wanted within the working community and you will see dogs like this sold on for a few pounds because their is a risk to the buyer that the dog will not turn out to be capable or interested in work. However they will carry some working instinct.
You seldom see them at agricultural auctions because there is not a huge demand but to some farmers they are worth a punt.
If they work the farmer has a cheap dog. If they turn out not to work or are a liability around sheep they can be sold on as a potential pet.
These days farmers are aware that quite high prices can be commanded for any pups they breed - very high if the markings are classic Black and White or unusual in any respect.
Often pups like this are from an unexpected and accidental litter and no thought whatsoever has been put into the breeding - but it's a handy source of income to farms and sometimes it's a sideline that is pursued deliberately.
Poor socialisation is often a problem from such pairings.
Some backyard breeders are often motivated to breed because they are so smitten by their perfect dog they want it to have pups.
Others will breed on a small scale, perhaps once or twice a year, just for profit.
A litter at before Christmas and a litter before an annual holiday could raise substantial sums and even pay the full costs of the event.
Very little thought goes into the matching of sire and dam. Their own bitch and a friends dog as stud in exchange for one of the pups is a common scenario. The rest will be sold on for whatever the vendor thinks the market will stand. They may even ask pedigree prices.
Temperament is often a problem from such pairings.
Fame as a dog breeder does not guarantee that the winner of accolades has a high ethical or moral bias and won't rip you off if they see you coming.
There are the unlicensed puppy dealers.
We have seen adverts in the press asking for unwanted litters of BC pups and offering a 'fair' price. We hear from farming people who have sold unwanted litters in response to such adverts being offered £30 to £50 per pup on the basis that the whole litter was collected and taken away.
Some of these dog dealer even pose as "rescue". Be very wary of any unregistered rescues that seem to get a lot of puppies.
Even farmers who find themselves with an unexpected litter are aware they can sell them. Puppies are in demand. Not so may end up in rescue.
We get complaints from people who had phoned such enterprises to buy a BC pup they had seen in the newspapers or online. They are quoted around or upwards of £250 for 'non-pedigree' pups and £350 for a 'pedigree'. Prices vary according to individual seller and even their location.
In situations like this the promised 'pedigree' documents that were to follow the purchase in the post do not materialise - they seldom do.
Pups are usually sold with an initial vaccination which needs to be followed up with a second jab at the new owners vets and expense.
Often these vendors pose as 'rescue' or tell callers that the pups are from a litter they have bred themselves.
They will have a dog and a bitch at home to 'prove' it.
When one caller asked for his breeders title (suffix or prefix and bloodline name) he said that he was not a 'registered' breeder and you would not find his name listed anywhere but the litter they had bred were from good registered bloodlines.
Finally we have the commercial breeders and puppy farmers.
A commercial breeder is a licensed individual who makes their living from breeding and selling pups directly to the public.
Usually their breeding pairs and puppies are KC registered and they can be picky who they sell their pups to - not always of course.
Sometimes the picky aspect is only to hook the buyer and obtain a higher price. It is flattering to be told that you have passed their strict criteria.
Pups from these sources tend to be very good looking if they are from KC registered lines and some thought goes into the pairing of sire and dam.
They are usually well socialised and well looked after but issues can arise with temperament because sometimes these lines can be inbred.
There are good and bad commercial breeders so it is an advantage to know who you are dealing with and only deal with someone who friends recommend. Do not take testimonials for granted. It is easy for a breeder to forge these or get others to post good ones on their behalf.
Being a KC registered breeder, accredited or not, really does not mean much. A fee does it. Going by word of mouth is often the best way
Puppy farmers breed pups on a large scale to be sold through agents and pet shops. They can afford to work through a middle man because their output is quantity rather than quality. They also need to sell through third parties because the conditions at their premises would sicken most people.
This is an organised industry. Some are licensed and inspected but may also have unlicensed premises elsewhere to feed into the production line.
The licensed premises are not required to be of a particularly high standard and corners can be cut between inspections.
Pups can be imported on a large scale and fed into the chain or exported if there is a better market for that breed in another country.
Pups are generally poorly socialised and have a high chance of having a potentially fatal disease. Vet bills can be high in the fight for survival.
Agents selling these pups pose as 'rescue' or private breeders with a dog and bitch available to add to the deception.
Pups can be sold via adverts on internet sites like Craigslist, Gumtree or Pre-loved.. Free papers are also used. Why pay for an advert?
Vendors may deliver or arrange to meet in a car park or service station. The only contact will be a mobile phone number which they swap regularly.
The pups sold in this way tend to be cheaper in comparison to other sources so it is a temptation to some people who ignore the warning signs.
Backyard and small scale commercial breeders will sometimes sell to a pet shop but this is very rare. Cuts profits.
Puppy farmers are the main suppliers of pet shops. A middle man allowance is built into their costs.
It's a cruel trade where dogs and bitches are not well cared for and are used as a production line of pups. Conditions are often atrocious.
Breeding bitches hardly have time to recover from one litter before they are served for the next.
They start breeding from their bitches far younger than is healthy for them and continues to breed form them until they are far older than is healthy.
When a stud dog or bitch is too old and is of no use anymore they are disposed of. Killed or just dumped and left to die.
A litter of Scottish Working Border Collies, C1900
They don't breed them like they used to!
be fairly clear to you by now that paying a lot of money does not
necessarily guarantee a good quality dog and buying a Border Collie pup
from any source will not guarantee you will end up with a dog that will
make a suitable pet.
'Buyer Beware' are still the keywords to bear in mind no matter what source you are buying from.
why it is rather difficult to precisely outline a breed profile for the
Border Collie - multiple sources and applications of this breed make for
multiple variations in physical characteristics, temperament, ideal
environment, ease of training and other aspects relating to it.
Origins, Name and Purpose
Origins - The Border Regions of
Scotland and England is where the breed was first developed. Later in
the border regions of Wales and England shepherds who had acquired these
dogs also bred qualities
into the breed that made them so useful in the countryside in both
Ansell's pictures show the Border Collie wearing the same coat as they wear today and doing the same job in the early to mid 19th century but there are earlier references.
In the days of the Border Rievers there are stories of black and white dogs trained to herd stolen stock from a raid back to a secure place on their own land where the thieves could collect the stock once the coast was clear.
It was a lawless period in country on either side of the Border that had been ravaged and decimated by wars between England and Scotland.
Rieving was an organised and widespread activity.
There were big families involved, Dukes and Earls leading them with smaller less powerful families bound to them by oath of loyalty - which didn't mean much on some occasions.
The dogs they used were described as black all over other than having white tips to their tails and white chests.
Their work took place on moonlit nights. You may have heard of the expression "A Rievers Moon".
Horseback raids took place and the dogs kept up until sufficient stock had been stolen and gathered and then were send off home with it while the raiders went on after more.
In the low light the white on the dogs chests could be seen by the livestock in front of them but not from anyone following behind.
While working the tails were kept down and anyone pursuing would not see the white on the tips.
If the owners of the stolen livestock caught up, the dogs could fade off into the night and live to herd another day. If their owner called them by name they raised their tails and the white tips could be seen in the darkness helping the raisers locate them.
The Rievers were active for around 300 years up to 1603 when James of Scotland succeeded to the English throne and the two counties united.
Landowners threw tenant farmers out on their ears in order to dedicate the land to growing wool. Shepherding had always been a respected trade and now good shepherds were in great demand, as were their dogs.
Various breeds were use in different parts of the country on different terrains they were best suited to. Close work with such large flocks became more difficult. many herding breeds did their work by barking and moving quickly behind the sheep which in large flocks often led to a scattering and the need to gather in again.
These problems lead to to great deal of interest in any dogs with 'eye' who could control stock simply by staring and moving quietly from side to side to get them moving in the required direction. Eye is one of the best qualities of the Border Collie and it was developed by selective breeding which took shepherding to a whole new dimension.
Sheepdog trials are recorded as early as the 1870's and The International Sheepdog Society was founded in 1906 to organise and co-ordinate these rather localised competitions and to form and hold a stud book for the dogs competing in order to improve the breed and the management of livestock. This is when Border Collie Bloodlines became dedicated and the wide and varied regional 'types' that had sprung up started to become more unified.
Auld Hemp, a dog belonging to Adam Telfer from Northumberland is reckoned to be the progenitor of the breed we know today. He lived between 1893 and 1901 and although he was not No 1 in the ISDS stud book he was considered to be the best sheepdog alive at the time and nearly all Border Collies alive today owe that to Auld Hemp. He was a quiet worker and was never formally trained.
Telfer is reputed to have said "he flashed like a meteor across the sheepdog horizon. There never was such an outstanding personality" and Eric Halsall, shepherd, author and commentator on One Man and His Dog said "none who saw him ever forgot him...Almost faultless in work...he was born with such knowledge of his craft that he never required training and went to his work naturally."
Auld Hemp is not the most famous or prolific Border Collie. That accolade goes to Wiston Cap who belonged to John Richardson who had bought him at 6 weeks old in 1963.
In the 1965 International Sheepdog Trials, Wiston Cap became supreme champion at less than two years old and was the most popular stud the breed ever had. Many of the pups he sired went on to become Trials champions, including 3 International Trials Champions.
It is said that Wiston Cap's genes are in every Border Collie alive today.
Selective breeding - that is to say breeding from the best and preventing the rest - cemented the traits and instincts shepherds wanted to see in their dogs. (This is something we all should take more seriously these days).
What came out of this, and what we now have, is acknowledged as the best Working Sheepdog breed in the world .
Name - The prefix 'Border' refers to the Borders of England and Scotland where the breed - in its present form - originated.
The word 'Collie' is an old Scottish term and means 'useful'. Therefore a 'Collie Dog' is a 'useful dog'. We can have a 'collie tool' - a favourite and useful implement that does the job it was intended to do, and does it well.
Put the two together and we have a name that simply means - 'Useful dog from the Borders (Region)'.
The name Border Collie was not used until after 1906 when the first secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society, James Reid, is credited with having created it.
Purpose - This breed has been created to work stock, originally sheep, but variations were bred that were better suited to work and herd other species of domestic animals. The use of selective breeding as referred to in Origins, above, has re-enforced the characteristics best suited to this form of activity. It took many, many, generations to cement the necessary traits and mold the breeds natural instincts.
These are not going to disappear quickly.
Herding and working livestock was the sole purpose behind the Border Collie until very recently.
We are now have these instincts and characteristics built into the breed, but they do make the breed what it is, and without them it would not be the same.
We can remove or dilute these instincts by applying selective breeding until we have variations that have other characteristics.
This will take time and perhaps as many generations to breed the instinct out as as it took to breed it in.
There are some breeders who are attempting to create bloodlines that have less herding instinct and are more 'domesticated' and 'user friendly', but this is not going to be easy to achieve. We do not have these 'pet' variations yet.
One of the obstacles to achieving this is the need to inject DNA from the wide working line pool into the domestic line pool to prevent inbreeding and the decreasing gene pool causing inherited disabilities, deformities and behavioural issues. Some of the most well know domestic blood lines have occasionally put out litters with sever temperament problems . We've had a few through our hands
Don't be fooled - phrases like "this breed is intelligent and easy to train and handle" and the old chestnut "will make a good working dog or pet" are phrases designed to sell dogs and each statement contradicts itself.
The last word in this section is another picture by Charles Ansell on the left, entitled "Spring in the Highlands' Nice looking Tri-colour.
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|Scottish Borders Border Collies|
Border Collies come in so many shapes and sizes it is difficult to believe that all these dogs are of the same breed.
Different physical characteristics reflect the different types of sheepdog that have been bred into Border Collie lines in the distant past.
The illustrations are there to demonstrate many of the variations and do not directly relate to the text around them.
They can be flat, wiry, curly or rough. There are all combinations of these coat types.
The very short, straight coated, smooth dogs can also be called 'Bald Coated' although they are not hairless.
Those with very coarse fur can look almost 'Wiry'.
Some are heavily feathered on the legs, tail and around the ears and can have large ruffs and very bushy tails.
Some have little or no feathering anywhere with fur on tail and ruff flat to the body.
There are solid colours - Black, White, Chocolate, Blue (actually grey really), Brown, Sable, Red, Liver, Lilac. Etc.
There are bi-colours - Black / White, Red / White, Sable / White, Blue / White, Chocolate / White, Liver / White, Chocolate / Sable, Etc.
There are Tricolours- Black - White and Brown, Black - White and Red, Black - White and Blue, Black - White and Sable, Black - White and Grey, Black - White and spotted with another colour, Etc.
They are the inventions of breeders who are trying to set a new fashion in order to sell more pups at a higher price. Wait for it - Pink, coming soon to your agility club.
All combinations are possible with sufficient genetic fiddling but they are all Border Collies, although you have to feel sorry for some of them.
The good old fashioned colours are the best. Black, Black and Tan, Black and White, Tricolour, Sable - with variations and the occasional full merle.
We have come across some individuals that are so small they could only be defined as 'Miniature' when compared to the average.
One we took in was called Mouse - descriptive!
On the other hand we have come across giants.
We have seen both these extremes and many in between with KC or ISDS pedigrees or without either.
We get long legged - short legged - long backed - short backed - wide shouldered - narrow waisted - wide hips - narrow hips - deep chested - shallow chested - long tailed - short tailed.
Registered and unregistered the shape and proportions of a Border Collie varies greatly.
There is no uniformity in any aspect of the appearance of the breed.
The nose can be long or short, narrow or wide and the stop sloping or sharp.
Ears can be tipped or pricked or flat.
Eyes can be set wide or narrow and can be many colours although generally both the same.
The most common eye colour is brown but there are many variations.
A dog can have different colour eyes and in the case of 'wall eye' one eye is one colour and the other blue/grey.
In some cases both eyes can be grey or a deep blue.
Other Border Collies can have very intensive eyes, deep brown flecked with gold.
Short to long, Black or black with white tip or varying percentages of Black and White.
Tan, Red, Blue, Grey, Sable, with or without white tip or larger percentage of white.
On occasions, all white.
You get many variations of shape and colour in the Border Collie.
It is a long, rough coated medium sized black and white dog with white socks, white ruff which completely encircles the neck, a white chest and a white tip to its tail.
It is feathered on its legs and tail and we are led to believe this is the norm for the breed.
It is certainly pretty to look at and if that is what you want in a dog, it's a good choice.
We have re-homed plenty of these and they can be a little dumb. The description "the most intelligent dog" in the world does not apply.
|It is a bit of spin - the most prolific type of Border Collie is the smooth coated type.|
These have been bred in that way to enable them to be agile and sure footed on steep mountain terrain where a larger dog may lose balance on steep slopes or fall off narrow ledges.
There is not actually a Welsh Border Collie breed - there is a Welsh Sheepdog that is said to have some Border Collie in there.
It is not a separate breed, it's just another variation of the same breed - the Border Collie.
Another misconception is what is often described as the McNab Border Collie.
This is not a Border Collie or a variation of it. It is more correctly known as the McNab Shepherd or McNab Collie or simply as the McNab Dog. It is a herding dog specifically bred to cope with the hot weather of Northern California.
Like the Border Collie it comes in many colours and sizes but is a smooth, short to medium coated dog.
It originated from a crossing of Scottish Collies with dogs from the Basque region.
Border Collie may be in there somewhere as in breeds like the New Zealand Huntaway and the Australian Kelpie - somewhere inside, hiding.
They do not get 'iced up' in bad weather, whereas the longer coated dogs would end up with a coat full of water, snow or ice that would weigh it down and slow it up.
Smooth coated dogs are easier to keep clean after a day in the fields but the best known variation is the rough, long coated, medium sized, standard markings, black and white type.
You get these in all categories, KC, ISDS and unregistered.
This is what most people think of as a Border Collie and they are often surprised to find out that all these other shapes colours and sizes are variations of the same breed.
This historic photo shows a Border Collie from sometime around 1910 to 1920. According to the caption the dog was Red and White.
Temperament is not something that a dog is born with which will remain the same for the rest of its life. It will change over a dogs lifetime.
Genetics has something to do with it but socialisation, handling, environment, lifestyle, training and life experience all play a part.
We see dogs from parents with very good temperaments that turn into nasty fighters around other dogs or end up biting people. Pups from parents that have a reputation for being unsocial nippers or biters can end up as the most gentle, kind dogs with no hint of their parents aggression.
It is often said that you should look at the parents temperaments in order to have some idea of how the pups will turn out.
There is a saying in sheepdog circles regarding pups and their parents "Its not what you've got, it's what you've had" which means its not the parents you should be looking at, it's the grandparents. Either way you look (and we would advise you to look both ways) what you see in a bloodline is only an indication of what the dog may turn out like as it grows. Pups from the same litter sometimes end up either end of the scale.
To generalise, Border Collies, as a whole, have very amiable temperaments when properly bred exercised and mentally stimulated.
They are normally a quiet and thoughtful breed, very loyal to their owners and often forming a strong attachment, particularly if dog and owner spend time doing something fulfilling for the dog.
To keep a balanced temperament the dog will need some downtime, or 'me' time to itself, preferably at night, in a place where it feels secure and relaxed. Dog crates under a kitchen unit or stairs or just covered over top, back and sides performs this function.
If frustrated or wound up they can be easily stimulated into hyperactivity.
Being an intelligent breed, strong leadership is required to enable them to feel confident that their needs will be attended to so they do not start to think that they have to make their own decisions about personal space, exercise, sleeping arrangements and food.
Once a Border Collie gets into this frame of mind it takes some convincing to get its mind changed and this is where temperament issues begin to raise their heads. They can become possessive over space and food and aggressive if they feel their rights in these areas are compromised.
Exercise is essential for the long term health of the dog but there is no point in walking your Border Collie 6 miles a day morning and evening if you do not provide it with mental stimulation. Mental stimulation is far more important.
If you are a runner or jogger and train daily putting in a few miles as a steady pace this will provide some of the mental stimulation a Border Collie would need because it would see the session as working in partnership and enjoy it as such, but walking is rather boring and the chances are that if you just walk your Border Collie daily and allow it to run around a bit, when you get home it will be ready to go out again immediately.
Frustration from lack of mental stimulation - boredom if you like - is going to have an adverse effect on a dogs temperament.
Border Collies are not a breed to share space with young children. They can grow intolerant or envious or over protective very quickly, all of which lead to problems. The crying of babies can frighten, confuse or simply overstimulated them up as can the jerky movement of toddlers. The high pitched voices and quick movements of youngsters can also stimulate instincts best applied to working sheep and they can become 'herdy' and nippy. Boys tend to cause this more than girls, perhaps because they are more inclined to hyperactivity than girls.
In some case they can become overprotective of their owners and consider a child to be a threat and in some cases they will consider the child to be lower in the family pecking order that they are and subject to their will. As young children often lack the confidence and capability to control a dog they can easily find themselves on the wrong side of a Border Collies tolerance level and and up being bitten.
Couple this with their size in comparison with a Border Collie and the proximity of their face to the dogs, it is a serious risk.
Instinct plays a great part in a Border Collies temperament as does socialisation as a puppy and subsequent handling and training.
Bear in mind that everything you do with, and to, a Border Collie is training it, so consistency is very important.
A dog with strong sheepdog instincts and no way to fulfill them will become frustrated and its temperament, even if initially it was very happy and tolerant, will retrogress. Instinct to herd is common, to one degree or another, in most Border Collies.
Instinct to herd is not one inclination, it is a combination of of factors all of which will ultimately affect a dogs temperament if not considered and accounted for in its handling. Chasing, retrieving, flanking, eying, working with handler, an association and bond with one individual, all contribute.
Individually and collectively they make an individual Border Collie pups temperament difficult to accurately pin down.
When looking at suitable
environments for a Border Collie it pays to take into consideration the
design of the Border Collie.
Instinct is an inbuilt reaction to stimuli and circumstances. It is a handed down from generation to generation and is instilled and honed by long term life and survival experiences which can be reinforced or weakened by breeding. That accounts for the eye, herding, chasing, intelligence, thoughtfulness, independence, loyalty, bonding and working as a team aspects of the breed. But some instinctive behaviours and expectations are taken on by social and environmental exposure and are not yet genetically held in the dogs cells but are still handed on to new generations as ancestral memories. Example:- the hefting of sheep that always stay on the same part of a moor that their ancestors have traditionally grazed.
Throughout the best part of its history, the Border
Collie and the dogs that went into its development were the dogs of the
shepherds and farmers who often led a peaceful isolated life in the quiet
of the countryside away from the constant noise, hustle and bustle of
Dogs would work singly or in groups controlled by one
individual. They would spend long periods of time in the hills and dales
coming across very few people on a day to day basis, most who would be
known to man and dog. Very few strangers invaded their space.
Because of these ancestral expectations the breed is often outfaced by busy environments, overstimulated by sounds of neighbours coming and going and alarmed and alerted by the close proximity of people. Life in towns and cities can be a noisy and scary place for them where they have little opportunity to rest and relax because of everything going on around them invading their space.
If your Border Collie is left 'home alone' for long
periods of time in a busy environment it may be constantly restless until
you come home, unable to settle and sleep for long because of the constant
stimulation around it, much of which it would not be able to see the
Even if you are there all the time you are only
reassurance and consolation, not a solution to the problem.
Couple this continual stress with the frustration of the suppression of other strong instinctive behaviours and you have the potential for all sorts of problems arising from the loss of control this will cause in many individuals of the breed. Some can cope but most can't.
Many people seem to think that the Border Collie is a
hyperactive breed. Highly excitable.
The truth of this myth is severely tested when you
look at a Border Collie doing what it is designed to do in an environment
that it was designed to do it in. Herding in the country on a farm or on
the open moors. Alone with its handler or working as a brace or in a team.
The control and focus a Border Collie needs to perform like this, it's sensitivity to sound and visual stimulation, is all there in a domestic Border Collie and it's all getting bombarded in an urban situation. That's why so many think their Border Collie is 'Mad'. It's been driven mad!
A quiet rural environment is ideal - it suits the quiet thoughtful nature of the breed and gives them the space they expect.
Any other environment is less than ideal - busy environments with lots of human activity, noise and movement is exactly designed to give the average Border Collie continuous stress which leads to psychological problems and behavioural issues.
If you think a Border Collie is an easy dog to train because it is one of the most intelligent breeds of dog in the world - think again.
It's intelligence works against training unless the trainer is very consistent in their commands, signals, body language and approach.
The problem is that Border Collies are smart and they can take a variation in a command to be a different command altogether - and lets face it, humans are discombobulated when you reciprocate outre words for more axiomatic words. It can be quite discommoding.
When training a Border Collie, keep the command
specific and simple using one clear word that is not easy to confuse with
We use short words like Back or Sit or Off or Down
and very few paired words other than Get It and Go Free and Watch Me.
Consistency is important to get the message
across. Think about the tone you would use to re-enforce the urgency
of particular commands and stick to that tone when using them. Down and
Stay and Sit and Here may be commands you would expect an instant response
to because they would sometimes be applied in situations of urgency so
make them sharp and firm.
You may want to take your dog to training classes
so you get some support and assistance along with some socialisation but
some Border Collies can be rather disruptive at classes unless they have
been well socialised and some ground work put in on the training before
Because the Border Collie has a far more ingrained
instinctive background than most other breeds that have been domesticated
for much longer they really do need a trainer or behaviourists that
understands and takes into consideration these differences.
You may have come across the term 'positive
re-enforcement' when applied to training. All it really means is
associating training with a pleasant experience, rewarding good behaviour
and responses and ignoring misbehavior or simply showing displeasure with
tone and body language.
Border Collies are not easily bribed. They
normally have more important things on their mind that snacks. If you have
shown the dog you are a leader and it respects you it will only want to
please you. This is a strong quality in a Border Collie - the need to
please its handler.
A mention of Sheepdogs
One of the tricks used to train a sheepdog is to let it run with an experienced dog and pick up commands, moves and behaviours from the association. It only works if you have a well trained dog for the new dog to run with. Otherwise its a chancy method indeed.
Shepherds tend to train their own dogs but some farmers send dogs off to be trained professionally. The drawback to this is that unless the farmer is sufficiently good at training himself he cannot continue to keep the dog in shape when it comes back with all its sides and commands in place. The dog gradually loses its professional edge and slips into whatever haphazard method the farmer is using to instruct it.
Most sheepdog trainers will use a form of positive re-enforcement to train their dogs. Plenty of praise when the dog gets it right and none at all when the dog gets it wrong. Any major transgression are dealt with by ending the session. There is no greater punishment for a sheepdog than to be taken away from the sheep by a handler who is not pleased with what it has done.
Training sessions of any sort are best kept short so the dog remains interested and stimulated for the whole session.
One of the worst things any trainer can do is to
use physical violence or punitive equipment on dogs they are trying to
This is not to say the dogs will not love them. An
abused Border Collie will still love its handler and seek reassurance from
them but it may also snap out and bite them or even attack them with
intent when they are frightened enough and cornered.
A bit of love goes a long way.
Costs and Maintenance
What is the average costs of keeping a Border
The initial cost of a puppy or an adult dog or the
donation to a rescue is the first consideration.
Adult dogs can be obtained through free ads in
papers or on websites. Some are free to good home and others are being
First vaccinations should also be included in the sale
price of a puppy and a certificate supplied signed by a vet. Sometimes
this is not the case as the first one is given at 'approximately' 8 weeks
of age with a second one following two or four weeks later dependent on
the type given.
You can always
go to a rescue and offer a home to a homeless dog.
To insure is a good idea.
Food and treats
Treats should be fed sparingly.
If you are buying a pup for the first time
you will need some basic equipment.
(excluding the price of the pup) for vet check and follow up vaccination,
initial worm and flea treatment, basic equipment, neutering or spaying,
first years insurance and some contingency and your looking at start up
costs upward of £600.
Of course you could spend more than that and you probably will because the dog is worth it
Hereditary and Health Problems
Quite a long list but don't be frightened by it.
Diseases, conditions and health problems are part of life for all of us.
Point is be aware.
The breed has been designed to work using its eyes
to control stock and its ears to listen for stock it can't see when
working. These are essential qualities the dog needs to perform its tasks
Colitis - an inflammation or irritation of the colon or large intestine. A general name for a condition with a multitude of causes.
Lyme disease - Transmitted by the bite of ticks. Bacterial infection. Causes joint inflammation, kidney damage, in some cases nerve damage.
Canine Influenza Virus - also
known as Kennel Cough. There are vaccines for this. Get it done at the
same time as the annual Booster
Internal parasites - various
worms, protozoa and even fungal infections in ears. Regular worming deals
with most of these. Lungworms and heartworms require specialised
External parasites - Flea, ticks, lice, mites. Regular treatment with a spot on will deal with most of these. For ticks a stronger version is needed.
Mange (sarcoptic (dry) and
demodeptic (wet) and Cheyletiella) - Caused by parasitic mites. See your
vet immediately if you suspect any of these infections and keep your dog
away from contact with other animals. They are caused by three different
species of mite and require specialised diagnosis and treatment and are
highly infectious to other dogs.
Diabetes - Could be inherited or could come on as a result of poor health. Reduce the risk of this by balanced diet and exercise.
Hip Dysplasia - Could be inherited or the result of wear and tear caused by repetitive strain due to exercises like flyball, agility, frisbee.
Cancers - There are a large
range of cancers dogs can be subject to.
Dogs suffer pain but until it
becomes serious they do so without showing it. Spotting initial pain or
discomfort is not so easy but, again, if vigilant you can save your dog a
lot of suffering and discomfort. If its in a limb it is more obvious
because the dog will favour the limb but internally it is often invisible.
Dogs, including Border Collies, can also
suffer from a number of other diseases and conditions - Just like us
Here is a summary of what is best for the average Border Collie - there are exceptions, although finding one that is an exception to ALL the criteria would be a rare beast indeed!
Space - Border Collies are designed to work in open areas so it is an inbuilt expectation of the breed to have open space around it and not be hemmed in by neighbours and the close proximity of lots of people.
Quiet - For the reason stated about the breed fairs best in quiet environments. Noise, constant activity and movement tends to overstimulated.
Companionship - This is a breed of dog that likes to bond onto a single person with whom it can have a special close relationship. This can be extended to two individuals but expecting a Border Collie to share it's loyalty with a group of people or a dog walker or mum and dad down the road is unlikely to result in the desired outcome.
A place of their own - relating
to space, quiet and balanced relationship, a Border Collie needs a place
to sleep and retire to when it wants to where it will not be disturbed. It
is as unhealthy for it to be in human company 24 hours a day as it is for
it to be left home alone all day.
A regular routine - like all dogs a Border Collie thrives best in a regular routine with regular meals and regular exercise and play times. Incorporated into this routine are the extra bits that make life more enjoyable and varied but always reverting to the regular routines that allows the dog to feel secure in its environment and relationships. Dogs do not get bored by routines, they thrive on the,
Consistency - As part of the regular routine above and as directed by the strong leader below the Border Collie expects to be handled in a consistent manner. This means all members of the family, all handlers, be they occasional or regular, behave in the same way towards the dog, enforce the same rules and use the same commands and instructions.
A strong leader - To allow the
dog to feel it is safe in the company of the people surrounding it there
must be at least one strong and consistent leader that sets the rules and
provides the security that allows the dog to be comfortable in following
Training - is part of
leadership. It must be consistent. It needs to be practiced daily. Short
sessions are better than long sessions.
Exercise - Enough to keep it
healthy and fit is enough to make it content.
A mission - This is a working
breed. It expects to do something with it's life. It expects to do this
thing with it's chosen handler.
If you are thinking of getting a Border
Collie you need to think about all of the above and about other sections
of this page.
Problems and Issues
Border Collies can suffer from a number of
behavioural problems, some of which occur because they are in an environment or
lifestyle where their instincts are not taken into account or are
Separation issues are quite common with
They are dogs, not children or 'fur babies'. Allow them to be what they are. A different species with different needs.
Protection issues are quite common with
Dominance issues are quite common with
Chasing issues are quite common with
Noise sensitivity issues are a common
Border Collie Problem
Poor socialisation can cause a lot of issues in a
lot of Border Collies
Aggression is another issue Border
Collie's can suffer from.
If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us,
please phone 0845 604 4941 during office hours.
(2 pm to 5 pm Mondays to Thursdays)
Please do not write to us or email us about adoption - we want to speak to you before we start the process.