Have you ever seen a border collie at work? Watching a well-trained border collie herd cattle or sheep is quite an experience. The dogs run, crouch, wheel about, and freeze as their handler uses a series of whistles or voice commands to direct them. Their instinct to herd is so strong that border collies will try to round up just about anything if they don’t have a herd to work – people, cats, even ducklings!
Ever since mankind started raising animals for food, they relied on the development of a reliable dog to drive and protect their herds and flocks. Working dogs are prized for their intelligence and trainability, as well as for their instinct to work and protect their flocks, rather than attack and kill the animals.
The modern Border Collie originated in the hilly countryside on the border of Scotland and England. These herding dogs became associated with their particular regions and were eventually known as Welsh Sheepdogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies. The best herding dogs were bred to one another, and eventually the main line of the Border Collie was solidified. The Border Collie was recognized as a unique breed by the American Kennel Club in 1995.
Border Collies have exceptional energy and stamina, and are at their best when they have a job to do. They are not the dog for laying around on a summer evening, but are almost always up and going, whether it is herding cattle or herding tennis balls.
A Border Collie is sensitive to even the slightest gestures from their handler, and learn their commands quickly. A finely trained Border Collie at work with their sheep is an amazing sight. Away from the farm, Border Collies excel at dog sports such as agility trials, obedience trials, disc dog competitions, and any other activities that challenge their endurance and intelligence.
Border Collies are loyal, friendly dogs, and make excellent companions, so long as they have tons of exercise and activities every day. In the American Kennel Society’s dog popularity rankings, they are 39th out of 187 recognized breeds. Border Collies can come in 17 different color combinations, in one of 7 recognized patterns, and can have long or short hair. The most well-known Border Collie coloring is black ears and back, with a white underbelly, legs, nose, and collar.
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