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History of the Border Collie

"The name Border Collie was coined after World War I
to distinguish working collies from show collies."


The History of the Border Collie lies in the working collies used by shepherds in the Border counties of Scotland and England in the 18th and 19th Centuries. These were often powerful dogs, difficult to control and rough with stock.

The Border Collie, show Collie, Australian Shepherd, English Shepherd, Kelpie and McNab are all cousins, descended from working collies possessing traits that particular breeders found desirable for their purposes.

The keen herding instinct and great power over sheep that working collies possessed were such useful assets that it was worth trying to find a milder-natured type to cross with them. A Northumbrian farmer, Adam Telfer, succeeded in finding the right blend of types in 1894. The Border Collie of today is descended from Telfer's dog, "Hemp". Not only various temperaments, but a variety of working styles and skills, were combined in Hemp to produce the Border Collie.

The name "Border Collie" was coined after World War I to distinguish working collies from show collies. Bred for hill conditions, the Border Collie is outstanding when it comes to working sheep. Able to perform a variety of tasks, he is born with instinct to "gather" the sheep to the shepherd, a trait that makes him most useful on the hill. A Border Collie's ability to control sheep is measured by the "eye" (the amount of concentration on sheep that the dog shows). Because they must often work far from their handlers, Border Collies must be intelligent and independent.

Border Collies can be taught to herd a variety of livestock. Many will naturally herd anything that moves; Ducks, Chickens, Sheep, Cattle, Bicycles, Motorcycles, Cats, Cars and Children. For this reason, Suburban and City dwelling Border Collie owners must be especially mindfull. Please see: Intelligence and Herding Instinct

Natural versatility makes them excel in fields other than herding and sheepdog trials. Today you will see Border Collies winning Obedience, Agility, Flyball and Frisbee matches for their city and suburban owners.


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