Border Collie dogs are a working and herding breed from a border region between England and Scotland. These dogs were traditionally bred for herding sheep and other livestock. Border Collie dogs are considered one of the most intelligent, energetic, and athletic dog breeds in the pet industry. These dogs often succeed in various dog sports, sheepdog trials, and agility training. Even though Border Collies were first bred for herding cattle, they have become one of the most favoured domestic dogs for active families.
Life expectancy: 10 – 17 years
Breed of: Dog
Weight: Male: 14–20 kg, Female: 12–19 kg
Temperament: Intelligent, Tenacious, Energetic, Loyal, Keen, Alert, Responsive, Athletic
Colours: White, Black, Blue, Blue Merle, Red Merle, Brindle, Lilac, Chocolate, Liver, Sable Merle, Red, Gold
Height: Male: 48–56 cm, Female: 46–53 cm
Origin: England, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales, Ireland
Border Collie dogs are medium-sized animals with a moderate amount of fur on their body. The quality of coat hair varies from the inner coat to the outer coat. The double coats of these dogs are pretty thick, and they shed at least twice per year. While the inner coat of these dogs is made of smooth and long hair, the outer coat consists of wavy and curly hair. See here I have written about the shedding amount of the Border Collies.
This beautiful, primarily black and white dog has expressive ears, bright eyes, and a pretty face. The intelligence, stamina, and agility of the Border Collies have made them the perfect working dogs. Even today, ranchers and herders prefer Border Collie dogs over any other herding breed.
What were Border Collies bred for?
Border Collies are one of the most intelligent breeds, and as such, were bred to herd cattle. They have an exceptional understanding of livestock which is why they are so sought after for herding dogs!
Where do Border Collies originate from?
The Border Collie is a breed of dog developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region and successfully used to herd sheep on the border between Scotland and England.
The history of the Border Collie dogs can be traced back to the 1800s. Some researchers think that the ancestors of this dog breed are even older. Over time, the breed has changed and transformed itself into the modern Border Collie that we know.
1st Century BC
Even though concrete proof of the presence of Border Collie dog species is found as far as the 1800s, the experts believe that the ancestry of these dogs is rooted as far back as the first century BC. The role of the Border Collie dogs has not been changed, however. The experts think that the ancestors of modern Border Collie dogs tend to work alongside the farmer families like some do today.
These dogs came to the British Isles along with the Roman invaders. The Roman Invaders tend to use these dogs to move and control their livestock. Thanks to their intelligence, loyalty, and stamina, the popularity of these dogs was spread all across Britain, including Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.
Later, after the Roman Emperor had fallen and the Vikings took a turn to invade, other dogs were introduced to this bloodline. This dog is smaller in size and is known as Spitz. These dogs were bred with traditional Roman dogs, and a new dog breed was created. These medium-sized dogs were extremely well adapted to the local climate and geographic conditions of the British Isles. These dogs had also shown remarkable intelligence and energy. These dogs were also capable of herding cattle successfully and had the agility and athleticism that you can find in modern dogs.
Experts believe that this dog breed was the forerunner of the modern border collies. It is considered that this dog breed is the common ancestor of all the Border Collie dogs.
The English Shepherd, Australian Shepherd, show collies, and border collies are all close cousins. You can see similarities among all these dog breeds.
During this time, every farmer wanted to get a dog to help them manage their cattle hordes.
Northumberland farmer named Adam Telfer succeeded in creating a unique dog breed. He created the modern Border Collie by breeding Meg, a black-coated bitch, and Roy, a black and white bicolour dog. In the same year, Meg gave birth to a tricolour dog named Old Hemp. It is believed that he is the first modern border collie.
The record shows that the collies were imported to New Zealand this year. However, which type of collie dogs were imported has not been specified.
The late 1890s
During this time, James Lilico of Newzealand brought several working dogs from the United Kingdom. One of those puppies was Hindhope Jed, a tricoloured dog that was born in Scotland. Even though it is said that Hindhope Jed was a direct descendant of the Old Hemp, there is no concrete evidence supporting this.
September 1893 to May 1901
It is when Hemp the dog, one of the pioneering members of this breed, lived and worked. During this time, farmers often used the quiet, powerful, and hardworking Hemp for managing sheep. During this time, Hemp was also used widely as a stud. As a result, the working style of Hemp became the functional style of the entire modern border collie dog breed.
The purebred Border Collie dogs of today are direct descendants of Hemp, Tefler’s dear Border Collie. Over the years, various temperaments, skills, and working styles were combined in the Hemp line to produce a better Border Collie breed. In a typical farm environment, each trained Border Collie dog can complete the task of three persons. In his lifetime, it is believed that Hemp had fathered more than 200 puppies.
Chamberlain sheepdogs were pretty famous before this time. But they became completely extinct during this period. It is assumed that the chamberlain sheepdogs are intricately related to the border collies.
This year, the National sheepdog society was founded. In their Studbook, old Hemp had been listed as one of the greatest studs of the breed. Old Hemp created a steady line of champion border collie dogs. Between 1906 and 1951, the Border Collie dogs got all 29 trophies of the International Farmers’ Championship.
During the first world war, the official name Border Collie was given to this breed. The name was coined by the secretary of the International Sheepdog Society, James Reid. The title was conferred to this breed to distinguish it from the other type of collie show dogs. It also helped the breed secure separate identities from all other collies, like a scotch collie, rough collie, and smooth collie. The first section of the name of the Border Collie indicates the border region of England from where the breed had emerged.
This year, Wiston Cap, another Border Collie dog that has shaped the modern breed, was born. The dog was a result of the breeding efforts of W.S. Hetherington. The dog was shown and handled by John Richardson. Since this time, the Border Collie has been evaluated and measured against the standards of this dog. It is Wiston Cap that helped us to establish the criteria for the Border Collie dog breed.
This year, the American Kennel Club registered Border Collie as a separate breed. Since then, the popularity of these dogs has been on the rise in the USA as well.
More and more people who do not have any relationship with ranching and farming choose a Border Collie as their family dogs. With proper training, attention, and love, border collies can truly become one of the best companions of any family.
Thinking of getting a Border Collie? Before you read my article, I wrote on them to see if they match you and your family.
About the Author
Teresa has studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition. She loves sharing her knowledge and educating through her articles. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster.