Masters of dog sports, sheep “charmers,” the most intelligent dogs in the world … it’s hard to believe that all these terms refer to dogs of one breed. The Border Collies in question have been highly prized Sheepdogs for years. They have also become fashionable among people looking for a friendly companion dog in recent decades.
Race Border Collie comes from Great Britain. It is assumed that the first part of the name refers to the area of counties on the border of England and Scotland (and. Border – granica) from which the ancestors of the race descended. Word collie in the Celtic dialect means “something useful” and was often called herding dogs. Interestingly, the breed was officially recognized in Great Britain only in 1976 and in the USA – in 1995. For many years earlier, sheep breeders’ selection was carried out, focusing primarily on their utility. More than genetic purity or appearance, the quality of a given dog’s work was valued, including the ability to work with humans and the characteristic “eye” (herd only with the use of posture and intense gaze). In the nineteenth century, the ancestors of modern Border Collies excelled in British sheepdog trials under the name of the working sheepdog. Queen Victoria herself had several dogs of this type.
Interestingly, the pedigrees of practically all of our contemporaries Border Collie lead to a common ancestor – a dog named Old Hemp, born in 1894 by the breeder Adam Teller. With exceptional herding talent, the dog quickly became a popular breeding male. He sired over 200 puppies! Old Hemp’s many children and grandchildren were successful in subsequent competitions and established the breed standard.
In the 20th century, the notorious English Shepherd Dogs also found new breeders as sheep were exported from Great Britain. The borders started to conquer new world regions: the USA, Australia, New Zealand. Currently, much significant breeding of the breed functions in these countries. Border Collies came to the USA in the 90s of the last century, and the first kennels in our country developed in terms of dog sports. Increasingly frequent appearances of talented and charming boundaries in films, TV series and commercials in recent years have contributed to the emergence of the “fashion” for Border Collies among a wider group of canine enthusiasts that continues to this day.
In the International Cynological Federation (FCI) classification, Border Collies are classified as Shepherd Dogs (Group I, Section I). The breed standard allows for significant visual variation. The weight of these well-built, medium-sized dogs is in the range of 14-20 kg. Border Collies have short or semi-long hair, and among the accepted colors, apart from the characteristic black and white, there are about 100 different types, including shades of chocolate, tricolor, and merle (marbled). Some border ointments are also associated with the blue color of the eyes or a multicolored iris. Currently, kennels are developing two main lines with slightly different characteristics: working dogs (with shorter hair and a slender body) and show dogs (with a more muscular build and long hair).
The nature of the Border Collie breed
Shepherd’s roots largely determine the disposition and skills of the Border Collie. On the one hand, they are physically active, lively, agile, and enduring dogs. On the other hand – attentive, quick-witted, focused on cooperation with humans. They owe their growing popularity primarily to the famous intelligentsia. The Border Collie breed was ranked number one on the list of the most intelligent dogs by dog psychology researcher Stanley Coren (“Intelligence of Dogs,” 1997). Without discussing the validity of the criteria of this ranking, it must be admitted that borders are extremely clever students. Ambitious endowed with a good memory, they derive genuine satisfaction from the tasks performed. Properly trained, they can learn up to a hundred different passwords without any problems and are always ready for more! These qualities, desirable in the work of a shepherd, can be a challenge in everyday life. Border Collies cannot and should not be bored. Their temperament cannot be used during an ordinary walk in the forest or even a marathon alongside a cyclist. Without overcoming intellectual challenges, they will become irritable, nervous, and even destructive towards their surroundings.
What else is behind the concept of the superior intelligence of Border Collies? Equally high emotional sensitivity. Sensitive to the moods and messages sent by the guardian, the banners often literally depend on the person’s approval. Border puts its guide in the spotlight and expects the same to respond. It will, therefore, constantly require a great deal of mindfulness in communication, training, and training.
Dog Breeds Border Collie – How Much Are They Alive?
Border Collie dogs live on average from 12 to 15 years. They are relatively resistant by nature, but it should be remembered that due to high physical activity (also related to sports), borders are particularly vulnerable to musculoskeletal system diseases, including joint disorders. Any training with dogs should be conducted carefully, in consultation, or under the supervision of an expert veterinarian or physiotherapist. In some individuals, genetically determined and difficult to detect early, post-exercise collapse (bcc) may also appear.
Border Collies with longer hair and those with a particular love of bathing often develop ear infections. To prevent them, it is worth taking care of the dog’s hearing hygiene regularly, which is extremely helpful in getting used to grooming already at the age of a puppy (it will be perfect here cooperative training). When planning a border purchase, you should also take into account the genetic diseases affecting the breed: collie eye anomaly (CEA), trapped neutrophil syndrome (TNS), central nervous system (CL) diseases, and hip dysplasia. Let us choose only those breeders who conduct and document research for these diseases, preventing the reproduction of genetically burdened individuals.
Training and upbringing of Border Collie dogs
Training with a dog should be part of everyday life for a Border Collie guardian. Without the correct dose of physical and mental activity, the Border Collie will become frustrated, quickly translating into behavioral problems such as obsessive driving (of cars, cyclists, other animals, children, family members), destruction of objects, or self-harm. To avoid this and provide the dog under his care with the possibility of fulfilling his needs, it is worth introducing obedience training with positive methods to the regular daily schedule from the puppy age. It is best to sign up with your pet for a program intended for young dogs course where, apart from training basics, you can also learn the methods of proper dog socialization. Adequate familiarization of the sensitive border with a diverse environment will bear fruit in the future. A well-socialized Border Collie will be able, following its guardian, to find itself in almost any environment.
However, training basic obedience slogans is just a warm-up in the case of ambitious borders! As your dog matures, it is worth thinking about trying your hand at one of the canine sports. With the physical predispositions of the Border Collie (light silhouette, resistance to weather conditions), the choice is practically unlimited – from shepherding competitions, through Frisbee, agility, and obedience, to canicross, flyball, or even dog diving. We can find more than one border among the medalists in each area. It is essential that, without experience, you start your adventure with dog sports under the supervision of a professional trainer of a given discipline. He will teach us to balance the dog’s activity properly. Borders are sometimes referred to as workaholics for a reason. Losing themselves in carrying out a task, they have problems quieting down again and learning to rest.
An alternative to sports rivalry may be the assimilation of various canine tricks that can be easily practiced even at home. Here, pieces of training also need to be organized to pose exciting challenges for the border and allow them to show initiative. The exercises are intertwined with moments of relaxation and fun, which will enable the dog to relieve the emotions accumulated “during work.”
Advantages and disadvantages of Border Collie dogs
In addition to the ease above of learning, the undoubted advantage of borderlands is their enormous trust in the guardian. Much of a border’s well-being is based on a successful relationship with a person. So if we provide the dog with the correct dose of physical and mental stimulation and emotional support, we can live with a border in the countryside and the city, at home or in an apartment, in a smaller or larger family. Frames are also usually tolerant of pets in the house, as long as they can pursue “stalker” instincts in another field. The Border Collie breed is not very demanding in terms of care. A thick undercoat must be combed regularly, but this procedure can be easily carried out at home without visiting dog beauty salons.
When can the advantages of borders turn into disadvantages? When these lively dogs find their way to a guardian who does not understand their needs. Intelligent does not mean undemanding. On the contrary, border Collie requires a lot from its guardians: joint activity, attention, genuine commitment, and patience. He will not feel well left alone, even in a vast garden. He will not give up the desired activities during bad weather. He will not be satisfied with spending time with friendly dogs – he will always ask for human attention. If this prospect seems tiring to you, it is better to think about choosing a dog of a different breed.
Who is the Border Collie best for?
Borders often become companions of amateurs of dog sports, trainers and behaviorists, hypnotherapists, i.e., people whose careers or hobbies are related to the canine world. So will the Border Collie find itself in an ordinary family? It is possible, but only on one condition: if the guardian of the border is ready for his life to revolve around the dog. And that’s for a dozen or so years of a quadruped’s life! Anyone who wants and can provide this will find a devoted companion in the banner. Can say that the Border Collie is the perfect dog for a human being who reflects it. He is active, enthusiastic, attentive, and sensitive to the dog’s needs.