Border Collie cross Cocker Spaniel
Smart and athletic, Border Collies today often excel in sports such as agility, rally, flyball, disc dog (frisbee), dancing with dogs, obedience, and other events. They were originally bred for herding sheep and other livestock in the border country of England and Scotland and many Border Collies are still used as working dogs. Border Collies can make great pets but they are often intense and have a high work drive so they may not be the best dog for a first-time dog owner. They do best with an owner who is committed to doing things with their dog to keep him mentally and physically happy. A Border Collie will not be happy just relaxing at home all the time. They are definitely over-achievers.
History of the Border Collie
Collie-type dogs have been known in the British Isles for hundreds of years. There are a number of collie breeds that have originated in Scotland such as the Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog, and the Bearded Collie, along with the Border Collie. In general, “collies” are lightweight, active, medium-sized herding dogs, usually with some white over their shoulders. Toward the 19th century, the breeds became more distinguished from each other based on appearance and the work they did, as well as their locations. The Border Collie developed from very intense working stock. They were bred for their intelligence, biddability, and working drive. Most Border Collies today are descended from a dog named Old Hemp, born in 1893 in northern England. Old Hemp’s style of working sheep became the standard for all Border Collies. He was said to be a quiet, powerful dog and sheep did what he wanted them to do easily. He was widely used at stud.
Most Border Collies today also trace to a dog named Wiston Cap, born in 1963. Wiston Cap was said to be a “biddable” dog, which means that he took direction easily from his handler, and good-natured. He was also a popular stud dog.
It’s important to note that the appearance of the Border Collie has never been of primary importance. The breed’s working ability has always been its distinguishing characteristic. For this reason, breeders in the past were willing to breed to different dogs as long as they were good workers. Consequently, today’s Border Collie includes lots of colors and they don’t all look the same, especially among working dogs. There is more uniformity with the appearance of the kennel club dogs which have a breed standard for their appearance.