Border Collies are furry geniuses. Yes, you read right, the Border Collie is considered a genius amongst dogs due to its ability to execute complex tasks. They are fast learners and need to be trained from a very young age, as they tend to pick up everything going on around them. Not training them could lead to bad behaviour, so a keen interest must be taken into what your Border Collie learns. The first step to understanding this breed is knowing where they have come from.
What do Border Collies love to do?
All dogs are hunters, but the Border Collie specifically shows signs of modified predatory behaviour – instead of hunting, their natural instinct incorporates the beginning of the hunt, where they stalk, crouch and nip, without injuring the animal that they are herding.
Their need to herd is deeply ingrained, and it can sometimes even be seen when they play with their human family. Some owners go as far as renting sheep for their Border Collies to herd!
Border Collies have a trademark look in their eye, and if you’ve ever had someone’s stare stop you in your tracks, you’ll recognise the Border collie’s stare. Their gaze is intense stare and known to intimidate livestock. No, they aren’t just staring at you because they know your deepest secrets (well, they might), but “the eye” is another tool inherent to Border Collies to help them with their herding job.
Overall, they are independent and intelligent dogs, that love being part of a family, and love showing off their herding skills.
Where did Border Collie’s originate from?
The Border Collie can be traced back as a lineage, to one single Dog – Auld Hemp. Auld Hemp who was born in 1893, is widely considered as the ancestor of the border collie, and as a stud dog, he fathered over 200 pups. He too, was a herder, and unlike other herding dogs of the time, his style was quieter, less aggressive and softer. His softer demeanour impressed breeders as these were the qualities they were looking for in a herding dog. The end result is what is known today as one of the top herding breeds in the world.
The story of this great herder goes back even further than that though, to the Roman Empire. They were the first civilization to master the art of raising and herding sheep. They were responsible for establishing the wool industry in the British Isles, after bringing sheep and shepherds to the area. The weather in this area called for a new breed of sheepdog that could withstand the cold, which the Celtics took to task, and started breeding their own type of dog. These dogs were called collies, from the ancient Celtic word colley, meaning faithful and useful. The full name Border Collie, was related to being bred on the borders of England and Scotland.
There are some famous Border Collies too!
Chaser, a Border Collie trained by professor of Psychology John Pilley, knows the names of her 1000 unique toys, and has been trained since she was two months old. Not only can he identify an object as a “toy”, but he can also identify all of his toys by their individual names. Dr. John Pilley explains that even though food is used as a training tool with most dogs, play and activity is innate in this dog breed, and works as one of the best training tools for Chaser and other Border Collies.
Watch Chaser show off her skills on TV now:
Striker, holds the record for The Fastest Car Window Opened By A Dog, rolling down a non-electric car window in 11.34 seconds. Now that’s impressive!
Another famous dog, and in our opinion, one of the most beautiful was Epic, a Border Collie so beautiful and representative of what Montego stands for, that he is proudly featured in our advertising. Epic sadly passed away recently but will forever remain part of our family.
Taking care of a Border Collie
Border Collies have a double coat and shed often. They are also known to be demanding and energetic dogs that are becoming more popular as family pets.
The breed needs to be kept active as their natural intelligence can lead them to boredom quite easily. If you are considering a Broder Collie as an addition to your family, it is worth keeping this in mind.
This breed has a median lifespan of around 12 years, and in general are healthy dogs. The most common health problem associated with the breed are eye problems and hip dysplasia. Allergies resulting in skin issues can occur, and it is advised to feed your border collie a diet that has a higher calorie count to offset their active nature.
If you are interested in this breed, please consider adopting a Border Collie from a South African rescue centre, like Border Collie rescue South Africa.
Image Sources: Border Collie Fan Club | Border Collie Museum