The Border Collie is often thought of as a ”workaholic” because of its desire and need for a particular job. Whether it’s herding sheep, fetching the ball, or learning obedience and agility, Border Collies have a superior intellect and fast learning capabilities. They are considered the most intelligent dog breed. One of their most recognizable features are their intimidating and hypnotic eyes, extremely useful in herding sheep without the need to nip or bark at them. A Border Collie owner must be up to the task and prepared for a top-tier, high stamina and high energy partner in crime.- Wiki
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The border collie is a working and herding dog breed developed in the Scottish borders for herding livestock, especially sheep. It was specifically bred for intelligence and obedience. Considered highly intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic and athletic, they frequently compete with great success in sheepdog trials and dog sports. They are often cited as the most intelligent of all domestic dogs. Border collies continue to be employed in their traditional work of herding livestock throughout the world and are kept as pets.
In this role, due to their working heritage, border collies are very demanding, playful, and energetic. They thrive best in households that can provide them with plenty of play and exercise, either with humans or other dogs. Due to their demanding personalities and need for mental stimulation and exercise, many border collies develop problematic behaviors in households that are not able to provide for their needs. They are infamous for chewing holes in walls and furniture, and destructive scraping and hole digging, due to boredom. Border collies may exhibit a strong desire to herd, a trait they may show with small children, cats, and other dogs. The breed's herding trait has been deliberately encouraged, as it was in the dogs from which the border collie was developed, by selective breeding for many generations. However, being eminently trainable, they can live amicably with other pets if given proper socialization training.
It is highly recommended that potential owners, before taking on the breed as a household pet, should be sure they can provide regular exercise commensurate with the collie's high energy and prodigious stamina. A working collie may run many miles a day, using its experience, personality, and intelligence to control challenging livestock. These dogs will become distressed and frustrated if left in isolation, ignored or inactive. Like many working breeds, border collies can be motion-sensitive and may chase moving vehicles and bicycles, but this behavior can be modified by training. Some of the more difficult behaviors require patience, as they are developmental and may disappear as the dog matures.
In September 1893 there was a dog born. He would come to be known, as the father of the Border Collie Sheepdog. His legacy lives on in all our border collies. So take a moment, hug /pat and kiss your border collie and raise a glass to the greatest dog that ever lived... "Auld Hemp".
History & Types
Border Collies are renowned for their ability to move sheep in a silent and controlled manner, all at the will of their masters. Border Collies control stock by using their “eye,” which has been described as “the ability to control stock by staring at them in a fixed and steady manner.”
Border Collies have traditionally been bred solely for working ability. Because of the difference in terrain between the English lowlands and the Scottish highlands, farmers raised different breeds of sheep based upon their locality. The type of stock and the surrounding topography led to different physical attributes being required for the dogs to be efficient workers. For example, to survive in the rough hills and rocky crags of the highlands, sheep had to be light and fast. Thus, the good working dogs in the highlands tended to have long legs and lean bodies. In contrast, the lowlands could support slower, heavier sheep. To work these large, heavy sheep on gentler land, the dogs did not need as much speed and agility. Instead, they needed a lower center of gravity and enough size to be able to withstand a charge from big, angry ewes defending their lambs. Therefore, the dogs in the lowlands had shorter legs and heavier bodies. So, even though the dogs were bred for working ability (as opposed to being bred just for “looks”), recognizable physical types evolved. In her classic treatise, Key Dogs from the Border Collie Family, four individual types were identified within the Border Collie breed. The types are divided by physical looks, but general working style and temperament also seem related to type. She called them: 1) Northumbrian type; 2) Wiston Cap type; 3) Nap type; and 4) Herdman’s Tommy type. -Kelly Whiteman, Sheila Grew, Key Dogs from the Border Collie Family, Heritage Farms Publishing Company, Revised Edition 1993.
Why are Conformation Dog Shows Important? -Laura K. S. Shaw (Bellaclan Border Collies)
"Why are dog shows and champions important ? I just want a pet dog, not a show dog!"
How do you make sure that your new dog is exactly what you want and has all the temperament traits and health that you so badly desire in your new dog? Enter dog shows. Dog shows are a competition based on the Border Collie Breed Standard.Within this standard it states the dogs can not be shy nor aggressive, any dog showing these severe faults are not rewarded! Dogs who don't fit the standard are generally not rewarded and thus are not bred from (if the breeder is a good one!) as they lack the temperament and traits that make this breed what it is today. The breed you fell in love with! With this in mind every single dog in your dogs pedigree does not have to be a Champion (titled), there are exceptions, but I would look for a pedigree with at least 50% of them who are in 5 generations.
When you look at your future puppies pedigrees there should be dogs who's names are labeled or have a 'CH' in the front of their name or written Under the Dogs Name in the Pedigree (FCI) which means that they are a Champion. To be a champion means that the Breeder thought so much of that dog that they invested, time, money (a lot of it!), sweat, weekends, and often tears to show that dog off because they truly believed that dog really did have the traits that make it a quality Border Collie in comparison to others in the breed. To win a champion title the dog must be within breed standard and be judged by a dog judge who is an expert, most with 30+ years experience, and the dog must win over other Border Collies several times till they accumulate the needed amount of points and major wins to earn the coveted title of 'Champion', and even more points to be a 'GRAND CHAMPION', or even a TOP RANKED DOG in the country, this is a huge investment from the Breeder/Owner to earn this title. There are other titles to be won which are added to the end of the dogs names in various K-9 sports such as herding, agility, obedience, barn hunt etc.
These titles are what makes your dog worth the price the Breeder asks for the puppy, the registration papers are NOT what gives your dog value, the amount of titled dogs and their wins as shown on their pedigrees, as well as the health testing the breeder does, is what makes a puppy worth the cost and known as "well bred". Of course a dog can not be shown without registration papers. I know it is hard to put value on furry family members, but you also do not want to get scammed when bringing a new puppy home! Do not be fooled by ads that say "purebred with no papers" or "designer breed/doodles" these dogs are very poorly bred and have solely been bred for money with no thought into them ruining the breeds and lines whilst they breed mediocre dogs to sell to pay for their vacations. Read, Buyer Beware to tell if a breeder is good or not.
Most important of all, at dog shows, the dogs must be handled, groomed and touched by countless judges, owners and their friends, the public, and trainers... and all whileexhibiting zero aggression or shyness!They must walk around a building at their owners side practically nose to nose with other dogs of all breeds without showing any aggression, and then enter into a show ring and ignore the crowd and other dogs and focus on it's handler in order to be rewarded by the judge. All of this is a test of that dogs temperament. If you want your future puppy to have a good temperament, then you need to purchase your puppy from a Breeder who prove the soundness of their dogs temperaments over generations at dog shows. 50% of temperament is genetic, 15% is what the breeder does during the for 0 to 8-12 weeks of age, 30% is due to what happens in the first year of life (first 6 months mainly) and 5% is from experiences throughout their life after a year of age!
Good Breeders show to preserve the traits of the breed that we all have grown to love. Without good breeders there would not be breeds of dogs that all have their own set looks and defined traits. With this being said each Breeder values these ideal traits in the breed in a different order and you should find a Breeder who values them in the same order as you do. Avoid any Breeders who do not show their dogs to prove quality should prove to you why they are asking so much for the puppy when the parents are not proven to be of breed quality! -Laura K. S. Shaw (Bellaclan Border Collies)
Genetic Predispositions for Border Collies:
How do you choose a border collie with no health problems?
Life span: The natural life span of the border collie is between 12 and 15 years, with an average lifespan of 12 years. Leading causes of death are cancer (23.6%), old age (17.9%) and cerebral vascular afflictions (9.4%).
Hip - Elbows - Shoulders You’ve probably heard of hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to form improperly and leads to arthritis: it is common in Border Collies. You may notice that he has lameness in his hind legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. And the same goes for forelimb lameness with Elbows. Tests to identify that have been done are HD for hips, ED for Elbows. Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD or OD) is an inflammatory condition that occurs when the diseased cartilage separates from the underlying bone. It most commonly affects the shoulder joint but the elbow, hip, or knee (stifle) may also be involved.
COLLIE EYE ANOMALY (CEA). This is an inherited condition where the inner structures of the eyes fail to properly develop, potentially leading ultimately to blindness. Some dogs may be more mildly affected, but could still go on to produce more severely affected offspring. GONIODYSGENESIS AND GLAUCOMA (GG). Goniodysgenesis and Glaucoma Glaucoma can be an extremely painful eye condition in collies, and even result in dogs losing either one or both eyes. At the heart of the problem is some malfunction in the way a fluid, called aqueous humor, drains from the eye. Predisposition to this problem has now been linked to a specific genetic mutation that can be tested for. TRAPPED NEUTROPHIL SYNDROME (TNS). As covered more recently on this page, TNS is an immune system disease, where the vital white cells needed to fight off infection remain trapped in bone marrow and cannot enter the blood stream. Meaning dogs with this condition rarely live long. CEROID LIPOFUSINOSIS (CL). Also known as Storage Disease, this is a metabolic disorder where a specific gene mutation causes an accumulation of more toxic chemicals in the body, damaging nerve cells. Symptoms - like abnormal gait and demented behavior - may not appear until a dog is 18 months old, thereafter dogs rarely live much beyond 2-3 years. MDR1 (MULTI DRUG RESISTANCE) GENE DEFECT. This gene defect makes it easier for more toxic chemicals or medications to leak into the dog's major organs and brain. IMERSLUND-GRASBECK SYNDROME (IGS). This is a genetic disorder where Vitamin B12 (also known as Cobalamin) fails to be absorbed from the intestine. Potentially leading to irreversible damage to the brain and nervous system. Symptoms can include anorexia, lethargy and failure to gain weight. SENSORY NEUROPATHY (SN). A severe neurological disease, caused by the progressive deterioration of sensory and nerve cells. Symptoms begin around 2-7 months of age and dogs rarely live beyond 2 years. Most commonly they are euthanized as their life quality is so poor. MALIGNANT HYPERTHERMIA. Characterized by a more sudden and rapid increase in body temperature, followed by muscle rigidity, a rapid and irregular heartbeat and unstable blood pressure, it can also lead on to kidney failure and death. In susceptible individuals it can be triggered by anything from excitement or exercise to specific drugs or an anesthetic. RAINE SYNDROME (RS). Dental Hypomineralisation: The disorder causes severe tooth wear resulting in pulpitis and requiring extraction of those teeth. This disease can cause significant signs of discomfort and/or dysfunction in affected animals. It may involve relatively high treatment/management costs, and can sometimes reduce life expectancy. von Willebrand's Disease Type II (VWII).Von Willebrand’s disease is the most common inherited bleeding disorder in dogs and occurs when there is a lack of functional von Willebrand factor. Von Willebrand factor is needed for the normal adhesion of platelets and for normal blood clotting to occur. PRIMARY LENS LUXATION (PLL). Primary lens luxation (PLL) is thought to be heritable in most breeds in which it is seen, although clinical signs are generally not seen until the dog is an adult. The lens may partially or fully luxate into the front chamber of the eye, causing acute glaucoma (increased pressure within the eye). Sometimes the lens may fall backwards into the posterior (back) chamber of the eye, which may displace the vitreous forwards. This may then also lead to a blockage of drainage of fluid from the eye and a secondary glaucoma. NEURONAL CEROID LIPOFUSCINOSIS (NCL). Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 5 (Border collie type), A defect in metabolism leads to a build up of a pigmented toxin called ceroid lipofuscin within cells, including those of the brain and retina. This causes death of brain cells, as they cannot function normally as this waste product continues to build up. MYTONIA HEREDITARIA (MH). (Cattle Dog Type)Myotonia congenita also known as myotonia hereditaria (Australian cattle dog type) is an inherited muscle disorder affecting dogs. The muscle cells of an affected dog are over-excitable, which causes muscles to remain contracted rather than relaxing after voluntary activity. DEGENERATIVE MYELOPATHY (DM). Signs are due to the immune-mediated destruction of a part of the nerves in the spinal cord, leading to loss of these nerve fibers. The first sign is knuckling of the hind feet, and hind limb ataxia. Once the spinal cord damage progresses past this initial stage (termed proprioceptive deficits), the effectiveness (if any) of treatment is much diminished.
Genetic Diseases that cannot be DNA tested:
Epilepsy: Seizures often occur at times of changing brain activity, such as during excitement or feeding, or as the dog is falling asleep or waking up. Affected dogs can appear completely normal between seizures.
Border Collie Collapse or "the wobbles" is a disease found in many herding/working breeds. The cause is currently unknown. Border Collie Collapse seems to be related to high-intensity exercises that are found to be particularly exciting to the individual dog. For example, some dogs cannot retrieve a tennis ball, as they find this activity highly stimulating, but can run for several miles with no symptoms of Border Collie Collapse. Symptoms commonly include disorientation, mental dullness, loss of attention, unsteady hind legs, dragging of hind legs, and ultimately the need to sit or lay down. Loss of consciousness and seizure-like trembling/spasms are not characteristics of Border Collie Collapse. There is no current diagnostic test or veterinary workup that can confirm Border Collie Collapse and the diagnosis is often given as a diagnosis of exclusion or based on clinical symptoms. There is no current treatment recommended, and it is advised to limit the episodes by avoiding the activities that trigger the collapse.
Despite not being able to test for the above, there are databases that report any border collies that may be affected. And one of the very important reasons to get a dog with a pedigree is so that you can find all the genetic information linked to affected dogs so that it is preventable to breed dogs with the above mentioned genetic diseases. How do you choose a border collie with no health problems?: It's important to find a breeder that has tested their border collie with as many genetic diseases as possible. Additional to the DNA tests outlined here that can be done on Border collies, prior to breeding, You should always expect to pay more for any puppy whose parents have been more fully health tested or screened, due to the extra costs involved for the breeder. But I hope this feature now helps everyone better understand how many inherited health conditions in collies are now totally preventable.
Understanding Results on one's pedigree: Genetic testing is available for the screening of breeding animals, so that two carriers (or any affected animals) are not bred.
CLEAR: those having 2 copies of the normal allele and appear to be normal
CARRIER: those having 1 copy of the normal allele and 1 copy of the mutation but appear to be normal
AFFECTED: those having 2 copies of the mutation and can develop malformations, and health problems depending on the genetic disease.
Unleashed Borders Border Collie Kennel Member of The Cyprus Kennel Club, The FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale),the Border Collie Club of GB and Affiliate member of the Kennel Club(UK). Tel: (+357) 99288154 Location: Nicosia Cyprus