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Border Collie Rescue - On Line - The Collie Dog Show

The Colliedog Show of 1895

This article is a reference to the rough collie and a snapshot of its transition from sheepdog to pet.

Indirectly, Queen Victoria was responsible for this due to her liking of intelligent dogs and stated opposition to vivisection. She kept many different domestic dog breeds, but was said to be infatuated with collie types, particularly what is now known as the 'show collie' (Lassie type) and bred from her own bloodline at Balmoral.

The media, picking up on this, helped to make the show collie very popular as a ladies pet by broadcasting the Queens preferences and starting a fashion among the gentry that soon percolated down through 'Society' to all levels.

By 1880 the breed was well established as a house dog, not without problems, and was regularly shown in competition. Stud fees for champions rose to dramatic heights, as did the price of pups from winning bitches. They came in many colours, but the most popular colour at the time was sable, which is now pretty uniform for the breed.

Prior to this explosion of popularity, the breed was a popular drovers dog, known to be a fierce guardian of flocks and accredited with great intelligence, much like the Border Collie today. Along with these attributes came a rough and ready temperament and stubborn personality, again very similar to the modern BC.

By the turn of the century, the bloodlines of this popular drovers dog was firmly in the hands of commercial and hobby breeders supplying the growing pet trade and, as a sheepdog, the breed was in decline being replaced by the Border Collie.
Some 150 years after its rise to fame as a domestic pet, it is difficult to imagine the average modern show collie as a working dog and from a shepherd or stock mans point of view, the modern breed is a shadow of its former self.

Perhaps no longer as intelligent or fierce as they used to be, they have managed to retain a certain stubborn streak The dogs mentioned at the end of the article are credited as the founders of the modern lines.

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Few dogs at the present day have risen to the heights of popularity that the collie has deservedly attained: few can boast of the intelligence that he is capable of showing under trying circumstances.  Care and attention bestowed upon apt pupils have developed excellent qualities, and the collie has become, by force of circumstances, as great a pet with the ladies as the fox terrier has with the stronger sex.

Alarmists affect to believe that the present training of the sheep dog is little more than a farce, that the type of the day is an overgrown, heavy, thick coated, dull-brained, timid animal, diverted from its legitimate walk in life to that of the drawing-room pet. How far they are correct in their supposition is an open question.

However that may be, it would be well to remember how uncertain and oftentimes savage in temperament was the dog taken from the care of flocks and installed as a household companion; how rarely he was trusted, how few cared for his flitting affection.

Popular as he is in the present day, among all classes, it is difficult to believe that the club managed to secure little over 100 entries, liberal as was the prize list. Unaccountable circumstances have marred in numbers what is otherwise an excellent collection of first class animals, true in type and quality, and in the favourite sable colour.

Charlemagne, of whom it was his owners proud boast that he had never been beaten until, at the late Kennel Club show, at the Crystal Palace, Rutland snatched the palm from his grasp, was in better condition than ever, and again challenged all comers successfully. It is to be regretted that Rutland was not present to again challenge the championship.

Sly Fox, Eclipse and Scottish Hero, of who’s progeny the show was well besprinkled, were also in fine condition. Madge I., who won the Challenge Prize and Lady Help, in the Challenge class for smooth coated collies of either sex, may well be looked to for fine strains

In the open classes, Mrs. G. Hall’s Flockmaster took first, Mr. S. Boddington’s Scotch Laddie, second, and Mr. W. P. Arkwright’s Sky Blue, third prize.

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