Border Collie Rescue - Main menu bar Border Collie image        Link to My Donate

Contact Border Collie Rescue

You are here >>>> Breed Profile

Border Collie Rescue - On-Line - Breed Profile
weband1size.JPG (33261 bytes)
 
phoebe.jpg (13791 bytes) Jump to - The Kennel Club Border Collie

Jump to - The ISDS Border Collie

Jump to - The Unregistered Border Collie

Jump to - BCR Breed Profile Section Menu

RedSam1.JPG (15077 bytes)
Phoebe                                                                                                                                                                         Sam
Here, we   try to explain what a Border Collie is - This breed is not easy to define - it's not all 'Black and White'.
The information on this page has little to do with the 'Breed Standard' or Pedigree, as defined by the Kennel Club.    Dogs that fit into that definition form a very small proportion of the dogs around today that are generally known as 'Border Collies'.

Most of the dogs that are generally known as Border Collies - if registered for competition with the Kennel Club - have to be registered as a  'working sheepdog' unless they are from KC registered Border Collie Bloodlines, which allows them to carry the full BC title..

The Kennel Club 'Border Collie' has nothing to do with the working sheepdogs that we see in farmers fields or in sheepdog trials, although some of these dogs may be also be registered with the kennel club as working sheepdogs and compete in Obedience, Agility or Flyball.

Misty&Sky.JPG (8781 bytes)

 

Unregistered

Misty & Sky

TheBoys.JPG (6891 bytes)

 

Unregistered

The 'Boys'

Sam & Ben

What about the ISDS (International Sheep Dog Society) - where do they come in?  They hold the stud book and register of pedigree sheepdogs and Border Collies involved in stock working around the world.  They do not publish a 'Breed Standard' in the same way as the Kennel Club because their criteria for registering dogs is based on different priorities.   With them, the appearance of the dog is not such an important factor, it is their working ability that counts.  Some dogs are dual registered - they are on the ISDS studbook and also registered for competition with the Kennel Club.   Some will be regarded as 'Pedigree' by the ISDS, but not by the Kennel Club and some the other way round.

It all seems very confusing and mysterious if your not used to the different systems and understand why they both exist. And what about the rest of the 'Border Collies' - those that are not from bloodlines registered with either organisation? Dogs with no registered 'Pedigree'?   No traceable lineage?

Is it right to class these as Border Collies - where do you draw the line with a breed that has so many claims upon its inheritance?.

Corrie.jpg (12747 bytes)

 

Unregistered

Corrie & Jean

BrynJura.JPG (17581 bytes)

 

Unregistered

Jura & Bryn

This 'unclassified' category forms the biggest group of dogs we know of as Border Collies and it is dogs from this unregistered selection that are most likely to end up in peoples homes as pets.

This category includes farm bred dogs, puppy farm bred dogs, privately bred dogs and all sorts of others who's breeders have not bothered to keep track, but even these have their roots in working lines, and are therefore just as unpredictable in their reactions

TOP

Jump to - BCR Breed Profile Section Menu


 

Let's start with the Kennel Club Border Collie
Img00042.JPG (8678 bytes)         From   Kennel Club Registered Bloodlines - Spruce (Left) and Mick.           Mick.JPG (9116 bytes)
The KC classes the Border Collie as a 'Pastoral' breed. So lets have a dig into the Thesaurus and look up some synonyms for 'Pastoral' and 'Working', then see what the Dictionary has to say about 'Sheepdogs'.
Pastoral  - meaning 'Bucolic' or 'Rural'
Thesaurus -- Bucolic (adj.) - synonyms - Simple - Agrarian - Tranquil - Idyllic - Halcyon - Serene - Quiet.
Thesaurus -- Rural (adj.) - synonyms - Country - Countrified - Provincial - Rustic - Agrarian
Thesaurus -- Working (adj.) - synonyms - Practical - Applicable - Applied - Active.
Dictionary -- Sheepdog (noun) - A dog that watches and works with Sheep.
Sheep.jpg (13828 bytes) So here we have - A serene, countrified, active dog that watches and works with sheep.

Or - A simple, provincial, applied dog that watches and works with sheep.

Lambing1.JPG (26964 bytes)
Pick your own combination from the above synonyms - add the noun - and make your own definition of a Border Collie!
The Kennel Club (KC) stud book registers 'Pedigree' bloodlines that seek to adhere to a Breed Standard, as defined by the KC for the purposes of showing.  Crufts is the top event in this category.  As far as the KC is concerned only dogs from their registered bloodlines can be described as Border Collies - the rest they call 'working sheepdogs'* and can be registered for competition as such.
Registering for competition means that a dog with no KC Pedigree can be entered into KC regulated events run under KC rules and participate alongside dogs with KC registered Pedigrees - but this does not extend to the Showring where only KC Pedigree dogs are allowed to enter.
Some KC Pedigree show lines can be as difficult to keep in the pet home as the average farm dog, but there are breeders on the KC register these days who are breeding more for temperament than showing, and with the pet market in mind. 
A possible advantage of taking one of these dogs to be your family pet is that they are claimed to be bred, reared and socialised under a set of rules and principals that will reduce the risk of you getting a dog with hereditary problems or strong herding drive that would be a liability in your home and around your family.
 Please note, however, that there is no guarantee of that a KC bred BC will meet these requirements or make a suitable pet and that the same basic precautions should be applied if you seek to take a dog from such a source.
* The term 'working sheepdog' is used by KC enthusiasts to describe Border Collies that are registered with the KC for activities such as agility or obedience but do not have KC pedigrees.

The Border Collie, as a breed has been in existence long before the KC became involved and KC registered bloodlines form only a small proportion of the Border Collies in existence today.
ISDS pedigree bloodlines make up a rather more substantial group of Border Collies, however the vast majority of Border Collies are unregistered working bloodlines kept by farmers and stockmen for herding purposes.
The implication of the application of the term is that the 'working sheepdog' is of a lowlier breeding, and therefore of less value, than a 'Border Collie' from a KC registered line. This also implies that KC registered breeders can charge higher prices for their pups than the average value of a 'working sheepdog'.
In that context, it is a misuse of it's original application, being given to dogs that had high value because they were of use to man in a working capacity and attempts to stand logic on its head, implying that a dog that does the work of 10 men on a farm is of less value than one bred to be a pet and companion.
 
The word 'Collie' means useful in 'the Gaelic'. A 'collie dog' - a useful dog. Border describes the regions of England and Scotland where the breed originated.
So - Border Collie dog - 'a useful dog from the Borders region'. - nothing to do with pedigrees or breed standards to govern appearance - a dog with a use or purpose.
 
If a KC enthusiast tells you that your dog - the dog you thought was a Border Collie - is a working sheepdog, try not to be offended by the description. The use of the term in this way implies a very limited knowledge of the breed and a narrow perspective to the extent of the breeds history and scope by the user and should not be taken too seriously. The BC has certainly been around for a couple of hundred years, possibly since the early 1600's. The KC only became involved in 1976!

 You are probably right that you do have a Border Collie. If not, you may have a Border Collie cross breed if one of the parents was another breed of dog.

You certainly do not have a working sheepdog if the dog you have does not work sheep or livestock so it should not be described as one that does so - that really is confusing the issue.
To see the KC breed standard in full - go to their website - select 'Breed Standard' then - select 'Pastoral' then 'Border Collie'.*
To go to the Homepage of the Kennel Club Website - Click here.

Reports calling for changes in irresponsible pedigree dog breeding from Advocates for Animals.

TOP

Jump to - BCR Breed Profile Section Menu


 

The International Sheepdog Society (ISDS) Border Collie
Nell2.JPG (19424 bytes)   GusDot.JPG (10790 bytes)   Flint1.JPG (18068 bytes)

      Nell                                 -                       Dot                    -                             Flint

The ISDS was formed in July 1906 by a group of Shepherds and Sheep Dog enthusiasts from Scotland and the English Border Counties who banded together under the chairmanship of George Clark, with J Wilson as secretary and a committee of 10 into the International Sheep Dog Trials Society.   Their first official trial was held near Edinburgh in August that year and attracted 27 entries and a profit of 9.
The winner of that first event was Richard Sandilands who ran his dog Don. The dogs and handlers came from Scotland and England
However, Sheep Dog trials had been going for some time before that,  with the first recorded 'International' trial taking place at Bala in North Wales in 1873 between Welsh and Scottish Shepherds.. All the dogs running in the first ISDS trial were winners of commendations at previous local events.
The stated object of this newly formed group was  to increase public interest in the work of the Shepherd,  improve the qualities of the Sheep Dog and provide support for members and their widows.  No doubt these founding members would have been proud to have witnessed the first 'World' Sheep Dog Trial which took place at Bala, Wales in September 2002.   It was clear by the public attendance and media coverage of this event that interest had indeed been increased. People came from all over the world to see the best of the best compete.  Much was televised and the finals on Sunday went out live on channel S4C.
The Societies influence is now world-wide, as is their membership   Every country will have it's own version of the Kennel Club, but there is only one ISDS.
Although there are many sheepdog breeds throughout the world, the ISDS is the custodian of the International stud book for Border Collies in their capacity of Working Sheep Dogs. This facility was instituted in 1915 by the, then, secretary, James Reid.  The first volume was published in 1955 and contained, as its first entry, details of a bitch named 'Old Maid'. There have been attempts in the past to open supplementary registers within the ISDS for other sheepdog breeds, but so far this has proved unsuccessful.
The ISDS stud book registers only the offspring of existing ISDS registered parents, although it is possible within their regulations for a good unregistered Border Collie to be accepted and registered because of its outstanding ability on the trials field. When such a dog is accepted and registered it is said to be registered 'on merit'.  This is a rare occurrence, but the Society is open to such and it does bring new blood into the registered lines.
Strict rules govern the admission of pups into the ISDS register.  Notice of the mating has to be submitted to the Society within 14 days of the pairing on a supplied card.  On approval of this notice a form is sent out for the Registration of the litter which must be filled in and returned within 4 months of the date of birth.  A certificate of verification is also supplied by the Society for each litter registered.  This should be filled in by a Vet to confirm that the mother declared is truly the mother of the litter.  Not only do the Sire and Dam have to be existing registered dogs, but they must also be screened and proven free of hereditary eye conditions such as Centralised Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Collie Eye Anomaly, so that these conditions cannot have been passed on to the pups.   The owner of the Dam must also be a member of the ISDS.  If all these criteria are met, the society will issue consecutive registration numbers for each puppy in the litter, and in the case of litter born outside of the UK, the number will have a prefix letter or letters to indicate the country of origin.
In this way, the ISDS seek to ensure that Border Collies registered in their stud books have been properly bred and screened and their lineage traced clearly on collation of pedigree. It also clearly indicates through pedigree research, the qualities or faults likely to be found in succeeding generations and allows the purchasers of registered puppies to make an informed choice as to whether a particular pup is likely to develop the qualities they are seeking. Dogs registered with the ISDS are registered as Working Sheep Dogs, although the Society does not insist that such registered dogs need to actually be working in a 'professional' capacity.
Dogs registered with the ISDS are the only dogs entitled to enter sheepdog trials run under ISDS rules, but any dog and handler, from any walk of life, can enter local trials - providing the dog is trained to sheep!
These ISDS registered lines are bred to work and they do appear to be more intelligent than the KC lines.  Because of this breeding they are not domestic pet material. Some individuals may make suitable Agility dogs or Flyball dogs.
dog1.JPG (13946 bytes) CLS99_Lael.JPG (19956 bytes) Boz.JPG (10371 bytes) Dell.JPG (17491 bytes)
   Blake             -                  Lael                     -                    Boz                   -                    Dell          
To go to the Homepage of the ISDS Website - Click here

TOP

Jump to - BCR Breed Profile Section Menu


The Unregistered or Non Pedigree Border Collie
Floyd.JPG (10307 bytes)Bron2.JPG (6638 bytes)Ted.JPG (6901 bytes)Moss.JPG (8670 bytes)
This is - by far - the largest category of Border Collies around today and some will have their origin in strong and ancient bloodlines rooted in working dogs of many generations     All will have links back to such bloodlines.   Because there is no regulation to their breeding, very few of these dogs or their ancestors will ever have been screened for hereditary disease. There is a high risk of acquiring a dog that may prove to have a variety of problems.  Additionally, because the majority of these dogs are bred by shepherds and farmers, the working ability of the offspring has always been of great importance, so many of these dogs will also make problem pets and end up in rescue centres.
Private individuals from all walks of life are seeking to breed pets from unregistered dogs, but this is very risky indeed as most of these individuals really do not understand what they are doing and the results are hit and miss to say the very best about them.   It should also be said that not all registered breeders are as good as they should be and some lines have been spoilt by intensive selective breeding - intended to cement and re-enforce required traits, but resulting in offspring with terrible temperament and physical problems.
The only Border Collies that will make good pets are those non-workers with little or no residual herding instinct, whether registered or not.
TOP

Jump to - BCR Breed Profile Section Menu


Border Collie Rescue - Breed Profile
We have divided our profile of the breed into sections laid out below. Scroll down or use the links to read the rest.
  Origins, Name and Purpose      -     Physical Characteristics     -      Temperament      -     Ideal Environment     -     Training  Running Costs      -     Hereditary Problems     -     Special Needs     -     Other Problems
Back to - TOP
In these sections we have tried to avoid technical jargon and treat the subject headings as simply as we can.
When we say 'Physical Characteristics' we are not talking about an ideal, we are outlining what we have actually got in our breed.
When we say 'Temperament' we are not describing characteristics to aspire too, we are describing those that actually exist. 
Most people who acquire a Border Collie are not taking on a dog that has the degree of careful selection in its background as goes into KC or ISDS registered pedigree dogs. 
It is therefore foolish to expect any dog - other than those from these registered lines - to display the qualities that are outlined and sought by the KC or ISDS pedigree breeders.
You might think that the more you pay - the better the quality of puppy you are going to get.
Bear in mind that what can be charged for a puppy does not actually reflect what it is worth when dogs from these different backgrounds are compared to each other.   A puppy from registered parents that displays a high proportion of white in its markings will not be highly regarded in either KC or ISDS circles.  In KC shows it would loose points due to this 'fault', which deviates from the breed standard.   In ISDS circles, a predominantly white pup may be perceived as likely to be less able to control and work livestock.  It is also known that a pup with predominantly white markings stands a higher risk of other genetic problems that may cause blindness, deafness, epilepsy, hip problems and intestinal problems as well as increasing the possibility of temperament problems. Therefore, within these circles such dogs will not have a huge financial value to their breeders.
However, in the Obedience, Agility or Flyball competition world, a dog with this type of marking would not be a handicap and because of its pedigree and registration, it could command a higher price than amongst the breeders peers. Shrewd breeders will see an opportunity to maximise the price they will get for a pup by aiming it at a particular market.
Non pedigree pups will also be exploited in this way and sold into the pet market.  Farm bred pups from unregistered parents are not worth a great deal of money in the farming community unless the parents are renowned workers, in which case they are likely to be sold or passed on by word of mouth to other farmers and shepherds.   The general public do not often get offered these dogs.  Those from parents with less ability are generally not wanted within the working community and you will see dogs like this go at auction for a few pounds.   However, as a potential pet, higher prices can be commanded - at least 50 per pup - sometimes considerably higher if the markings are classic Black and White.    
We have seen adverts in the press asking for unwanted litters of BC pups and offering a 'fair' price..   We have heard from people who have sold unwanted litters to one such company and   were offered 30 per pup - they were collected and taken away   We have also had complaints from people who had called the same company to buy a BC pup.   They were quoted 190 for 'non-pedigree' pups and 240 for a 'pedigree'.   They were told they would have to wait for the latter as they were not in yet.   They were being sold with the initial vaccination, which would need to be followed up with a second jab at the new owners vets.  The proprietor of this company has told callers that he was a 'proper' breeder and not a farmer.  When one caller asked for his breeders title (suffix or prefix and bloodline name) he said that he was not a 'registered' breeder and you would not find his name listed anywhere.
The same goes for privately bred pups and puppy farm bred pups sold through agents and pet shops - they are worth what the market will stand and many pet owners are happy to pay up to 250 for a nice looking pup from a shop or private breeder.    Many registered pups are sold for much less in the sheepdog world.
It should be fairly clear to you by now that paying a lot of money does not necessarily guarantee a good quality dog and buying a Border Collie pup from any source will not guarantee you to end up with a dog that will make a suitable pet.  Unfortunately, being a member of the ISDS or the KC does not make a breeder any more scrupulous than a breeder of unregistered dogs.    Fame within a particular discipline does not guarantee that the winner of accolades has a high ethical or moral bias and won't rip you off if they see you coming.
'Buyer Beware' are still the keywords to bear in mind.
TOP

Back to - Section Menu


 

 

 

Origins, Name and Purpose

Origins - The Border Regions of Scotland and England. The breed has been developed over hundreds of years by Shepherds who were seeking to improve the working abilities of the traditional breeds they had been using.   To create what we know as the 'Border Collie', the traits of a number of other breeds were needed.   Selective breeding - (that is to say - breeding from the best and preventing the rest - something we all should take more seriously  these days) - cemented the traits and instincts they wanted to see in their dogs.   What we now have - in its purest form - is the best Working Sheepdog breed in the world.

Name - The prefix 'Border' refers to the Borders of England and Scotland where the breed - in its present form - originated.   The word 'Collie' is an old Scottish term and means 'useful'.    Therefore a 'Collie Dog' means a 'useful dog'.   We can have a 'collie tool' - a favourite and useful implement that does the job it was intended to do, and does it well.    Put the two together and we have a name that simply means - 'Useful dog from the Borders (Region)'.

Purpose - This breed has been created to work stock, originally sheep, but variations were bred that were better suited to work and herd other species of domestic animals.   The use of selective breeding as referred to in Origins, above,  has re-enforced the characteristics best suited to this form of activity.    It took many, many generations to cement the necessary traits and mould the breeds natural instincts.   Herding and working livestock was the sole purpose behind this breed until very recently.    We are now stuck with these inbred instincts and characteristics - but they do make the breed what it is, and without them it would not be the same.   We can remove or dilute these characteristics by applying selective breeding until we have variations that have other characteristics.    There are some breeders who are attempting to create bloodlines that have less herding instinct and are more 'domesticated' and 'user friendly', but this will take many, many generations to achieve.   We do not have these 'pet' variations yet.   Don't be fooled - phrases like "this breed is intelligent and easy to train and handle" and the old chestnut "will make a good working dog or pet"  are phrases designed to sell dogs and each statement contradicts itself.

DunRig from S over StMarys from AndWhinney.JPG (18927 bytes)

 

Back to Section Menu

TOP

BRPack.JPG (27184 bytes)

Scottish Borders                                                                                                                            Border Collies
 

 

 

Physical Characteristics

We are specifically not using technical terms or jargon here - we are describing what we see when looking at a dog.

Border Collies come in so many shapes and sizes it is difficult to believe that all these dogs are of the same breed.
Different blood lines reflect the different breeds of dog that have been bred into the Border Collie line in the past.
Coat types - We get smooth coated and rough coated dogs - some in between. That means straight coated and curly coated, but we also get long coated and short coated. There are all combinations of these coat types. The very short coated straight coated, smooth dogs can also be called 'Bald Coated' although they are not hairless in the normal sense of being bald. Those with very coarse fur can look almost 'Wiry'. Some are heavily feathered on the legs and around the ears and have large ruffs and very bushy tails.
Size - We get small, medium and large dogs. We have come across some individuals that are so small they could only be defined as 'Miniature' when compared to the average.
Proportions - We get long legged - short legged - long backed - short backed - wide shouldered - narrow waist - wide hips and narrow hips.
Colours - Black and White - Red and White - sable - Blue and White - Blue Merles - Red Merles - Tricolours (Black, White and Brown) - Full Merles (these are flecked with Black, White and Brown and are the naturally occurring Merles)
All combinations are possible and they are all Border Collies.
What some people refer to as the Welsh Border Collie is a small dog with a low centre of gravity (short legs) and a very sharp face with a low stop and pointed nose - may be rough or smooth coated and any colour. These have been bred in that way to enable them to be agile and sure footed on steep mountain terrain where a larger dog may lose balance on steep slopes or fall off narrow ledges.
What some people call the Scottish type refers to a large bodied, long legged dog with a wider jaw line and high stop, that can cover large moorland areas and get through thick grasses and heather growths.
Smooth coats are most popular with hill farmers and shepherds because they have coats that shed dirt and mud more easily and do not get 'iced up' in bad weather, whereas the longer coated dogs would end up with a coat full of water, snow or ice that would weigh it down and slow it up. Smooth coated dogs are easier to keep clean after a day in the fields.
The traditional and popular type is the rough, medium coated, medium sized, Black and White individual that the KC breed standard is based on.
This is what most people think of as a Border Collie and they are often surprised to find out that all these other shapes colours and sizes are variations of the same breed.

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 

Temperament

To link to a page in our Breed Advice Section about Behaviour of the Border Collie - Click here

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 

Ideal Environment

A quiet rural environment is ideal - it suits the quiet thoughtful nature of the breed.

Any other environment is less than ideal - busy environments with lots of human activity, noise and movement is exactly designed to give the average Border Collie behavioural issues.

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 

Training

To link to a page in our Breed Advice Section about Clicker Training - Click here

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 

Running Costs and Maintenance

To link to a page in our Breed Advice - Section about Feeding and Diet - Click here

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 

Hereditary Problems

To link to a page on in our Breed Advice section on Hereditary defects of the Border Collie - Click here.

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 
Special Needs

To link to a page in our Breed Advice Section about Instincts of the BC - Click here

Back to Section Menu

TOP


 

Other Problems

To link to a page in our Breed Advice Section about The Border Collie as a Pet - Click here

Back to Section Menu

TOP


You are here >>>> Breed Profile

Copyright - Border Collie Rescue - 3037504