Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Adopting a Herding Dog
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Interested in offering a home to a herding dog?

Border Collie Rescue often has keen dogs and bitches looking for a variety of herding homes.

Over years, shepherds, stockmen, farmers and smallholders have adopted sheepdogs and stock dogs from Border Collie Rescue. We are a dog rescue charity not a sheepdog training establishment.
We do not normally offer trained herding dogs unless a dog is already trained when we take it in.
We are not a source where a trained dog can be obtained 'on the cheap' or any dog taken on from us, trained, and then sold on for a profit.

If you are looking for sheepdog or stock dog for your own use and can train it yourself or you are prepared have yourself and your dog trained together or know someone who can help you train your dog we may be able to help.
If you are looking to purchase a trained dog, there are many professional sheepdog trainers who can supply your needs and we may be able to help you by putting you in touch with someone near you.
If such information is needed, use the 'Contact' link above or visit our HQ Info page for all our contact details.

What we do is assess all the dogs coming into our care around livestock, starting with sheep.
The dogs that show us they have interest, drive and ability to herd are further assessed to allow us to judge the extent of their ability.
Some work best on their own, others as part of a team. Some are suited for open fell work, other for working in by.
Some can handle large numbers of sheep and others are better suited to smaller flocks. Some are leaders, others followers.
Some may be better with heavy sheep, others with more flighty breeds. Some are just too strong for sheep and work better with dairy cattle.

We have placed dogs all over the country working with shepherds, stockmen and farmers on hills, lowland farms and smallholdings
herding sheep, deer, goats, poultry and dairy cattle. We do not like to place dogs to work with pigs or beef herds.
Our assessments and experience enable us to find out the best direction for a working stock dog in our care.

We offer such dogs to suitable homes where they can be trained to work livestock by, or with, their handler.
We discourage the idea of sending a dog away to a trainer to be trained and returned but, if needed, are happy to put applicants with little training skills in touch with professional sheepdog trainers who will train them and their dogs together.

To enable us to do the initial assessments we keep a flock of Swaledale sheep and have a number of working farm foster homes around the UK where dogs can be assessed on their own livestock. We utilise the skills and resources of many volunteers who have experience of working and training sheepdogs in order to find out the sort of herding homes best suited to our dogs.
Only suitable dogs are offered to herding homes. Those that do not make it are assessed for other work or to be companions.

We follow the philosophy that to 'waste' a dog is a shameful thing, so people who apply for a working dog from us need to demonstrate that they can train a dog or that they are willing to attend sheepdog training classes, with the dog, and learn.
We also expect the dog to be properly accommodated, fed, cared for and any veterinary needs addressed immediately, in line with current legislation and animal welfare law under which dogs are a protected species.

Suitable working dogs are offered for adoption and are matched to their new owners.
We consider the ability of the handler, the ability and age of the dog, the type of stock the dog is needed for, the numbers involved and the environment and terrain the dog is to work in and offer a dog based on those criteria.
We also take into consideration whether the dog is to work solo or as part of a team.

The process of selecting a suitable dog to offer a particular applicant is an individual one based on the needs of both dog and applicant.
Initially a form is sent to applicants to provide us with information on the sort of dog they are seeking and the sort of home they are offering.
When a match is made we discuss the individual dog with the applicant and if we are all in agreement, a home visit is carried out as part of the process of ensuring this is the right home for the dog in mind.
On successful completion of the home visit, the applicant is invited to meet the dog.

Bonding is very important for a successful working relationship so any dog offered to an applicant will start on a months trial period to enable us and the new owner an opportunity to be sure they can bond and work together.
If at any point, things are not working out, we take the dog back into our care and will look for another one to offer the applicant.
At the end of the trial period, if all parties are happy, the Adoption goes through and the dog stays in its new home.
Dogs are not sold, but we do ask for a donation to our continued work from everyone adopting a dog from us.
The donation is only due at the end of the four week trial period if the adoption proceeds.

For more information about our criteria and the adoption process for herding dogs, go to the next page in this section using the link below.

Criteria for adopting a herding dog from Border Collie Rescue

Another page that may be of interest - Working Sheepdogs - Information and advice - opens in a new window.

Other relevant information
We do not sell dogs - we offer dogs for adoption, to remain in their new homes permanently, but with the assurance that if anything goes wrong we will want to take the dog back and look after its interests.
In an uncertain world this can be a reassuring safely net for people who care about their dogs.


Dogs offered are fully vaccinated, wormed, parasite treated, microchipped and when appropriate neutered or spayed.
Under no circumstances would we allow dogs to be bred from or used for breeding purposes. Annual booster vaccinations must be maintained by the new owner to protect the dog from infectious disease.

Adoption is a formal agreement between us and an applicant that they will give a home to a dog and look after it properly for the rest of its life, however we are aware that life sometimes throws up problems and part of the arrangement is that we will always take a dog back, at any time, if the new home is unable to keep it - for any reason.

The full terms and conditions of our adoption agreement can be read here - opens in a new window

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us, please phone 0845 604 4941 during office hours.
(2 pm to 5 pm weekdays)
Please do not write to us or email us about adoption - we want to speak to you before we start the process.