About Border Collies

A little about the breed...

Border Collies originate from the hilly farming areas that form the border regions of England with both Scotland and Wales; these rugged landscapes saw the necessity for an all purpose stock and herding dog from which the border collie was born. Intelligence and tenacity, speed and agility and the ability to work tirelessly from morning ‘til night were the valued assets in these dogs and form the basic characteristics of the breed.


Although originally bred for a particular purpose the border collie can turn it’s paw to any form of work or dog sport – herding, agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, working trials, drugs and explosives search, search and rescue, guide dogs, assistance dogs…you name it, they can do it!


These characteristics make the border collie a joy to own and train but at the same time may make them unsuitable as a general family pet; unless you are prepared to provide your border with some activity to exercise his body and mind he may well find something himself and that usually involves digging, chewing, chasing etc

If you are new to the breed I would recommend the following books to find out more…

The Ultimate Border Collie – Alison Hornsby (editor) – Ringpress Books
Understanding the Border Collie – Barbara Sykes – The Crowood Press

These books are available to buy on www.amazon.co.uk or you could also borrow them from your local library, they’re well worth the read!

UK Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE: Well proportioned, smooth outline showing quality, gracefulness and perfect balance, combined with sufficient substance to give impression of endurance. Any tendency to courseness or weediness undesirable.

CHARACTERISTICS: Tenacious, hardworking sheepdog, of great tractability.

TEMPERAMENT: Keen, alert, responsive and intelligent. Neither nervous nor aggressive.

HEAD & SKULL Skull fairly broad, occiput not pronounced. Cheeks not full or rounded. Muzzle, tapering to nose, moderately short and strong. Skull and foreface approximately equal in length. Stop very distinct. Nose black, except in brown or chocolate colour when it may be brown. In blues nose should be slate colour. Nostrils well developed.

EYES: Set wide apart, oval shaped, of moderate size, brown in colour except in merles where one or both or part of one or both may be blue. Expression mild, keen, alert and intelligent.

EARS: Medium sized and texture, well set apart. Carried erect or semi-erect and sensitive in use.

MOUTH: Teeth and jaws strong with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.

NECK: Of good length, strong and muscular, slightly arched and broadening to shoulders.

FOREQUARTERS: Front legs parallel when viewed from front, pasterns slightly sloping when viewed from side. Bone strong, but not heavy. Shoulders well laid back, elbows close to body.

BODY: Athletic in apperance, ribs well sprung, chest deep and rather broad, loins deep and muscular, but not tucked up. Body slightly longer than height at shoulder.

HINDQUARTERS: Broad, muscular, in profile sloping gracefully to set on of tail. Thighs long, deep and muscular with well turned stifles and strong, well let down hocks. From hock to ground, hindlegs well boned and parallel when viewed from rear.

FEET: Oval in shape, pads deep, strong and sound, toes arched and close together. Nails short and strong.

TAIL: Moderately long, the bone reaching at least to hock, set on low, well furnished and with an upward swirl towards the end, completing graceful contour and balance of dog. Tail may be raised in excitement, never carried over back.

GAIT/MOVEMENT Free, smooth and tireless, with minimum lift of feet, conveying impression of ability to move with great stealth and speed.

COAT: Two varieties: 1) Moderately long. 2) Smooth. In both, topcoat dense and medium textured, undercoat soft and dense giving good weather resistance. In moderately long coated variety, abundant coat forms mane, breeching and brush. On face, ears, forelegs (except for feather), hindlegs from hock to ground, hair should be short and smooth.

COLOUR: Variety of colours permissable. White should never predominate.

SIZE: Ideal height: Dogs 53cms (21ins); Bitches slightly less.

FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded be in exact proportion to its degree.

NOTE: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


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