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The Border Collie Road Test

Posted: 4/26/2008 | Updated: 4/26/2008 | Submitted By: Jordyalan

The Border Collie Road Test

Origin - The Border Collie is considered as one of the oldest breeds. The Border Collie originated in the border country between Scotland and England. He was known in the past as the Working Collie, the Old-fashioned Collie, the Farm Collie and the English Collie, and finally got his name from the secretary of the International Sheepdog Society in Great Britain in 1915. He is a breed of herding dog, and widely regarded as the most intelligent dog breed. Border Collies are highly energetic, and as a result have a tendency towards neurotic destructive behavior if not given enough to do. They are still frequently used on farms all over the world for assisting with handling of livestock, and they have also become popular as pet and sport dogs. Ask any breeder any you'll hear these canines are highly trainable, are able to rationalize many situations and even learn new commands in a few minutes.

Temperament - The Border Collie is an extremely intelligent, biddable breed with an instinctive desire to work closely with a human handler. True to their working heritage, Border Collies make very demanding, energetic pets that are better off in households that can provide them with plenty of exercise and a job to do. Border Collies are unsuitable for people who cannot or will not provide a considerable amount of exercise for their dogs, both physical and mental. For example, as many working breeds they can be motion-sensitive and may attempt to control the movements of family members, cats, bicycles, cars, or anything else that moves if not given enough mental stimulation. These dogs are also not suitable for households with small children, because they frequently try to 'herd' the children or react rather quickly to unexpected movements. As a breeder I prefer that a puppy go to a household where the children are over 7 years of age for just this reason. Many Border Collies that end up in shelters or rescue are there because the owners, who may have been attracted by the appearance and intelligence, were not prepared to meet their dog's needs. Watchdog qualities: Border Collies are not known as an effective guard dog breed, but they are protective of their family and will bark if a stranger approaches the house. The Border Collie gets along well with other dogs and other family animals (once it knows that it can't keep rounding them up all day!!!).

Backyard/Exercise requirements - Being an active breed, the Border Collie will need space to run around and exercise. Make sure your yard is adequately fenced as this pooch will even scale a six-foot fence if he thinks the other side is more interesting! Walk with care when walking your Border Collie; make sure he is always on a leash unless you're in a safe off-leash area. Due to his strong herding instincts, you may find he will take off after a car, a flock of birds or even a group of children as he tries to 'herd' them into a corner. Border Collies won't usually exercise on their own, so most require their human counterparts to participate in their daily exercise programs. Merely putting a Border Collie into a fenced area as a form of exercise will NOT be enough for them.

Border Collie's are bred for endurance, a working Border Collie is able to run as much as 80 kms a day over sometimes difficult terrain, then go and do it all again the next day!!

A one or two km run is just a warm-up for a Border Collie. People without the time to give plenty of vigorous exercise will be advised to find a calmer breed to own.

Size/weight and Colour - An ideal height for a Border Collie dog is 48 - 53 cms high, a Border Collie bitch is 46 - 51 cms high. Weight is approx 23 kgs for dogs and 16 - 18 kgs for bitches, depending on the overall size of the bitch. The Border Collie's medium, weather resistant coat is usually black and white, but black, white and tan (Tri), chocolate and white, red and white plus blue and white and blue merle are all correct colours. A Border Collie has a life expectancy of around 12 - 14 years.

Grooming - Brushing a few times a week will keep your Border Collies coat in good condition. Double coated, with a moderately long, dense, medium textured top coat while the undercoat is short, soft and dense, making a weather resistant protection with abundant coat to form a mane, breeching, and brush. On face, ear tips, forelegs (except feather), hind legs from hock to ground, the hair is short and smooth.

You can brush more often during shedding season to prevent fewer hairs around the house. Monthly clip the toenails and make sure your dogs eyes and ears are clean. Bathe only when necessary.

Health - Like most medium and large sized dogs, the Border Collie is prone to hip dysplasia (CHD). There is no available genetic test available for hip dysplasia, although careful breeding practices are known to lower the incidence of both.

Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CL) is also sometimes referred to as storage disease. It is a disease that affects the cells of the body and in particular the nerve cells. It is a rare but serious disease. CL is not contagious and it is inherited from a simple recessive gene in the dog's parents. Affected dogs are normal at birth until about 18mths of age, afflicted dogs rarely live past two years of age. The mutation causing the form of disease found in Border Collies was identified by Scott Melville in the laboratory of Dr. Alan Wilton of the school of Biotechnology of Biomolecular sciences at the University of NSW. There is no treatment and no cure, but a DNA test is now available to detect carriers as well as affected dogs. All reputable breeders in Australia would have their breeding stock DNA tested before producing a litter.

Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a congenital, inherited eye disease affecting Border Collies and other breeds involving retina, choroids, and sclera. In Border Collies it is a generally mild disease and rarely significantly impairs vision. There is now a DNA test available for CEA and, through its use, breeders can ensure that they will not produce affected pups.

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS) is a hereditary disease which inhibits the release of neutrophils produced in the bone marrow into the blood stream. Puppies affected with this disease will eventually succumb to infection. Because this is an autoimmune deficiency disease the puppies present a variety of symptoms depending upon what infections they fall susceptible to, and so it has gone undiagnosed in the past. Once thought to be rare, it is now believed to be responsible for many cases of "fading puppies". There is no cure, but a DNA test is now available to detect carriers as well as affected dogs.

Dog Sports/Activities - Border Collies excel at several dog sports in addition to their success in herding trials. They dominate the higher jump heights at dog agility competitions, so much so that in England the Border Collies occasionally are given competitions separate from all other breeds.

The Border Collie's speed, agility, stamina have allowed them to dominate in up-and-coming dog activities like fly-ball and disc dog competitions. They have a highly developed sense of smell and with their high drive make excellent tracking dogs for tracking trails also.

Livestock work: Working Border Collies can take direction by voice and whistle at long distances when herding. Their great energy and herding instinct are used to herd all kind of animals, from traditional sheep and cattle, free range poultry, and pigs, to deer, and ostriches. In Australia Border Collies are registered with the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC) affiliated state control body, or with a working dog registry.

Inclusion on the ANKC main register allows Border Collies to compete in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking, herding and other ANKC sanctioned events held by affiliated clubs, while inclusion on the limited register prohibits entry into conformation events.

In nearly every region of the world, the Border Collie is now also a breed which is shown in ring or bench shows. For the people who participate in these events, the Border Collie is defined by a breed standard, which is a description of how the dog should look.

Temperament is also a major consideration for show dogs. In NZ and Australia where the breed has been shown through-out most of the twentieth century, the Border Collie standards have produced a dog with the longer double coat (smooth coats are allowed), a soft dark eye, a body slightly longer than tall, a well- defined stop, as well as a gentle and friendly temperament. This style of Border Collie has become popular in winning show kennels around the world, as well as among the prestigious judges. Showing is an extremely time consuming and expensive hobby, but the dogs achievements and the handler's own personal satisfaction being seen showing this delightful breed, out-way any negatives or expense. There is nothing like watching your beautiful Border Collie run around the ring and to take a win or a place, the dogs just love all the attention and the handler gets to spend wonderful quality time with a very happy dog that is doing a job!!

Puppies/Litters - When a kennel produces a litter of Border Collies it is usually only for a couple of reasons, the breeder will only every want to benefit the Border Collie breed so will have all DNA testing done for all known Border Collie diseases on it's Dam and Sire before a mating ever takes place. The breeder may want to produce a litter to get a new puppy for their own kennel, or may be repeating a very successful mating to produce quality puppies for other breeders and the public.

The bitch will produce a litter size of usually between 6 and 10 puppies. The puppies weight's at birth should be between 250 grams and 450grams (depending on the health of the Dam). A lot of research is done by the breeder in regard to a mating of the Dam and Sire because of the genetics involved with coat colours, markings and hereditary diseases etc, so don't be scared of asking the breeder any questions you may have, and always make sure you have documented evidence of your puppy's health status before purchase.

You will be assured that when you choose your puppy from a reputable breeder you will have a lifetime of support from them, and a healthy wonderful Border Collie puppy to take home.

So is a Border collie the right dog for you?? The people who make the most satisfied Border Collie owners are people who enjoy spending a lot of time with their dogs and are willing and able to make the commitment to exercise and train in some way every day; who are very active, who like to hike, jog, and/or take long walks with their dogs; who don't mind living with a dog that never really settles down, even in the house, even after a lot of exercise, even when it's owner is tired from a long day at work; and most importantly, who have a real job for the dogs to do, whether it's one of the dog sports that these dogs excel at, or, of course, herding a flock of sheep!!!

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