History of Border CollieThe Border Collie’s ancestors have been around since humans in what is now Britain first began using dogs to help guard and herd sheep. In the border country between Scotland and England, the herding dog became one of the most valuable assets a shepherd could have, and the best working dogs were bred with each other. Today the Border Collie is recognized as the premier sheepherding dog. The breed’s superior herding ability leads many fanciers to advocate breeding Border Collies only to working, not conformation, standards. The Border Collie was recognized by the American Kennel Club on October 1, 1995. The type varied, depending on the terrain or the work required in each region. These herding dogs became associated with their particular regions and were eventually known as Welsh Sheepdogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies. The Border Collie’s name reflects his partially Scottish heritage: the word collie, which refers to sheepdogs, is derived from Scottish dialect. In 1860, Scotch Sheep Dogs were shown at the second dog show ever held in England. On a trip to Balmoral a short time later, Queen Victoria saw one of the dogs and became an enthusiast of the breed.
Size & PersonalityMales stand 19 to 22 inches tall and weighs 35 to 45 pounds. Females stand 18 to 21 inches tall and weigh 30 to 40 pounds.
Quite simply, the Border Collie is a dynamo. His personality is characteristically alert, energetic, hardworking, and smart. He learns quickly — so quickly that it’s sometimes difficult to keep him challenged. This breed likes to be busy. In fact, They must be busy or they’ll becomes bored, which leads to annoying behavior, such as barking, digging, or chasing cars. They are not known to lay down quietly on the front porch while you sip a glass of lemonade; they thrive on activity. Remember, they were bred to run and work all day herding sheep. The Border Collie is also renowned for being highly sensitive to their handler’s every cue, from a whistle to a hand signal to a raised eyebrow. Of course, the Border Collie isn’t perfect. They can be strong-minded and independent, and their compulsion to herd can become misdirected. In the absence of sheep, or some kind of job, they are apt to gather and chase children, cars, or pets. They can also become fearful or shy if they aren’t properly socialized as a puppy. Puppy classes and plenty of exposure to a variety of people, places, and things help the sensitive Border Collie gain confidence.
HealthBorder Collies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Border Collies will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
- Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
- Epilepsy: This is a neurological condition that’s often, but not always, inherited. Epilepsy can cause mild or severe seizures that may show themselves as unusual behavior (such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding) or even by falling down, limbs rigid, and losing consciousness. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It’s important to take your dog to the vet for a proper diagnosis (especially since seizures can have other causes) and treatment.
- Collie Eye Anomaly: This is an inherited condition that causes changes and abnormalities in the eye, which can sometimes lead to blindness. These changes can include choroidal hypoplasia (abnormal development of the choroids), coloboma (a defect in the optic disc), staphyloma (a thinning of the sclera), and retinal detachment. Collie eye anomaly usually occurs by the time the dog is two years old. There is no treatment for the condition.
- Allergies: There are three main types of allergies in dogs: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
- Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This orthopedic condition, caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints, usually occurs in the elbows, but it has been seen in the shoulders as well. It causes a painful stiffening of the joint, to the point that the dog is unable to bend his elbow. It can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age. Overfeeding of “growth formula” puppy foods or high-protein foods may contribute to its development.