The Border Collie is a beautiful, harmoniously built dog and an excellent companion. The breed is not one of the most common, but all owners are sure that this is one of the best options for keeping a house. High intelligence, good learning ability and easy grooming are the main advantages of this sociable, intelligent and cheerful dog.
History of the breed
The progenitors of the breed are considered to be ordinary yard dogs, helping the owner to graze sheep. The first owners did not pay special attention to the appearance of the pets, preferring their working qualities. In breeding went smart, hardy, quickly trained mestizos with good health. The first officially registered border collie is Hemp, a cross between a Rough Collie and a yard dog. The owners noted Hemp's high working qualities and intellectual potential and began to breed him with suitable females. Most of the puppies inherited the qualities of their father. Dogs had a rather varied appearance, differing in color and coat length. However, they also had some common features - medium size, compact body, slightly pointed muzzle.
The breed was bred in the UK and Scotland, it was intended to work in the countryside. Dogs should beat to help herd sheep, protect them from predators, replace the owner when driving flocks. Purposeful selection work began in 1915 after the representatives of the new breed began to regularly win at exhibitions of working dogs. The owners began to pay attention to the exterior, but the working qualities of the offspring still remained in the first place. Thanks to this, the puppies became very popular, they were willingly disassembled by farmers, prompting the breeders to work more intensively on the breed. The basic standards were fixed in 1963, and the Border Collie was entered into the International Cattle Breeds Club.
Appearance: breed description
Typical representatives of the breed are distinguished by a rather discreet appearance; in the eyes of an amateur, they may seem like ordinary mongrels. However, the breed has strict standards that breeders strictly adhere to. Among the main ones:
- the growth of males is 48-56 cm at the withers, bitches - 46-53 cm;
- the weight of males is 14-20 kg, bitches - 12-19 kg;
- the physique is moderately strong, proportional;
- the body is not too elongated, rectangular.
The reference books describe the Border Collie as a harmonious, graceful, robust dog with excellent health. Its compact size and moderate weight make it suitable for both urban and rural environments. Males and females that are too small or oversized do not go into breeding.
Breed standards include the following points:
- Head. Broad, moderately arched, the occiput is smoothed. Pronounced transition from the forehead to the bridge of the nose. The cheekbones are well developed but not prominent, the cheeks should not be drawn in or too fleshy. The muzzle is broad, but not square, tapering towards the nose and slightly rounded. The teeth are strong, white, a scissor bite is required.
- The nose is wide, the color depends on the color of the dog, it can be black, brown or blue.
- The eyes are oval, medium in size, set moderately deep. The iris can be light or dark brown, and marbled dogs can have blue eyes (one or both).
- The ears are triangular, mobile, set high, of medium size. Placement semi-erect or erect.
- The body is rectangular, elongated, harmonious outlines. The chest is broad, with prominent ribs, the back sloping slightly towards the tail. The body is muscular, with a strong loin and an elongated croup.
- Tail. Voluminous and lush, hock-length, a slight curl is created in the lower part. In a calm state, the tail drops or rushes flush with the back, in the working state it rises, but does not lift up on the croup.
The length, density and color of the coat are very important. A thoroughbred Border Collie should be well “dressed” and the coat may be smooth or moderately long. Long-haired dogs are distinguished by a lush collar on the neck and peculiar "pants" on the hind legs.
In addition to long guard hairs, dogs have a dense, dense undercoat that forms a heavy, dense, uniform coat. On the muzzle, ears, and the lower part of the paws, the hair is short; on the back of the legs, long "feathers" are possible, which are not considered a defect.
Most border collies are bicolor with a touch of white, however, according to breed standards, it should not prevail. Among the most common colors:
- brown or chocolate with white spots or light ginger tan;
- black and tan or black with white spots;
- blue or marbled, creating a slight ripple effect on the coat.
Character traits: pros and cons
The main characteristic of the border collie is increased activity. These dogs are extremely agile and require intense training, long runs and frequent walks. With limited movement, pets become depressed, become uncontrollable and may even get sick.
Dogs are very friendly, they get along well with children, get along without any problems with pets: cats, rodents, birds, dogs of other breeds. For a child, the Border Collie will become a good nanny, guard and companion. However, before you can trust the baby's pet, you need to conduct a general training course and teach the dog to respond correctly to commands.
Breeders note the high intelligence of the breed. Puppies and adult dogs learn quickly, obey both the owner and his family members. Pets are not aggressive, but they react cautiously to strangers. A dog is not suitable for hunting, but it will perfectly play the role of a companion, an observer, a guard. Border Collies are non-conflicting, they prefer not to get involved in fights, bite in extremely rare cases. Dogs are not prone to escapes, it is not recommended to chain them or keep them in an aviary.
Despite the many advantages, the dog also has disadvantages. Border Collies should not be got by people who are not ready to walk the pet for a long time, play with it and practice with it. The dog will have to be constantly occupied, offering her to look for objects, learn various tricks. If you do not pay attention to the pet, he will look for entertainment on his own, and this can lead to damage to furniture and other troubles. Representatives of this breed do not feel well in cramped city apartments. It is better for them to live in a country house with a large fenced area.
Care and maintenance
Border Collies are unpretentious and have a good appetite. It is preferable to feed them with premium ready-to-eat foods for medium-sized and high-activity dogs. A balanced diet will provide the body with the required amount of animal protein, vitamins, and microelements. Those who prefer to cook food for their dog on their own need to make sure that the food is high in calories, but does not contain excess fats, simple carbohydrates, salt, sugar and spices. With improper nutrition, the coat of dogs will suffer, animals will gain weight, which is harmful to the joints.
The coat of dogs is dense, smooth, it does not retain dirt and does not need constant washing. After walking, it is enough to wipe the collie's paws; it should be washed no more than 3 times a year. In between, the pets are combed out with a stiff brush, this is especially important during the period of seasonal molting.
Active dogs need to be vaccinated regularly, every 3 months they are given drugs for intestinal parasites. In the warm season, the dog is protected from fleas and ticks with the help of special sprays and collars.