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Dogs 101 - BORDER COLLIE - Top Dog Facts About the BORDER COLLIE

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Top Dog Facts About the BORDER COLLIE

The Border Collie is a herding breed of dogs, with its origin in the British Isles. The word ‘Collie’ is from a Scottish dialect and was used to refer to a number of varieties of sheepherding dogs. For several centuries, lines of herding dogs had been refined to improve on their ability to work tirelessly at protecting and guiding sheep, goats and cattle. The modern Border Collie is descended from one superior specimen of such herding dogs called Old Hemp, which was owned by a cattle owner living in England near the Scotland border in the 1890s.

Unlike most other herding dogs who would shout and nip to guide the cattle, Old Hemp was a quiet, powerful dog, known to herd cattle by calmly staring at them. This quality endeared it to other cattle owners, and the dog sired more than 200 offspring, and its bloodline became known as the Border Collie. The breed gets its name from the fact that it was developed along the EnglandScotland border. The name was first recorded in 1915. The Border Collie, for a long time, was known for its work utility and performance in obedience trials, and breeding for shows was discouraged. As a result, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed as late as 1995, and finally started making an appearance in the show rings.

The height of the male adult is between 20 to 23 inches, with the female’s height between 18 and 21 inches. The weight of an adult is generally between 30 and 45 pounds. Because of stress on working dog traits and its late entry as a show dog, the standards of the dog have generally been concerned more with its functionality than physical appearance. Nevertheless, there are some commonly occurring features. The Border Collie has a double coat – the upper coat is long and coarse, the undercoat is short and soft. A black and white combination is the most common, but several other color patterns are seen. Ears are of medium size, and could be erect or semierect. Eyes of two different colors, one of them blue, are often seen in some dogs.

Grooming: The Border Collie has very long hair, which makes daily brushing necessary. This can remove dead hair as well as dirt and germs. Regular grooming also includes trimming of nails, cleaning of ears and brushing of teeth.

Temperament: The Border Collie is an energetic and playful dog. Because of its herding behavior, it is not suited for a house with young, precocious children, or with other small pets. It gets along very well with adults, and obeys its master diligently, while being reserved with strangers.

Training: It is one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and can be trained very easily. But, beginning of training early is advised. Daily exercise is essential, in the absence of which it can get neurotic and start chewing furniture or anything else within its reach. It is not suited for small living spaces, and will do well in a house with a yard for it to move freely in.

Health: Typical lifespan of a Border Collie is from 10 to 14 years. Leading cause of death is cancer. Hip dysplasia, eye anomaly, epilepsy and some earrelated ailments are fairly common problems, but in most cases can be cured or controlled. There are two potentially serious hereditary diseases, which can be detected early through DNA tests and kept from passing to offspring.

The Border Collie is an intelligent and obedient workman, which has remained unspoiled by passing fads. If you can provide it with the time needed for its grooming and exercise, you will be rewarded with a loyal and dependable companion.

• Some Border Collies are known to understand more than 1000 words.
• Striker, a Border Collie from Hungary, owns the Guinness World Record for the Fastest Car Window Opened by a Dog. 11.34 seconds, if you want to know.
• In the film Babe, the piglet that played the title role was adopted by a Border Collie couple called Fly and Rex.
• One of the tricks a Border Collie uses to herd cattle is called ‘giving the eye’, which involves staring hard at the animals. It tries it on humans too if it wants something.
• Queen Victoria of England was a great enthusiast of Border Collies, and this helped the dog become famous in the country.

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