There are two types of dogs used on farms: herding dogs and guardian dogs. Herding dogs are used to manage livestock. They are also called stockdogs or working dogs.
Not just any breed of dog is used for herding. Common herding breeds include the Border Collie, Australian Shepherd, Australian Kelpie, New Zealand Huntaway, and Australian Cattle Dog. Other breeds with herding instinct include Corgis and Shetland Sheepdogs.
The most popular breed of herding dog in the U.S. is the Border Collie. The Border Collie originated in the border country between England and Scotland. It is considered the world’s premier sheep herding dog. The Border Collie is noted for its intelligence, work ethic, and desire to please. Since Border Collies are bred for working ability and intelligence rather than for physical beauty, conformation varies widely.
An intelligent dog
One of the most trainable breeds, the Border Collie also serves well as a narcotics and bomb detection dog and is a frequent high performer in obedience, agility, police work, search & rescue, recreational contests, performing tricks, and competitive obedience.
A well-trained Border Collie works in conjunction with its handler and obeys commands to perform its job. Correctly trained, the dog is able to move the herd just about anywhere. Good herding dogs control livestock with calm authority and without excessive “fuss.”
Be prepared to be engaged
Border Collies are not ideal pets for people who have no plans to spend a lot of time with them. These dogs are too intelligent to lie around the house all day with nothing to do. These lively dogs have boundless energy and thrive on hard work and play. Prospective owners who are looking for just a family pet should consider other similar, but calmer breeds.
Top Ten List of Border Collie Facts
- Collies are known for their intense “stare” that they use to keep the sheep together and attentive.
- If there is no livestock to herd, a Border Collie will heard people, children, other pets and anything else he/she thinks needs to be herded. Collies have an uncanny ability to predict what people are going to ask of them.
- Known as workaholics, if a Border Collie is not adequately exercised he may vent his boredom by chewing up almost everything and anything within reach.
- Borders collies are considered the #1 smartest breed.
- The average lifespan of a Border Collie is 12 years; they have been known to live as long as 14.
- Some Border Collies that work herding sheep have been known to run 50 miles in one day.
- Border Collies make excellent assistance and support dogs.
- If you are looking for a dog that is easy to train then the Border Collie is the dog for you.
- Border Collies require a lot more than a fenced in yard. In fact, a Border Collie won’t be happy unless he gets hours of activity each day. In other words, a game of fetch is not going to cut it.
- Border Collies can be trained to roll down a car window and do a lot of other exciting tricks.
For more information, go to American Border Collie Association americanbordercollie.org