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What is a Border Collie


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#1 Pam Wolf

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 10:35 PM

OK, open question: Just what is a Border Collie?

Along the way it seems I have become a shepherd rather than a sheepdogger


#2 NCStarkey

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Posted 27 February 2011 - 11:24 PM

Hello everyone,

I feel that a Border Collie is a dog that has been developed over the past couple of centuries to be the premier sheepdog in the world (and more recently, an all around stockdog), one which happily works in partnership with man, but can also do its job using its own initiative and intelligence.

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#3 SS Cressa

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 12:16 AM

What is a border collie? A border collie to me is an athletic speedy dog with the drive, brains, and smarts to back it up. They are a quirky breed that tend to obsess. They are pressure sensitive and people smart. A very diverse breed that excels at almost everything.


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#4 Mark Billadeau

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 07:26 AM

All breeds are defined by the breeding goals used by the majority of breeders.

To win contests of appearance.
To win at games/sports.
To be a helping hand/working partner.
etc.

My definition of a Border Collie is the same as Nancy's.


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#5 Maralynn

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:55 AM

I really like Nancy's definition.

I also find it fascinating that the premier sheepdog can take it's working ability and excel at other jobs and activities. It's an interesting conundrum that only by breeding a dog with a single purpose in mind can you create a dog that is so diverse in it's abilities

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#6 WildFlower

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 11:39 AM

I really like Nancy's definition.

I also find it fascinating that the premier sheepdog can take it's working ability and excel at other jobs and activities. It's an interesting conundrum that only by breeding a dog with a single purpose in mind can you create a dog that is so diverse in it's abilities


I also like Nancy's definition.

And you bring up a really good point Maralynn. A point that I debate with my "dog sport" friend quite often.

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#7 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:28 PM

Hello everyone,

I feel that a Border Collie is a dog that has been developed over the past couple of centuries to be the premier sheepdog in the world (and more recently, an all around stockdog), one which happily works in partnership with man, but can also do its job using its own initiative and intelligence.

Regards to all,
nancy


I think that's a very good thumbnail description!

One could be pedantic and add notes about physical traits, but those vary so widely it would make pretty bewildering reading! ;)

"They are rough coat, except when they're smooth. They have tipped ears, except when they have pointed, or one up/done down, or else floppy like beagles. They move in a creeping, crouching style, except when they are more upright. They have lots of eye, except when they don't. They have medium bone, except when they are refined or big-boned. They are 35-45 pounds, except when they are 30 or 60. They are black and white, except when they're red or brown or tri or merle or ... " :)

~ Gloria
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#8 Smalahundur

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 02:31 PM

"They are rough coat, except when they're smooth. They have tipped ears, except when they have pointed, or one up/done down, or else floppy like beagles. They move in a creeping, crouching style, except when they are more upright. They have lots of eye, except when they don't. They have medium bone, except when they are refined or big-boned. They are 35-45 pounds, except when they are 30 or 60. They are black and white, except when they're red or brown or tri or merle or ... " :)



I like your description :D

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#9 kajarrel

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 03:17 PM

While I like Nancy's definition, I think that it's not the past that defines the breed but the present. Border collies are the premier sheepdog. If you look at the variety of situations in which they work (range sheep, small farms, dairy farms, cattle, hills in GB) it's not surprising that they are versatile - they are versatile in their bred-for work too.

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#10 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 08:49 PM

While I like Nancy's definition, I think that it's not the past that defines the breed but the present. Border collies are the premier sheepdog. If you look at the variety of situations in which they work (range sheep, small farms, dairy farms, cattle, hills in GB) it's not surprising that they are versatile - they are versatile in their bred-for work too.

Kim


I kind of presumed that's what she meant. ;) She referenced the past but spoke in the present tense. So, I can just add your definition to hers! :)
Cheers ~

Gloria
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#11 kajarrel

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 09:30 PM

Hi Gloria,

My sensitivity relates to the people who argue that border collies either don't do/aren't needed for their traditional roles and, then, it follows that their years of breeding are what matters in making a border collie a border collie. I know this isn't what Nancy meant, but none of us are people who believe that working border collies aren't needed.

Kim

ETA: this sounds uptight - sorry, I'm not really an uptight person :-)

#12 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 01:01 AM

Hi Gloria,

My sensitivity relates to the people who argue that border collies either don't do/aren't needed for their traditional roles and, then, it follows that their years of breeding are what matters in making a border collie a border collie. I know this isn't what Nancy meant, but none of us are people who believe that working border collies aren't needed.

Kim

ETA: this sounds uptight - sorry, I'm not really an uptight person :-)



Hi Kim!

You don't sound uptight to me, at all. You sound like someone who loves and respects the breed, both who he was and who he should still be. I'm good with that. :)
Cheers ~

Gloria
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera

#13 Pam Wolf

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:01 PM

OK, I guess now I ask, HOW does a Border Collie work? this is open to all commers.

Along the way it seems I have become a shepherd rather than a sheepdogger


#14 alligande

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 06:02 PM

I think that's a very good thumbnail description!

One could be pedantic and add notes about physical traits, but those vary so widely it would make pretty bewildering reading! ;)

"They are rough coat, except when they're smooth. They have tipped ears, except when they have pointed, or one up/done down, or else floppy like beagles. They move in a creeping, crouching style, except when they are more upright. They have lots of eye, except when they don't. They have medium bone, except when they are refined or big-boned. They are 35-45 pounds, except when they are 30 or 60. They are black and white, except when they're red or brown or tri or merle or ... " :)

~ Gloria


I love this addendum... a perfect description of their physical characteristics, now if I could only memorize it for when people wonder if my dogs are Border Collies.....

#15 Tea

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:02 PM

How do they work?


For Gunny and Cap
------------------------

Everyday in heavy rain
or
snow that stings the eyes in a wind so thin you could feel its edge with your thumb.
they work
in the midday heat of a dusty summer framed by memories of a hundred
sheep
they work
in the mud of trails that clings to boots and hooves and tired, swift paws.
they work

Before they are fed

In the middle of a stormy night

they work

they work

a calm strong presence before a curious calf with mother standing behind with lifted ears, thinking.


they work


behind the eyes of a new hill mother with day old triplets


they work


to catch sheep for me to shear

and lay and wait while the blades part this year from last.


They work


Until....one day

Creation takes them back from us......

And lonely we watch the fields

Where

They worked.



#16 Journey

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 08:55 PM

Thank you Tea.
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#17 geonni banner

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 08:56 PM

I'd think that about covers it...

Well said, Tea.


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#18 Debbie Meier

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 08:59 PM

OK, I guess now I ask, HOW does a Border Collie work? this is open to all commers.


Depends on how much vision the trainer/handler has.
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#19 Sue R

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 09:14 PM

Thanks, Tea, lovely as always!
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#20 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 02 March 2011 - 12:53 AM

Doggonnit, Tea! Some day I'm gonna bill you for all the kleenex you make me use up.

Beautifully said, as ever. I don't have a thing to add. Thank you. :)

~ Gloria
You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself that my father bought me. They are better than human beings, because they know but do not tell. ~ Emily Dickinson

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~ Milan Kundera


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