I am a new dog owner. I know a tiny bit about dogs, but not much about behavior or BCs. As I learn more about my little girl, the more I realize need to understand who she is to give her what she needs. Recently, she has displayed some behavior that got me looking into her genes and that has lead me here. I am hoping some experienced people can help me out.
I met Freya last January at a rescue and it was love at first. They told me she was a 10 month old lab/shepherd mix who was smart, quiet, and possibly high energy. I got her because she was everything I wanted- young, energetic, interested in me, intelligent, not pushy, super sweet, and would do well in an apartment. I had researched breeds and thought a mix would be the best bet for me since I live in a small apartment with no yard. I have had no issues with her living in a small apartment.
I took her to the dog park yesterday. She has been before and every time she likes run after dogs and get involved with the more active and exciting personalities. She is also very sweet and submissive and I have to keep an eye on her because she can be a target. Yesterday, I saw some new behavior from her.
I'm wondering if this is herding behavior. I saw her hit top speed in two strides and go into a full extended gallop- it was so beautiful. She could catch up to anyone, but never did. If they slowed down, she would bark at them or maybe nip their shoulder, but she was never aggressive- if they tell her to back off she will. I watched her, and it seemed like she was intentionally matching her pace to be a few strides behind the other dog. I watched her turn on a dime and one time she did this zig zag movement with her forepaws like a roping horse in a competition. She would also bark at dogs who were playing together like she was coaching them. It was my first time seeing her move with such speed, precision, and agility. She also had this moment where she ran after a dog a little ways and stopped, head lowered, tail down and still and she was intently watching the dog. I've seen her do this for squirrels, cats, and birds. It's not the famed collie walk- I haven't seen that from her. The entire time she was there, it seemed like she was looking for something to do, like mere play wasn't enough of a challenge.
Freya has a prey drive and is also very food motivated. Frisbee is her favorite game and she is super friendly and excited to meet dogs and people. She has tried training me. I'll call her over to eat and she'll do every trick she knows without my asking. She does have separation anxiety, but no destruction issues. She is very calm indoors, usually sleeping, looking out the window, or chewing her toys. That is, until I open the closet, or put on a jacket, or put on socks, or grab her leash- then it's all snorting, jumping, stretching, stomping, and pushing against me like she's telling me what to do and to do it faster. And when we're outside it's all excitement and acting like a cartoon. She has also gotten very sassy in her training sessions and can be very stubborn.
One time, I took her to some game lands in the off season and let her off leash. She worked the brush like a bird dog and even flushed some quail. She jogged the entire time and would stop and wait I was too far behind. If she is too cooped up, she will act out with running around and demanding that I play, pacing, and whining. It seems like a 6-8 mile hike is the only way to wear her out and she is energized and engaged the entire time. Her face lights up during and after physical exercise. See that second picture where she is looking up at the camera? That was after 8 hours at a doggy day camp.
How fast does she learn? It depends on the reward! When I first got her, she would NOT get into the car. So one day, I picked her up, put her in, and took her to a park. After that, she was in love with the car and would jump in any door that was open. She gets so excited when I have the keys in my hands! Simple tricks usually take 3-4 repetitions.
Oh and she is always watching me. When other dogs watch me, it's like they're just seeing something moving. When she watches me, it's like I'm being studied or judged. When I played violin for her the first time, she paced back and forth and would sit and watch what I was doing like she was trying to figure it out or even learn it herself.
Anyway, I feel like I have this amazing dog that needs more from me and I want to know more about her so I can give that to her. I looked into border collies because she is a herder and has that classic BC color. I have heard that BCs are workaholics and I think I saw that in her when I was at the dog park. There were other herding breeds there, but no one was as intense and focused as she was. When I saw the photos of the smooth coated border collies in the photos area, I was shocked at how much Freya I saw in them. She also looks like McNab dog, but that's less likely in my area.
Freya has hare feet. Is that a BC trait?
So here I am wondering if my wonderful girl is BC or a large percentage BC. Or is at least a BC at heart. You all seem to know a lot about this breed and wide variations in appearance a BC can have, so what do you think? BC? BC mix? BC at heart?