held. Ten dogs competed before several hundred spectators, and the winner was a Scotch-bred dog. This dog originated near the border of Scotland and England, and is now known worldwide as the Border Collie.
Border Collies are primarily black and white with occasional tinges of brown or red. They have either a long (rough) coat or a short (smooth) coat, stand approximately 16 to 26 inches in height, and weigh approximately 40 pounds. The Border Collie is bred for intelligence, instinct, working style, and “eye”; not for color, coat, nor size.
The most striking characteristic of the Border Collie is the “eye,” the dog’s power to control live- stock with its eager watchful eyes while it crouches on the ground with legs gathered under it for immediate action. Border Collies use “eye” to establish authority and control without overrunning the livestock being worked. The “eye” is hereditary. Within the breed, dogs will show many levels of “eye” power, from very weak to very strong. “Eye” power is unique to the Border Collie and does not carry over well genetically when a dog is crossbred.
In top working dogs, “eye” and “power” are complementary traits that allow the dog to show no fear. Border Collies use their eyes as an enforcer and are able to communi- cate their courage to livestock without using roughness. This breed is not inclined to jump in and
bite. It moves livestock with a direct, businesslike attitude.
The variation in the power level of the “eye” and the strength of personality allow the breed to work any type of animal; however, it works best with herding-instinct animals (such as sheep). This ability to work any animal is well documented by Arthur Allen in his book, A Lifetime with the Working Collie, Their Training and History, in which he describes two Border Collies working a mountain lion into a truck.
The Border Collie is quick to learn and easy to train. It can understand up to 60 commands of both whistle and voice, and is extremely affectionate to its handler. It’s considered the most intelligent of breeds. It’s the most popular breed of dog working sheep and cattle at trials in the United States and Great Britain. The Border Collie is born with the instinct to work. It’s very good in obedience trials, but can become a handful if not given enough work to expend its energy. The breed generally thrives on large livestock farms.
In selecting a Border Collie, look for a dog that has good working parents, medium-eye control, good power (neither flighty nor shy when working), and that is friendly to its handler. It’s very helpful to know the bloodlines of the Border Collie, as style of work, level of “eye,” and instinct are hereditary. Purchasing a puppy is the least expensive means of acquiring the Border Collie. You can feel confident the pup will have the instinct to work if you’re well aware of the bloodlines.
A reputable breeder is well- versed on the bloodlines and will guarantee the pup has the instinct to work. Many Border Collies annually are purchased from Great Britain, and many American-born puppies have imported parents. This does not imply that American- bred dogs are inferior or that imported dogs are better; however, bear in mind your needs and select the type of Border Collie best suited for your situation. This will allow you to obtain a good work- ing dog more easily.
The Australian Shepherd originated in the Basque region on the border between France and Spain. It worked for the Basque shepherd for many generations, and may have immigrated to North America with the Spanish settlers in the early 1800s.
There is evidence the Australian Shepherd was imported to Austra- lia from Spain with Merino sheep. In Australia, it was crossed with English herding dogs to improve its herding ability, and then im- ported to North America, where it had remained a purebred for many generations.