Border Collie Breed Characteristics & Traits

Border Collie – Formerly the best in her class at herding sheep, today one of the most popular dogs in Germany. Why does the Border Collie fascinate us Germans so much and what distinguishes this wonderful dog breed? Find out everything you need to know from us, from nature and character to buying a Border Collie puppy and training it. And we also have a few tips for dealing with it properly. Promised.

History & Origin

Its name already suggests it, the history books quickly provide clarity. The Border Collie comes from Great Britain. Its predecessors were already coveted souvenirs by the Vikings around the year 800 when they undertook their raids against what was then Britain. Because the British shepherd dog of the time was more than a dog’s nose ahead of the native dogs.

In England, or in the English-Scottish border area, peasants and farmers always kept only the most intelligent dogs in order to be able to drive and guard their herds of cattle. But dogs were also used for work on the farm, e.g. to monitor one’s own property.

In the Middle Ages, less importance was attached to optics and standards, rather the driving force behind the breeding selection was to create animals that were as intelligent, obedient, and willing to work as possible.

John Caius, personal physician to Queen Elizabeth I, conveyed the first facts that provide information about the breed in his book “Of English Dogges” in 1576. In it, he expressed both delight and astonishment at the shepherd dogs he observed at work and noticed that they always brought the sheep exactly where the shepherd wanted them to be.

It took a few centuries for the Border Collie to take shape as we know it today. Old Hemp, whose nickname was Hemp for short, is considered the progenitor of the breed and thus the first Bristle Collie. Hemp was seven and a half years old and lived from 1893 to 1901. Due to his outstanding herding skills, he was one of the most popular stud dogs at the time and was owned by the breeder Adam Telfer.

Old Hemp—A star was born

Adam Telfer lived in Northumberland and was known as a working dog breeder. Old Hemp’s parents were herding dog Roy and bitch Meg. Already at a young age of only 6 weeks, Hemp came into contact with sheep and proved his outstanding qualities as a herding dog. He drove the sheep with a calm and deliberation that was hard to believe. Telfer himself stated that he had never seen such an exceptional personality tending sheep and that his talent should not remain hidden from other eyes.

Eric Halsall, a contemporary author, but it similarly, noting that he had never seen such a perfectionist dog at work. With no mistakes and no training, he was what is now known as a natural talent.

But it wasn’t just Halsall who discovered Old Hemp’s skills. Word quickly got around that an absolutely exceptional dog was born in Hemp. It is estimated that over 200 direct descendants descend from the stud dog Hemp and almost all should produce similar outstanding herding work. Herding competitions have been held in England since 1873. The so-called Herding Trials (also called Sheepdog Trailing) were consistently won by Old Hemp’s descendants from 1906 to 1951. Unfortunately, it is not known whether Hemp also took part.

Adam Telfer probably never would have dreamed that Old Hemp would become a dog for the history books. The veneration went so far that since 2012 a monument has even been erected for Tefler and Old Hemp. Hemp’s memorial stands in close proximity to his birthplace at Woodhouse, West Woodburn, Northumberland.

Origin of the name Border Collie

Border Country is the border area between England and Scotland. A collie is commonly referred to as a “useful object”. So the name is composed of Hemp’s geographical origin and its intended use. Freely translated, Border Collie could be described as “The useful one from the borderland”. Today there are numerous Collie breeds. The name has been in use since 1910.

The breed standard is created

The FCI (Fédération_Cynologique_Internationale) has recognized the breed since 1976 under FCI Standard No. 297. However, the breeders’ association ISDS (International Sheep Dog Society) has not published a breeding standard to date, since appearance and uniformity only play a subordinate role. More important and assessable is the work or herding performance that distinguishes a good herding dog.

The Border Collie in Germany

In Germany, the Border Collie has made a name for itself as a herding dog since the 1970s. The Border Collie made its first entry in the studbook of the British Herding Club in 1978.

Numbers, Data, Facts

  • Country of origin: England
  • Life expectancy: 13 – 16 years
  • Weight males: 14-22 kg
  • Bitch weight: 12 – 19 kg
  • Males: 48-56 cm
  • Bitches: 46-53 cm


Until a few years ago, the Border Collie was considered purely a herding dog for sheep. With the growing enthusiasm for dog sports and the rapid rise of today’s popular agility, the breed’s popularity and popularity continued to grow. Hollywood also discovered the herding dog as a professional employee and so it came about that the fame of the Border Collie was not least due to films such as “A Pig Called Babe”, “Bingo, Look Who’s Barking!” and “Snowdogs – Eight Heroes on Four Paws” reached its preliminary, but unbroken, climax. Today, more than ever, the Border is in demand as a loyal and active family dog and looks after not only sheep but also children and the four walls at home.

Classification, breed standard & breed standard

  • FCI Standard No. 297
  • FCI border collie breed standard
  • Group 1: herding dogs and cattle dogs (without Swiss Mountain Dogs)
  • Section 1: German Shepherds
  • With work test

The Character & Nature of the Border Collie

The Border Collie is a graceful, intelligent dog that you just have to love. He wants to please his people, has an affectionate character, and is flexible and adaptable to new situations. In addition, he is particularly attentive and mostly excited/full of energy.

In order to do justice to the nature of the Border Collie, one must be aware that the Border Collie is an absolute workhorse. Doing justice to it means dealing intensively with the animal. The Border Collie runs along on the bike for several kilometers, then rushes after balls that are thrown for hours and never tires of being kept busy. Anyone who relies purely on using the border with physical training will quickly be taught a lesson.

From a scientific point of view, the Border Collie is the most intelligent dog in the world, and therefore it must be treated accordingly and mentally challenged and encouraged. Only then does the calm, sensitive and loving side come into its own. With his will to please, he will always try to please his people as much as possible. He also seeks constant proximity to his family and is regarded as a very affectionate contemporary.

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