Border collie

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Border collie
Border collie
FCI Standard No. 297
Origin :

Great Britain

Withers height:
  • Males: ideal 53 cm
  • Bitches: a little less
List of domestic dogs
Border Collie while herding
Black and white male border collie herding.

The Border Collie is an FCI recognized breed of working and herding dogs from Great Britain ( FCI Group 1, Section 1, Standard No. 297 ).

Origin and history

The first description of how today's Border Collies work comes from John Caius , personal physician to Queen Elizabeth I , recorded in the book Of Englishe Dogges from 1576.

"This dogge either at the hearing of his masters voice, or at the wagging and whisteling in his fist ... brings the wandring weathers and straying sheepe, into the selfe same place where his masters will and wishe ... wherby the shepherd reapeth this benefite, namely, that with little labor and no toyle or moving of his feete he may rule and guide his flocke ... either to have them go forward, or to stand still, or to drawe backward, or to turne this way or to take that way. "

"As soon as this dog perceives the voice of its master or the shaking of its fist, it brings the wandering sheep to the very place that its master wants, so that the shepherd can rule his flock with little work and effort, without straining his feet and can guide ... whether she should go forward, stand still or withdraw, or turn here, or take that path. "

- John Caius (1576)

The first reports of working shepherds come from Italy, shortly before the birth of Christ, after the Romans invaded Britain and took several of these dogs with them to Italy.

Also around the year 800 the Vikings took sheepdogs back home with them on their return from campaigns against Britain .

Old Hemp (1893–1901), owned by the farmer Adam Telfer, is considered the progenitor of today's Border Collies . This dog possessed extraordinary herding skills and therefore became the most important breeding male of its breed.

The breed name "Border Collie" goes back to its geographical origin, the Border Country - the borderland between England and Scotland , and has been used since 1910. The word collie means useful object and now stands for a whole range of herding dogs, the collies .

The Border Collie has been recognized by the FCI since 1976. Border Collies have existed in Germany since the 1970s, and in 1978 the first Border Collie was entered in the club's stud book for British Sheepdogs.

The International Sheep Dog Society has not yet issued a breed standard for Border Collies. For this breeders' association only the work of the dog on the herding object counts, they keep a register of the working dogs. 1873 found the first Sheepdogtrials , hats competitions instead ( s Sheepdog : Sheep Dog / German Shepherd, Trial : testing, test). Later rules for these competitions were created and today they are held in many countries, including Germany. For a long time, the Border Collie was bred solely for herding skills.


Posture while herding
Tricolor border collie
Border Collie, a bit bored but alert.

The physique is harmonious, longer than high, very muscular in working dogs and particularly well suited for speed, agility and endurance. According to the FCI breed standard, two coat variants are recognized, one with a moderately long coat and one with sticky hair. Both are said to have a thick coat with a thick undercoat and medium texture. With a moderately long coat, a mane, trousers and flags are desirable. The fur on the face, ears and forelegs - with the exception of the flags - and the hind legs from the hock to the ground should be short and smooth. Many colors are allowed, whereby white should never predominate. For example, there are the following colors: black and white, tricolor, red, blue, blue merle , red merle, black and white mottled, sable, Australian red, lilac. For all colors, tan , a light shade of brown, can also be added in the form of badges (tricolor). The head is broad with a pronounced stop . The nose is black, brown or slate, depending on the color of the coat. The muzzle is moderately short and strong with a full scissor bite . The eyes are set broadly oval and of medium size. They are brown, except for blue merles, where one or both eyes can be partially or completely blue. The medium-sized ears are erect or tilted forward. The tail is moderately long, but at least to the hock, well haired, set low and is never carried over the back.

The movement should be free, flowing and tireless. The paws should be lifted as little as possible so that the dog can move slowly and with great speed.

Border Collie female black and white


As with other collies, the MDR1 defect occurs more frequently in the border collie , which causes hypersensitivity to several drugs . The breed is affected by the Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), an inheritable eye disease. There are genetic tests for the Border Collie for Collie Eye Anomaly, Canine Ceroid-Lipofuscinosis (CL) - an incurable fatal metabolic disease - and Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS) - a bone marrow disease in which no white blood cells can be released into the bloodstream. These studies allow appropriate breeding strategies to prevent the diseases.

In Merle × Merle breeds, the puppies often experience congenital defects such as deafness and blindness. This is why this breeding variant is banned in Germany and is known as torture breeding . In America there are always permitted Merle × Merle matings, animals with congenital defects are killed. This also applies to France, where a Merle × Merle pairing can be requested.

Use and attitude

For a long time the Border Collie was kept almost exclusively as a sheepdog on the British Isles. With the rapid increase in the popularity of agility sport in England and Europe, this breed also became increasingly popular away from farms. In recent years, this dog breed has also become more and more popular as a family dog, not least because of films like A Pig Called Babe .

Border Collies generally need a lot of activity, but also phases in which they can find sufficient rest. The more activity they are offered, the more they demand it. You learn very quickly what also applies to misconduct that can manifest itself in this way. They are very attentive, sensitive, and lively dogs that require consistent training. Underutilized, severely under-challenged and misunderstood Border Collies can become difficult, sometimes even behavioral, dogs.

Famous Border Collies and recognition as a herding dog

Statue of a border collie herding dog at Lake Tekapo , New Zealand
Plaque for the statue of a collie herding dog
  • Old Hemp , who is considered to be the progenitor of all Border Collies
  • Rico (* 1994, † 2008) achieved fame because he appeared in 1999 on the television show Wetten, dass ..? 77 words to the respective toys and could get the objects on command from an adjoining room. This was followed by appearances in other television programs, such as B. Stern TV , where Rico could differentiate between more than 250 different toys. His abilities have been the subject of scientific research that u. a. published in the journal Science .

See also


  • Iris Combe: Border Collies. With a Foreword by Her Grace The Duchess of Devonshire. faber and faber, London 1978, ISBN 0-571-11173-4 .
  • David Kennard: A shepherd's watch. Through the seasons with one man and his dogs. Headline Book Publishing, London 2004, ISBN 0-7553-1234-1 (report by a modern English farmer describing a year in the life of a sheep farmer, including in detail the training of his Border Collies as herding dogs).
  • Barbara Sykes: Understanding Border Collies. The Crowood Press Ltd, Ramsbury Marlborough 1999, ISBN 978-1861262806 .

Web links

Commons : Border Collie  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. John Caius : Of Englishe Dogges, the diuersities, the names, the natures, and the properties. Rychard Iohnes, London 1576, ( online at
  2. John Caius: Of Englishe Dogges, the diuersities, the names, the natures, and the properties. Rychard Iohnes, London 1576, p. 24, ( online at
  3. Hans Räber : Encyclopedia of the pedigree dogs. Origin, history, breeding goals, suitability and use. Volume 2: Terriers, running dogs, pointing dogs, retrievers, water dogs, greyhounds. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-440-06752-1 , p. 302.
  4. ^ A b c d Eva Busch: Intelligent, intelligent, Border Collie . In: The dog . No. 3/2008 , ISSN  0323-4924 , p. 28-31 .
  5. Animal Welfare Act § 11b . Retrieved November 1, 2015.
  6. Hans Alfred Müller: Border Collie. What to know about them. Kynos , Mürlenbach 1995, ISBN 3-929545-25-X , p. 54