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"A lot of farm dogs are partial to a little light relief from their work. They like to play and one of their favourite games is chasing cars off the premises. Often I drove off with a hairy form galloping alongside, and the dog would usually give a final defiant bark after a few hundred yards to speed me on my way. But Jock was different. He was really dedicated.

Car chasing to him was a deadly serious art which he practised daily without a trace of levity. Corner's farm was at the end of a long track, twisting for nearly a mile between its stone walls down through the gently sloping fields to the road below, and Jock didn't consider he had done his job properly until he had escorted his chosen vehicle right to the very foot. So his hobby was an exacting one....

I had been throught this before and was always afraid he might run in front of me, so I put my foot down and began to hurtle downhill. This was where Jock came into his own. I often wonder how he'd fare against a racing Greyhound because by golly he could run. That sparse frame housed a perfect physical machine and the slender limbs reached and flew again and again, devouring the stony ground beneath, keeping up with the speeding car with joyful ease.

There was a sharp bend about half-way down and here Jock invariably sailed over the wall and streaked across the turf, a little dark blur against the green, and having craftily cut off the corner he reappeared like a missile zooming over the grey stones lower down. This put him into a nice position for the run to the road and when he finally saw me on to the tarmac, my last view of him was of a happy panting face looking after me. Clearly he considered it a job well done and he would wander contentedly back up to the farm to await the next session, perhaps with the postman or the baker's van." (James Herriot, Dog Stories)


  • Question: What is the best thing about Border Collies?

  • Answer: Border Collies are extremely intelligent and active dogs. They have been recognized by two prominent studies as the smartest breed of dog. Though their ultimate ranking may be debatable, their sharp intellect is not. Because they have been bred for intelligence and ability rather than for looks, they are without a doubt, one of the sharpest dogs around. They routinely win obedience trials and international sheepdog trials, and they have become the favorite "Hollywood dog" because of their superior trainability and range of capabilities. They are also capable of extreme physical activity. They have been bred to herd sheep, a task that requires endless miles of running and constant exertion. They make wonderful jogging or biking companions (they never tire) and can play for hours upon end.

  • Question: What is the worst thing about Border Collies?

  • Answer: Border Collies are extremely intelligent and active dogs. Intelligence and hyperactivity are not characteristics that most people are capable of handling. Border Collies need constant attention and if they are not true working dogs, they need to be given "chores" and "tasks" around the home to serve as outlets for their boundless energy. If no outlet is given, they will find one on their own (generally one not desirable). Being smart allows them to learn quickly, not only how to behave but also how to get into trouble. It is not easy to "fool" a Border Collie into doing or not doing something. You must always be one step ahead of them and sometimes it isn't so easy. The hyperactivity is also something you must think long and hard about. Some individuals are certainly calmer and less active than others but the breed as a whole, because of their breeding goals, is highly active. If you live in a small apartment or have no place to run the dog in wide open spaces, I think another breed of dog would be better suited for your circumstances. If you want a dog that lies around the house most of the time, is rarely noticed, and is generally unobtrusive, then a Border Collie is not for you. They demand (literally demand) lots of attention and lots of activity. If you do not have the time or energy to devote to the dog, then there are better choices.

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    Page last updated October 2, 1998. All material Copyright © 1999 Border Collie Rescue, Inc.
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