The history of the border collie

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The history of the border collie
The history of the border collie

General description of the dog, the area where the border collie was bred and the meaning of its name, the theory of breeding the species, progenitors, popularization of the breed, its recognition, the position of the dog today. The Border collie is a purebred dog bred in the UK. These animals are known around the world as the leading shepherd dogs, regularly participating in a wide range of championships and other events. Their intelligence has always been in high demand among breeders of the variety. In the modern world, she is recognized as the smartest of all dogs.

For many years, the Border Collie was bred almost entirely due to disability. In recent years, the breed has been registered with several major kennel clubs, and some are now being bred to change their appearance, despite protests from many sister organizations. These pets are also known as the working collie, scottish shepherd, collie and shepherd.

The Border Collie is a sturdy animal. This dog must be extremely toned and athletic. The tail of the breed is relatively long and usually set low. When the dog is active, it can be held above the back with a slight curve at the end.

The head is in proportion to the size of the body and is neither wide nor narrow. The muzzle has about the same length as the head, with which it connects smoothly but distinctly. The nose matches the color of the main covering. The eyes are usually brown, but sometimes blue. Ears of medium size are either straight or semi-straight.

The border collie coat is available in two varieties: smooth and rough. Both are double coated, with a softer and thicker undercoat. Coat color of any color and markings.

The area where the border collie was bred and the meaning of its name

Two border collie dogs
Two border collie dogs

Until the late 1800s, the history of these canines is a mystery. During this time, the various modern collie species began to deviate from landraces, a pre-existing unique, more uniform dog species. It is well known that the collie type formed in what is now Britain over hundreds, maybe thousands of years, but it is not clear when their ancestors first arrived there or with whom.

Even the name of this group of dogs is disputed. Most experts believe that it comes from the Anglo-Saxon word "col", which means "black." Sheep of Scotland traditionally had black muzzles and were known as colley or coalie. According to this explanation, the dogs that drove the collie sheep were called colley dog and then simply collie. In recent years, some experts have begun to question this theory. They argue that the name derives from the Gaelic words "cailean" and "coilean", both of which are petting terms and can be roughly translated as "doggie."

Border Collie breeding theories

Border collie dog muzzle
Border collie dog muzzle

These dogs have been in the British Isles since time immemorial and were used to graze sheep and other livestock. Despite the fact that the ancestors of Border collie were distributed throughout England, most of the population was concentrated in Scotland, Wales and in the north of the country. The predecessors of this group arrived in Britain with the Romans, who conquered and controlled the area from AD 43. NS. This version is based on three facts: the Romans were excellent dog breeders and created several herding breeds, they were also present in this country a long time ago, and collies are very similar to several Continental Sheepdogs such as the Beauceron and the Belgian Sheepdog.

The main rival explanation is that the ancestors of the Border Collie are actually much older, and were the shepherds of the ancient Celts. This theory has a couple of premises: the collie is different from the continental sheepdog and is limited to the British Isles, one of the last strongholds of Celtic culture. Proponents of this theory also take advantage of the fact that collies were more common in parts of the United Kingdom with a strong Celtic influence.

Some have suggested that the Border collie progenitors were actually bred by the people of Britain who predated the Celts and came there from mainland Europe before 6500 BC. Traces of early humans (500,000 years ago) were found in Sussex. But, any such statement is based on wishful thinking, since there are no confirmed facts, especially about the dogs that they could contain.

Others have suggested that the collies came with the Angles, Saxons and Utes, who colonized England after the Roman legions left the island. It is also possible that Collies are descendants of Scandinavian dogs brought by the Vikings during the period when they raided and ruled parts of Britain from 790 to 1470 AD. NS.

The progenitors of the border collie and their application

The appearance of a dog of breed border collie
The appearance of a dog of breed border collie

The truth about the origins of border collie ancestors is probably some confluence of all theories. Mostly they originate from some admixture of Roman and Celtic dogs, but crosses with Germanic, Norse and pre-Celtic canines probably played a role as well. In addition, it is possible that greyhounds and spaniels also have blood in them.

However, it was in Britain that the ancestors of the breed acquired their modern form. Their countless generations have been bred for the same purpose - herding livestock. The breeders of these dogs only cared about their performance and raised only the most hardworking, easily trained and intelligent dogs, with strong herding instincts. Appearance mattered only to the extent that it influenced performance - ideal size and weather-resistant finish.

These breeding methods resulted in the collection of closely related landrace, collectively called collies. At one point, dozens of semi-excellent working predecessors of the Border Collie emerged in Britain. When the craze for dogs broke out in this country, lovers of the working type were not interested in them. Although different types of collies were presented at early shows, breeders were reluctant to breed them because of their looks.

Popularization of the border collie

Adult border collie dog
Adult border collie dog

The position of the species began to change since 1860, when Queen Victoria saw the breed, while visiting Balmoral Castle in Scotland, she created a kennel of long-coated highland collies. She made these dogs quite fashionable, and many exhibitors strove to standardize the ancestors of the Border Collie, which they called the scotch collie.

Amateurs did not care about the performance of the dogs, but only about their appearance, collecting and breeding selected individuals of various types of collies. They crossed the scotch collie with a greyhound and possibly other breeds. The resulting dogs were developed, standardized and elegant, and greatly reduced herding ability.

Collie breeders began to seriously underestimate the kennel club due to what they perceived as a serious decline in the quality of the Scotch Collie. Shows and working lines were so distinct that they became separate breeds. However, workaholic breeders saw an advantage in herdbooks to preserve the purity of the lines and confirm the origin of their dogs. They also realized that they could improve the abilities of their pets by running organized competitions.

Early breeders decided that the most practical test would be to test the ability to graze sheep. Such competitions became popular in the United Kingdom by the late 1800s. One of their most successful competitors was a tricolor male named "Old Hemp", from which the modern Border Collie lines can be traced.

The International Society of Herding Dogs (ISDS) was founded in 1906 to promote not only testing but also improving the working collie. Initially, the organization was focused on the border region between England and Scotland, it was the collies from this region that were considered the highest quality. In 1915, ISDS Secretary James Reid first used the term "border collie" to distinguish dogs competing in ISDS events from Scottish collies.

It is somewhat unclear whether the organization created a different name, "Work Collie," or used it for a certain variety. Regardless, soon almost all varieties were called border collies. Many farmers began keeping records of their Border Collie breeding, and ISDS supported this in the late 1940s. Although these dogs were purebred, they were still reared due to working ability and were changeable in appearance.

Border Collies have been exported to North America since the 1600s and to Australia in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Breeders in these countries have bred and used them to develop their unique breeds: the Australian Shepherd, English Shepherd, America Kelpie, Australian Kelpie and Australian Cattle Dog.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the first purebred border collies were brought to the USA, Canada and Australia, where they quickly gained a lot of fans. In the United States and Canada, representatives of the species have taken the same position as in their homeland. These dogs were less popular in the American West, where the Australian Shepherd remained the favorite.

The Border Collie has also become quite famous in Australia, but significantly less so than in other parts of the English-speaking world. Large registries and associations of this breed have been formed in Australia, Canada and the United States. As in their homeland, representatives of the species will remain strictly working dogs in these countries.

Recognition of the border collie and the many controversies surrounding this event

Border Collie dog for a walk
Border Collie dog for a walk

In 1965, the United Kennel Club (UKC) received official border collie recognition. The UKC hosts conformation shows, but its focus has always been on working dogs. For this reason, breeders of hunting and herding collies have largely preferred the UKC over the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The UKC has also worked to develop a standard border collie based on appearance. Border Collies have been members of a different AKC class since the 1940s. Membership in this category allows dogs to compete in obedience and agility, but not in the show ring. Over the years, the AKC has shown no interest in giving full recognition to the border collie.

During this time, the AKC has developed good relationships with the breed's registries and clubs, including the United States Border Collie Club (USBCC) and the American Border Collie Association (ABCA). Border Collies regularly participated in a number of AKC events, and competed with species that were bred mainly or in part because of their appearance. Due to its characteristics and low popularity (1980-1990), AKC's view of granting full recognition to the variety began to change.

Fans of many breeds dream of the AKC's favor, while others staunchly object to it. Working dog breeders argue that breeding for conformation rather than work ability destroys the canine's destiny and health. While there are many contenders for this claim, the overwhelming evidence suggests that it is true. In addition, recognition of the AKC results in greater social impact and poor breeding.

In 1991, border collie organizations met with the AKC to express their opposition to recognition. In the same year, a group of fans of the breed in Louisville formed the Border collie society of America (BCSA) with the aim of full acceptance of the AKC. In 1994, the AKC stated that it would not allow the Border Collie to compete in the organization's events unless the species was fully recognized by them. Some of the participants dropped out of the competition, while others joined the BSCA.

At the same time, a group of breeders who were more determined to show the Border Collie in the show ring split from the BSCA and formed the American Border Collie Alliance (ABCA). In 1994, the AKC wrote to USBCC, BSCA and ABCA asking if they wanted to become an official parent club. The answer was negative. A massive written campaign was carried out by border collie owners to prevent AKC recognition.

On the other hand, BSCA and ABCA have started a competition to become the official parent club. In 1995, the AKC received full Border Collie recognition even before the official breed club was chosen. Opponents believed that "finance" was the true motive behind the AKC's aspirations.

It should be understood that this organization essentially receives two fees for each dog on its registry. First, the breeder sends money to the AKC to add his puppies to the general database, and in turn, the Kennel Club of America provides him with "registration documents and AKC numbers for each newborn." This is actually big business, as evidenced by the fact that AKC reported annual operating expenses of just over $ 60 million in 2010. In response, several border collie groups have sued the AKC to prevent the organization from recognizing, or at least using, the breed's name. Although the AKC selected the BSCA as the official parent club in 1996, opposition legal efforts were terminated for a number of reasons during the same period.

Most of the species' fans were furious at the AKC's actions. In response, many of the organization banned the Border Collie from registering on their registries from participating in their events. Registered with the AKC border collie are not allowed to participate in any action not related to the AKC.

Now many fans of the breed consider the AKC Border Collie a completely different breed, although this position has not yet been adopted by any major Kennel club. The position of British breeders is somewhat different. Many groups join the UKC and AKC, while others do not.

The current position of border collies

Border collie dog in the grass
Border collie dog in the grass

Border collie is now often recognized as the smartest canine in the world. Many different ratings have put her at the top of their lists. As a result, the border collie is now widely used in both dog and animal research. It has been proven that at least one member of the species knows over 1000 different teams. Due to its intelligence and trainability, the breed is now used for a number of non-grazing tasks. Representatives of the species are often used to detect drugs and explosives, in search and rescue services, and as service assistants to disabled and visually impaired people.

Since the recognition of the AKC breed, the popularity of the Border Collie as a companion animal has grown steadily in the United States. Now a large number of representatives of the species have no other job than communication. However, the vast majority of American border collies are either active or retired herding pets. Although the exact statistics vary from year to year, on average, over 20,000 individuals are registered with non-profit organizations, and over 2000 are registered with the AKC, at a minimum cost of registration fees.

In 2010, the Border Collie was ranked 47th out of 167 AKC breeds and looks to be growing in popularity. What the future holds for this canine is unclear, but it is very likely that one day they will become two separate species with the same name, one of which is bred to display conformation and communication, and the other because of working ability.

For more information on the breed, see the following video: