The Border Collie originated in the Border country between Scotland and England where the shepherds’ breeding selection was based on biddable stock sense and the ability to work long days on rugged terrain. As a result of this selective breeding, the Border Collie developed the unique working style of gathering and fetching the stock with wide sweeping outruns. The stock is then controlled with an intense gaze known as “eye”, coupled with a stalking style of movement. This selective breeding over time developed the Border Collie’s intensity, energy and trainability which are features so important that they are equal to physical size and appearance. The Border Collie has extraordinary instinct and an uncanny ability to reason. One of its greatest assets is the ability to work out of sight of its master without commands. Breeding based on this working ability has made this breed the world’s premier sheep herding dog, a job the Border Collie is still used for worldwide.
The Border Collie is a well balanced, medium-sized dog of athletic appearance, displaying gracefulness, power and agility in equal measure. Its hard, muscular body conveys the impression of effortless movement and endless endurance. The Border Collie is extremely intelligent, with its keen, alert expression being a very important characteristic of the breed. Those aspects of structure, movement or temperament that enhance the dog’s ability to function as a herding dog are virtues that should be strongly rewarded. The Border Collie is, and should remain, a natural and unspoiled true working sheep dog whose conformation is described herein. Honorable scars and broken teeth incurred in the line of duty are acceptable.
The Border Collie is energetic, intelligent, keen, alert, and responsive. An intense worker of great tractability, it is affectionate towards friends but may be sensibly reserved towards strangers. When approached, the Border Collie should stand its ground. It should be alert and interested, never showing shyness, fear, dullness or resentment.
The height at the withers varies from 19 to 22 inches for males, 18 to 21 inches for females. Correct bone must be moderate, strong and oval. Overall balance between height, length, weight and bone is crucial and is more important than any absolute measurement. Dogs must be presented in hard working condition.
The Border Collie appears in all colors or combination of colors and/or markings. All colors are to be judged equally with no one color or pattern preferred over another. White markings may be clear white or ticked to any degree. Random white patches on the body are permissible but should not predominate. The predominant ear color should match the primary body color. Color and markings are always secondary to physical evaluation and gait.
Learn more at the Border Collie Society of America.