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Border Collies - From Work to Play

Aug 17, 2007
Border Collies are among the older working breeds, probably descended from several herding breeds. There are also those who see the Spaniel influence in the Border Collie. This dog has an incredible way of herding. If the animal to be herded is standing still, the Border Collie will also stand very still for a moment, usually in front of the animal. Some people say the Border Collie is hypnotizing the animal while others say he's letting the animal know that he's about to be driven back into formation. Either way, the Border Collie will then spring into action and send the animal back to the herd.

These dogs are intelligent and are always in need of a new challenge or task. Don't expect to simply turn them outdoors to play and hope they'll get their daily quota of exercise. They're not nearly as destructive as some breeds, but they will find mischief to get into if their owners don't provide them with a task. The centuries of breeding for herding purposes created a dog that needs a job.

Border Collies are most commonly recognized as black and white, though this breed also comes in red and gray. Some have multiple colors and the coat is available in two distinct lengths - short and long. Both require some grooming, though these dogs are fairly anxious to keep themselves well groomed. The fact that these dogs are more popular as working dogs than a show dogs have left some leeway in the rules of coloring.

The intelligence of these dogs combined with the fact that they are happiest when they have jobs make them a natural choice for many occupations. They have been used extensively by law enforcement as drug dogs and for other purposes. Border Collies are also good options for the handicapped. They can be taught to perform all kinds of tasks. They've been known to serve as seeing eye dogs, but may also act as helpers to those confined in wheelchairs.

If there's not a defined job for these dogs to do, they'll do well with other tasks. Many have selected Border Collies for agility, obedience and field trials. They love to play ball, fetch and Frisbee and will play for hours. They're also up for learning new rules. Some owners have to put the balls, Frisbees and other toys away after playtime because the Border Collies will simply wear themselves out carrying on the games, even if they have to play alone.

One of the important things to remember about Border Collies is that these dogs continue to be one of the more popular breeds for herding. They can be taught verbal commands so that farmers can simply send the dogs out to gather sheep or other herd animals and know that the Border Collies will obey the commands. That means that the human can send the Border Collie to retrieve a stray, send the herd in a particular direction or form a multitude of other very specific commands.
About the Author
For more information on Collies and other Popular, and not-so-popular breeds of dogs, visit The Herding Dog Directory
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