The history of the Border Collie

The most intelligent dog breed?

The Border Collie is considered by many to be the most intelligent breed of dogs that need the smallest number of repetitions, 6 on average, to learn a particular command and is therefore considered the easiest dog to train. In addition, his ability as herding dog is almost superior to any other dog and his ability to "read" the sheep and control them with a glance, a feature that the shepherds call "EYE" is phenomenal. It is relatively easy to follow the history of the Border Collie. First, it is a relatively new dog and its known history begins only at the end of the nineteenth century. Second, his history is clear, documented and without conflicting versions (unlike the Golden Retriever) and without folk tales of its origins. All the dogs from which they are created are known and famous. In order to understand the history of the Border Collie you should understand some of the background. The development of modern dog breeds and especially herding dogs began in the nineteenth century. Before that, shepherds or dog breeders themselves cultivated the dogs by pairing dogs who thought they were particularly successful and had complementary traits. Even dogs considered to be of the same race were more or less difference between different breeders and different regions, so the success of a dog was unexpected and sometimes coincidental. The idea of cultivating breeds with a known character from birth and with a predefined set of traits was relatively new. The cultivation of the standard breeds brought with it recurring controversies in Germany and Great Britain, the two countries in which most popular modern races were developed. Some of the breeders saw the success of the dog as a primary factor and some saw the beauty, shape, and adaptation to the predetermined standard as the most significant and important.

The ability of the shepherd dogs was determined by competitive herding tests in which the dogs were required to lead a herd of sheep on predetermined routes. Success in these tests influenced the decisions of the growers more than anything else and they were also the reason that the cultivation of the dogs came out of the narrow border of the villages and isolated districts. The herding tests began in New Zealand in 1867 and quickly became popular in the world in the second half of the nineteenth century. Herding tests in Britain began in Wales in 1873, in Scotland in 1874 and in England in 1876. The definition of breeds and their registration was the responsibility of the British Kennel Association, but the difference in preferences of the breeders' preference for breed and breed compatibility and the shepherd breeders who favored performance led to the retirement of a group of shepherd breeders from the Kennel Society in 1906 and the establishment of the ISDS Sheepdog Club, .

The first dog recorded in the history of the Border Collie is Old Hemp (picture 2), born in Scotland in 1893, considered to be the progenitor to the Border Collie breed. His decisive influence was achieved by his phenomenal success in herding tests. From the first he took part, when he was only a year old, he never lost. He had a special knack for reading the behavior of the sheep and he went through every route without difficulty. His ability surprised his owner, Adam Telfer because his father, Roy, had no remarkable talent and his mother, Meg, was so intense that she hypnotized herself instead of the sheep. Old Hemp won the good qualities of his parents without inheriting any of their lesser habits. Another factor contributing to Old Hemp's success was that he had bestowed his qualities on his offspring, many of whom were successful test dogs.

During his relatively short life (he died at the age of eight) Old Hemp was a popular breeding dog and gave birth to about 200 male dogs and an unknown number of female dogs. Today All pure Border Collies alive today can trace an ancestral line back to Old Hemp.

The most important offspring of Old Kemp was Old Kep (picture 3), born in 1901, the same year as Old Kemp. Old Kep straightened his father's qualities and even surpassed them. His ability to herd and his "EYE" led him to 45 victories in herding tests, and he also had a more comfortable temperament than the predators of his time who tended to be angry with strangers. The offspring of Old Kep continued to influence the race and one of his sons, Don, was sent to New Zealand and donated his genes to cultivate the New Zealand and Australians Borders.

Another dog belonging to the Fathers is CAP. Despite his special abilities, he did not participate in the tests because he lived during the Second World War and was therefore called Wartime Cap, but gave birth to 188 descendants among them world champions. A later dog that influenced the race is Wiston Cap (picture 6), born in 1963, which ISDS considers the ideal Border Collie, and its accuracy in a work posture is used as a logo of the association. Wiston Cap has 338 direct descendants in the growth book. Fifty years later, about 17% of the Borders have a direct blood connection to it.

The list of dogs that affected the breed is not short and everyone is documented so it is easy to follow the development of the breed. Also noteworthy are some famous breeders such as the Talper brothers who raised Old Hemp and Old Kep, J. M. Wilson, who raised and trained several legendary dogs including Wartime Cap and W. S. Hetherington, who raised Wiston Cap.

Finally, there is a dispute over the origin of the name Border Collie. Some say that the word Collie comes from the word coal, and it refers to the black color of the fathers of the breed. Another argument holds that the word comes from the Gaelic language and means "useful" or "effective" and some say that the word Collie refers to a particular sheep breed, although such a breed does not exist today. Another version claims that the source is German and arrived in England with the migration of the Gauls from the Rhine region. There is a breed of shepherd dogs in Germany called Altdeutscher Collie. 

The name Border as a hint of the dog's origins from the border area between England and Scotland by James Reed, Secretary of the International Sheepdog Society (ISDS) describing the dog who won the herding in 1918. But only In 1946 the name was officially registered in the ISDS Growth Book.

In the book "The Intelligence of the Dog" by Dr. Stanley Koren (1994), Koren divides the dog's mental abilities into several parts, for the purpose of writing the section on intelligence (training or intelligence) In North America, Border Collie has been rated as the most suitable for training, and since then it has been called the smartest dog ...


  1. Wikipedia



  4. AKC

  5. Facebook post by Shy Baratz

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