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The Border Collie is essentially a sheepdog. Obviously, sheep could be raised only in large tracts of uninhabited land where they could graze freely and thus did the border areas between Scotland and Northern England become prime sheep raising country as their topography suited the rearing and raising of sheep.
The herding of sheep in these vast hills of unfenced land required the shepherds to obtain the help of dogs and this is where the Border Collies came into their own. They are natural born herders and soon came to be recognized as outstanding sheepdogs.
They are “heading” or “gathering” herders and not what is known as “heelers”. That means that they run wide around a flock of sheep, gather them together and bring them back to his master, the shepherd. They do not snap at the heels of sheep.
One of the reasons why these dogs are so good at running is that they have indefatigable energy. They are workaholics and are at their best when they are “doing” something energetic. This could mean any activity requiring them to run around endlessly, be it herding or any of the other active occupations and dog sports at which they excel.
Their energy level is boundless and this could be a major problem for your average human being who usually find it tough, if not impossible, to run around with their pets as much as their pets would want them to do.
The problem is actually more acute than the mere fact of a Border Collie’s owner getting tired of running around with his pet. Herding instincts run in the blood of these dogs and they will attempt to herd anything that moves – dogs, cats, squirrels and, more worrisomely, children.
While we have said before that these collies do not snap at the heels of sheep but rather run around them, they have been known to get carried away with the chase and to nip at the heels of children when a scared kid has tried to run away from him. It is necessary therefore that a Border Collie’s owner train him to control himself, specially in the presence of children.
This is not at all difficult because, by any standard, the Border Collie is a very intelligent dog who is highly trainable. That is why they became so famous as sheepdogs in the first place. But the point is that the owner must make the time and the effort to train his dog properly and he will find that his pet will behave himself far more readily than other dogs.
The other worry regarding this hyperactive breed is that his herding instincts will lead him to run after anything that moves. Lawn mowers and vacuum cleaners are all very well since they cannot harm the dog but the Border Collie is also an inveterate car chaser.
This obviously can be dangerous and many a collie has lost his life in trying to herd a car that is getting away. It is difficult to stop this trait and one has just got to be careful about his running on to the street.
In recent years, the Border Collie is being seen more and more in television programs and in movies leading a lot of people to seek such a collie for a pet. If you are one such, you must ask yourself first whether you are a right fit as an owner of such a dog. This is no aspersion on you. It just makes sense to zero in on a pet dog which is in sync with your personality.
An ideal combination for a Border Collie is an owner who enjoys spending a lot of time with his collie. Not only does he enjoy his time with his dog, but his work schedule must permit him to be with his pet for fairly long periods. And, it won’t be a case of merely hanging around with your pet.
You must be able to make the commitment to exercise and train in some way every day. A person who is very active and who likes to jog and hike for fairly long periods is probably the best suited to take on the responsibility of a Border Collie. Because, essentially, these dogs require much more work constantly than other breeds.
So think carefully whether you are able to make commitments such as these to your Border Collie before you take the plunge to adopt a pet of this breed. You may just be falling short if you don’t have the temperament to keep up with this talented but tireless dog.
Learn more about Border Collie.
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