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Border Collie
The Border Collie has emerged with labels and accomplishments that leave many people confident it is among the most trainable and intelligent of breeds. This success has been misinterpreted as easy to live with.  In fact, the intelligence and intensity of the Border Collie make it difficult for all but the most dedicated of working homes to accomodate as this breed will develop its own "job" with or without guidance from its family, just as often leaving it a nuisance barker, car chaser, digger, etc. as a well balanced and superbly mannered companion.
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General Information
Group(s): Herding Height: 18-22 inches
Weight: generally around 42-55 pounds Longevity: 15
Colors: various with black and white most common Coat type: smooth variety as well as rough variety which is double coated with feathering, long and silky to the touch
Recognized Registries: AKC and others
Overall Appearance: While working, the Border Collie will drop its head level with its back, ears against its head. Focus and drive coupled with the famous "stare" serve to help them intimidate their subject into submission. Clean lines, not heavily muscled but remarkably agile and with marked endurance, the Border Collie is beautiful but not to be considered decorative as a result.
Personaility - Behavior - Training
Energy Level: VERY HIGH
General Nature: varies greatly
  with Children: varies -generally good but lack of socialization and outlets for physical energy can leave them anxious and unreliable
  with other pets: varies -generally good but lack of socialization and outlets for physical energy can leave them anxious and unreliable
  with dogs: generally good but lack of socialization and outlets for physical energy can leave them anxious and unreliable
Socialization requirements: rather high as anxiety coupled with their intensity can make for difficult situations if they lack experience to cope with new circumstance
Ideal home characteristics: dedicated to keep the dog engaged in new activities and training, this is a breed that loves to work and learn
Temperament Notes: generally soft, building confidence and communication is key to a well balanced individual
Training requirement: probably the highest of any breed
Trainer notes: Do NOT bring this dog home expecting a quiet couch potato that will nap while you are at work only to be glad to greet you in the evening for a 10 minute walk.  This dog REQUIRES mental and physical stimulation and lots of it.  Dedicate yourself prior to getting a puppy to the idea of quick training sessions once or twice a day in conjunction with some dog sport or endeavor.  Border Collies are among the top cotenders in so many activities from obedience to flyball to agility to herding that your choices are far from limited and include things that can be pursued anywhere in the country.
Background Information
Year range of first recognition: 1700s
Country of Origin: Scotland
Original Function: herding
History: Developed as one of the most talented Herding dogs in the world by the Shepherds of the Scottish Highlands. The Hard Eyed Border Collie and the Loose-Eyed Scotch Collie (best known in the US as simply Collie) are among the most intelligent of all canines
Adoption Information
Deviations from Standard: too large, too much coat, poor pigmentation,
Health Notes: canine hip dysplasia, seizures, progressive retinal atrophy, ceriod lipofuscinosis, joint problems
Health Testing: OFA or Penn Hip, CERF
Questions to ask Breeder:  - The Breeder Questions as listed here provided with explanations and answers you will want to be looking for! 
  • How long have you had Border Collies?
  • Why do you have Border Collies (show, performance, hunting, etc.)?
  • What do you consider to be the most important single characteristic of a Border Collie?
  • What health issues have you seen in the breed?
  • What criteria do you set for your breeding stock?
  • Do you plan to keep a puppy from this litter?
  • How often do you have puppies?
  • Do you have a written contract and puppy guarantee?
  • At what age do you sent your pups to their homes?
  • How would you describe the ideal Border Collie?
  • How would you describe the ideal Border Collie home?
  • Are your puppies whelped in your home?
  • What advice would you offer someone in raising and training a Border Collie?
  • Web Sites: links to Border Collie Rescues all over the USA

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    Breed standard: Preamble - 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 hundreds of years 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.

    General Appearance
    The Border Collie is a well balanced, medium-sized dog of athletic appearance, displaying style and agility in equal measure with soundness and strength. 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. Any aspect of structure or temperament that would impede the dog's ability to function as a herding dog should be severely faulted. 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.

    Size, Proportion, Substance
    The height at the withers varies from 19" to 22" for males, 18" to 21" for females. The body, from prosternum to point of buttocks, is slightly longer than the height at the withers with the length to height ratio being approximately 10:9. Bone must be strong, medium being correct but lighter bone is preferred over heavy. 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. Excess body weight is not to be mistaken for muscle or substance. Any single feature of size appearing out of proportion should be considered a fault.

    Expression is intelligent, alert, eager, and full of interest. Eyes are set well apart, of moderate size, oval in shape. The color encompasses the full range of brown eyes, dogs having body colors other than black may have noticeably lighter eye color. Blue eyes (with one, both or part of one or both eyes being blue) in dogs other than merle, are acceptable but not preferred. Eye rims should be fully pigmented, lack thereof considered a fault according to degree. Ears are of medium size, set well apart, one or both carried erect and/or semi-erect (varying from 1/4 to 3/4 of the ear erect). When semi-erect, the tips may fall forward or outward to the side. Ears are sensitive and mobile. Skull is relatively flat and moderate in width. The skull and muzzle are approximately equal in length. In profile the top of the skull is parallel with the top of the muzzle. Stop moderate, but distinct. The muzzle is strong, tapering slightly to the nose. The underjaw is strong and well developed. A domed, blocky or very narrow skull is faulty according to degree, as is cheekiness and a snipey muzzle. Nose color matches the primary body color. Nostrils are well developed. Lack of nose pigmentation is a fault according to degree. Bite: Teeth and jaws are strong, meeting in a scissors bite. Complete dentition is required. Missing molars or pre-molars are serious faults as is an undershot or overshot bite.

    Neck, Topline, Body
    Neck is of proportional length to the body, strong and muscular, slightly arched and blending smoothly into the shoulders. Topline: Back is level from behind the withers to the slightly arched, muscular loins, falling to a gently sloping croup. Body is athletic in appearance with a deep, moderately broad chest reaching no further than the point of the elbow. The rib cage is moderately long with well sprung ribs. Loins moderately deep and short, muscular, slightly arched and with a slight but distinct tuck up. The tail is set on low and is moderately long with the bone reaching at least to the hock. The ideal tail carriage is low when the dog is concentrating on a given task and may have a slight upward swirl at the end like a shepherd's crook. In excitement, it may be raised proudly and waved like a banner, showing a confident personality. A tail curled over the back is a fault.

    Forelegs should be parallel when viewed from front, pasterns slightly sloping when viewed from side. Because sufficient length of leg is crucial for the type of work the breed is required to do, the distance from the wither to the elbow is slightly less than from the elbow to the ground and legs that are too short in proportion to the rest of the body are a serious fault. The shoulder blades are long, well laid back and well-angulated to the upper arm. Shoulder blades and upper arms are equal in length. There is sufficient width between the tops of the shoulder blades to allow for the characteristic crouch when approaching and moving stock. The elbows are neither in nor out. Feet are compact, oval in shape; pads deep and strong, toes moderately arched and close together with strong nails of moderate length. Dewclaws may be removed.

    Broad and muscular, in profile sloping gracefully to the low set tail. The thighs are long, broad, deep and muscular. Stifles are well turned with strong hocks that may be either parallel or very slightly turned in. Dewclaws should be removed. Feet, although slightly smaller, are the same as front.

    Two varieties are permissible, both having close-fitting, dense, weather resistant double coats with the top coat either straight or wavy and coarser in texture than the undercoat which is soft, short and dense. The rough variety is medium in length without being excessive. Forelegs, haunches, chest and underside are feathered and the coat on face, ears, feet, fronts of legs is short and smooth. The smooth variety is short over entire body, is usually coarser in texture than the rough variety and may have slight feathering on forelegs, haunches, chest and ruff. Neither coat type is preferred over the other. Seasonal shedding is normal and should not be penalized. The Border Collie's purpose as an actively working herding dog shall be clearly evident in its presentation. Excess hair on the feet, hock and pastern areas may be neatened for the show ring. Whiskers are untrimmed. Dogs that are overly groomed (trimmed and/or sculpted) should be penalized according to the extent.

    The Border Collie appears in all colors or combination of colors and/or markings. Solid color, bi-color, tri-color, merle and sable dogs 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 and head are permissible but should not predominate. Color and markings are always secondary to physical evaluation and gait.

    The Border Collie is an agile dog, able to suddenly change speed and direction while maintaining balance and grace. Endurance is its trademark. The Border Collie's most used working gaits are the gallop and a moving crouch (stealth) which convert to a balanced and free trot, with minimum lift of the feet. The head is carried level with or slightly below the withers. When shown, Border Collies should move on a loose lead and at moderate speed, never raced around the ring with the head held high. When viewed from the side the trot is not long striding, yet covers the ground with minimum effort, exhibiting facility of movement rather than a hard driving action. Exaggerated reach and drive at the trot are not useful to the Border Collie. The topline is firm. Viewed from the front, action is forward and true without wasted motion. Viewed from the rear, hindquarters drive with thrust and flexibility with hocks turning neither in nor out, moving close together but never touching. The legs, both front and rear, tend to converge toward the center line as speed increases. Any deficiency that detracts from efficient movement is a fault.

    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 fear, dullness or resentment. Any tendencies toward viciousness, nervousness or shyness are very serious faults.

    Any deviation from the foregoing should be considered a fault, the seriousness of the fault depending upon the extent of the deviation.

    Breeder Ethics:

    Breeding: The aim of any mating is to improve the breed. Therefore, dogs and bitches must be of suitable age (BCSA strongly recommends breeding stock be at least two years old) of general overall good health and intelligence, certified free from hereditary eye defects and hip dysplasia, of good temperament, and with sound structure and bite. The owner of the sire is as responsible as the owner of the dam in all matters of the welfare of the offspring. The terms and conditions of the mating must be clear to all parties prior to mating. Proper documentation of the mating is also essential.

    Selling: All Border Collies sold shall be in good health and of a suitable age to leave litters (7 weeks old minimum age recommended), properly documented (pedigree and registration). The terms and conditions of the sale shall be clearly outlined, with written instructions on feeding, health, training, and grooming being provided by the seller. Advertising must be of an honest and informative nature and the price of the dog reasonable, according to the quality, the achievements, the bloodlines, and the potential of the dog. Sellers are obligated to take back or help rehome any dog they sell, regardless of the reason of circumstance necessitating return. Sellers shall keep a record of names and addresses of all buyers, offering support and advice to all. It is prohibited to sell, consign or donate dogs to commercial dog wholesalers, retailers (pet shops), laboratories, or raffles. Moreover, Sellers should refrain from selling to unethical breeders or persons whose intentions are unknown or suspect.

    Ownership: Owners shall ensure their Border Collies receive appropriate immunizations, any necessary veterinary care, and adequate nutrition. Owners shall ensure their dogs receive proper training and control, preventing any charges of public endangerment or nuisance. Any public fouling will be immediately cleaned up. All dogs will be properly licensed according to community regulations. Owners will advise Breeders if any hereditary diseases or conditions arise, providing copies of veterinary documentation or correspondence. Owners will never abandon their Border Collies. When dogs cannot be kept, the Owner will contact the Breeder for possible return or help in rehoming. Failing that, the Owner shall contact the BCSA for Border Collie Rescue assistance. The last resort will be the local humane society.

    Conduct: The Mission and the Vision of the Border Collie Society of America must be uppermost in the minds of members. All actions in regard to the dogs, fellow members and the general public must consider the best interests of the breed. Conduct shall be positively directed towards educating the public about the breed, improving one's own knowledge about the breed, and demonstrating good sportsmanship. Degrading another member's kennel or stock with malicious intent is prohibited. It is further prohibited to threaten any members, their Border Collies or their property IN ANY FASHION. The BCSA advocates public release of information regarding any aspect of breeding as long as that information is released with permission of all parties involved and accompanied by proper professional documentation. For example, if a Border Collie is found to be affected with PRA, the owner should provide veterinary documentation, ensuring that both the owner of the sire and dam are also notified. Actions such as altering, hiding, or destroying information/certification are also prohibited. Gossip, hearsay and innuendo are discouraged. Facts, official results, and professional communications are encouraged.

    Enforcement and Discipline: It is the responsibility of each member to make an inquiry concerning suspected violations of this Code of Ethics. Should such a violation appear to exist, the Board of Directors should be notified and action taken in accordance with Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution and By-Laws of the Border Collie Society of America, Inc. Board members may not take an active part in decisions that personally affect them. By adhering to this Code of Ethics, we will accomplish the Mission of the Border Collie Society of America, Inc. and reach the Vision for which we all strive.

    From the BCSA Constitution and By-Laws:

    Any member may prefer charges against another member for alleged misconduct prejudicial to the best interests of the Club or the breed. The Board shall rule on the charges and award appropriate disciplinary action not excluding suspension or expulsion.

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