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Register on Merit - a dog that is registered as a border collie with a specific registry because of its performance on stock via a series of specific accomplishments in stockdog trials. It's rather difficult, I understand.


ETA: here Paula





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Here's the ISDS information:




Puppies over two years old will not be accepted for registration by the normal route. However, there is a

scheme whereby the details of dogs of good breeding and sufficient working merit can be submitted to the

Stud Book Committee for Registration on Merit (ROM). This is of interest to many people with

unregistered dogs, but the process is somewhat complex and needs some explanation. It is not supposed to

be an easy option for those who did not register pups at the right time.

Firstly, have the owner and dog ever competed in a sheepdog trial? If the answer is yes then one route to

ROM is by success in competition and an award of one first prize or two seconds or three thirds at an

Open Trial, with a minimum of 25 dogs competing. This is difficult to achieve in some overseas countries.

However, the Society also accepts selection for that Nation's team, for example to compete at the

Continental Championship, as sufficient standard.

Another route is by a Working Test. Anyone can take a working test, previous trialling is no longer a bar.

Currently, the Working Test can only be taken in the UK or Ireland, or by an ISDS Associate Club. The

dog must pass a test of skill in Outrun, Lift, Fetch and Driving and general farm duties on packet of sheep at

a test location nominated by the Society or Associate Club and assessed by two Directors, or one Director

plus an approved Examiner if it is an Associate Club test. Both Directors/Examiners must be in agreement

with the result. This test is not supposed to be a sheepdog trial; it is a test of the ability of the dog to

undertake typical farm work, and not the skill of the handler. The nature and detail of the test will thus take

account of the land, surroundings and conditions. If you need a Working Test then there will be help

putting you in touch with some friendly faces to gently take you through the process.

Once you have selected one of the above, confirm that you can fulfil or supply all the following:


The applicant must be the owner of the dog and must be, or become, a member of the International

Sheep Dog Society on submission of the application.


The dog that is the subject of the ROM must be a Border Collie over two years old and have a clear

ophthalmic certificate for the eye diseases CEA and PRA (CPRA) and must additionally have a DNA

blood test result from Optigen for CEA/CH showing a Clear or Carrier result (this DNA CEA/CH

test requirement replaces the need for parent dog eye tests).


Supply a history of the breeding of the dog with full details of its sire and dam giving owners and ISDS

registration numbers wherever available in the pedigree (although it is not a requirement that

parents be ISDS registered).


A colour photograph of the dog seeking registration, showing colour and markings.


Written confirmation by a currently serving Director of the Society that the dog seeking registration

is a Working Sheep Dog and is true to type. This means that, irrespective of its coat style, colouring

or size, the dog is a Border Collie as accepted by this Society.

Your application should be made on the attached form. If all the information is available, and any Working

Test has been reported, the registration process will be considered by the Stud Book Committee within 28

days. The current fee must accompany the application and is not refundable if the registration is not

accepted. However, we will help ensure your details are all there before we try to arrange a Working


If you require advice or assistance in collecting any of the evidence please contact the office or your

Associate club Secretary.

A dog successfully Registered on Merit has a Certificate issued, is entered in the current Stud Book and has

full rights for its progeny to be registered and to enter Society Trials under the rules applicable. Note that

this also means that pups sired by or whelped from the ROM dog are retrospectively eligible for

registration if they are less than two years old.

Norman Lorton

Chief Executive, International Sheep Dog Society

International Sheep Dog Society

Registration on



And, for ABCA


All application requests and documents must be filed with the Secretary through the ABCA office in Perkinston, Mississippi.


I. All of these conditions must be met:


A. A pedigree of the dog should be supplied to the Secretary, giving all details available on the sire and dam, including registration numbers when available.


B. Evidence that both sire and dam have received an OFA rating of "good" or "excellent" hips, or Cornell University Veterinary Radiology Department reports stating that their hips are not dysplastic. (This condition may be impractical or impossible to meet in some cases. The ROM Committee has the authority to waive this condition in some circumstances.)


C. A report by a DACVO-certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist must be supplied, indicating that the dog seeking registration on merit has been examined within 24 months prior to the date of application and has been found free of heritable eye disease. CEA DNA test results indicating that the dog is not CEA Affected must also be supplied. In addition, either an OFA rating of "good" or "excellent" hips, or a Cornell University Veterinary Radiology Department report stating that the dog's hips are not dysplastic, based upon x-rays taken when the dog was two years old or older, must be supplied.


D. Fee: $100 non-refundable. The applicant will also be required to bear whatever cost may be incurred by the committee to meet eligibility requirements.


E. A video of the dog working livestock must be supplied to each member of the ROM Committee. That Committee will make a recommendation whether to refer to the full Board of Directors or not. If referred to the full Board, a video of the dog working livestock must be supplied to the rest of the Directors unless some of them have seen the dog and do not need a video.


F. The owner of the dog requesting registration on merit must be a member in good standing of the American Border Collie Association, Inc.


G. The dog or bitch cannot have been previously deregistered by the ABCA.


II. Working Qualifications (One or the other of these options must be met.)


A. Written proof that the dog seeking registration on merit has placed in the top 10% of three open, advertised National style and size trials judged under ISDS or USBCHA rules.


B. To pass the working qualifications, the dog must demonstrate outstanding abilities in outrun, lift, fetch, driving, and must satisfy the Directors as to his good balance, power, and eye. At least three of the Directors must see the dog in person working livestock at a place other than his home on livestock that he is not used to. In the event that the distance required to meet with 3 Directors is considered unreasonable, a handler may apply to the Board to substitute 1 or more of the 3 Directors required to see the dog in person with qualified handlers satisfactory to the Board.


In all cases, at least three Directors (or handlers designated by the Board) must see the dog seeking registration on merit, and 11 of the 12 Directors must vote to approve the dog for registration.

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Penny Tose's Emily was the first registered ROM. Two of her pups- (Taylor and Jordan) were awesome open dogs (recently retired), with Taylor placing Reserve at the National Nurseries one year. Shows that the ROM system works.

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Tess was the third dog to get a ROM. She ran and got 6th in the USBCHA Finals in 2001 in the Nursery Class under a top handler. Prior to that she placed or won some tough Nursery Classes. As an Open dog, she ran and placed well in the 2004 Finals and also won Open classes and most yrs has gotten points towards the sheepdog Finals.


Her pup, Roo from the first litter qualified and ran at the USBCHA Cattledog Nursery Finals and just finished out of the top 20 in the Finals (handler error). He, also in that same yr, qualified for the USBCHA Sheepdog Nursery Finals. I didn't go since my Father-In-Law had just passed away. Roo has won/placed in cowdog trials and is running in Open. Other pups from the first litter have won many Open sheepdog trials.


From her second litter, Jackie just ran last yr in the USBCHA Finals in the Nursery Class. I think she placed 4/5th in the first go round and then 20th overall. Pups from both litters work on cattle and sheep operations.


A granddaughter, Lucy won a PN class on her second outing and just got done working 3000 range ewes on the winter on a range sheep operation.


I did some digging about Tess's history. We knew her dam's lines were from Canada and were working/trial dogs but her sire was from Germany. Turns out he was the grandson of Henderson's Bill and Price's Davey. They imported her grandparents from the UK and gave them the German herding numbers.


Tess, well over 9 yrs old won a Open class with ease. She still is running well and she is almost 10. Do I think the ROM program is good....YES, look at Penny's Emily and her pups and Tess and how she did in Nursery/Open and her pups.

It was not easy to do the process but well worth it.


Tess is my heart and soul and because of her I am the handler that I am today. I am grateful that she came into my life and it was the best $100 purchase I ever did!

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