Jump to content
BC Boards

Why did you choose a Border Collie?

Recommended Posts

I grew up in the vast wild reaches of suburban Long Island. Both our dogs, one old and one young, had passed away in recent months and my mother, the consummate animal lover, missed having a loyal and loving canine companion. Our neighbor (the one where everyone else dumped their unwanted animals because they would get a good home there) brought to us a 6 month old bitch, mostly white, full-coated, a light brown cap on her head and a couple of large light brown spots on her body.


He'd found her in the gin mill over the railroad tracks, where the waitress had taken pity on such a pretty and well-behaved dog as to feed her and care for her as best she could, but she couldn't keep her. Brad knew my mother very well and said that if she didn't want the dog (as she stated, but we all knew better), she could just "turn her out". Lady lived with us for fifteen wonderful years, the best dog a youngster (or any family) could want - intelligent, devoted, a good watchdog, a great companion for walks and games, and (from appearance and mannerisms) largely Border Collie.


Some of my friends had purebred, pedigreed dogs but none ever had a dog that was the equal of our Lady for intelligence and devotion.


When we decided to get a dog to help us work stock decades later, my husband first went with an Australian Shepherd, then brought home a Border Collie/Aussie cross (the late, great Rocket that I've written about before), then another Aussie (our son's dog but, when he tired of him, MacLeod became our family and farm dog). Finally when the children were grown and out of the house, I saw working Border Collies at a demo and thought, "That's just what I need - a good gathering dog."


I got a pup we named Skye, who was killed as a young dog, and then Celt, who was given to us by Skye's sympathetic breeder. We adopted Megan, and then were given Bute because no one else wanted him, and finally purchased Dan. They've spoiled me for any other breed. I was exposed to one as a child, got our current dogs for the work, have enjoyed a little recreational agility with several, and hope to always have one of these intelligent, active, devoted dogs at my side as a companion and a working partner.


How about you?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had just come over to this country as a mere kid. No family and no friends. I wanted a dog. My boss promised me that I could get one out of his dog. He was a wonderful Border Collie named Penguin. One problem though....he had to breed first! :rolleyes:

In the meanwhile I picked up a little stray that seemed to be an Aussie/Aussie mix who promptly strayed again and got killed in a freak accident. The next dog was a labx that we called Freeway as we saw a guy pull over on the side of the road, kick out the dog and beat her...she went to live with my room mate.


So I just kept begging and one day one of my bosses friends, Penguin's breeder showed up on a Sunday while my boss was at the local coffee shop. He had a tiny little b/w bundle in his arms and the mom with him. He showed me what mom could do, handed me the pup and said 'no need to feed her today she already ate'! I remember me telling him that I could not afford to pay for her, that I am sure my boss would not like it and was in total shock when he shrugged it off with a simple 'she is paid for and your boss knows!'. And that is how I got my first BC.


Compared to today, I knew less than nothing. But I clicked with the breed instantly. To this day, they where just as much part of my daily life as my horses. Gem became my steady companion, she helped round up babies, kept foals in line and lent a paw where ever she felt I needed one. And in her mind that was often. I still have her great, great, grandson with me. And to this day he too thinks that I don't have a clue.


The intelligence, friendly, never quit attitude of the breed is what sold me. Mine have always been game for anything and have weathered some pretty tough times, mainly an owner who had to learn as we went. Today, I am still only a weekend warrior when it comes to herding. Two of mine have done some protection work. They all love and loved frisbees and one is even showing me the ropes in agility. But mostly, they ground me and make me laugh and wonder.



To this day, my boss denied having known anything about my gift. And I never may know how I got my Gem.


PS: And when I think back, even before I headed to the US I had the great pleasure of working on a farm in Canada for a year that employed a great BC named Vic as well as Vic's constant headache, an Aussie named Ben. I guess it may be fair to say that I fell in love with the breed back then already.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about you?



In the 1980's I was finishing my undergraduate degree in North Carolina. I owned a beagle and volunteered teaching household obedience through the local shelter. I was interested in participating in a very new sport that folks were talking about. So I paid a local pig farmer $100 for a Border collie bitch pup and planned to learn something about agility.


By accident I dropped in at a local sheep dog trial a few months later; I know now that it was given by the Kuykendalls. When they gave Bill Berhow and his Nick the "Long Road" award, I thought it was because he had driven out from Montana.


My life changed then to the same degree as when I went out with for drinks after work with the man I later married. I stayed at that trial for all of its three days, staring through the fence at the sheep, men, and dogs as hard as my little pup did. By the end of it I still didn't understand why the dogs didn't always lie down when they were told to, but I knew that I was finished with obedience and would never start in agility. At that point I promised myself that the only training I would ever do with a dog ever again was for work.


That fall I moved out to California and graduate school. I stayed true to that promise. I had no sheep, no money to buy any, and no place to put them. But I was in California, and they did have earthquakes there and a very active SAR community to respond to them. Lucy and I joined the California Rescue Dog Association (CARDA). At that time, she may have been the only Border collie in the association; she was certainly the only one in the Bay Area.


At two years old she certified in 160 acres of the Sierra Nevada to find victims missing in wilderness, and soon after she certified through FEMA to find victims missing in disasters. (As I recall, she was the seventh dog to be so rostered in the nation.) She was an outstanding, opinionated, and obstinate dog. Handlers asked me if there was any limit to how far off she would range to find her victims, how high she would climb through rubble piles. The general concensus at that time was that if Lucy couldn't access a rubble site, then it couldn't be searched by a canine. She always did the best she knew; something I can say about no human I have ever met. I am proud to have been her handler. She went everywhere; as her spear carrier, I followed her gratefully. She took me on numerous searches for missing people throughout the state of California, to the Northridge Earthquake, and for ten days we were in the Murrah Federal Building in 1995. When my son was born in 1997, I respected and loved her too well to keep her, so I sold her to another handler who took her the World Trade Center, and, after training her to find bdies, to the explosion of the space shuttle. She once found a body in a dump. They buried her at 16, putting her down at one of the rubble sites that she trained on through her life. I understand that she did a short search on that very last day.


Throughout that time, I enjoyed the SAR work, but I always wanted the sheep work even more. It is much harder than SAR training, more elegant, and more attuned to the the dogs genetics. It creates a world around itself that I find precious and in which I am deeply happy. I rented a 50 acre field from my universtity when Lucy was 3 or 4 and was mentored through the magic of the internet by a true dinosaur in the sheepdog world: Jim Varnon, whose posts would send most of you today running for the hills, they were so mean, funny, and smart. His advice I now know was usually terrible, but his belief in me was wonderful. Lucy turned out to be a terrible sheepdog, lacking power, biddibility and talent. All of my subsequent dogs were bought with an eye to learning the sheep dogs's craft; I hope that they resemble Lucy only in her obsessive dedication to excellence.


We bought the farm when my children were 2 and 3. I stayed home on it, busy with family issues, and promised myself that I would learn how to put a good foundation on a dog and how to handle sheep gracefully. I have worked very hard to meet these goals. A decade later, my kids are older and I have a nice a pair of young dogs that I am training up; with them I am resolved to keep the promise that I made to myself by Kent Kuykendall's fence and, in an oblique way, to Lucy, to learn how to train and handle dogs really well. The farm, sheep and dogs are a big part of my life now. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be honest, I can't remember when I first saw a border collie. I mentioned agility on ESPN in another thread but I don't think that's correct. In any case, I got Izzy and she sold me 100% on the breed, and that lead to joining NEBCR and adopting Tobey from Glen Highland Farm. In many ways, I can be like a border collie myself, I always have to be busy, I don't do well just loafing around unless I'm exhausted and new challenges make me the happiest. These are the first two dogs that I've been the sole provider of as an adult and it feels good to be responsible for something larger than myself.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I grew up in the country with collie-type farm dogs who basically did whatever you wanted them to do - help with the stock, play with the kids, guard the house, etc. Then I became an adult and moved to the big city and kept moving to bigger cities so I had cats and a cocker.


When I moved to Houston, I was living on the outskirts where there was still a lot of rural area and stock. The vet I located that I liked was newly graduated and an associate vet with a long-established big animal vet who had brought in my vet to work the small animal practice that was building rapidly but also because she too was a country girl familiar with cows and sheep, etc. My vet's dog was a border collie out of her parents' working dogs - she was also a working dog although not a full time farm dog. I fell in love with her and a few years later she was bred to a working dog and I was offered a puppy - after debating long and hard I turned down the pup - I was working 60 hrs a week and living in an apt and didn't think it was the right time. My vet kept a female pup and she bred her five yrs later - I had a house and shorter work hours by this time and this time I accepted the pup - Sara who is now almost 17! In temperament and appearance, Sara is the picture of her grandmother. Prior to getting Sara, I researched the breed extensively and I've done everything I could to give her a good life. I lost Meg too young to cancer and Katie is more springer than bc in attitude and instinct but Sara still has that bc attitude. Now I can't imagine my home without a bc in it - so I'm sure that after Sara goes to the Bridge, another one will find its way into my home and heart!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It took me 4 years to get over the death of my german shepherd mix. When I told dh (who was my bf at the time) I was ready for another dog, we started doing our research. We eliminated any small breed (too yappy) and any large breed (would weigh too much for me to physically pick up). At one point, I was thinking about getting a beagle but quickly changed my mind when I realized I preferred a herding breed over a hunting breed. DH & I also realized we wanted an intelligent dog that we could take with us to different places....one who wanted to be just as much a part of our family as we wanted him/her to be a part of it. Once we narrowed our choice to a border collie, there were 2 'have to's' dh & I told each other we had to do. #1-S/he had to be a rescue and #2-S/he had to go to obedience classes. We were very lucky to find a border collie rescuer that also taught obedience. Not only did JJ enjoy going to classes, we were lucky to have someone we could turn to if we had any questions.


As much as we were doing with and for JJ, I felt it wasn't enough. Yes, he was a happy dog going places with us and doing things with us but I felt something was missing. As much as JJ enjoyed our company, we still couldn't play with him like another dog could. I felt it was our responsibility to let JJ be/act like a dog. When I called JJ's rescuer she said she had gotten out of rescuing and didn't have any dogs in so I contacted CBCR. The night before Toby was to be brought down for a home visit, his foster mom called and said she was going to go ahead and keep him herself but Toby had a brother. The next day, they brought Jake down. The instant Jake arrived, he let it be known he wasn't going anywhere! He loved JJ, he loved us, he loved the yard, he loved the house....and he was staying!! Jake was here about a week when I noticed his incision from his neutering was a bit red so I made an appt with the vet. When it was time to leave the house, my mom (who was living with us by the time we adopted Jake) made the comment "This I gotta see". Jake walked out the front door and down the sidewalk just fine BUT when he saw we were headed towards the truck, he did an aboutface and dragged me back to the front porch! That boy was determined he wasn't going anywhere. When I signed him up for obedience classes, he was still that way but over time he realized getting into the truck did not mean he was going to be dropped off somewhere. Now, the only time he won't jump in the truck is if he's not the first one in!


Josie is a foster failure. I watch CL to see if/when any border collies are listed. The first listing I saw on Josie was from a guy...he had listed her for free. The next day, I saw another post on Josie. Only this time, a girl had listed her, she was for $30 and didn't get along with the girl's other dog. When I saw Josie's 3rd listing (the girl had changed her mind about the $30 and was now giving her away for free), I got upset. When dh called me on his lunch hour, I vented. I told him that dog was only 6 months old! She was suddenly jerked away from the only home she ever knew and that *person* expected instant bonding and friendship between the 2 dogs?!?!? (the other dog, by the way, was an older mini-schnauzer) I told dh I knew he didn't want me fostering but that poor dog was going to be in 3 different homes in just as many days and she's only 6 months old. I didn't believe Josie had a problem with other dogs but if she's adopted by someone else who didn't understand her breed (1/2 Aussie, 1/2 BC), she will soon so I drove out and got her. Once she settled down and got use to all of us here, we realized Josie's personality fit in our 'pack' perfectly. I guess with Josie, it was just meant to be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm going through the herding breeds..... 2 GSD's, an aussie, now a BC!!

No, it just happened that way.

13 years ago, before deciding on our 2nd GSD, I gave serious thought to getting a BC. I actually called and spoke to someone I didn't even know who owned BC's. She didn't really talk me out of it but she certainly gave me enough information to decide that wasn't the breed for me at that particular time. (thank you to her who ever she was) I had a very young daughter, worked full time and had a smaller house.

So I've always been very interested in the breed and about a year ago, the time was right. I am loving him and enjoying every minute with him! (I have to add that I do still love the GSD's and the aussies are very dear to my heart.)

Michele &

Hughie (the gsd) &

Gypsy (the aussie) &

Chasey Boy (the bc)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't choose a border collie, I chose a dog who turned out to be a border collie....I'm a sheltie person first and foremost, I had two shelties and was looking to get a third dog. I wanted to get a shelter or rescue dog this time though, and I spent a while looking at shelties in rescue...but they are few and far between and DH and I didn't find a match. We moved on to other breeds we thought might be similar, namely aussies. We found Shiner, named Grady at the time, 9 months old, on the ARPH website under "shelter dogs". He was at the shelter down the street from my house, and was listed as urgent. I went to see him the day he was scheduled to be put down....there's a long story in here at this point that I'll mostly skip, but the short version is that the shelter wouldn't release him to me, said they were going to put him down, and after several tense hours of emails and phonecalls, ARPH pulled him for me....I knew right away he was a bc and not an aussie, and the ARPH rep agreed. I was honestly freaked out, I had never heard anything particularly good about bc's in pet homes and I was worried he's be too much dog for us....but we'd committed mentally already...we were assured he wasn't hyper, and we took him home.


For the most part he's been excellent. He was destructive at first and a very big chewer, hard to focus long enough to train, he'd get super amped up on walks and showed a high prey drive around the cats...but he was always sweet and friendly, never snarky, fabulous with people, kids, dogs, from day one. He's 2 1/2 now and like a different dog. Getting a little age on him has worked wonders. He hasn't chewed anything in ages, he's lovely on walks, and I've come a long way in his training...he can focus now, I've been able to fine tune him and he's surpassed my other dogs in obedience. And he's as sweet and friendly as ever.


I have never had any interest in agility or dog sports and it's unlikely I will ever own a farm or sheep...I enjoy my dogs as active companions and prefer dogs who are highly trainable, play ball and frisbee, and are pretty to look at. I consider myself a dog person and it never occurred to me that a dog wouldn't be happy and fulfilled here, I think most would. I honestly don't know if I'll own another bc, despite how nicely Shiner has turned out, my heart is still with shelties. I would consider another rescue bc if it was the right dog at the right time, though I doubt I'll eve go looking for a pup from a breeder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

DH had always wanted a dog, and he had always wanted a Border Collie. He was never quite sure why, he was just drawn to them. His parents had dogs, his grandparents always had dogs (one had hounds and the other German Sheppards) so he had grown up with dogs all around him. When we bought our townhome in Colorado I had never had a dog. I remember DH pointing out a Border Collie to me one day early on when we were dating. :rolleyes: He described them to me with dreamy detail. I promised him once we had a house he would get his dream dog.


After we had settled on buying a place of our own, I began to research like crazy. That is how I came across these lovely boards. I lurked and lurked and thought I understood what to look for in a puppy. (HA! I was WRONG!) We wound up meeting two women who worked their dogs on their farms in Colorado. We thought we were doing the right thing. In hind sight we did it all wrong. I never watched the parents work, I was too smitten with the idea of a puppy. I didn't try to find the best working breeder, I just found a breeder who worked their dogs. Ceana's sire was far too young (1yr old) but I had no clue. I had researched the breed instead of how to pick out a puppy. None the less, Ceana's parents were both darling. They had wonderful temperment, her sire was the snuggliest dog in the world. He always had his tongue out to the side, and Ceana has his "silly tongue," when she is really happy and giddy.


Ceana was a loner pup at 5 weeks when we first met. She didn't lay with her siblings or play with her siblings. Instead she prefered to steal socks and drag them off under a table and gaurd them. We were told that she often slept by herself and little miss sat in a corner and watched DH and I for about 20 minutes without any urge to interact. (Ummm... it should have been obvious that she had some screws loose, but did we listen, OH NO) Then out of no where the loner tri-colored runt sprints into my lap and opens her mouth as wide as she could attempting to put my whole forearm in her mouth. (Something she still does to this day :D ) She then snuggled up to my chest and kissed my nose. 2.5 weeks later we took her home.


We had no idea what to expect and we picked a crazy high drive puppy. Luckily we had set aside enough money to have DH take three months off of work to stay home with Miss Ceana. I cannot fathom what would have happened if he hadn't. Ceana started resource gaurding everything almost instantly, (hmmm, the sock gaurding was a sign) and we worked diligently with our vet and with support from people here on these boards. At one point we were both bit. It was out of fear, and it was a warning nip but it reinforced how serious we needed to take Ceana's issues. If you met her today, you wouldn't know that she was as far in her own mental abyss as she was. She has blossmed, and the greatest compliment we have recieved was to have a well known herding trainer tell us she couldn't tell that Ceana had the behavioral issues I had told her about. She said that we have done a wonderful job with her. :D


We got our Poke when Ceana was 1.5 years old. Ceana is now 3 and Poke is two. Poke is MY buddy, and that boy can't help but bring a smile to my face. He does everything with such purpose and intensity I cannot help but admire him. He goes with me every where he can and is up for anything. He is also my little perfectionist. 7 months after Poke's adoption from ABCR we started fostering and helping coordinate events. We may not have very much experience with this breed, but I cannot imagine having any other. In fact, our retirement plans require a farm and sheep. :D The tricky part will be getting to retirement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs have been a very important part of my life. I grew up surrounded by collies, german shepherds, Malamuts, Irish sheperds..... But border collies came across 10 years ago, when I spent a year in a farm in Germany. Wena and Fly, two gorgeous, smart sweet females were in charge of herding the sheep and also of letting me know that eventually BCs will be my companion too.

It took me 7 years to finish my college, settle down and decide I was ready again to be "dog-centric" as somebody wrote here before. Border Collies are a rare breed in Colombia, and it took me several months to find a farm that had several working couples for their sheep and cattle, and after some phone calls, and a 6-hour drive, I arrived to the place where I learned what love at first sight was. The farmers breed their dogs purely for herding, but of course there are dogs from each litter that do not qualify for the job. These are the ones available for sale.

There were at least 8 dogs from several ages, all of them jumping around me, and barking in different tones such as :"who the hell are you?", "boy, you smell nice!", or "pick me!!". And there she was!!! A BC girl approached me, sat in front of me, and offered me her paw and gave me the "take me home" look. I knew she was the one. Unfortunately, the farm owner had thought the same, and told me she was not available. Although she was not the herding type, he had decided to keep her as a pet. He tried to persuade me to pick another one, but he realized I was not even listening, and the BC girl, that I now call Francisca, would also follow me with her eyes.

I can count on that day as one of the most significant and happiest days of my life. We both are connected in such way that perhaps only you guys reading these words can understand.

I didnt choose a Border Collie; she didnt choose me either. We simply knew we were meant to be together.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maggie's not a full BC, she's likely an even mix of ACD and BC instead, and she chose me vs. me choosing her. Her entry into my life has changed it's course and set me on a path that I will always be grateful for.


I was 13 when Maggie found me, volunteering at my local shelter, in love with ACDs and dogs in general, and sadly having been told "no more dogs" by my parents. Maggie was 9mo when I met her, a shy ball of speckled fluff bouncing off the walls of her run. She and I soon became fast friends and she got the special privilege of going with me to the "Back 40" at the shelter: a large fenced area where the dogs could run off lead. I remember her making huge zoomie loops around the field and through the bit of woods on the edge, incredibly happy to be out of that kennel. I walked her almost every other day it seemed for 3 weeks until she was adopted. I had asked my parents if we could adopt her and they said no, so it was bittersweet: three weeks was incredibly long for a dog at the shelter so I was happy she got adopted vs. the alternative.


Unfortunately, 3 weeks later, a 10-11mo Maggie was returned for chasing the dogs and cats in the household and because she was afraid of traffic and they lived on a busy street. She and I picked up where we left off and all was well for a week. I emailed the shelter director, a close friend at the time, to just give her a heads up that I was looking for a placement opportunity for Maggie. That evening she called me at home (very unusual) and basically said that Maggie was going "kennel crazy" and was going to be euthanized if I didn't take her - she was alternating between being aggressive to potential adopters and hiding in the far corner of her kennel and it wasn't humane to keep her like that. After a loooong evening of heartfelt talks with my parents they granted me permission to add Maggie to our family.


She came home with us 24 hours later and we began the journey through escape artistry, dog-dog aggression and undersocialization rehab, agility, therapy work, and herding that has made me who I am today. She has made me a true herding breed person and while a BC isn't on the horizon for a long while, that half of her has influenced some of our journey and the acquisition of my other two dogs. I'll never be without a herding breed and I always hope that at least one will be part or all BC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

my dad was gieven a mix when I was 8 years old, I got curious and started trying to figer out her mix, we knew only that she was part sheltie. I studied my moms dog books(she used to breed and compete with Shelties) and discovered the BC, everything I read about BCs fit Shadow perfectly, the way she moved, her "eye", her intelligence, all the descriptions of behaviour just fit her perfectly. I started researching and fell in love with the breed. though I didnt want one..from what I had researched I also didnt believe I could handle one. when my mom and dad finally aggree'd to let me have my own dog, I wanted a CKCS or a Skye Terrier..something little and hairy lol. but my mom wanted to try dog sports so she talked me into a BC, eventually I relented to getting a BC, and home came Happy. I have been in love ever since. I imagined myself with a few other breeds and when I got older and ventured into them myself. and what I discovered? that my heart belongs to BCs. my dogs are not perfect, I have struggled with Happy and aggression for most of her life, and Misty has SA and can be a bit of a b*tch sometimes. but so what? working on those things has brought me closer to them and deepend our connection, and watching them improve no matter how slowly..warms my heart. they are not perfect, but to me they are.


Ladybug is an exeption, she is different somehow, she warms my heart in the same was my BCs do, and our bond is very close as well. I am not sure what it is exactly about her, but when I watch her, I get exactly the same glowing heart feel I get from watching my BCs. a feeling that as much as I love my other dogs...and just dont get from them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love these stories. I guess I got 'tricked' into my current bc. My first dog was an English Springer and my parents got rid of him because he had too much energy...they made up for the loss with a bc x because my cousins had a bc and we thought she was a great dog. Since my parents never had dogs a bc was most certainly not a better fit at the time and he too was given away for aggression to strangers and chasing the neighbors cattle.


For the next 13 years I enjoyed the company of a Papillon/Pomeranian x which suited a busy family who had little time for long walks and sports, but plenty of laps to sit on.


When she passed away my children were 2 years old and 1 month old so we waited a long time before getting a new dog because despite my parents, I wanted to commit for life to any dog I owned. When they were 4 and 7 we looked into shelters. My first pick would have been a boxer or boston or pug - love the faces! However, for personality and lifestyle with two active kids and a smaller home I always enjoyed the Spaniel personality and went looking for a smaller spaniel mix in the shelters.


Non of my first choices were avilable and the smaller breeds or younger dogs were not allowed to families with children under 6. Anyhow, I found a rescue on CL that had a lovely spaniel/sheltie x, 8 months old that was brought in with a litter of pups. The personality described sounded perfect, her size, temperment and beautiful face were also a factor. Unfortunately she was taken, however, of her pups there was a male that looked just like her (no markings) and was described as very laid back and the calmest personality of the bunch.


I held back, but when all his siblings were adopted he was featured alone with the notice that black dogs are often prejudiced against in rescue and here was another example of the nicest pup left last as his tri-color siblings found homes. I couldn't resist, so we applied and got approved. When he finally came to us at 13 weeks he was bigger than I imagined and quickly grew. With the question around his background we found that the mother may have been a small border collie cross as opposed to a sheltie - oops! And judging by the other pups, there was likely bc on the dad's side too.


Anyway, since he had a great temperment and was doing great with my kids we took him as he came. At 7 months we ran into a fellow at a park with a 7 month old bc and our "worries" were confirmed - aside from the markings they were identical in every way.


Now that he's part of our lives I have no regrets. The issues we've had with him I've learned to accept as a tendency of bc's (not all, I know), but his fit amongst our family, his vibe, his patience with children, his obedience and love are EXACTLY what I set out to get. Would I get a bc again? I really don't know, but will I love them forever - you bet. In a way I feel I'm making up for my past inexperience and inability to commit to my first bc - maybe they're just meant to be in my life!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After Renee and I got engaged we started discussing getting our first dog; both of use wanted a dog with away. We both wanted an active dog and one we could train. Renee didn’t want one as large as a lab so she started looking at various breeds. She found Border Collies and showed be a photo.


As it turns out I grew up with a Border Collie mix and didn’t know it. My mother answered an ad for collie mix puppy for sale (I think she said it was for $5). When she went to pick him up the owner just wanted to be sure the pup would be cared for and the real price was free. Duke lived to be 16.


Once married and living in West Lafayette, IN (I was a post doc at Purdue) we started searching for a litter of Border Collie pups. I wanted a pup that was working bred but didn’t intend to work the pup. A coworker suggested I contact Prof Mike Neary; however, he would not sell to a pet home. He suggested I call Bruce Fogt. Bruce didn’t have any pups but he knew that George Conboy and Dick Bruner had litters. We looked at pups at both places and selected Duncan from Dick Bruner.


Duncan went through several obedience classes (with Renee and with me) and he quickly became bored. Before Duncan was 2 we moved to MD and my current job. Duncan was subjected to more obedience classes (we had originally thought we compete). Much to Duncan’s relief we found UKC agility, which he loved and excelled at.


Eventually we purchased our first house (1 acre). My commute took me past Nancy Starkey’s farm where I saw dogs working sheep. Several times I HAD to stop and the idea of “trying” Duncan on sheep grew (Duncan was from working lines). Nancy suggested I attend a Cheryl Jagger Williams clinic at Mary Brighoff’s farm in Libertytown. The clinic was canceled but I pressed Mary into starting Duncan and giving me lessons. After only a couple of sessions I KNEW this was it for me.


Duncan became my dog which left Renee without one. She purchased Starr (retired and with Celia Morgan) from Cheryl. Our relationship with Mary grew from instructor/student => mentor/student => close friends. It wasn’t too long before Renee and I gave up agility and started dreaming of our own farm. Our two dogs increased to 4, then 5. Most of our free time was spent at Mary’s farm. We started trialing; purchased a pop-up trailer.


We really didn’t think we could afford one in MD; but Mary wanted to downsize from her current farm and asked if we’d like to buy split land with her. Our “pipe dream” became a reality with a new house on 6 acres.


With 6 acres we could have our own sheep. Caring for our own sheep changed our view of sheep (training tools to individuals to be respected) and therefore our training & handling. Our 5 dogs increased again which meant we needed a larger vehicle. Our pop-up was replaced with a travel trailer.


After several years of progressing in our training and trialing we found ourselves being limited by our 6 acres. Again we started dreaming of more land, but never really thought we could afford more in MD. Again we were wrong. The change from 6 acres to 25 acres will likely alter our view of our sheep (individuals to a flock that must earn its keep). The change should improve our training/handling/trialing; it should improve our dogs.


I love this breed. It has changed our lives. I now think (and hopefully act) in terms of the breed not just my individual dogs.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ben and I got our first dog, Sammie, from the SPCA a year after we were married. We didn't really know what he was, but we liked him and he turned out to be a great dog for us. When we decided to get another dog a year later I happened to be in a pet shop and saw a puppy who looked exactly like Sammie. I asked the person working there what kind of dog that was and he said it was a Border Collie. I had never heard of a Border Collie, but I was fascinated by this little puppy.


I went home and told my husband that I wanted a Border Collie. We did consider getting a GSD, though. We lived in a town at the time and we thought a GSD would be better for protection. But I was really, really drawn to the Border Collie because of Sammie.


Well, he found a breeder who bred both GSD's and Border Collies. He called her and arranged for us to go look at an older GSD that she had decided to sell. He also mentioned that there were Border Collie puppies. I didn't want a puppy at the time, but of course I was eager to meet the Border Collies.


When we got there, she showed us the Border Collies first. I just loved them. All of the adults swirled around and came up to Sammie, interested in knowing who he was. And the puppies were just soooooooooo sweet. We played with them a bit and then went to look at the Shepherd.


The Shepherd was beautiful, but definitely not for us. Among other reasons, Sammie was terrified of the dog. We decided not to get the Shepherd and I asked to see the Border Collie puppies one more time. DUN DUN DUN!!! (That, I know now was the fateful moment!)


The little boy puppy kept capering around, trying to get us to interact with him. Even though we weren't really ready for a puppy and we kind of wanted a girl, we couldn't leave without sweet little Speed. We knew he was ours.


A few days later I decided to research Border Collies - LOL!! In spite of doing everything wrong, I honestly can't say we have ever made a better decision. I always treasure the memory of that day, especially now that Speedy is in the end stage of his life. He is my heart dog and has been one of the greatest teachers I've ever known.


Now, for our second Border Collie, I chose much more deliberately. Speedy was 5 years old, I had become very familiar with the breed, and I knew that Border Collies are the perfect fit for me as an owner, trainer, and handler. But that's how it all started for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my case I didn't choose a Border Collie. In fact I tried very hard to not get one. My friend bred a litter and I had been hearing the pups over the phone since they were born. She and her husband decided to come down to my house and enter the remaining pups in a little match show we had at the park, hoping to find them homes. They were now 12 weeks old. When they arrived at my house after a 3 hour drive we took the puppies out of their crate and put them in my yard. As I was taking them out and handing them to my kids this one little white faced pup looked up at me and gave me this look. I thought oh no..I can't have another dog!! I said nothing to my friend and we continued on to the park a little later. When we got there she asked if we'd all help her with the pups..I took the little white faced one and walked off with him. I went up to my friend then and said I need this dog. Her jaw about dropped because she'd been talking to me about these pups for such a long time and I kept saying no I don't need another dog. Of course she gave him to me and that's how I got my first Border Collie. His name was already Seth when I got him. City of Angels was my and my friend's favorite movie at that time and he was named after Nicolas Cage's character. I had actually considered making his registered name Seth Plate, but decided a good stockdog would be embarassed by that. I had raised goats for years and when I took Seth in to see them at 12 weeks he immediately started moving them around and controlling them. I have it on video, this little puppy facing off with those goats. They never got his goat! LOL I realized I needed to find out how to use all this instinct so I found a place to go train him and the rest as they say is history. I now have 5 Border Collies and my life has never been the same!

I do remember one time when I was about 8 or 9 yrs old, my little sister and I were outside playing and some people walked down the road walking a border collie. Even way back then I knew what kind of dog it was. Dogs were my obsession. My sister said she'd like a dog like that and I told her no, those are working dogs and they need to work.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

:D I got a border collie because:


1. My sister border collie puppy was awesome-temperament, looks, intelligent, EVERYTHING about him was awesome.


2. My poodle had recently died and I at the time I couldn't stand the idea of having another one but I miss having a dog. So I chose border collies and I have been addicted since.


3. Agility! At the time I had just started training with my miniature poodle and when my trainer was explaining a technique she would demonstrating with her border collie. I love that look in their eyes when they were about to "work". When they are all tense up and ready to go and just waiting on the release word. You can see a dog that is controlling the chaos within. (makes sense??? Its hard to put into words the look)


:D Anyways that how I got addicted to border collie and why I got two.


My sister dog pick me/us out. When I walk into the whelping area. I was surrounded my black and white fur balls. When the pup went back to playing Conner sat by my feet gazing adoringly up at me.


:rolleyes: Cressa I picked out much to her dismay. But has sense come to terms with it and has figured out how to use it to her advantage by the best of her ability.


:D Troy picked me out. I wanted his sister and wasn't attracted to him. (eww freckles) But he saw me and was like I luv you and has been glue to my side every since.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has everyone here read the other "Why a BC thread" Tommy Coyote posted?


I gave how I got my first BC in that thread. Basically I wound up at a sheepdog trials when I thought it was going to be a rock concert. I woulnd uip dpending the day there and at the end of the day I took an all black with a classic marked face home and called him Auggie. He was Dog 'A' At the time I only know they were good dogs and I wanted one and for $50 it was a good price for a cute pup. It was actually a couple of years before I learned and realized what I had gotten myself into. Since then it has been only border collies with a few exceptions usually foisted off on us by roommates who suddenly left leaving dogs behind.


Most of my dogs never had formal training. Frankly if put ut that way only Glyniss, Chelsey and Jin went to school and Jin will be the first to graduate with a college degree. The rest were home schooled and just fell into their lines of work. Of the all dogs I've had the SAR and trail dogs were easiest to train, Glyniss, Chelsey and Jin who were/are the smartest of them all the hardest.


I've said this before and most of the people who are registered here have said it as well. Border Collies are not for everyone. For those of you contemplating getting a BC you may know or should be aware that there is a high rate of returns or rehoming for this breed and if you have any doubts at all don't do it.


A BC is a commitment like raising children. I shall never rehome a BC.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While my folks kept a German Shepard and a Poodle, then a faithful old Heinz 57 mutt mix, I never had my own dog until I came upon Ruth, my BC/Aussie mix. I grew up working in various horse farm and stable environments, lived in rural farming areas, was stationed in Texas while in the Army ( hung out with rodeo and ranching folks) and was aware of "farm" and "livestock" dogs (but didn't pay much attention to them at the time). Then I moved to Southern Utah, met some sheep ranchers and was awe struck by the beauty and intelligence of their working Border Collies!


After moving back to Wisconsin, I decided I wanted to get a dog and after studying up on Border Collies and Australian Shepards, decided I would keep my eyes open for one. I have been told I have a Type A+++++++++++++++ personality, I have an acute attention to detail and notice EVERYTHING most people wouldn't even notice if they fell over it. That's good or bad depending on what coworkers and bosses like in an employee!!! I annoy the hell out of family members. I knew I wanted a smart, thinking dog---fluffy, tiny lap dogs weren't for me.


Well, since I appear to have the human equivilant of a Border Collie personality, am healthy, and extremely active, I figured I could handle the activity level and daily excercise requirements to keep a Border Collie happy. Their intelligence and beauty intrigued me.


Back in 1995, I saw an advertisement (which I cut out of the paper and still have to this day), to sell a Border Collie/Australian 5 year old female mix. I met Ruth and her current owner, who asked me numerous questions, wanted to visit my home to see where Ruth would live, wanted a reference from my then landlord to verify it was OK for me to have a dog. After that, she said I could have Ruth, waived the purchase price that was listed in the ad (she only wanted serious inquiries) and I loved that dog dearly for the next 9 years.


After Ruth passed, and by that time having met my Bob, we decided we'd "look into" adopting a Border Collie. Well, it turned out a coworker had a litter of pups, let me have "pick of the litter" and we chose Belle. Bob has since turned into a Border Collie man, he's just as awe struck with them as I was.


Belle was about 1 1/2 old when we actually started getting the idea it might be even more fun to have two. I wanted to go either rescue or shelter adoption. One day I happen to notice the tail end of a channel 9 "Pet Profiles" segment and who do I see-----Watson! The rest is history.


Belle and Watson get daily walks/hikes, go camping with us, go swimming, traveling, play Frisbee or Ball everyday, go to the dog park 2 or 3 times a week, meet new people and experience new things when we walk them downtown or in the parks. They seem well adjusted and happy. Belle can be left alone in either my or Bob's home without fear of her tearing up anything (other than her toys). Watson, well, we've only had him just shy of 2 months and he's still adjusting to his new environment. We crate him at night for bedtime as he still occasionally has a "pee" lapse and hasn't quite figured out how to alert us he wants out (Belle noses the bell by the back door). We're working on his recall as he can have selective hearing at times. He's improving by leaps and bounds though. Bob and I absolutely adore these two dogs!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My friend said "hey, I'm going to take my dog herding, want to go?" and I said "HECK YES!" so I went and took my little muttley dog of indeterminate origin and she really like to chase the sheep. So I took some lessons and natch she petered out (it was never real herding). So I was bummed. I wanted a border collie collie because of all the breeds I'd seen, they were the ones that "could do". Then one day, like magic, Soda showed up at the shelter and I took her out to see if she even seemed interested in sheep (Knowing it wasn't a gauge of how well she'd do... I just didn't want a dog that was totally like "meh.").


She was scared of the sheep and kept looking at me like:


a.) who the hell are you?

b.) why am I out in the mud?

c.) these big fluffy things are scary.


Then my trainer brought in one of her dogs to move them around and Soda's face lit up like "I DIDN'T KNOW YOU COULD DO THAT!" and then she put her little tail up, put the sheep in the corner and barked her fool head off. From there we got her to circle around and her tail went down and I said "I'll take her!".


It's been a heckuva journey but she has been a great "starter dog" and has exposed me to all types of border collies and I know now that I'll always have one and I've fallen in love with the stockdog world. And I hope to have a story like Mark Billadeau's--where I end up with a bunch of land and a bunch a sheep, but we'll see. :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My BC chose me. I had just graduated college, moved in with my fiancé, now my husband and I wanted a puppy. My husband at the time had an Aussie Mix who was 7. I knew I did not want a small dog but a medium size one like Sasha. So I went puppy hunting. At first I had no luck, no connection to any of the dogs I held but I was persistent and did not give up. I knew the perfect little girl for me was out there.


Then one day I seen one that no one was really looking at. She was shy, scared and hid in a corner while all the other dogs were greeting people. When a few people tried to pick her up she just ran away not allowing them to pick her up. Then I decided to walk by her when she settled down and started talking to her and she perked upped. It just so happened she was a BC mix who became my Nikita. I picked her up and she showered me with kisses and just cuddled up in my arms and was so comfortable. I told my husband I want this puppy. She told me she wanted me to be her Mommy by all the love she gave me and not running from me. She knew what I wanted a shy little puppy to spoil and be a Mommy’s girl.


We had such an instant connection it was amazing. Like Nikita I am shy and I think that is why we had such a strong bond and became the perfect match. I loved her and the breed so much, she spoiled me. The BC breed grew on me for what amazing dogs they are. I was very fortunate to get a BC who was the love of my life Nikita.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't guess I can remember a time when I have not had dogs. We were raised up with Catahoulas

and mutts used to pen cows. When I left college in the early 70's I took a job managing a dairy in south Mississippi. After about 6 months of walking cows up every day I went looking for a dog. I knew

that a cur dog was not what I wanted, but I had never seen a Border Collie work so I guess it was

fate that led me to check into a newspaper ad. I called and purchaded 2 pups from an old man with a

small beef cattle operation about 2 hours away. Of course there were no papers, and no pedigree.


When they were old enough to keep up I started using the dogs on the dairy. I knew nothing about

training but I guess the repetition helped train the dogs. We had a night pasture of about 40 acres

with a lane to a slab behind the milking barn. Every morning I would drive by, let the dogs out and

continue to the barn and set-up for milking. When I got ready I would go out back and the dogs would

have the cows in the lot. After about 4 years I decided to change jobs and I left the dogs with a

neighbor who also had a dairy. I understand that the dogs worked for him until they died.


After that I worked for another dairy and a couple of beef operations and during that time I had a

couple of Aussies, a heeler and a few other dogs but I always ended up going back to Border

Collies. In the late 80's or early 90's I heard about a trial in Missouri billed as a national cowdog

championship and hosted by Jeffers Vet Supply. I attended and ran into a couple of guys I knew

from La. and ended up purchasing a pup that I picked up after I got back home. This was the first

trial I had seen and the first time I owned a dog with a pedigree and papers. This chance meeting

also led to myself and others later forming the Gulf Coast Stockdog Assn.


The pup I purchased later trialed pretty successfully and qualified for the first USBCHA cowdog finals.

I guess you could say I have really been hooked all these years. For the last 18 years I have had a

cow/calf and stocker operation run by my wife and I and our other help has been the dogs. I try to

keep a trained dog or two, a young dog in training, a pup, and whoever is retired. We host an annual

cowdog trial and try to help anyone who is interested in these great dogs.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was in mourning for the best dog I'll ever have and knew I must have another dog, because life without a dog was cold and missing something, but had no idea what I wanted. Harley was a really tough act to follow.


I sent out a number of feelers to random breed rescue organizations (if another had gotten back to me sooner, I'd have Siberians now) and the first one to bite was an independent Border Collie rescue guy whom I now realize was eager to get a problem dog off his hands. He brought Solo into the city where I lived at the time under the pretense of allowing me to "get to know a Border Collie" (at that point, I had never even seen one in person) and then handed him over to me without having me fill out an application, without doing any reference checks, and without a home check even though my apartment was only blocks away. I knew something was fishy about this whole situation, but then I heard a voice in my head that said, "Just let this happen." So I did.


So, I guess I got a Border Collie sort of by accident.


I started working Solo to help him with his issues and along the way ended up importing a trained sheepdog, Fly, and buying a well-bred pup, Jett. Fly and I had a good run competing in sheepdog trials and I have come to think of her as officially retired now, because it seems like the right time. Jett is coming home soon from being started on sheep, and I will concentrate on her starting this fall because without sheep of my own, it is difficult to give more than one dog enough work to be worthwhile. Fly is totally happy being a pet, and it used to kill me to think of not working Solo, because he loves it so much, but he has gotten so creaky and slow that he can't really get around them anymore except in a very small paddock. He's still sound enough to get around an agility course in decent time, but obstacles don't run and sheep do.


I can't imagine having any breed other than Border Collies, at least not until I come to the point where I feel like I need to "retire" from such a demanding breed. If that happens, I think I'm going to have retired racing Greyhounds. But I don't think it's going to happen anytime soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Angel chose us. We were in Madera,ca at a flyball tournament with Moorea and Lexi. Mark and I had just gone through a rough patch with losing a baby, I was 5 months pregnant. It had happened a few weeks before we got Angel. We weren't looking for another dog. We had gone to Walmart to get some supplies, and there she was with her broken leg. We caught her and that was that I knew that she was ours. I had a feeling she came to us for a reason. It gave me something else to think about besides our horrible loss. I am now on the Dark side as we call it on our team. She is a great dog, and we love her very much. And so does our baby girl who is almost 5 months old.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I chose a BC after having Aussihoulas (Catahoula and Aussie) for a while. Although the aussihoulas are great dogs, very loyal and smart etc.. mine are not the type of dogs I can haul to barrel races with me due to dog agression issues in the female and my male was abused so he doesn't do well around alot of people and loud noises. So I was looking for a hauling partner, and something to maby do some agility or herding with, I have freinds with BC's and I just love the ones I know and wanted to get one myself. So last week I got "Wiley" a 10mo old male Tri, who is just the best dog I have had even now as a pup he follows me everywhere, listens great, is well socialized I am getting him use to noises. I got him from a gal up in Northern CA that raised agility dogs and had done it for a really long time. She had just started this litter on recall etc. Then she was in a really bad car accident and paralyzed. So she was selling almost all of her dogs. Wiley was the runt, and the shy one. He is now growing strong and is no longer shy, he greets everyone with a waggy tail. I think we will be great partners! Here is a pic of my Aussihoulas Drifter(red) and Gracie(grey) then Wiley! :rolleyes:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...