Sheepdog Collie; the Strong Eyed Breed for Herding
The sheepdog collie is an intelligent, fast athletic dog with speed and flock instinct. Moreover, the best herding dogs with the ability and total commitment; they love their job. In addition, they are also known as a Border collie.
Particularly, easy to train as they have that ability to follow command such as stay, turn left/right, run, and stop.
As well as, have exceptional hearing capabilities (10x) better, and also follows your voice and whistle commands very well.
They love rounding up anything that moves from sheep, cattle, duck, ostrich to even children. Obviously, making them a great herding breed. With the right trainer who can complement their herding abilities, they can do great in herding.
Key Breed Facts
- Loyal and attentive listener.
- Working breed for herding.
- Intelligent, problem solver and critical thinker dog.
- A settled breed works while quiet.
- Totally committed to their work.
- Very athletic can keep on running left, right, up or down the hill or mountain than other breeds due to its’ stamina and heart.
- Intense eyes for control during herding.
- Active breed for herding sheep, goat, and cattle, but mostly sheep.
- Dog with a lot of drive and ability to shepherd using their eye gaze instead of barking.
- 10-17 years of life expectancy.
- Weigh 14-20(male), 12-19(female).
- Height 48-56(male), 46-53(female).
- Medium-sized breed.
- Great in following voice and whistle commands.
- Exceptional hearing 10x better than other breeds of dog.
- Bred for their great ability, temperament, and instincts.
- Smartest breed left among the numerous dog breeds.
- Independent thinking dogs willing to take directions.
- An energetic, keen and alert breed that is always ready for a mentally challenging job.
- One dog can handle a herd of 300 livestock.
- Able to gather the sheep together at the field and bring them back to the farm quietly.
Undoubtedly, this breed has been here for a long time and known as a working and herding breed developed in the Scottish border to herd sheep.
Sheepdog collie is also known as Border collie derived from the Scottish dialect. His name reflects his partially Scottish heritage.
Due to constantly praises of Border collie dog owners and rodeos saying their dogs are better than the other in training they came together and started the sporting competitions.
In 1800 during a dog show in England, Queen Victoria saw the breed and was fascinated by it. The keenness and alertness of the breed to obey hand and whistle commands made them liked by speculators when a demonstration was carried out in 1876 at the Alexandra Palace in London.
Following this, in 1900 they were brought in the USA and first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995.
We have two distinctive Border collie: the working line which is the herding dog and the sporting line which is the sport dog.
Besides, being known as a strong eye breed, due to its intimidating gaze, it’s also able to fetch the livestock from one place to another without barking during herding. Nevertheless, it is a great breed for herding sheep, goat, cows and sometimes even ducks if need be.
Indeed, his stamina, natural instinct, commitment, and a big heart makes him a better option than other breed used in herding as he/she can run for a mile and work without getting tired.
It should be noted, it is able to run up and down, left or right up the hills and mountain while herding without getting tired, due to his stamina and a big heart.
They are born will natural ability and instinct to herd livestock.
Furthermore, they have eyes that can intimidate livestock. In addition, they gather the herd by gazing at them instead of barking or making a motion making them a strong eye breed.
Comes in various colours: Black, Blue, Brindle, Gold, Lilac, Red, and Sable.
The breed comes in two coats a smooth and rough coat. The dog with a smooth coat is easy to groom as you can brush her/him twice a week to distribute the natural oils and keep the coat healthy.
unquestionably, the working line dog comes with a smooth coat. Easy to groom as it is weather-resistant and need only brushing twice in the week to avoid matting and distributing the oils.
Sheepdog collie is not bred to protect you but to herd hence can leave you and go for half a mile to gather livestock. On the other hand, most breeds do not have that stamina and have a desire to stay close. Nonetheless, cannot go far if sent to bring the livestock back.
Due to their intelligent and energetic nature, they are also used in sporting activities to compete with other breeds.
Additionally, they are champions in dog sports and trials due to their stamina and a big heart.
With their tracking nature, a border collie can go for many miles to fetch livestock on their own.
Importantly, he will use his problem solving and mind to decide on the next move on how to get the stock back home safely even when you are out of sight.
Intelligence / Trainability
Subsequently, a border collie has to be trained and given direction on how to use the natural ability and instinct while herding.
The trainer has to come in and give commands like go round, go up, run sideways, go wide for the Border collie to know how to intimidate and move livestock.
Absolutely, this training makes the dogs know how to act without scaring or frightening the herd.
Not only are they intelligent but also, understand commands very fast. Making it easy for them to be able to distinguish when told to go wider, go down, gather around, lay down. These commands make the sheepdog collie able to know when to take pressure while being trained, unlike other breeds.
Can work in pairs if a herd is big, the trainer can give separate commands to them for effective herding. Alternatively, these are mostly done in brace competition when one dog is following commands the other one lays downs and waits.
As the dog owner and trainer, you need to train them to work together as well as, create a good relationship for smooth herding.
Use verbal, hand and whistle commands
Additionally, most trainers use verbal commands, to ensure the dog uses pressure to move the stock. Commands such as, (Counter clockwise-away to me), (Clockwise-come back), help position the sheep to the left or to the right.
Other commands include:
- Lay down- means stop.
- Walk up- mean apply pressure to or away from me.
- Slow down.
- Hurry up.
- Get back- means too close to the herd need to give space.
Particularly, every trainer can have different commands but minimal, as the dog needs to think and solve the problem too.
Additionally, if the dog has gone too far to fetch the herd it might be hard for them to hear your verbal command and you might need to use a shepherd whistle.
Even so, the shepherd whistle has different tones signifying different commands from left, right, lie down, get back, and come back to me.
Keep the commands to a minimum and give the dog some leeway to decide sometimes. Furthermore, you are just there to give direction but the dog does the most work.
Apart from this, you want to create in him a problem solver, independent thinking dog.
Children and Other Pets
This is a playful, energetic and affectionate breed that is suitable for children and other pets. Mostly, best with an active family and playful children, who keeps her engage most times of the day.
Having a herding natural instinct border collies can live harmoniously with other pets and children. Unquestionably, they need to be trained on what to herd to avoid rounding off the pets, not in the herding activities.
Early socialization prevents shyness in your dog making him an affectionate pet to be around your children.
In the working side of border collies, they are fewer health issues. In addition, when breeding gets a dog with good eyesight and joints to avoid eye problems and hip dysplasia.
Certainly, when you get your dog from a reputable breeder and a health test done to know the parent lineage and health status makes it safe for both of you before taking the dog home.
For this reason, when breeding for looks, temperament especially the show dogs you can get dogs with bad temperament due to their gene pool. In show line, you will see most of them with eye problems, hip problems, elbow problems, epileptic and genetic problems.
Subsequently, they are more predisposed to cancer due to breeding with genetic problems.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans can occur to the breed due to poor diet. Additionally, your puppy can suffer from improper cartilages and joint development. This can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age and affect mostly the elbow.
Caring for a Sheepdog Collie
Equally important, you need a dog that can work well with you. A border collie is a great pet if you train and engage him mentally to be able to be a problem solver and think on his own.
Although, a Sheepdog collie is not recommended for apartment life. After all, this is a very energetic breed that needs mental challenging activities and would do best with acreage environment.
Big Environment is Best for Border Collie
In a big environment, the dog can run, up, down, sideways or up the hill and back. Their pent up energy should be channeled into positive behavior by engaging them in mentally challenging activities.
For this reason, in a big area, they can run without a leash. However, if put in a small apartment and not busy can lead to destructive behavior like tearing your furniture apart or digging up the dirt at the backyard.
Train him, get the sheepdog busy for mental activities which are great for this breed.
If you have a sheepdog collie in a small area just ensure to give him enough exercise to avoid destructive behavior and start training at an early age.
With the right training, this is a breed that can excel in everything even the sporting games.
Therefore, with a smooth coat, you will be required to brush twice a week to distribute oils and avoid matting.
Brush your dogs’ teeth every two days to prevent bad breath and tartar. Trim his nails for easy walking or running while herding or sporting.
Check your dog’s eyes and ears for any infections. Border collies can be affected by eye anomaly which is an inherited condition that causes changes and abnormalities in the eye, which can sometimes lead to blindness.
Ranging from choroidal hypoplasia, defect in the optic disc, and retinal detachment. If you notice any anomalies see your vet for advice and prevention measures should be taken.
The Sheepdog breed is an energetic breed and if not well utilized can get into destructive behavior. Usually, a dog with a lot of energy and needs to exercise both body and mind.
Importantly, needs exercise that can stimulate him mentally, being a herding and working dog breed. Not only does he work well but also, carries out different task giving it mental activities.
As a dog owner once you give it verbal command while herding it does a lot more on his own. Clearly, acts as a problem solver and will be able to gather the livestock together and lead them to where they need to be.
They love working and interacting with their owner hence need a good relationship between you two for a smooth working condition. Subsequently, this should be cultivated during the verbal/whistle commands during training.
They thrive on hard work activities as they are playful and energetic breed. Following this, makes him a great herding breed due to stamina and you can give them running tasks to go fetch livestock up to a mile away.
unquestionably, they are also sport dogs and can be involved in a sport like agility, fly ball, tracking, and weight pulling games.
Feed your Border collie high-quality food. Puppies who feed on a lot of proteins can develop improper cartilages and joint disorders due to feeding on a formula that leads to overfeeding.
You can decide on dry, canned or homemade depending on how active, age, your dog is. Do not overfeed or underfeed her, ensure the food is well balanced and complete with all the nutrients for an active breed.
Give 2 meals a day in portions of 2cups. Keep the meals schedules to avoid overfeeding.
Give enough water for hydrating as the breed is active, energetic and always looking for a job to do.
A highly active dog will need more food or a higher-protein food. The adult sheepdog collie and puppy will not eat the same amount.
For a puppy, the food should be quality and have the necessary nutrients to help in his growth development. You will need to feed him 2-4 times from birth until he is 6 months and you can start reducing the times you feed him.
Most puppy feed meets the nutrients standards, you can consult with your vet to get the best for your border collie.
Lastly, follow the instructions on the bags to avoid giving much or giving less as your puppy grows.
Average Cost to keep/care for a Border Collie
While training and caring for a border collie you will have onetime costs and recurring costs from food, routine medical care, vet fees, training/obedience classes, shelter costs among others.
If your dog is in the sporting line you might need to have pay more for numerous training classes, entry fees for championship games and activity preparation.
These costs are on top of the cost of buying the breed first.
This is a breed that is very energetic and if not mentally exercised can lead to destructive behavior hence as a puppy it good to do crate training to prevent separation anxiety.
Breed Specific Buying Advice
Get a border collies from a reputable breeder. Need to be careful on what line it was bred or bought from especially a herding dog.
Check if the dog you are buying is registered, having paper will help you a lot as you are able to know the parent lineage and how healthy the dog is before taking him home.
You will also be able to see the health and genetic problems of your puppy parents and avoid any future health problems due to the health testing done, for instance, hip and elbow problems.
This is an energetic bred that is playful, active and has a lot of stamina not recommended for a family that is looking for a laid back pet which is not active. You can go for a Greyhound or any “couch potato” breed and leave the Border collie for an active family.
For a great active owner, this is a great companion to have. It just needs direction/training and the rest of the task he will do.