The History of the Border Collie lies in the working collies used by shepherds in the Border countries of Scotland and England in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Border Collie, show Collie, Australian Shepherd, English Shepherd, Kelpie and McNab are all cousins, descended from working collies, possessing traits that particular breeders found desirable for their purpose. The keen herding instinct and great power over sheep that working collies possessed were such useful assets that it was worth trying to find a milder-natured type to cross with them. A Northumberland farmer, Adam Telfer, succeeded in finding the right blend of types in 1893 by joining Roy, a black and tan dog and Meg, a black coated, strong eyed bitch. The result of this mating was Hemp, a tri coloured dog, born September 1893 and died May 1901, he was a quiet, powerful dog that sheep responded to easily. Many shepherds used him for stud and Hemp's working style became the Border Collie style. Not only various temperaments, but a variety of working styles and skills, were combined in Hemp to produce the Border Collie. The Border Collie of today is descended from Tefler's dog, "Hemp".
In a typical pasture environment each trained sheep dog will do the work that it would take about three human individuals to do if there were no dogs available. In the vast arid area like the Australian Outback or the Karoo Escarpment, the number increases to five or more. Attempts to replace them with mechanical approaches to herding have only achieved a limited amount of success. In general, stock handlers find dogs more reliable and more economical.
The name "Border Collie" was coined after World War 1 to distinguish working collies from show collies. Bred for hill conditions, the Border Collie is outstanding when it comes to working sheep. Able to perform a variety of tasks, he is born with instinct to "gather" the sheep to the shepherd, a trait that makes him most useful on the hill. A Border Collie's ability to control sheep is measured by the "eye" (the amount of concentration on sheep that the dog shows) Because they must often work far from their handlers, the Border Collies must be intelligent and independent. The Border Collie is widely considered to be the most intelligent breed of dog in the world. Border Collies were originally bred for farm work but over the years they have become very popular as pets and sport dogs.
Border Collies excel at several dog sports in addition to their success in sheep dog trials. Because of the high instinct of herding, they are excellent at this sport. They dominate the higher jump heights at dog agility competitions, so much so that in England competitions often included classes for ABC dogs. "Anything But Collies"
The Border Collie's speed, agilityand stamina have allowed them to dominate in up and coming dog activities like flyball and disc dog competitions. Their trainability has also given them a berth in dog dancing competitions.
Border Collies have a highly developed sense of smell and with their high drive make them excellent and easily motivated tracking dogs for Tracking trials. These trials stimulate the finding of a lost person in a controlled situation where the performance of the dog can be evaluated with the titles awarded for successful dogs.