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Border Collie: History and Appearance


The Border Collie owes its bloodline and history to the Romans and the Vikings. Romans invading Britain brought black, tan, and white dogs to herd livestock. After the Romans were expelled, Viking raiders brought their own spitz type dogs. The Viking breed and the Roman breed were eventually crossbred, resulting in a decreased size and increased agility.

It is believed that this breed of sheepdog is documented as early as 943, with a description of black and white sheepdogs taking a flock of sheep to graze. Another account of the Border Collie’s descendants comes from 1576, in a writing by John Caius called Of English Dogges.

The breed was developed over time, with an emphasis on working ability versus appearance. As farmers began to handle much larger flocks, these dogs became a valuable asset. Sheepdog trials, which were contests testing the skill of the breed, played an important role in the breed’s development.

Today’s Border Collie can trace its lineage to one single dog. Old Hemp was born in 1893, and grew to roughly 45 lbs. and 21 inches tall. Sporting a rough black and white coat, he was undefeated in the sheepdog trials in his lifetime.

The sheepdog trials led to a considerable amount of other influential sires, and the dog’s ability to succeed as a herding dog is what made them popular as stud dogs. Some of these excellent specimens were exported to the United States in the 1880’s.

In 1906, the International Sheepdog Society was founded in Scotland and played role in maintaining pedigrees and registration. 1918, the name “Border Collie” was coined, and that became the dog’s identity. The International Sheepdog Society is still vastly important in maintaining a registry and governing body for the breed.

Border Collies today are still highly valued as a working dog. They are still used as sheepdogs, though they also have a history as show dogs. They continue to compete in the herding trials, agility contests, and in the ring.

They are considered to be the elite sheepherding dog. They are known for their obedience and trainability. The breed was admitted into the American Kennel Club in 1955, and was classified in the herding group in 1995.


The Border Collie is a medium sized dog with exceptional agility. Their bodies are muscular and strong. They are known to be one of the most intelligent breeds, and their alert, aware expressions demonstrate that.

Male Border Collies will grow to about 22 inches at the most, with females at 21 inches.... Read More

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