Sheepdog Trials – Cancelled for June 2014

One of the most popular herding dogs throughout the world is the Border Collie. The name Collie is derived from the Gaelic word for sheep, “caoirich” (pronounced corrie). The development of the working dog, or Border Collie, has taken place over the last 200 years, principally along the border of Scotland and England. The first sheep dog trial was held in 1837 in Bala, Wales. It was won by a young Scotsman and his Border Collie.

The Border Collie has a long history of usefulness to man. Unlike elegant hunting hounds and pampered pets of nobility, the shepherd’s dog went about their work largely unnoticed. Although Border Collies are usually medium-sized, black and white dogs (sometimes with variations of a tan mixed in), with short-to-medium length coats, any of these characteristics can vary. While appearance became a matter of concern in many breeds, working ability was and still is, the prime criterion of this breed. Britain’s Border Collie is acknowledged as the finest sheep-herding dog in the world. Incredibly swift and agile, a quick learner, tireless, and possessing great natural herding instincts. The Border Collie is unsurpassed in its ability to control flocks. One of these hard-working dogs can herd as many as 1,000 sheep, and the herding instinct is so strong that Collie pups will even herd children.

Border Collies have been selected over the years for their training, quiet manner and “eye”. This quality has been described as “the hypnotic eye”. Actually it is not hypnotic at all but related to the fact that the dog is watchful, alert and quicker than the sheep. The Border Collie’s intelligence and love of work, along with its speed and devotion to purpose, are characteristics which lend themselves to training. Train-ing of a young dog usually begins at 10 – 12 months of age. His natural instinct is to circle the stock, then bring the stock to his handler. The commands used to work collies are relatively universal, although they may vary slightly from handler to handler. Some of the common commands are as follows:

Stand: Stand
Come bye: Go clockwise
Way to me: Go counter-clockwise
Get up: Walk up to the stock
That will do: Used to call the dog off the stock

Some of the more experienced handlers have what are jokingly referred to as “bilingual” dogs. These animals have been trained to respond to both voice commands and whistles. The dog understands the various whistles which correspond to the voice commands. As carefully as you may try to listen to the commands and whistles of the handlers, it is unlikely that you will be able to hear them all. But these herd dogs have an extremely keen sense of hearing and they won’t miss a thing.

Dog Trial Program will be available at the Trial Area.

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