Border collies are known as the most intelligent and highly trainable dog breed. Traditionally a working dog from England and Scotland bred for herding, all purebred border collies alive today can be traced back in their lineage to one particular dog. Old Hemp was a master sheep herding dog who died in 1901 and is considered to be the father of the border collie breed. He had a unique herding style that was quiet and powerful. Because of his sought after abilities Old Hemp was a popular stud dog and sired over 200 offspring. Old Hemp had an outstanding personality and a natural gift that meant he never required any training to do his job.
Border Collies are obedient, energetic and acrobatic. However, just because they are smart dogs does not mean border collies will make good pets for everyone. They require constant stimulation and challenges to keep them engaged, otherwise they can become destructive to property and household items or start nipping at children. The owner of a border collie needs to be prepared to spend a lot of time with their dog, training and exercising regularly to keep the dog from getting bored. Because they were bred to be working dogs, they do not take well to lying around indoors all day.
In addition to herding sheep and other livestock, border collies can do other useful jobs such as removing wild birds from airport runways or golf courses. They also are very successful in dog sport and agility competitions where they excel at jumping and acrobatic maneuvers. Border collies can learn some exceptional tricks and love to play catch, often demonstrating their agility by jumping high to catch a ball or Frisbee in mid air. They are known for their intense stare and incredible focus that is used to intimidate and control livestock.
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