Border Collie Breed Magazine - Showsight


T he dog and handler approach the post. With a soft sound, the black and white dog casts to the right towards the sheep 500 yards away. As the dog approaches the rear of the sheep, he slows from a gallop to a walk, moving the sheep forward at a steady pace. If you attend a sheepdog trial, you will see dog after dog cast to the right or the left on an outrun towards sheep that are the size of a dot. The dogs run full-out at a gallop and then, after stopping on a dime, skillfully guide sheep to the handler’s feet. Border Collies have been selectively bred for many years to be able to do these things instinctively—making them the world’s premier sheepdog. You will never see dogs moving at a gallop in the conformation ring, nor will they exhibit the characteristic Border Collie crouch, but you will see dogs that should be capable of both. Border Collies have a truly unique way of moving around the conformation ring; they are agile and capable of changing speed and direction quickly. As a result, they should appear athletic and graceful. The Border Collie should move on a loose lead with its head level or slightly below the withers. You should see the dog’s head drop down and the neck stretch out as it reaches full speed, which should be moderate. The space between the shoulder blades, felt when the dog is standing, makes this movement possible. The topline should remain firm, with no



roll or bounce. When viewed from the side, the trot should appear effortless with minimum lift of feet, the ground-covering gait attesting to the dog’s endur- ance. The movement should not be fast and flashy; you should be able to envision the dog running out over 500 yards toward sheep in a field, bringing those sheep to the handler and then moving them around the course.

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