Showsight Presents The Border Collie

Border Collies should move out on a loose lead, with their head carried low. Many judges reward fast and flashy move- ment. This is incorrect. Efficient movement is imperative because these dogs must be able to cover miles of rough ter- rain daily. A properly moving Border Collie seems to glide or float as it covers the ground smoothly and effortlessly. This is described in some countries’ breed standards as the ability to move with “stealth”. Although stealth is often associated with the crouch that Border Collies use when approaching livestock, it is also apparent in the free-flowing movement when the dog is being gaited in the ring. When viewed from the side, the trot covers the ground effortlessly with mini- mum lift of feet. The topline should be firm with no roll or bounce. Front reach and rear drive are symmetrical, with the front foot meeting the ground directly under the nose and the rear foot pushing back without kicking up. When the rear foot is coming forward, it should reach to the spot just vacated by the front foot. This easy facility of move- ment is a hallmark of the breed. Even though some Border Collies may never see sheep in their lifetime, they should still have the physical attributes necessary to perform their original function as working sheep- dogs. Breeders, exhibitors and judges each play an important role in the quest to respect and maintain that heritage. BIO Kelly Whiteman was the first American breeder-specialist judge voted by the Border Collie Society of America (BCSA) membership to judge a National Specialty. She has presented many Judges’ Education seminars and regularly provides ring- side mentoring for those interested in applying to judge Border Collies. She is the Recording Secretary for BCSA and Secretary of the Kentuckiana Tartan Border Collie Club (KTBCC). She cur- rently serves as Chair of the BCSA Standard Committee. +,,,"-%&".&/0%&1"*/& )12"#/3-/&3*2%'/*& ".&!#%%$&/42%&)*& 1"5%1%-/,6

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! order Collie people, no matter what their chosen venue, under- stand one thing that is universal about the breed. Border Collies are “quirky”. Th e words that come to other peoples’ minds when they talk about BCs are “smart” and “ener- getic”. Th ey generally are. But some of mine are so laid back they could be mistaken for 10 year old bulldogs. An all breed professional handler once called my special “ Th e Narcoleptic Border Collie”. One of mine is so dumb she is downright embar- rassing. But, without exception, they are all quirky. Border Collies take quirky to a whole new level. One has to spin three times before I set her din- ner bowl down. One can only go in her kennel by passing me on my left side. If I block that side, she cannot go around me and enter her kennel. It’s the rule. I think obsessive/compulsive may be another explanation, but they live their lives by rules they make up and only they understand. It makes them sound neurotic, but it is funny and harmless. Con- ner has to run around the dog yard three times before joining us on a walk. Jazz must gently bite my nose each morning as I wake up or he frets and paces. Sam (aka “Woo Woo”) greets the breaking dawn by declaring “Woo WOOOOO!” each and every morning. Quinn has to bark at Bertha before he goes on a run behind the “Gator” (Bertha hates it when he does it). Th ey have their rules about toys, food, each other, me, their living space, their routine. Everything. Border Collies were bred to herd sheep. I will substitute the word “organize” for the word “herd”. My opinion is that that is the reason for their funny behavior. Th ey feel compelled to “organize” their environment like they would their sheep. Th ey put the most colorful and imaginative spins on that pursuit, that their humans are awed, amazed, frus- trated, and most of all, entertained by this lovely, funny, quirky breed.

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216 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2014

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