The history of the Border Collie as a working dog is fairly well known. The Border Collie was developed in the border lands of England and Scotland as a livestock herding dog and was most commonly used to herd large flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. The dog was so valuable and prized that few working dogs have been able to live up to the Border Collie reputation; a reputation that today lives on in canine competitions and athletics.
Many Border Collies continue to be used for their original purpose and are proven, cost effective herd managers for farmers and ranchers in all corners of the world. But many people in more urban settings have fallen in love with the breed, too, and have found them to excel as athletes and competitors.
For owners who do not have an actual working purpose for their Border Collie, some outlet is needed to stimulate their high intelligence and provide for their excessive energy-output needs. For active Border Collie owners, dog sports and athletics, for both competition and for pure sport, are excellent options.
Sporting Options For Border Collies
There are virtually no sporting activities that a Border Collie has not excelled at if another dog has. Border Collies have a number of characteristics that suit them to sports and athletics.
Border Collies have high intelligence
Border Collies are very agile
Border Collies have high energy and endurance, and absolutely require healthy outlets
Border Collies love to work
Border Collies have very good scenting abilities
Border Collies are very intuitive and quick to respond to commands
Border Collies excel at formal performance competitions such as obedience and field trials. They are premier performers in agility testing and competitions. The Border Collie is such an excellent jumper that they consistently win at the highest of jumping maneuvers, and some events have jumping events set apart just for Border Collies.
Border collies love to engage in sports with their human handlers, too. Sports that Border Collies enjoy, and prove to be very good at, include
Hurdles (and scent hurdle competitions)
Border Collies are ideal companions for runners, bicyclers, and swimmers (in fact, swimming is ideal for a dog with hip or joint problems). The biggest problem owners have exercising with Border Collies is that they often don't want to stop!
One thing that is cautioned for Border Collie owners is to be observant of their dog during exercise, especially in high heat. Although Border Collies have great endurance, they tend to take it to an extreme, and if not stopped will sometimes go until they overheat or hurt themselves; some will not even stop for water and can become dehydrated. Attention should be paid to the pads of dogs' feet when running for long periods on asphalt and hard ground (some Border Collies have been known to run until they bleed-and then keep going!).