Where would a sheep farm be without Border collies? Our Border collies are an indispensable part of our operation. They afford a low-stress means of handling stock. Sure, anyone can entice a balky ewe into a holding pen in the barn with a bucket of grain for her annual vaccinations; she’s not so reluctant that a tasty snack couldn’t change her mind. This technique doesn’t work to lure our grassfed lambs, who wouldn’t know what grain was. Nor would it work to convince a sheep to do something that it definitely does not want to do, such as moving a ram out of his group of ewes at the end of breeding season, or loading sheep up into a trailer. This is where a trained dog is worth its weight in gold.
Our Border collies are all working-bred, bred for working ability alone, and not to any sort of “appearance” standard. As a result, no two of them looks like any of the others. They are not registered with the American Kennel Club, which values appearance above all else. Instead, they are registered with the American Border Collie Association. (For more information on the longstanding dispute between the AKC and the ABCA, please read the captivating book by the late Donald McCaig, “The Dog Wars“, a “must read” for all those interested in the culture of dogs in the United States, as well as for anyone who owns or who wishes to own a Border collie). They are highly trained; we compete (or have competed, in the case of the retired dogs) in USBCHA-style trials.