Saturday, June 22, 2013

In Defense of Black and White Border Collies

        I’ll admit it. I am partial to black and white Border Collies. There is something about that traditional look that appeals to me. I belong to several Border Collie groups on Facebook and I have seen a lot of different Border Collies over the past few years. 

       I have seen a lot of tri-colors, merles, reds, and the Australian Red which is sometimes called tan and white. I’ve seen Welsh Collies and even a Rough Collie or two, and I have learned to appreciate them and their styles. I have been exposed to white-faced Collies and half-faced Collies, and I have to say, I am always blown away by the beauty of this breed and by the variety that can be found within the Border Collie parameters.
        Like many groups on Facebook, we are made up of people from all over the globe and brought together by nothing more than the love of this breed.
        As with all groups of friends and family, there is plenty of fighting : those who rescue nip at those who buy papered show dogs who say they are preserving the breed. Those who herd snap at those who choose Collies for pets. Oh, not all of them. Most of us are pretty laid back and agree that giving a Border Collie a good home and a job to do is a pretty amazing thing, no matter where the dog came from or your reason for having one.

         Oh, and pictures? Make sure you show plenty of pictures of your beautiful friends.

        I will say, it seems to me that the other Collies, the ‘fancy’ Border Collies, if you will, get more comments than the ‘traditional’ Border Collies. Or maybe it’s me. Maybe I don’t put myself and my Fiona out in a way that invites comment.
       Let me tell you something about my amazing friend. She hates thunderstorms. Like many herding dogs, she is sensitive to the drop of barometric pressure and the sounds and smells associated with our violent Midwest boomers. Yet when it's time to feed my small collection of farm animals, even if it sounds like the 'bombs bursting in air,' my Fiona will accompany me out to the barnyard. Her job is to 'herd' the chickens. It's not an easy job and she's not very good at it, but it's her job. And nothing, not rain, nor snow, nor thunder overhead will keep her from that job.
       May I have that much courage in the face of my fears!

       Of course, each of us loves our Collie best and while we can admire the beauty, grace, intensity, silliness, showmanship and courage of someone else’s Border Collie, in the end no one will see our Collies the way we do. 
In the end, when I think Border Collie, it’s my own black and white Fiona I see.
 (Painting by Morgan Kittelson)

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