Most people have seen Scotch shepherd dogs, but they know them by another name. According to the American Kennel Club border collies were at first called Scotch sheep dogs, although the breed you recognize today has been the accepted standard for over 100 years. If you want to know the facts on Scotch shepherd dogs, such as where they came from, what their personalities are like and whether grooming is a high-maintenance affair, you need look only as far as the border collie.
On the Border
Scotch sheep dogs originally came from the Northumberland area in the countryside that makes up the border between Scotland and England. Herds of sheep were common in the border country, making talented herding dogs valuable assets. Since the word "collie" is a Scottish word that refers to sheepdogs, the modern name for the breed still gives a nod to the pooch's Scottish roots.
Tasked with keeping flocks of sheep in line and warding off predators, Scotch shepherd dogs developed into intelligent, alert and energetic dogs. They have a lot of drive and a need to work that translates to a requirement of more exercise and interaction than with other breeds of dogs. The AKC says border collies thrive when they have a job to do and enough space to run. Keep in mind that this dog is a herder at heart. He may tend to herd other pets and small children if he believes they're getting out of line.
The Coat and Grooming Requirements
Scotch shepherd dogs sport double coats, which may be either medium or short in length. Typically, Scotch shepherd dogs and border collies are two colors, such as black and white, red and white, black and gray, or yellow and white. They can be tricolor, though, and some are just one color, usually yellow, sable or black. Because they shed seasonally, daily brushing of their double coat is recommended to minimize shedding, control matting and keep the coat shining and lustrous.
Train 'Em Young
With high intelligence and breeding for hard work, a Scotch shepherd dog needs to be busy. Start early with socializing and training to ensure that your dog is well-behaved and to channel his smarts and energy toward constructive activities, such as competitive sports. Their trainability and intense energy make border collies and Scotch shepherd dogs ideal candidates for competition events such as agility, sheepdog trials and advanced obedience competition. They are excellent tracking dogs.
Elle Di Jensen has been a writer and editor since 1990. She began working in the fitness industry in 1987, and her experience includes editing and publishing a workout manual. She has an extended family of pets, including special needs animals. Jensen attended Idaho and Boise State Universities. Her work has appeared in various print and online publications.