Border Collie Australian Shepherd Mix – The Border Aussie:
The breed was first developed in Australia in 1874 when two brothers named George and Henry Smith were working with their father at a sheep station called Dungog Station near the town of Woburn, New South Wales. They bred several dogs from the local dingo population and they eventually came up with a dog which looked like a miniature schnauzer but had much larger ears than any other dog then available. The breed name comes from the fact that it resembled a sledge hammer.
In 1925, the Smith’s crossed the dog with another dog known as “the red fox” because of its reddish coat color. This combination became known as the “red fox”. The Smith brothers named their new hybrid dog after themselves: “Smith” meaning hammer in greek and “Fox” in reference to their red fox hound that they used to work with.
The Smith’s later sold the breed to various people including a man named John Hunter who owned a small sporting goods store in Melbourne, Australia. Hunter kept the breed very pure and only added some crosses of other breeds into the mix. However, there are still many people today who believe that the original Smith’s crossed with dingo or even another dog and created a new dog. Some claim that these dogs were so similar that they could not tell them apart.
For this reason, many breeders have tried to prove whether the Smith’s brother’s dog was a schnauzer cross or a fox terrier cross. Over the years people have claimed that “red fox” meant red color and not necessarily a specific type of dog.
For a while the world was introduced to two different types of dogs: the Miniature or “toy” and the Standard or “working” Border Collie. It wasn’t until the 1930’s that these two types were bred together to form the modern Border Collie. In order to prove which breed was better, sheep farmers held working trials to see which dog could round up and control a flock of sheep the best. The Miniature was smaller and faster but lacked strength and the ability to think independently.
It needed a shepherd to give it direction. The Standard was larger and slower but had more endurance and a great deal of strength. It didn’t need a shepherd to direct it. Eventually, the Standard bred dog won out and the Miniature or “toy” collie was no longer bred.
Over the years, several groups have split off from the main registry (International Sheep Dog Society) and formed their own registries. Many of these groups have tried to prove that their type of dog is the true Border Collie. The most popular of these types is the “American Border Collie”. This dog was originally bred by Bill Jones from Texas who split from the ISDS in 1968.
The American Border Collie is heavier set and shorter than the ISDS dog. Some people believe that this is due to the hot climate in which they were bred while others believe that they are heavier in order to “buttle” easier. The word “buttle” comes from the old English word meaning: to make oneself useful or indispensable.
Sources & references used in this article:
A missense mutation in canine CLN6 in an Australian shepherd with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis by ML Katz, FH Farias, DN Sanders, R Zeng… – Journal of Biomedicine …, 2010 – hindawi.com
Breed distribution of the ABCB1-1Δ (multidrug sensitivity) polymorphism among dogs undergoing ABCB1 genotyping by KL Mealey, KM Meurs – Journal of the American Veterinary …, 2008 – Am Vet Med Assoc
Breed distribution of the nt230 (del4) MDR1 mutation in dogs by I Gramer, R Leidolf, B Döring, S Klintzsch… – The Veterinary …, 2011 – Elsevier
Novel rapid genotyping assays for neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis in Border Collie dogs and high frequency of the mutant allele in Japan by K Mizukami, HS Chang, A Yabuki… – Journal of …, 2011 – journals.sagepub.com
A CLN8 nonsense mutation in the whole genome sequence of a mixed breed dog with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis and Australian Shepherd ancestry by J Guo, GS Johnson, HA Brown, ML Provencher… – Molecular genetics and …, 2014 – Elsevier
A mixed breed dog with neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis is homozygous for a CLN5 nonsense mutation previously identified in Border Collies and Australian … by NA Villani, G Bullock, JR Michaels, O Yamato… – Molecular genetics and …, 2019 – Elsevier