Mar 16, 2009

The Sheep Dog

its Work and Training
by Tim Longton and Edward Hart

This informative little book is all about border collies. After reading Nop's Trials, The Dogs of Bedlam Farm and Dogs: A New Understanding, I was even more curious about this breed. The Sheep Dog was written by a man who worked sheep in the Lancashire hills and raised and trained his own dogs, always having at least a dozen on the farm. He describes what makes a good sheep dog, how to choose one from a litter, how the young dogs should be raised, and details of their training (fascinating, and very involved!) Longton also explains the workings of sheep dog trials, questions some of the judging standards, and goes into obedience work trials, too. He gives some of the background and history of the International Sheep Dog Society. Midway through the book there is also a chapter describing a year's work for the average sheep dog; the different tasks and conditions they face as the seasons change, working with the sheep during lambing time, breeding, dipping, shearing, sorting for market, etc. One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the numerous little anecdotes about individual dogs, which showed just how much their personalities and abilities can vary. There is a helpful glossary in the back, as the book contains a lot of words particular to the region and occupation. One small flaw I found was that I came across an unfamiliar word in the text, and next to it in partenthesis "see Glossary" but when I turned to the back, this word wasn't included! It was easy to figure out from the context, though.

I read this book for the 9 for '09 Challenge. Almost halfway done!

Rating: 3/5                     124 pages, 1976


  1. Yay for the Border Collie! The true working BCs are amazing animals to behold. Though our little suburban versions are pretty awesome, too. :-) And I stand by my previous comment regarding being grateful they do not possess opposable thumbs. ;-)


  2. I thought of you while I was reading this, Lezlie. I think you would treasure this book.

  3. Thanks for being in 9 for '09. I will have a drawing (in April) for people who posted in Jan, Feb, and Mar.

    Keep an eye out for it and when you finish your 5 books, register for the 8/29 prize also.

  4. WorkingWords- I had forgotten about that prize. I'm entered now. Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Border Collies are such a fascinating breed of dog. A little too high strung for my taste (my MIL has about a dozen), but extremely smart. In regards to your comment about sheep having tails--I didn't know that! I wonder if that goes for all sheep or just certain breeds. My MIL has sheep on the ranch, but I don't recall ever seeing tails. Will have to take a closer look next time I'm there!!


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