Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Auld Hemp.



This dog above is a distant relative of Billy's.

1893 was a significant year in the canine/agricultural worlds. It was the year when Auld Hemp was born, and his birth changed Sheep-farming for ever.. 

Bred by Adam Telfer in Northumberland, he was the first pukka Border Collie (Northumberland is on the 'border' between England and Scotland; hence the name). He was also the first sheepdog who followed orders precisely (or could be trained to do so).

Auld Hemp died back in May 1901 aged 7, but his progeny live on. 

Border Collies are fast becoming one of the most popular pet dogs. Previously Labs were No 1, but I've noticed over the past few years that, in adverts, Border Collies are appearing more often than Labs. Our Billy has a lot to live up to.


This was him playing in the sun yesterday. One thing he certainly hasn't learned from his glorious ancestor, is how to sit still for a bloody photograph. I despair.

30 comments:

  1. If you have his "pedigree" certificate... see if you can check back down the line and see if Billy has any of Wiston Cap in him... one of Hemp's line.... and the first "sheepdog trialer".
    And... look at Hemp's muzzle... he's old here.....
    they do slow down, honest...
    they really do....
    promise!!
    ....
    ...
    ..
    .
    EVENTUALLY!

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    1. This will help you trace back...
      Border Collie Database (http://db.kennel.dk/bcdb/start.php)

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    2. Both Hemp and Cap were "frequent flyers"... ie: used as stud dogs a lot.... and although old and grey around the muzzle in your first picture, look at that alertness!!

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    3. I'm sure our Billy doesn't have 'papers'. He was a farm-bred dog from near Toulouse; the breeder simply supplying sheepdogs to local farmers. His dogs weren't shown. I was just saying this morning, that I have a soft-spot for older dogs; I just hope I Live long enough to see Billy calm down, and for his muzzle to grey a bit.

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    4. "a soft spot for older dogs" - how very interesting, Cro. I can't remember now, maybe you can elaborate, how old were they, respectively, when you got your beloved Monty and Bok?

      U

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    5. They were both about 6 months old. Monty was just 4 when he died, and Bok was 7. But some of the previous dogs I've either owned, or known, have been quite old, and they develop a mellowness; rather like humans. My neighbour's dog 'Duke' is quite old, and he's an absolute delight.

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  2. It's surprising that a breed that is so obviously a working breed is now popular as a pet. However they are lovely dogs

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    1. They do need a lot of exercise (as do all dogs), but our Billy often does this by himself. He runs around in wide circles at terrific speed for a few minutes, than calms a bit. He seems to understand when his built-up energy needs to be released. Their popularity is based on them being so friendly and faithful.

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  3. My Moss was also ball loving, every day, two walks and then games in the garden. He was a terrible teenager at two years old but eventually calmed down. As a breed they are very intelligent and you are lucky to own Billie, he is gorgeous.

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    1. He's still very boisterous, but slowly calming. I'm trying to teach him not to bite us all the time (in play). He's reluctant to stop.

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  4. Ellie is seventeen months old and is full of collie bounce. She is joyful and on occasions a total pain demanding attention. Sitting in the chair tapping this out she has jumped up and pushed it away. Jealousy bubbles just below the surface, any attention other than on her is not to be tolerated! She is our fully paid up gym membership with fur.

    LX

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    1. Attention-seeking is their preferred activity, I think. Still, I prefer that to some lump that sits around all day and does nothing.

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  5. One day I was running along a country lane when an over enthusiastic border collie shot out of a farm gate and nipped me on the back of my foot. He was shortly followed by his owner a farmer friend of mine whose hobbies included participating in sheep dog trials. One time he was stopped on the M6 motorway for doing 100 mph on his way to an event. A case of dog and master being cut from same cloth.

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    1. When strangers pass by, Billie often barks at them and pretends to bite at their ankles. Of course he wags his tail furiously at the same time (giving the game away).

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  6. Billy has made a fine dog. I think border collies are very intelligent dogs. We have a Jack Russell, king Charles cavalier cross. It's a good cross. She's intelligent,calm and extremely affectionate. Great with the grandchildren too. Speaking of which, thank you for your kind message on Rachel's blog. You're a gentleman. X

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    1. As I'm sure you're only too aware, a dog needs to be friendly towards one's grandchildren. Congrats again... and to the parents. x

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  7. Oh Cro .... Billy has grown so much ..... he looks more teenager than puppy now ! I think I told you that my aunt had a border collie called Harry. He was a failed sheepdog. They lived in Camberley but moved back to North London and Harry walked back to Camberley a couple of times ! I loved Harry .... he was a real softie. XXXX

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    1. They are great companions on a walk. When I was younger, my people had a cottage in Wales and whenever I was there some local BC would accompany me on my walks along Offa's Dyke. I think that's where my love of them began.

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  8. Patience, Cro. Patience! He said holding a mirror so he could also coach himself.... My Annie and your Billie are a match pair it seems! We could both sit and hold hands together bemoaning the teenage dog days, or just laugh and go on. Both my cats have now conquered Annie's attitude by being aloof when she approaches. This drives Annie nuts! I live on a farm, and Annie needs about all of it to exercise away the evil spirits some days. Patience my friend, Patience....

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    1. I'm sure he'll calm in time; all the other BC's I've known have been perfectly behaved.

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  9. My dear farmer always had mixed feelings on Border Collies as pets - he felt they should be working dogs as they were bred to be. What is your feeling on that Cro as the owner of one?

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    1. Both Bok (who was half BC), and Billy, have a strong urge to round-up other animals; they can't stop themselves. But I think they make very good 'pets' as well, as long as one has the time and energy to exercise them properly.

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  10. I agree. The Border Collie is not only becoming the most popular dog I see on TV but when I go for walks, it seems that every other dog that I meet along the way is also a BC or a variation of one. They are beauties.

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    1. There was a fashion in the UK, for newcomers to the countryside to buy Alpacas for their spare land. Quite what makes certain animals 'fashionable', I'm not sure, but I think the fashion for Border Collies will outlive that for Alpacas.

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  11. Interesting to hear about the origins of Border Collies. We see some here, but they aren't that popular.

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    1. I expect they're more popular in NZ; lots more Sheep.

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  12. What beautiful and very smart gud dugs they are and Billy is lovely example.
    I might have missed it but why the name Billy ? That is a name you hear over here for a dog.
    parsnip

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    1. Dogs names need to be short and sharp for calling purposes. He was originally called Badger (as he looked like one) but we didn't like it. I think we just liked the name Billy.

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  13. Our Rough Collie just returned from his WellDog visit. He'll be 14 in May. Our Doctor has told us he's a fine specimen of an advanced age for his breed. We have to expect his passing in the next two years.

    A sweeter, gentler, well mannered dog would be hard to find.

    We've been told he's a Border Collie, a very large Sheltie or even a fat Borzoi. We just tell people he's related to Lassie

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