When not away on travels and adventures it is always a pleasure to take in some local exploring closer to home. It is also a treat to enjoy these local adventures with a wonderful companion. I do have the pleasure of looking after Rusty, the Red and White Border Collie from time to time, and a treat it certainly is.
There are so many things about Rusty that makes every walk I do with him enjoyable. He is loyal for a start, without a shadow of doubt. He never runs away, always near your side and always looking out for you if he does wander for a closer sniff or inspection of something. He can walk all day if the day entails that, a great trait in the Border Collie breed, I will talk about that later in the post…
As you can see in many of the photos here or when he appears on my timeline in social media, he loves water. Not swimming, paddling up to his underbelly. He kind of wallows, cooling his feet. Standing knee deep in the water, looking at me with a look of ‘You joining me here or what’?
He is very very focused, did I say very,? because he is! Another breed trait. Have a ball in my hand and he is there, staring at it, anticipating that move to throw. You can tell he has been trained well, he has no interest at all in any sheep or livestock we may encounter, but if I have something in hand he focuses completely on that. Perfect for bonding sessions, or to finally get him moving out the water’s edge 🙂
He is also not bothered too much by other dogs around, he will say hello perhaps then carry on the walk with me. See, so many things to exclaim the joy of walking with him.
On some local walks I just keep on going and going, walking in a direction and adding and adding to the miles. He never complains or pauses. Rusty loves his walks, perfect in my book 😉
He loves every kind of walk, woodland, riverside, open fields, muddy tracks and hills. In fact I am really looking forward to getting on some mountains with him this Spring and Summer, watch out for him 🙂
His favourite local walk combines plenty of great woodland, riverside and field trails. He shows me the way pretty much now. The grounds of Beningbrough Hall.
Quite often I get asked what breed he is? More often than you think! Someone only the other day walked across the road with his little dog thinking I had a Husky and he was scared?! It may surprise many of you to hear that, but I suppose there are lots of people out there that think of a Border Collie as being Black and White, the traditional and stereotypical English Sheepdog colours. They come in a few colours actually.
A Brief History of The Border Collie
Dogs have been used for herding sheep for hundreds of years. A form of Border Collie type dog seems to have been widely used through time in the borders of Scotland and England (Northumberland). Then, in 1893 came the birth of Old Hemp, a herder and trialler like no other! he didn’t lose a single trial from the age of one. He was known as a perfect example of the herding breed and fathered hundreds of dogs and bitches. Nearly all Border Collies around today are somehow descended from him!
There have been a couple of other notable dogs introduced into the bloodlines since to add to what we commonly associate with the breed today. Old Kep lived in the period not long after Old Hemp and was famous for having the focused, hypnotic eyes that could control sheep with just the stare. Then in the 1960s came Wiston Cap. He had the herding gait (most of the trial champions of the 70s and 80s where actually his children) and produced wanted extra colours (being tri-colour), plus the prick ears you see in some today. He was used and used and used for stud and again, like Old Hemp, his genes are in most Border Collies today.
The term ‘Border Collie’ only came into existence during the first half of the 20th Century. The Border part is easy, as they were mainly used originally as workers in the borderlands of Scotland and England. To differentiate from other Collie varieties… The word Collie? Now that has been lost in time. herding dogs have been written about as collies for hundreds of years (old dictionaries defining a Collie as a shepherds dog). There are plenty of theories though. An old Gaelic word meaning useful? Derived from the Germanic word Kuli, meaning worker? Or from an old now forgotten type of sheep they herded with black faces and legs?
The ‘black’ colour theory is even more compounded by the fact that an old English word for dark/black came from coal – colley. Even Shakespeare used it a couple of times. A Midsummer Night’s Dream – “brief as lightning in the collied night” and Othello – “passion, having my best judgement collied”.
Anyway, I digress, back to the walking and the wonderful companion that is Rusty. He certainly has many of the traits mentioned above, and all honed into one lovable, thoughtful, happy fellow. This breed was certainly bred to work for hours and hours on end in the fields, hence not recommended at all if you don’t want to walk for hours a day. I love to walk for sure and out and about we do not let each other down.
He is good old poser too, he has even started to learn that if I point the camera in his direction he knows I want him to stay and have his picture taken. Of course he gets a pat and a treat, who could resist that face, well I can’t.
Here Rusty! Catch! See you out and about, and on the mountains too 🙂