The Border Collie's background is all in their name....
Originating along the border of Scotland and England, theyre likely an ancestor of the Collie, which was used by 19th century Scottish shepherds. The Collie was far from the sole contributor to the Border Collie gene an untold number of British shepherding dogs were bred together to make the ultimate working dog.
The dog popularly considered to be the first Border Collie was named Hemp and made quite an impression at the 1873 sheepdog trial. While many of the other herding dogs barked and nipped at the sheep to force them in the desired direction, Hemp never made a sound. He merely fixed the sheep with the famous Border Collie eye, intimidating them into cooperating!
In 1906, the first breed standard for the Border Collie was drawn up. Focusing on the breeds working abilities, the standard actually made no mention to the Border Collies appearance which is probably why Border Collies come in a variety of colors and coat lengths, but they always have that trademark vigor and intelligence.
The Border Collie was introduced to the United States in the early 20th century and quickly gained popularity with American shepherds. This popularity delayed their recognition from the American Kennel Club, as many worried breeding Border Collies to fit a physical standard would diminish their intelligence. In 1995, the Border Collie was admitted to the AKC, despite heavy opposition.
Today, the Border Collie is still a popular sheepdog as well as a high achiever at obedience competitions.