At the moment I have 8 sheepdogs at Borough Farm. It sounds a lot, but when you consider that Jake Fern and Mist have now all but retired and our two new puppies Sweep and Meg are not yet old enough to start training. So it is only Fly and Alf who are fully trained and doing most of the work with a little help from Zola for some of the easier jobs.
Mist was born on November 17th 2003, so is now quite an old lady. When she was in her prime she was a tireless worker, a sheepdog who I could depend upon to work far away without making mistakes. But sadly Mist developed diabetes at the beginning of 2012, and has to retire from work. She now lives in the kitchen and enjoys the company of her human family and the attention that she receives at the sheepdog displays over the summer months. Mist was the star of Channel 5’s Mist Sheepdog Tales.
Jake… the eccentric
Jake is one of the most unusual looking sheepdogs that you will come across and he’s an unusual character too. He’s now all but retired, but I hope he’ll be able to perform at the displays this coming summer, where he’s an expert at rounding up the ducks Away from work Jake is an entertainer, with some ridiculous habits. Biting gate hinges, attacking mole hills with his nose and carrying large objects are just some of the habits not normally associated with the Border Collie. Like Mist Jake now lives in the house, where he likes to sit at my feet in the office.
Fly was born in 2008, and in recent years has become top dog at Borough Farm. But Fly’s training has been far from easy, she was an obsessive sheepdog from the word go, and even as a mature sheepdog she is always like a coiled spring, ready to move at lightening speed. Strangely she seems to react to an audience, so when I bring Fly out at a sheepdog display, I’m always on tender hooks, not quite sure if Fly will be the amazing sheepdog of her work at home, or she’ll be bursting to run and difficult to command.
Fern was born in 1999 so is now quite ancient. She has been the most frustrating sheepdog that I have known, she should have been quite brilliant, as she had speed, stamina and great hearing together with most of the other attributes that we look for in a sheepdog. However, she had a problem of confidence and although she could be quite brilliant, she could also completely refuse to move at all, and would go completely on strike!. Now in retirement she sleeps by the back door of the house, and sneaks in by the fire every now and then!
Born in 2011, Zola is the youngest of my working sheepdogs. Like her mother, Fly. Zola is an utterly focused sheepdog, she only has one interest in life and that is to go to work. She’s fast and tireless, and turns perfectly around the sheep so as to keep them under perfect control. She’s fast taking on some of her Fly’s work and I hope that in coming years Zola will be able to prove herself on the sheepdog trials field.
All of the Borough Farm sheepdogs are Border Collies, registered with the International Sheepdog Society (ISDS). For registration with the ISDS appearance is not important & working border collies come in all sizes, colourings and with long or short coats.