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Herding tests announced for Border Collies
Title of full Champion will be increased, says KC

The Working Test which Show Champion Border Collies must pass to gain promotion to the title of Champion is to be replaced by a re-designed Herding Test from next year.

The introduction of the Herding Test aims to increase the number of Border Collies that achieve full Champion status. Like the original Working Test, which was introduced in 1992, the Herding Test is a limited version of a sheepdog trial. Its purpose is to safeguard the future development of the Border Collie by emphasising the importance of the breed’s natural herding abilities.

The new test will come into force from 1st January 2008, and interest is already being expressed by a number of owners. The test will consist of five principal elements - Outrun, Lift, Bring/Fetch, Inspection and Drive. The requirement to work sheep into a pen has been replaced by driving the sheep through a gate in the boundary of the test field. Distances have been reduced compared with the old Working Test, and dogs are not required to lie down between the Outrun and the Lift sections. The time limit remains at 12 minutes. Dogs must now be at least 12 months old at the time of application for the test.

With the agreement of the International Sheep Dog Society, Herding Test judges will be appointed by the Kennel Club rather than from among ISDS Sheepdog Trial judges. Two judges will officiate at each trial, and the first three official judges approved by the Kennel Club are Marion Turner, Ann Jordan and Mike Conde, all of whom are active in showing Border Collies as well as in Sheepdog Trials.

Caroline Kisko, Secretary of the Kennel Club, told us: ‘The Kennel Club is pleased to be able to respond to the requests of Border Collie owners by introducing a Test which will help to ensure the breed’s herding instincts continue to be valued.’

Norman Lorton, Chief Executive of the International Sheep Dog Society, commented: ‘The International Sheep Dog Society welcomes the introduction of the revised Kennel Club Herding Test for Border Collies that are to demonstrate their sheepdog skills. Maintaining the innate behaviour that make this dog what it is - the most intelligent and capable worker in the dog world - is most commendable, and owners and dogs will have enormous fun doing it!’


Between five and ten sheep will be used in each test; cattle will not be used for the Herding Test. The Outrun and Bring/Fetch distance will be approximately 140 metres, and the Drive distance approximately 50 metres (the equivalents in the Working Test were 200 metres and 100 metres).
There will be exemptions from the Herding Test for dogs qualified for entry in International or National Trials affiliated to the ISDS; dogs placed in the first six in an Open Sheepdog Trial affiliated to the ISDS, where a minimum of 25 dogs had competed; or dogs placed in the first three in any Nursery or Novice Trial affiliated to the ISDS, where a minimum of 12 dogs had competed.

Dogs will be required to pass each section of the test and to pass overall. A pass mark will not be used, but a description of each section will be prepared by the approved judges, detailing what is necessary and what the minimum requirement will be to pass.

There will be no limit on the number of times a dog may take the test, although it may only take one test on one day. Dogs may be handled by anyone, not necessarily the owner, as it is the dog’s herding ability which is being tested.

Applications for the Herding Test can be made immediately to the Kennel Club (forms available from Zoe Tharmasingam, Tel: 0870 606 6750 Ext 313). It is planned that tests will be held between June and October, staged by the breed clubs. Owners will apply to the Kennel Club, normally between January and April, with an application fee of £25. Once the applications have been received, a test day or days will be arranged following liaison with the breed club nearest to the majority of owners. Breed clubs will be also be free to arrange their own test date and advertise it beforehand, with the applications still being submitted to the Kennel Club.