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Border Collie Rescue - On Line - General Information

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Registered throughout the UK as Border Collie Rescue - Charity No 1128983 (UK) - No SC040796 (Scotland) - Non profit Company No 3037504.

What is Border Collie Rescue ?

The Border Collie Rescue Society is a specialised Breed Rescue registered charity, incorporated as a non profit distributing charitable company, limited by guarantee, entirely run and staffed by volunteers.

Our registered name is Border Collie Rescue. We take in, care for, re-train and re-home un-wanted Border Collies & Working Sheepdogs.

Those we cannot responsibly re-home are kept in long term foster care for the rest of their life, under the supervision, care & protection of the Society.

In addition to this important work we offer help, advice, contacts & hope to Border Collie owners who have problems but wish to find a solution that will enable their dog to remain with them, rather than pass that problem on to someone else.

We work closely with many other canine and animal welfare charities for the future and benefit of the breed.

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Visiting school children get a chance to meet and play with rescue pups at a farm visitors centre that fosters for BCR. The kids are taught a greater understanding of this special breed while the pups benefit from the socialisation and trust they learn from regular meetings with visitors.

Our commitment to the future of the breed extends beyond re-homing.

We believe that education and information is the key to the prevention of most of the problems that we have to address daily and we are active in working to help people gain a greater understanding of the breed.

We work to achieve a future where demand for our re-homing service is greatly reduced.

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With an older dog to show them the ropes and assist in matters of internal discipline and the settling of disputes, the pups also learn good manners with each other and strange dogs.

Why do so many of these dogs need new homes ?

The reasons for Border Collies needing to be placed in new homes are as individual and interesting as the dogs themselves. Each comes with its own unique story.

Some are referred to us as strays - some are non workers passed on from farms.Many are bought as fluffy puppies on holiday - the reality of the responsibility sinks in when the family returns home and have second thoughts, turning to us for the solution.

Increasingly, dogs are victims of recession as unemployment and repossession bring the family pet into our care. Many are fit, well balanced and socialised but there are also dogs which, in the wrong homes, present major problems.

What are the problems ?

Border Collies are working dogs, bred for many generations to fulfil a useful role for man - that of herding & protecting livestock.

Over hundreds of years farmers, shepherds and stockmen have intentionally bred them to strengthen the instincts that the breed relies on to carry out this work.

The breed is ruled by its instincts

Most Border Collies have a need to be active and stimulated. If this need is unfulfilled the dog can become frustrated, irritable and unpredictable.

Whilst the majority of Border Collies are eager to please, quick to learn, loyal and kind, some will still chase anything that moves, often nipping their targets.

Chasing is natural behaviour for a Border Collie. It only becomes a problem when the target is human - perhaps a child, a fast moving vehicle or another dog ( that may not take kindly to being rounded up and penned in a corner ).

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Pups watching cows through a gate - even at a few weeks of age their interest can show and it can be difficult to get their attention when obsession sets in.

Some Border Collies become possessive over toys, food or their owners.

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Nicki Oliver with another litter of five pups fostered at Hazel Brow Farm.

The breed has a natural inclination to bond closely with one person. This ability enables the dog to respond and work with its handler & other dogs - as a team.

Without work and exercise to take the edge off the dogs intensity this bonding can result in over possessiveness.

People or other dogs can be bitten in pre-emptive defence.

Border Collies are not a naturally aggressive breed, most problems are behavioural and many can be corrected by experienced trainers and handlers.


In the first instance, we can assess dogs, look at their problems & potential and offer advice on training.

If a problem is serious we can put people in touch with an appropriate specialist or organisation that can help their individual case.

If owners are unable to resolve problems or cannot keep their dog for any reason, we can help look for a new home for the dog.


Problem dogs are taken into care & are not re-homed until the problem is resolved.

A first assessment is made and the dog is fostered on to an appropriate handler / trainer.

After an initial period of peace & quiet, away from its previous circumstances, the dog is re-assessed and a program of training and socialisation designed for the dogs individual needs.

It is often the case that, after the initial, quiet, settling in period, a dog will change its unsociable behaviour, becoming receptive to re-training & eager to get it right.

When all is satisfactory, the dog can be re-homed with confidence.

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BCR national Co-ordinator, Nicki Oliver with BCR mascot Mr. Tod and 4 rescue dogs. every dog is an individual and most come with a problem or two - these had less than most, but were all re-homed very carefully. The two on the left - brothers that had been together for over 7 years were kept and re-homed together

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More Pups - just settling in to foster care at Hazel Brow Farm


The dogs are our priority; we are constantly looking for the right home for each dog. To do this, it helps to have as much information on the dog as possible.

We ask owners passing dogs on to be honest in telling us the genuine reason why it needs to be re-homed.

If there is a problem we can take action to start retraining whilst we look for a home.

On the other hand, a well balanced dog that is the victim of circumstances e.g. death, divorce, redundancy or just insufficient working instinct, could be assessed 'in situ' and go on to a new home without needing to spend too much time in Border Collie Rescue care.


People who apply to us to adopt, first fill in an application form that is designed to give us information on the new home and the applicant.

After a checking process and a home visit, suitable homes are registered.

If a home is suitable for a particular dog we will invite the applicant to meet the dog and, if a match is made, the dog will be offered for adoption.

We like to stay in touch with our dogs, offering help and advice if needed.

We try to only offer dogs that will suit the requirements of the new home, after all we want them to stay there.

We can home dogs anywhere in the UK and in other European countries where we have members or links with animal welfare charities who can home check for us and provide a safety net for the dog.

We do not move dogs between countries - we only re-home dogs within the countries we take them in from.

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Ready to go - A border collie is happiest working sheep - focused and alert, but not hyperactive. Below - a young collie x kelpie is about to start his career with sheep and cattle

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The Border Collie is not your ‘average dog’ and the breed has extra needs due to its heritage as a Working Sheepdog. They have greater needs than the average pet and any attempt to treat then simply as ‘another dog’ will be courting problems.

Because of the fine tuning of the breeds instincts, the wrong home, environment or handling can often quickly bring out behavioural problems and this has led to the breed getting a reputation amongst pet owners for being highly strung and hyperactive. Hyperactive behaviour is not natural for the breed and is the result of stress and trauma - a hyperactive Border Collie is suffering.

The worst of it is that many owners are unaware that their dog is suffering and see these behavioural problems as amusing quirks or simply as a nuisance and an inconvenience to themselves.

The latter is certainly true - but the dogs suffer the worst of these situations.

To understand the Border Collie you need to understand it’s background and why it was bred to be what it is. Other pages on this website will help.

Its worth bearing in mind that the great majority of problem Border Collies we are asked to take in each year, come from pet homes - not from farms.

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Copyright - Border Collie Rescue - 3037504

Border Collie Rescue is a UK based charity, working Internationally to Rescue and Re-home Border Collies and Working Sheepdogs and promote a better understanding of the breed and its Welfare.

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