Those without a guess usually say, “What kind of dog is that? She looks like a fox.” And, when I say, she’s a smooth coated border collie, countless people (including those who work in pet businesses) say “border collie mix”? or “Really?” … like I’m making it up.
While border collies with smooth coats, rather than rough ones, are not as common nor as familiar, they are well known in border collie circles. They simply have smoother coats and more angular features.
And, here’s a shocker, they’re not all black and white. Some are even tri-colored.
Yes, Lilly came from a shelter without any pedigree papers. However, thanks to the AKC’s ILP (indefinite listing privilege) program (now called something else, like PAL), she’s recognized as a pure-bred smooth coated border collie. That means she can compete in AKC events like agility or herding, but not conformation. That’s the formal name of what regular folks call a “dog show.”
To receive this green light, I had to prove she is spayed. I also completed a detailed application that included information about her height at the withers, her weight, her build, and her instincts to show how she met the breed standard. I sent photos, and I included a letter of recommendation from the Rocky Mountain Border Collie Rescue volunteer who evaluated Lilly before she was put up for adoption. She essentially wrote … “Yep, that’s a border collie.” And, Lilly was approved.
Now, it honestly doesn’t matter to me if my dogs are pure-bred or mixed breeds. The only reason it’s important for Lilly to have this designation is so that she can compete in the regular class at AKC events when (if ever) she’s ready. There are other venues who allow dogs of all breeds and mixes, but in Colorado there is a preponderance of AKC events. So, if you want to do this a lot (and not have to travel out of state), there you go.
So, to recap my answers to the most common questions:
Yes, she’s a border collie.
No, she’s not particularly small. She’s dead-on the breed standard for size.
No, they are not all this shy, but (as I’ve mentioned before) they each have their own brand of crazy.
Yes, she’s very smart and very active.
Yes, she really can jump (as high as my head) and does it all the time when she’s happy. In fact, if I don’t see it coming, she’s given me bloody noses, a fat lip, and broken sunglasses.
Thank you. Yes, she’s the Champion of My Heart ~~ especially now that we are more than a year into a life / death struggle following Lilly’s vaccine-induced brain inflammation.
If you’d like to see Lilly in action, including some pretty sad videos of her neurological deficits, check out our Champion of My Heart YouTube Channel!