Sheepdog Show 411

Five Things You Didn’t Know About Sheepdogs

Dog lovers rejoice; the Cotswold Farm Park annual sheepdog demonstration is back! Taking place on the Farm Park across select weekends in June, this event sees the site come alive with whistles and the iconic ‘Come By’ and ‘Away’ calls – and lets us showcase the art of training and managing a sheepdog.

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With preparations well underway, the team have been getting the dogs, sheep, and fields ready for action. And as well as discovering that sheepdogs require a special diet (no extra treats here!), we’ve unpacked five of the most interesting facts about these impressive, highly intelligent, and intuitive pups, that we think you’ll love.

Sheepdog Demonstrations

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1. Sheepdogs are not all border collies

The classic sheepdog image is that of a black and white dog, sometimes with a long coat and sometimes with a short coat and prick ears.

However, what you may not realise is that not all sheepdogs are border collies. In fact, there are a variety of different breeds that have historically been used to gather and manage flocks of sheep – including Huntaway, Bearded Collie, and Kelpie dogs.

2. The word ‘Collie’ translates to ‘Useful’

The border collie is arguably the most famous sheepdog breed still used across farms and fields today. But do you know where the name came from?

In the old Gaelic language, the word ‘collie’ was used to describe anything useful. As such, the collie dog was (and remains) by definition a ‘useful dog’.

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3. Different sheepdog breeds were bred for different environments

When choosing the perfect sheepdog, a shepherd or farmer will often pay attention to temperament and how firm the dog is with the sheep. The perfect sheepdog is one which will push the sheep and square up to feisty rams, without being too quick to nip.

But back in the day, choosing the right sheepdog meant focussing as much on coat, condition, and breeding, as the skills of the dog. Different breeds have adapted based on the demands of their landscape.

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4. Sheepdogs are born with a natural herding instinct

Different breeds of sheepdog have their own ways of working with the sheep.

Huntaways are known as driving dogs, barking at the sheep from their position at the back of the flock, to drive the flock forward. Border collies, meanwhile, are natural herders. With the right training and commands, they will circle a flock of sheep – with their natural instinct stepping in, pushing the flock towards their handler.

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5. Sheepdogs can sell for exceptionally high prices!

Believe it or not, the most expensive sheepdog was sold in 2021 for a record-breaking £27,100.

Much of the value of a sheepdog lies in its genes – with Kim, the Welsh border collie who fetched this incredible sum, bred from two very successful lines.

Add this to a comprehensive training regime (and the coveted red coat which probably added a few extra pounds to Kim’s value), and we have yet to see this record beaten!

So, interested in seeing these incredible dogs in action?

Our sheepdog demonstrations invite visitors to witness these dogs in action, learning more about the bond between handler and dog, and the natural hierarchy that exists between the dog and the sheep.


All visitors to the Farm Park will receive access to our sheepdog shows as part of their entrance fee – no extra booking required. And if you’ve got a budding shepherd or a future farmer in your family, the fun doesn’t have to end when the park closes! Our Cotswold Farm Park Holidays offer you the chance to stay on site, surrounded by the sights and sounds of our farm well after closing time.

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