famous border collies

Famous Border Collies: Here’s 12 of the Most Famous and Talented Border Collies of All Time

The exceptionally intelligent Border Collie breed has produced many famous border collies over the years. Their innate herding ability, trainability, and energetic nature allows them to excel in diverse activities from Hollywood films to competitive sports.

This article pays tribute to 12 of the most accomplished, famous, and talented Border Collies to have ever displayed their multitalented versatility on the world stage. Get to know these legendary dogs who make the breed so proud.

Mick – A Real-Life sheepdog Champion and one of the first famous border collies.

One of the most decorated herding dogs of all time, Mick was a legendary champion stud Border Collie from the 1960s. He demonstrated phenomenal natural gathering instincts and fabulous “eye” and style.

Mick won over 200 trophy cups and medals in his career. His ability to calmly yet deftly load large flocks was unrivaled. Mick sired many top herding competitors as well. This hard-working dog is considered one of the founding fathers of trials herding.


Coos – First AKC Obedience Champion Border Collie

While Border Collies now dominate many dog sports, back in 1935 Coos made history as the very first of his breed to earn an obedience title from the American Kennel Club.

Trained by Mary Albert, Coos earned the primeira AKC Companion Dog obedience title in impressive fashion, paving the way for Border Collies to become recognized for their stellar temperaments and trainability beyond just herding abilities.

Jethro – Most Decorated Dog in Canine Freestyle History

A household name in musical canine freestyle competitions, Jethro and owner Jenny Wick executed routines earning over 20 world championship titles in the sport throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Using his natural herding motions to perform in time to music, 12 year-old Jethro memorably retired after a moving freestyle routine at a national competition that left the entire audience in tears. His legacy lives on through his offspring competing today.

Rico – Border Collie Word Learning Genius

One of the smartest non-human animals on record, Rico the Border Collie stunned researchers in 2004 by demonstrating the ability to learn over 200 object names and retrieve them on verbal command alone.

Rico could process combinations of nouns to successfully locate new items and proved capable of complex social reasoning. Studying his intellectual abilities provided insight into Border Collie intelligence and rapid word learning capacities.

Shep – Longest Catching Disc Record Holder

Setting world records as a consummate disc dog, Shep caught a frisbee thrown an incredible 62 yards away by his owner Ken Kristensen – the longest recorded canine disc catch as measured by the Guinness Book of Records.

Shep was a top competitor in disc sports starting in the 1970s. His extraordinary leaping ability and graceful airborne catches helped showcase the phenomenal athleticism of Border Collies.

Spud – First Surfing Dog World Champion

The original world champion surfer dog, Spud first shot to fame by riding tandem on a surfboard with owner Suzanne Gregory off Dana Point, California in the 2005 Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.

Breeding from champion sheepdog lines, Spud clearly inherited amphibious talents. His radical moves riding tasty waves made him legendary in surf dog contests and exhibitions for years.

Chaser – “World’s Smartest Dog”

After intensive training by linguist John Pilley, Chaser the Border Collie entered the record books as the dog with the largest vocabulary. She had a documented over 1000 different toy names she could comprehend.

Chaser could also categorize items by function or structure. Her advanced language comprehension skills led to television appearances, conferences, and a showcase at the Smithsonian. Study of her intelligence continues to provide insights.

Striker – First Superior Agility Trial Champion

Speedy Striker blazed records in the sport of dog agility despite going deaf early in life, relying on hand signals and close teamwork with handler Sharon Nelson.

He was the very first Border Collie to earn a national AKC agility title all the way to the elite Superior Agility Champion level. Striker’s success opened the floodgates for Border Collies to go on dominating this fast-paced sport.

ABCD Vera – Founding Mother of Champion Bloodlines

Many top modern Border Collies trace ancestry back to the intelligent Vera of Totter Bank Kennel in England. She proved the best of the breed could excel beyond herding into elite competition across disciplines.

Vera was an early Obedience Trial Champion and accomplished at conformation showing despite having the more moderate build of a working sheepdog. She birthed puppies that went on to further demonstrate the Border Collie’s versatility.

Wish – First Agility Dog Inducted into the AKC Hall of Fame

The top winning agility dog of all-time, “Wish” competed with handler Deborah Burke in the late 1980s through the 1990s, earning over 50 titles including 8 at the prestigious national level.

The versatile Wish had beauty, skill, and a heart of gold. She was the very first agility competitor to be inducted into the AKC Hall of Fame, cementing her legacy influencing the rise of Border Collies in the sport.

Gelert – Famous TV and Movie Dog and one of the famous border collies

A canine performer seen in popular movies, commercials, and TV shows for over 10 years, Gelert starred in his best-known role as “Murray the Dog” in the comedy series Mad About You alongside actor Paul Reiser.

With his fun-loving personality, Gelert made audiences laugh while demonstrating the trainability of Border Collies on set. His charming spirit brought Hollywood fame to the breed, and is probably one of the most well known and famous border collies.

Red – Alberta’s Famous Canine Mayor and another of the famous border collies

Perhaps the most politically powerful Border Collie ever was Red, who was elected mayor of Cormorant, Alberta as a joke in 1986 but ended up beloved by the whole town for over 10 years.

Red attended store openings, met dignitaries, and raised funds for charity. His landslide elections highlighted Border Collie popularity. Red dedicated his “political” career to boosting community spirit and literacy programs until his retirement.

Frequently Asked Questions About Border Collie Fame

The exceptional versatility of Border Collies is demonstrated by the many overachievers who have earned fame across diverse disciplines. Here are some common questions about celebrated Border Collies:

What is the most famous Border Collie?

There are many contenders, but based on major media spotlight, Chaser the vocabulary whiz or Wish the agility legend are potentially the most famous for showcasing Border Collie intelligence through groundbreaking achievements.

Has a Border Collie ever won Best in Show at Westminster?

While they dominate performance events, a Border Collie has yet to earn the Best in Show top honor at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. But they have placed well in the herding group competition, usually falling short to the top cold-weather farm sheepdog breeds featured there.

What Border Collie has won the most world championships?

In terms of major global performance titles, record-setting agility Border Collie Wish with over 50 world championships still eclipses other disciplines. Though the top obedience, freestyle and disc dog Border Collies have over a dozen global wins each too.

Has a Border Collie ever starred in a movie?

Yes, Border Collies have been featured in films and television frequently over the years. Some of the most famous Border Collies  include Gelert (Mad About You), Rin Tin Tin: The Next Generation, and more recently Enzo in The Art of Racing in the Rain.

What of the famous Border Collies has the most Instagram followers?

Some of the most popular Border Collies on Instagram include Stella, Toffee the Cow Herder, and Loki. Each of these have followings over 300,000. Stella currently has the most followers at over 2 million!

What is the smartest Border Collie in the world?

Based on objective measures of vocabulary, reasoning ability, and dog IQ testing, the current smartest Border Collie record-holder is arguably researcher John Pilley’s outstanding Border Collie, Chaser. Her 1000+ word comprehension amazed scientists.

Is there a famous Border Collie Mayor?

Yes – the honorary mayorship of Cormorant, Alberta was held by a Border Collie named Red for over a decade. His landslide elections and community service put Border Collies in the political spotlight!

The exceptional versatility demonstrated by these high achieving Border Collies showcases the breed’s intelligence and trainability at the highest levels. From the competitive drive of champion sheepdogs to the affable charm of canine actor Gelert, Border Collies have made their mark across many human domains

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