image©Magical Menagerie, 1999

Border Collies are the most versatile and widely used stock herding dogs around the world. As a recognizable breed the Border Collie can be traced to around the year 1600 in Scotland. During the 1700's and 1800's the importance of sheep in Great Britain increased, and along with it the talent and value of Border Collies. From there they have radiated to almost every continent on the planet, mostly in use as sheep or cattle dogs.

Border Collies are a gathering breed, that is to say that their natural tendency is to collect stock and bring them to their shepherd, unlike "driving" dogs such as Australian Cattle dogs who tend to move stock from behind. They also have the most intense and developed use of "eye", the focused, predatory stare that intimidates and controls stock from even a great distance. Well bred and trained Border Collies can move stock in any direction required, and a well trained ranch dog tends to do a lot of driving sheep or cattle from behind. This is the greatest virtue of a Border Collie; for along with its desire to work with a shepherd (being "biddable") they can perform more shepherding roles well than any other herding dog. This is why, even though any breed of dog may compete in ISDS or USBCHA trials, there have never been any trial champions other than Border Collies.

At Magical Menagerie Border Collies fulfill important roles assisting us in the management of our angora goats and sheep. They help us catch animals for inspection, medication, sort and move breeding groups, retrieve goats after they have been turned out for free grazing, and with the use of portable electric fencing, in aggressive grazing management to eliminate weeds such as star thistle. Unlike many shepherds who have to resort to some grain to (hopefully) entice animals into a trailer, barn, or catch pen, our dogs can catch even the wildest sheep or goats when needed, even in the middle of a 40 acre pasture.

We also enjoy competition in International Sheep Dog Society type trials conducted around the west. Dogs who work on ranches and then hone their skills under the intense pressure of sheep and cattle herding competition sanctioned by the United States Border Collie Handlers Association fully reach their potential as partners with their shepherds. Dogs that only do ranch work or only trial perhaps don't live up to their full potential as the pre-eminent stock dog in the world.

Occasionally we sell puppies bred from our Border Collies here on the ranch, but generally only sell to those in need of working dogs or those interested in competition.

We adamantly oppose the registration of Border Collies in the AKC, along with the breeding of them with the goal of improving traits considered necessary to win conformation (beauty) shows. Those who breed Border Collies for anything else are contributing to the loss of the natural ability of Border Collies to work stock and work as partners with shepherds.

Please call or write us at:

Magical Menagerie
158877 El Diablo Way
Cottonwood, CA  96022
(530) 347-4599

e-mail to: