Monday, 13 August 2007

Sheepdog trials

It is almost certain that there were sheepdogtrials held in Britain as long as there have been agricultural shows, but the "earliest recorded" sheepdog trials, and the ones considered most important because they spawned the first glimmering of an idea of an International Sheep Dog Society, were the trials held on October 9, 1873 in Bala, Wales. Arising out of these trials and the ones that followed was the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS), formed in 1906, its purpose to "improve the breed of the collie with a view to the better management of stock". Sometime after World War I, incidentally, the term "Border Collie" was coined to distinguish it from the show collie.
The ISDS is still the only registry of working sheepdogs in Britain and Ireland. Each year it puts on four prestigious National Sheep Dog Trials (the English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh), which determine the four teams that will compete in the International Sheep Dog Trials. Only the winners of the National trials for each country, the crème de la crème in dogs and handlers can take part in the International Sheep Dog Trials. People flock from all over Britain and indeed the world to see this trial.
The picture was taken on the occasion of the Centenary Trial in 1973 organised by the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) at Bala in Wales to commemorate the "first recorded sheepdog trials in Britain", held on the very same spot 100 years before.


Welshcakes Limoncello said...

What a lot I learn from your blog, eurodog. I knew nothing of the histoey of sheepdog trials. Incidentally, I once had a dog who loved watching "One Man and his DOg" on TV!

Winchester whisperer said...

How different would their outfits have been in 1873? Do you think they'd have worn shepherds' smocks?

jmb said...

I think they must be very interesting to attend. Do you ever go to them Eurodog? I've seen one on TV once and the dogs were amazing.
I have a friend with a border collie which she sometimes brings with her to the walking group. That dog tries to keep us all together and runs from the frontrunners to the stragglers. It's quite funny really. In between she gathers sticks and tries to persuade us to throw them.

Flowerpot said...

I love sheepdog trials - and what an amazing picture, ED. God knows where you unearth all this information!

VioletsVintage said...

I love watching these dogs work and wish the US would televise more of these trials. PBS had a good program on working dogs and showed border collies herding, it was wonderful!