Border Collie Who? Are You?

The people at Dogster have no clue about Border Collies.

In one of those “answer some questions about yourself and we’ll tell you what cliché you are (replete with photo and code so you can advertise our website for us on your page)” quizzes, they decided that the Border Collies of the human world are: Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Martha Stewart, and Barbara Walters.

GAG! Not a single one of those people says Border Collie to me.

Bill Gates is super smart and a workaholic, certainly Border Collie traits. But he’s awkward, anti-social, and a nerd. While Border Collies will certainly turn down playing with other dogs at the dog park should you present them with the “job” of playing fetch, they’re hardly anti-social. Nor are they in any way awkward or weak or nerdy.

Bill Gates made his fame by riding one idea that he stole all the way to the top, helped out at the start with a million dollars from Mommie. Gates’ company became the de facto standard, but few people think it works very well, and a severe lack of competition in the market have kept it that way.

Border Collies, on the other hand, weren’t the first nor the most privileged herding dogs. They’ve risen to the top by sheer talent. They are the best, not the first. Their talent lends them useful in numerous other areas. Bill Gates would never be the helm of any other company than his own. He’s not a particularly talented coder nor a leader, and he’s certainly not a shepherd. The most famous Pirate of Silicon Valley is little like a Border Collie.

Who is a better choice? Sir Richard Branson.

Branson is also brilliant, a billionaire, and a workaholic like Gates. But he didn’t get beat up in high school by the middle school bullies. Branson is handsome, charming, competitive, dexterous, and even flashy; all things that embody the Border Collie spirit. Bonus points for being British.

Like the Border Collie, Branson is a versatile guy who has headed several businesses and who made his way up from the bottom through hard work and talent. He could easily be the CEO of someone else’s company, using the skills he has forged in other areas and applying it to a new field.
Like the Border Collie, Branson is adventurous and has a knack at herding people on to his side. Unlike Gates, Branson is all about competition and free markets, seeking a balance between open source and intellectual property. Border Collies too are about competition and free markets. They are the most used herding dog because they are the best, not because of some quirk of being the first or being a cultura icon. They compete in more venues and in greater numbers than any other breed of dog and perhaps any type of animal period.
Bill Clinton? He might be a dog, but he’s no Border Collie. He is irretrievably unfaithful. No Border Collie I have ever me has been anything less than faithful. The bond between a Border Collie and its handler is one of the wonders of the dog world. Bill and Hillary’s bond is one of the most twisted and shallow political arrangements between an oversexed hillbilly and a sexless machine who begrudges her gender. He is a compulsive a liar. Border Collies are one of the most forthright breeds there is.

Clinton is a traitor. He sold his country out for $ from communist China, bombed countries to avert attention from his infidelity, and sold pardons to rich domestic sleaze bags. No Border Collie can be lured away from their task with a pittance in bribes. Clinton is gutter trash, he pimped out the Lincoln Bedroom and stole the White House China. Border Collies take no obvious payment for their jobs, they live for the work, they don’t skim. To Clinton, having the title and the power was the highest goal and he sold his soul and all common decency to get and attain that power. To a Border Collie, the power is a tool to be used to excel at the work. Doing the work is the highest goal, not having the title.

Who is a better choice? Teddy Roosevelt.

Teddy was famed for his energy, his diverse interests, his magnetism, his impressive accomplishments, and his outdoorsmanship. His style and attributes mesh well with all the things we like about Border Collies.

Roosevelt was the first US President to win the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Russo-Japanese War and later arbitrated a conclusion to a dispute between France and Germany over Morocco, likely forestalling what could have been WWI years before lesser men let it happen. That’s the kind of strong persuasive leadership that Border Collies demonstrate on the pastures every day.

Roosevelt was an upbeat workaholic that got results and enjoyed physical work. He was an avid hunter even studied Judo. The Border Collie is a physical worker, at home on the land, but not a brute force physical power. The stalking, responsive elements necessary for hunting and Judo are also key in the Border Collie’s herding style using “eye” with careful pressure and using the flock’s momentum against the sheep.

Roosevelt wore many hats; a Cowboy, Historian, Police Commissioner, Naval Secretary, Rough Rider, Governor, Vice President, President, Peacemaker, and Mighty Hunter. The Border Collie excels in more diverse areas than any other breed of dog, at the top in brains and brawn. Border Collies excel on the Farm, the Ranch, on the Range, in both Urban and Suburban environments, in sport, in play, and in all sorts of work from anything involving livestock to law enforcement, search and rescue to handicap assistance.

Martha Stewart has nothing to do with Border Collies. She’s a domestic trend setter who is heavy on substanc
e and light on character. Border Collies aren’t frilly, they’re not doting, they aren’t architectural or high fashion. Border Collies don’t tart up the common place with some ribbon and powdered sugar and sell it for ten times the price, and they certainly aren’t domestic.

If any breed could care less about the table cloth matching the curtains, it’s the Border Collie. The Border Collie wouldn’t shed a tear if the house burned down as long as the yard were intact, and to a Border Collie, an herb garden is a waste of pace that should be reserved for catching Frisbees, burying bones, and stalking squirrels on.

Martha is condescending and pedantic, two traits that you’ll never find in a Border Collie. She’s ruthless and unapologetic, characteristics that don’t make for good working sheepdogs. She’s also a shameless self promoter whose work is all about her, her ego, and her name. You won’t find a Martha Stewart in the Border Collie breed. The fact that she prefers the brainless and nasty Chow Chow says it all.

Who is a better choice? Bob Ross.

Bob Ross was a self effacing man of talent who promoted his craft above himself. He was a simple and effective teacher of technique, not an endless fad chaser (although many of us would have preferred that he kept up with some fads, especially regarding hair styles for white men). The Border Collie’s talent isn’t a fad or based on the whims of trend setters. The amazing ability of the Border Collie is about performance and refined technique and getting untalented and unskilled animals where you want them to go. The proof is in the pudding, not in how the self anointed elite feel about the pudding. Bob Ross shepherded a whole lot of unrefined people through the rocky hills and happy forests.

Bob Ross was a man of the people, making his career on Public Television. The Border Collie is likewise an approachable savant, low key and yet highly skilled. Bob Ross gained respect through the efficacy of his technique, not the poshness of his image. So too is the Border Collie famed because no breed does it better, not because no breed looks better making the attempt.

Ross was also a little old fashioned and pedestrian, two traits that wouldn’t be insulting to the Border Collie. They certainly are old fashioned and approachable by the common man, but they aren’t limited to those roles by any means.

And Barbara Walters? What? This choice is as baseless as the others. Barbara Walters is one step above a tabloid whore, the type of journalist how chases after celebrities and trys to make them seem deeper and more reflective than they are. Walters is a spoiled little rich girl who grew up in a stew of B-list celebrities and entitlement, and it shows.

Baba Wawa is a toy poodle, not a Border Collie. Nothing about her speaks to what we love in the Border Collie. She’s not a hard worker, asking a few wading pool deep questions of the rich and famous isn’t hard work. She’s not particularly smart. Her commentary is about as deep as her makeup; sure, it’s trowelled on thick and clunky to cover up the flaws, but it’s still only paper thin and artifice. Nor does she transcend class, moving just as easily among rural cowboys as urban flyballers. She is steeped in debutante culture and she never leaves the soft filter and bright lights.

A better choice? Brian Williams.

The beauty of the Border Collie is not in the class of sheep it works but in its ability to work seamlessly. To make it look easy. To be a tool instead of the center of attention. Unlike Walters, Brian Williams conveys the news without becoming part of the story or overpowering the message with schlocky “personality.”

There was a time when the Border Collie wasn’t the quintessential herding dog, but when put to the test, the Border Collie easily rises above. The same can be said of Obedience, Flyball, and Frisbee. All of those sports had their stars in the past, but when the best of old went up against the Border Collie, the choice was clear.

Likewise, Brian Williams is a clear improvement over his predecessors. He has replaced both Maury Povich and Tom Brokaw during his career, and unlike those men, his effortless skill funnels the news without making it more about him than the story. Both Brokaw and Povich made the news more about them. Williams oozes confidence instead of ego.

A talent so effortless that you’d say that he was born for the job? That’s a Border Collie.
Dogster clearly knows nothing about Border Collies, they couldn’t even pick one person who fit the hard to fill shoes of this amazing breed.
But don’t take my word for it, take the quiz yourself and see how bad they botched your breed.

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About Christopher

Christopher Landauer is a fifth generation Colorado native and second generation Border Collie enthusiast. Border Collies have been the Landauer family dogs since the 1960s and Christopher got his first one as a toddler. He began his own modest breeding program with the purchase of Dublin and Celeste in 2006 and currently shares his home with their children Mercury and Gemma as well. His interest in genetics began in AP Chemistry and AP Biology and was honed at Stanford University.