Thursday, March 23, 2017


A fan was wondering about Tucker,  Riley's dog (The Last Ride and Courageous Love). They wanted to know if he was a border collie. The answer to that is yes, but the breed was not recognized as such until the early 1900s. So I couldn't use "border collie" in the book. Here is everything you have ever wanted to know about how the border collie came into being.

Riley’s dog, Tucker, is a working member of the collie dog family. He looks and acts like a border collie. However, the specific breed name “border collie” was not officially established until 1915, when the term was used to distinguish between this particular kind of collie and the Scottish collie. By whatever name you want to call Tucker, he is a collie-type dog and especially good at herding livestock: sheep, cows, and even ducks.

Collies originated in Scotland, where they have herded sheep for hundreds of years. They spread all over the world and are sometimes called “sheep” dogs. Border collies are highly intelligent and extremely energetic, acrobatic, and athletic. In fact, many say the border collie is the most intelligent of the dog breeds.

Border collies are medium-sized dogs, with a moderate amount of fur (that sheds frequently). They come in almost any arrangement of colors: black and white (the most common and Tucker’s coloring), red/tan/white, black/tan/white, and even one solid color. Their ears can stand up, droop, or be semi-erect, like Tucker’s. Sometimes they have one blue and one brown eye. Tucker’s eyes are both brown.

Old Hemp
The first official “border collie” was a dog named “Old Hemp.” He was born in 1893, and his herding style was a little different from how the other herding collies worked. Hemp was quiet and powerful, and the sheep responded well. Many liked his style and used him as a stud to improve their own collie lines. Thus, the “border collie” breed was born. Every purebred border collie today can trace their lineage back to Old Hemp.   

Border collies need considerable daily physical exercise and mental stimulation. The Circle C ranch gives Tucker plenty of opportunities to run, herd, and work. Running alongside while Riley rides Dakota is sheer joy for Tucker. He is a bundle of energy.

Do border collies make good pets? Yes and no. Due to their working heritage, border collies are very demanding, playful, and energetic. They need space and lots of action, either with humans or other dogs. If not given chances to expend their energy, the border collie will chew holes in walls and furniture. Outside they will dig holes out of boredom. In a household of small children, they will want to herd them, along with any small pets like cats and other dogs. They can’t help it. This was bred into them for hundreds of years. It is what they are as a dog.


  1. Cool. Thanks.
    <3 MA

  2. Oooh! I really liked this post! I love dogs, and Border Collies are one of my VERY favorite breeds. I have to admit, I did know most of the breed facts ( we used to have a Border Collie cross. His name was Buddy and he was one of the smartest dogs I've ever seen.), but it was really neat to learn more about Tucker. He's one of my favorite characters in any of the Andi books. :) Actually, after reading Courageous Love, my Mom told me that Tucker was her very favorite character in the whole book. I was like "Okay..." Trust me, Mom is not that much of an animal person. So I was kinda surprised about that.
    Anyhow, Thanks, Mrs. M, for this great post.
    ~Hope M.
    P.S. Yes, I am still working on getting you pictures of me and Blackie. I kinda like taking pictures, but sometimes it just seems like a lot of trouble to take pictures of stuff. I'd rather be doing it. And, obviously, I can't take pictures of MYSELF riding Blackie. I need somebody else for that anyway. Yesterday evening would've been PERFECT for a photo-shoot. Caleb and me were out in the Paddle Boat on our lake, kinda looking at each other with exasperated expressions. It always seems to work that way. Caleb and me would've been just fine with taking pictures the DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY. But the weather wouldn't work. By the way, I've been working with Blackie on trick-riding (easy ones, I assure you), and if these picture-taking delays keep never know! We might be able to get some pictures of that, too!


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