By Gillian Slade on July 10, 2018.
Watching one dog coax a flock of sheep in a particular direction with simple commands from a handler is very entertaining, and you can see the best at work in Cypress County next month.
Nearly 100 border collies will be participating in the 2018 Canadian Sheepdog Championships each day from Aug. 23-26. The day’s activities start at 7 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., with a herding demonstration at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Aug. 25 and at noon on Aug. 26.
Sheepdogs and handlers from across Canada and from the United States will compete for the Canadian Championship title. They will showcase amazing instinct, athleticism and intelligence, working in partnership with their handler guiding sheep through a challenging course. The handlers communicate with the dogs using a whistle and verbal commands.
This event will see four former Canadian champions compete for the trophy again. Canadian participants will be coming from as far away as Ontario with many from southern Alberta, too. U.S. border collies are coming from Michigan, Washington and Wisconsin.
After two preliminary rounds of competition the dogs will compete in a final exacting round on the Sunday to determine the best of the best. Younger dogs, up to three years old, will also have an opportunity to compete and show their skills to determine who has the most promising future.
There is an entrance fee of $5 per person for spectators. Bring your own chair as there is no seating provided. Although there is a tent on site, you should bring your own umbrella if you want to ensure you are in the shade. People spectators are welcome — your own dogs however, must be left at home.
The event’s location is: Canine Solutions 10112 RR 52 Cypress County, south of Medicine Hat. Here are directions to get there: from Medicine Hat, go east on the Trans-Canada Highway to Dunmore and turn right at the Co-op gas station onto Eagle Butte Road. About 15 km down the road turn right onto Township Road 102. Take the first left turn onto RR 52 and watch for signs to the event.
There are about 50 sheep dogs from southern Alberta, said Chris Jobe, Canine Solutions-Working Border Collies. Her own eight border collies are used to herd sheep, cattle and even elk.
“I got my first border collie in 1994,” said Jobe.
Training typically starts when they are about a year old and takes about 18 to 24 months to fully train, said Jobe.
If you would like any additional information please contact Chris Jobe, Canine Solutions-Working Border Collies, at 403-866-6176. There is additional information and a video on the website: