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Border Collies have a very high need for exercise and can be expected to have high indoor activity. They are vigorous dogs that require good hard exercise on a regular basis. They make good watch dogs and poor guard dogs. They have a high learning rate and a very high obedience level.
—Country Journal, December 1987.


Dick & Linda Grosskopf’s 5-H Border Collie Saga…

We were leasing a large ranch on the Crow Reservation in southeastern Montana in the late 1980s. As with most operations, we were work plentiful and help deficient. I was wishing I could find a dog to augment the cowboy crew. I knew there were people using dogs for all ranch work, but it was really hard to know where to start. As an example, our local vet had a Border Collie that had been too active for the owner. This dog was frustrating to its owner and considered useless because it kept putting cattle “over the riders” by heading the cattle (rather than heeling them, which is the instinct that most people are familiar with and tend to look for) and bringing them toward the owner rather than pushing the cattle away from the owner. Now I know that this is one of most effective traits possible and should be highly valued, encouraged, and sought after.

Scott Lithgow…
Linda brought home a book she found somewhere called Training and Working Dogs for Quiet Confident Control of Stock by an Australian named Scott Lithgow. I loved that book and its message and was instantly intrigued by the possibility of having a dog work like Lithgow described so I wrote him a letter, praising his book and his message. Lithgow responded by saying he had always wanted to come to the United States but couldn’t afford to without being able to put on a number of clinics while he was there. I went into action and lined up six clinics with the help of my friends, the Edsalls from Avon, Montana.
In June of 1991, Scott Lithgow stepped off the plane with his Aussie accent and two seven-month-old pups. We learned that Lithgow had been working on the development of a line of dogs for 30 years, always selecting for five invaluable traits: heeling, heading, heeding, herding, and hardiness. Lithgow’s book Training and Working Dogs for Quiet Confident Control of Stock doesn’t explain how he first got into developing the line. However, as we visited, he told the interesting story.

Lithgow had an amazing female dog that could find cattle in the “bush by scent and tracking and could hold them up and block them,” but she didn’t have the herding traits. Scott had the desire to develop his own breed. His first step was a visit with geneticists and scientists at the University of Queensland. They sent him home to develop the goals he wanted to see in a stock dog. He came back with the 5 Hs—heading, herding, heeling, heeding, and hardiness. Lithgow didn’t care what kind of dog he brought to the equation so long as the 5-H traits were adhered to and preferably strengthened. As explained on page 6 of his book, the dog of his dreams required at least 50% Border Collie for the heeding, herding, and heeling traits; 25% Blue Heeler for heeling and hardiness traits; and 6% Bull Terrier for the hard-to-find heading trait as well as to add genes for a short, slick coat. The rest depends on the strengths of the particular strains of dogs used. Lithgow felt that there have been more good dogs bred from a pure Border Collie sire and a crossbred bitch than the other way around, and so he proceeded to develop a line a dogs using those guiding beliefs.

We jump on board…
After following Lithgow around for 10 days and soaking up all we could, Edsalls bought Smart, the male, and I bought Denise, the female—for $2,000, which made my wife blanche. And as they say, the rest is history!
Denise had obviously been linebred in that all her lineage carried her strong traits. We already had a male registered Border Collie that we loved—Tuck. Denise and Tuck’s combined genetics proved excellent, and our customers were thrilled with their pups.

Exit Tuck, enter Dennis…
Then about 1995, Tuck got sick and died. That threw our breeding program for a loop, and we never really replaced Tuck to our satisfaction. We more easily added to our females and kept one of Denise’s male pups that looked so much like her that we named him Dennis. He became the anchor of our line, although we chose not to breed him to his mother.
Denise was a phenomenal working dog. She was also a one-man dog—she worshipped Dick, and where he was, she was. She was also a great mother and always raised a large and fat litter.

One chapter closes…
In October 2001, at the age of 11, Denise died, and although we continued raising nice pups for several years, the steam went out of our program, and about 2005, we quit raising pups. But we missed our dogs badly and were filled with remorse that we had not worked harder to keep the line going. We realized we weren’t alone in that regard after numerous past customers continued to call, tell us how much they had loved the 5-H dogs they got from us, and did we have any pups… As luck would have it, several of our customers had carried on the line, however.

Adams in Nebraska…
Leonard & Ronda Adam of Hyannis, Nebraska, had been one of our earliest customers and bought several of Denise’s pups from us and carried on diligently with the 5-H breeding program, developing the 5-H traits by the careful selection and introduction of genetics into his line that enhance the 5-H traits.

Redlands in Wyoming…
Kendall & Sharon Redland of Worland, Wyoming, bought a male out of one of our first litters from Denise and Tuck. They out-crossed their dog to a registered Border Collie trial dog and have linebred ever since, thus concentrating the imported line. In 2008, they had a female pup with the look of Denise and were kind enough to call us, and that’s where our current female Terry-Denise came from.

Zaleskys in Colorado…
Doug & Leesa Zalesky from Hesperus, Colorado, bought one of our female 5-H pups in the mid-1990s and named her Stocking. Leesa bred Stocking a number of times to some purebred Border Collies in her area. In the fall of 2008, we bought one of Stocking’s female pups, Lucky.

Chapter two…
During the summer of 2010, we determined that we wanted to begin raising 5-H Border Collies once again, using our two 5-H females.

Terry’s litter…
We chose a beautiful registered Border Collie male named Bandit/Ben (once owned by us and called Bandit and now owned by Dennis Nelson and called Ben) to mate Terry-Denise with, and on September 26, 2010, Terry had 9 fine pups: 6 black & white pups (4 males & 2 females) and 3 red & white pups (1 male & 2 females). All pups were sold, and it remains to be seen how they will do.

Lucky’s litter…
My nephew Clint Hammond got one of our last male 5-H Border Collie pups about 2003 and named him Morgan. Morgan has become a fine stockdog and works at Clint’s right hand on a constant basis. We chose Morgan as Lucky’s mate. On September 29, 2010, Lucky had 6 pups: 4 black & white pups (2 males & 2 females) and 2 red & white pups (1 male & 1 female). Again, all pups were sold, and we are waiting to see how they develop.

Our breeding program continues to produce fine,
hardworking dogs, and we strive improve the 5H Stockdog
with careful selection of breeding stock. 
Check out our sale page, or contact us for your next dog!