Confidence and Bite

Just because a dog bites the nose and heels of an animal does not make him a cattle dog. He can have balance, speed, eye and concentration, and still not make a good tough farm dog. All of the above are great but if he doesn`t have confidence when working cattle he is not the help he could be. I have said for many years lack of confidence or fear, which usually is the same thing, will overcome all training. I see it all the time in dogs that look real good on broke or gentle cattle but just don`t have what it takes to stay hooked when the stock are rank.

- By: L.R. Alexander



Welcome to Brandon Farm in Greene County, Tennessee.

Woodrow at the Wyoming State Fair

Woodrow                                     Turk

The farm was established in 1938 by my grandfather Earl Brandon. My father Carl operated it for many years as a Grade A Dairy and Angus beef operation. Today I have a commercial Angus herd and feeder steer operation.

I train and sell Border Collies that are bred to work cattle. I typically do not train any dogs outside of my own kennel. I only breed proven males and females on occasion based purely on their working abilities. Both parents have to be proven dogs that can work fresh cattle efficiently.

These are the 5 traits that I look for when breeding:

  1. Confidence: Dogs must be confident when working cattle that are putting pressure on them. That doesn't necessarily mean the dog must continually bite the cattle aggressively. I look for dogs that possess enough confidence to move cattle in a low stress manner and bite only when necessary. I want dogs to go to the pressure points instead of away from them and hold their ground. Cattle can read dogs and instinctively know when they are facing a confident dog by the dog's eyes and body language.

  2. Temperament: Dogs must have a good disposition around people and other dogs. No behavioral disorders.

  3. Frame: I like dogs that have a thick frame (good bone structure) A cattledog is sort of like being a football player. They better have a good frame or they will have a short career.

  4. Brains: Dogs must have ability to think on their own, especially when gathering livestock.

  5. Stamina: Dogs must be able to endure long periods of work. Some of these dogs are required to work every day in harsh environments. Without adequate stamina they cannot do so.

I started trialing cattledogs in 2002 and have been fortunate enough to compete at the National Cattledog Finals every year since 2006.

I am a lifetime member of the United States Border Collie Handlers Association (USBCHA) and the American Border Collie Association (ABCA).


United States Border Collie Handlers' Association

American Border
Collie Association


National Cattledog Association



Cattleman's best friend
by: Chris Villines