A good sheepdog can do the work of three men
The Irish National Sheepdog trials are taking place this week in Johnstown Co Kilkenny, just a few miles from where we live.
A good portion of my time will be spent helping out at the event and admiring the ability of the dogs as they are guided through a series of commands to complete a variety of tasks that reflects their everyday work with a group of sheep.
The handler's aim is to gain a place on the national team to represent Ireland at the international trials.
If you have ever had the pleasure of watching a Border Collie herd sheep, you know you are watching a master at work; note his intense stare as he approaches the sheep, his almost instinctive response to the handler's command and the skillful manner with which he manoeuvres the sheep exactly where the handler wants them to go.
With more than 150 dogs competing over the course of the three days from August 13-15, it should be an enjoyable and exciting event.
The Border Collie was bred originally on the Scottish border.
It is a medium-sized dog of less than 20kg with super energy, stamina and hardiness developed over years of working in the hills and valleys they originated from.
It was specifically breed for intelligence and obedience. Many of the best Border Collies today can be traced back to a dog known as Old Hemp, born way back in 1893.