Alasdair MacRae has been around border collies almost his entire life. He grew up on a farm in Lochailort, Scotland. As a boy of eight, he got his first border collie. While he did not have him trained for sheep, Alasdair trained Pal to do almost everything else. From playing soccer (both offense and defense!) to hide and seek, and every trick an eight year old can imagine, Pal was a tremendous companion and friend. Their relationship gave Alasdair great insight into the complexity and extraordinary ability of Border Collies.
At eighteen Alasdair was hired as a single shepherd. It was his first day at the new job when he saw Norman McEwan work his dog on the hill. From that moment forward Alasdair decided to train and trial border collies. Alasdair could not afford a trained or well bred dog and therefore ended up purchasing dogs that were rejected by farmers or handlers in Great Britain as not useful. It was largely because he had to sort these dogs in his early years that Alasdair became so gifted at training dogs to their absolute potential–adapting his style to the individual dog to end up with the best the dog can be. He spent two years on the Duke of Northumberland Estates with Kenny Bremmer and it was working with Kenny where Alasdair learned what it meant to have a well trained dog.
The rest, as they say, is history. Alasdair is without question the most accomplished handler in North America.
Alasdair took a job in Holland in 1985, the year after he won the Scottish National with Mirk and did not compete at sheepdog trials from 1985-1987. He returned home and began competing again in 1988 with a then unregistered female, Bute. Bute proved an exceptionally effective bitch and was ROM in 1989 after winning open trials. Alasdair’s first return to the International stage was in 1990 with Bute where he was Reserve Supreme International Champion. Alasdair’s strong, bare skinned dog Nap drew early in the qualifying and just missed making the team in 1991. Alasdair repeated his outstanding performance in 1992 with Cory and again captured the Reserve Supreme.
It was on the big and difficult course at Armathwaite in 1993, with the now legendary Nan, that Alasdair won the coveted Supreme International Championship.
He was also 4th that year with the stylish and powerful Elwy Glen. The following year Nan was injured for the entire trial season but she did make it back for the International. Even at far less than top performance, Nan captured 5th place.
In the 5 years that Alasdair competed at the International, he was in the top 5 on 5 occasions. Alasdair is 12 time US National Champion, has won the title with 6 different dogs and has won every major title he has competed in (many multiple times) in the U.S.
Nan’s remarkable abilities were recently highlighted on the rebroadcast of the BBC’s very popular, “One Man and His Dog”. Alasdair and Nan still hold the title for the highest points ever attained in over 40 years of programs; an amazing 108 out of 110 points.
Alasdair & I breed, train, trial and sell dogs professionally. We trial across the U.S. with our own dogs as well as client dogs and do lessons and clinics nation wide.
I got my first puppy, Bear, in 2000 and discovered trialing in 2002. I was incredibly fortunate to have such gifted first dogs in Bear & Max.
In 2008, I was 3rd & 10th in US National with Max & Bear, respectively. Alba Cap is a relative to both dogs and he and I won the US National in 2012.
Below are some of the highlights of Alasdair’s esteemed career, unprecedented in the United States:
- Scottish National Champion, 1984
- Reserve Supreme International Champion, 1990
- Reserve Supreme International Champion, 1992
- International Supreme Champion, 1993
- BBC One Man and His Dog, 1994
- Purina Dog of the Year, 1996, 1997, 1998
- US National Champion, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011
- US Reserve Champion, 2009
- US Nursery Finals Champion 2004, 2007. 2010
While there are too many championships to list, below are some of the major U.S. trials Alasdair has won, most multiple times:
- Texas Winter Olympics
- NC State Championships
- Moultrie Sunbelt Expo
- Buellton Master’s Cup
- GA US Open
- North American Championship
- Ontario Triple Crown
- Etterick Kennel Stockdog Trial