Might As Well Jump: Meet David Lee Roth’s Prized Border Collies

Diamond Dave trains sheepdogs and even competes in herding dogs trials. Who knew?


Finally, somebody’s doing as David Lee Roth says. At least, sometimes. Because Border Collies are apt to substitute their own ideas if they feel they have better ones. And often, they do …

Diamond Dave? Border Collies? At first glance it seems an unlikely match. Where is the opulent breed, the diamond dog, perhaps a Poodle, maybe a Maltese? But at second glance, it works. Nobody ever accused Roth of taking life easy or of having a lax work ethic. Not many other breeds could keep up with Roth, even given that he’s mellowed with age. Somewhat.

Roth didn’t just sit around and mope or drink or party after his parting with Van Halen. He trained as an EMT and went on rescue runs around New York. He learned Japanese. He practiced martial arts. He bought a place in the country. A big place, one where he could have sheep and dogs. And with Border Collie-like drive, DLR set his sights on becoming an accomplished sheepdog trainer and handler a few years ago. He succeeded, and on weekends he’s been spotted competing in herding dogs trials not only in North America but the U.K. as well.

“There’s nobody less qualified to be in these competitions than I,” Roth is quoted as saying. His dogs Ben and especially Mike are more than up to the job of making up for any mistakes by their handler. And make no mistake: Training and handling a herding dog is no easy task.

Check out this video that shows DLR and his dogs in action.

Herding sheep is hard enough, but DLR has even tackled cattle herding. He quips in his video: “Cattle are like hockey fans: two of them are drunk, one just wants to f–k with you and the other one has no idea what is going on …”

Although the Border Collies may be the stars of Roth’s herding endeavors, these days it’s Russell, a seven-year-old Australian Cattle Dog, who is Roth’s unrivaled loyal sidekick. Roth and Russell live together, tour together, and even sing together. Well, Russell howls while Roth sings. Everybody’s a critic. When Russell appeared with Ross in the spring of 2013 in a video explaining why so many Van Halen tour dates had been cancelled, some believe Russell was really a ventriloquist, throwing words into Roth’s mouth, all part of a plan to get Roth off the stage and back on the range.

Russell may be one of the most envied dogs in history. We imagines countless groupies would live life as a dog — as long as that dog were Russell!

Follow Diamond Dave on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter for more dog and rock star photos.

All pics via David Lee Roth’s Facebook page.

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About the author: Caroline Coile is the author of 34 dog books, including the top-selling Barron’s Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds. She has written for various publications and is currently a columnist for AKC Family Dog. She shares her home with three naughty Salukis and one Jack Russell Terrier.

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