The Border Collie
The Border Collie - characteristics
The Border Collie is highly intelligent, energetic, athletic, working and herding breed of dog that was developed in the Scottish borders for herding livestock, especially sheep. Even the breeds name reflects its partially Scottish heritage – the word “collie” comes from Scottish dialect and refers to sheepdogs. Today, Border Collies are still used for herding livestock, but also, are trained for police work, narcotics and bomb detections and even rescue missions. The Border Collies are considered to be the ideal working dog.
The Border Collie - grooming
Border Collies are medium-sized dogs standing 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder, that weight up to about 45 pounds, with a moderate amount of easy-groom coat that most often comes in black and white. However, the coat may be any bicolor, tricolor, merle, or solid color except white. The weather-resistant double coat is thick and sheds seasonally. Because of this weekly brushing is needed in order to keep coat oils well distributed and to prevent matting. Border Collies nails should be trimmed as needed. The lifespan of the Border Collie is between 10 and 14 years (an average lifespan is 12 years).
The Border Collie - intelligence
The Border Collie is often cited to be the most intelligent of all domestic dogs, that can understand up to about 1,000 words. Being one of the most intelligent of all breeds, Border Collie at the same time is one of the most challenging to live with. People who want to live with a Border Collie need to be prepared to work a lot with their dog. These dogs are not meant to be couch-potatoes. They can get bored easily. They need to exercise regularly in order to spend all of their energy, otherwise they might misbehave and suffer from anxiety. Two hours of activity a day are recommended in order to spend Borders energy properly.
The Border Collie - agility
Border Collie is a workaholic that is the happiest when is included in all kinds of physical and mental activities – long walks, running, learning new tricks… Border Collie is up for anything. Having a job to perform – that is a key to Borders happiness. Keeping up with such a dog is not easy, so people getting a Border Collie should think carefully whether they have enough free time and energy to spend it playing with a dog. Border Collies training must start from the early age. Except proper training, for Border Collies to function well, they need to be provided with enough socialization. They need extensive exposure to people and other animals because otherwise they prone to become shy or fearful.
The Border Collie - family dog
Border Collies are gentle, sensitive dogs that are not created to be treated with a heavy hand. If treated this way, they may shut down. Borders require positive reinforcement and gentle but confident tone. They should also have obedience training that can help deter their tendency to run off or chase cars bikes, other animals… Because of their natural herding instincts, Border Collies are very protective of their families and that makes them excellent watchdogs. Because of the fact they were bred to work as herders, Border Collies will herd in everyday life, and will even herd the children in the family. Because of their natural instinct to herd that can cause Border Collie to nip, chase, and bark at kids, good training is essential.
The Border Collie - herding
Border Collies primarily use eye contact, called 'the eye', to intimidate herding object into moving. The dog crouch low, facing the object, and stare it down until the object goes where the Border Collie wants it to go. Border Collies usually won’t nip livestock, or bark at them, but sometimes, when livestock isn’t listening, the Border Collie will do those things.
The Border Collie - health issues
Although Border Collies are generally healthy, just like most breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions that people thinking about getting a Border Collie should be aware of. Those health conditions are Hip Dysplasia (find out more about this condition here), Progressive Retinal Atrophy (an eye disease that involves gradual deterioration of the retina), Epilepsy (read more about epilepsy), Collie Eye Anomaly (inherited condition that causes abnormalities that can lead to blindness), etc.
If you're buying a puppy, find a responsible breeder who will show you health clearances for both puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
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