The Border Collie is a 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, they are still used for herding livestock, but also, are trained for police work, narcotics and bomb detections and even rescue missions. They are considered to be the ideal working dog. It is also known as a Scottish Sheepdog.
If you are thinking about getting this dog to be a pet, be prepared to provide him with a great amount of exercise. Because they are so intelligent you could teach them almost anything. This dog will be happy if you “force” him to use his body and mind. Before you start searching Border Collie breeders be sure that you can devote your time and energy to this dog otherwise this dog will be unhappy. Border Collie is not suited to be a couch dog who will lay and relax most of his day, he wants and needs a job.
FUN FACT: This dog was featured in the movie Babe where a pig was learning how to herd sheep from his mother Border.
18-22 in (45-56 cm)
30-55 lb (13-25 kg)
On the border between Scotland and England, herding dogs were the most valuable assets for the shepherds and they bred the best working dogs with each other. Because of different terrains and required work, types of dogs varied in each region. They became associated with their particular region. In 1860 the second dog show was held in England and Scotch sheepdogs were exhibited. Shortly after that dog show Queen Victoria saw one of these dogs and feel in love with them thus becoming enthusiast of the breed.
In 1876 started sheepdog trials when 100 wild Welsh sheep were brought to London for a demonstration. Spectators were left speechless after they saw these dogs performing. Their handlers assist them only by hand signals and whistles.
Today these are premium sheepherding dogs. With their sweeping outruns and explosive bursts of their energy while they are working everybody will agree that these are the world's greatest herders. If you ask shepherd what their ideal sheepdog would be you can bet that they would say - Border Collie.
FUN FACT: These dogs were first classified as Scotch Sheep Dogs.
Dog Breed Characteristics
They are athletic medium-sized dogs. “Herding eye” is this breed hallmark. When they are working they are among the best when it comes to agility, durability, and balance.
Male dogs can reach a height of 21 inches (53 centimeters) while the females are slightly smaller. They belong to the group 1 (Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs)) – section 1 (Sheepdogs) and they were fully recognized by the FCI in 1977.
Male Border Collies can reach a height of 19-22 inches (48-56 centimeters) while the females can reach 18-21 inches (45-53 centimeters) at the shoulders. They can weight from 30-55 pounds (13-25 kilograms). According to this standard, they belong to the Herding Group and they were officially recognized by the AKC in 1995.
Grooming and care
These dogs have two variants of coat: rough and smooth. The rough coat is medium long and feathered while the smooth coat is shorter and coarser than the rough. Their coat is easy to groom that most often comes in black and white. However, the coat may be any bicolor, tricolor, merle, or solid color except white. White markings are permissible but they should never be predominant. The weather-resistant double coat is thick and sheds seasonally. Because of this weekly brushing is needed to keep coat oils well distributed and to prevent matting. Brush your dog once or twice a week and he will look the best. During shedding season you will need to brush your dog more often to minimalize hair around the house. You shouldn't bathe him too often – once every four-months is enough for him to be clean unless he is really dirty or smells bad. Border Collies nails should be trimmed as needed. Regularly check his ears for any wax buildup or redness that can indicate an infection. You can wipe their ears with the small cotton ball dipped into ear cleaner to prevent bacteria development. With every grooming session, it is advised to check your dog completely for any signs of rashes, sores, infection, etc because if you carefully examine your dog regularly you can prevent potentially some serious health problems.
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 to spend all of their energy, otherwise, they might misbehave and suffer from anxiety. Two hours of activity a day are recommended to spend Borders energy properly.
FUN FACT: Many celebrities owned these dogs including James Dean, Bon Jovi, James Franco, Tiger Woods and many more.
Border collie records
There are a few widely recognized Border Collie dogs known for their intelligence
1. Chaser – a dog who knows names of more than 1000 objects
2. Jumpy – holds the world record for dog skateboarding for 100 meters in less than 20 seconds
3. Sweet Pea – this dog balanced a can on her head while walking 100 meters in 2 minutes and 55 seconds
4. Striker – Guinness record holder for a dog that roll down a manual car window in 11.34 seconds.
Border Collie is a workaholic that is the happiest when it 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 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. Their training must start at an early age.
These dogs are highly energetic and they are great competitors in canine sports. They can participate in flyball, agility, tracking and disk throwing. They excel in all competitions because of their speed, agility, and stamina and in most cases, they are the ones who take the main prize.
Except for 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.
Obedience training should also start from a young age and you need to continue with that training throughout his life for him to be happy. In some cases, he can become shy or fearful if you don’t socialize him right. If you don’t have experience with proper socialization we advise you to seek professional help who will show you how to properly work with this dog so both you and your dog can be happy and satisfied.
The 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, they will herd in everyday life, and will even herd the children in the family.
FUN FACT: These dogs are also used for drugs and explosive detection and in many cases, you can find these dogs in health care facilities helping the elderly.
Dogs and kids
This is an excellent family dog that gets along well with children if they are properly raised and socialized. Because of their instinct to herd that can cause Border Collie to nip, chase, and bark at kids, good training is essential. It is also very important that you teach your kids how to properly approach and play with the dog. If you do both things- correctly socialize your dog and teach your kids how to play with the dog you can be sure that they will get along and you will not have any problems.
Border Collie and other animals
Like we already said- if your dog is properly raised and socialized he can get along with everybody. They can be aloof with new dogs he will meet for the first time and if not properly socialized he could show a little aggression toward dogs he doesn’t know. You should be very careful with smaller pets, dogs, and cats because no matter how good your dog is because of his instincts he may want to herd them. If the Border Collie is raised with dogs and other animals he will be excellent with them.
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. This dog usually won’t nip livestock, or bark at them, but sometimes, when livestock isn’t listening, the Border Collie will do those things.
The lifespan of this dog is between 10 and 14 years (an average lifespan is 12 years). 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, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (an eye disease that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina), epilepsy (a neurological condition that is often inherited. Epilepsy can cause different seizures), Collie Eye Anomaly (inherited condition that causes abnormalities that can lead to blindness. This condition usually will occur when the dog is 2 years old and there is no treatment for this condition), Osteochondrosis Dissecans (an orthopedic condition that is caused by improper growing of cartilage in the joints), allergies, etc.
You can perform hip and ophthalmologist evaluation on your dog to be sure that he is healthy.
Border Collie dogs are one of the most popular dogs in the world and because of that there also many "bad" breeders who will try to earn money without caring for the benefits of the dogs, their health and temperament. That is why you need to be very careful when searching for Border Collie breeders. 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.
Although they are good dogs you will need to devote your time to socialization and training. If you are thinking that you will walk this dog breed three times a day and that they will be happy and satisfied with that, it is a better solution that you rethink your choice. You will need to constantly physically and mentally challenged them for them to be happy. They are the best choice for active families who enjoy daily outdoor activities. Although they can live outside, they will be most happy in the house will the free access to the yard that is fenced. If you do all these things right you will get a best friend with whom you will enjoy every minute of your life.
World Dog Finder team