Border Collie
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Border Collie

Last updated: Sep 20 2023

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 breed's name reflects its partially Scottish heritage – the word “collie” comes from the 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 can teach them almost anything. This dog will be happy if you “force” him to use his body and mind.

Before you start searching for Border Collie breeders, be sure 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's Border.

Dog Breed Video

Border Collie


18-22 in (45-56 cm)

Border Collie


30-55 lb (13-25 kg)

Border Collie


Great Britain

Border Collie

Life Expectancy:

10-14 years

Dog Breed Characteristics

Energy Level
Grooming Needs
Exercise Needs
Kid Friendly
Dog Friendly
General Health

They are athletic medium-sized dogs. “Herding eye” is this breed's hallmark. When they are working, they are among the best when it comes to agility, durability, and balance.

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.

Border Collie

Brush your dog once or twice a week; he will look the best. During shedding season,, you must 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 Collie's nails should be trimmed as needed. Regularly check his ears for any wax buildup or redness indicating 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 potentially prevent 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.

Border Collie

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 the 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 rolls down a manual car window in 11.34 seconds.

Border Collie


Border Collie is a workaholic that is the happiest when it is included in all kinds of physical and mental activities – long walks, running, and learning new tricks. Border Collie is up for anything. Having a job to perform – is key to Borders' happiness.

Keeping up with such a dog is not easy, so people getting a Border Collie should think carefully about whether they have enough free time and energy to spend it playing with a dog. Their training must start at an early age. 

Dog sports

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.

Border Collie


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 are 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.

Border Collie laying on grass

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 a gentle but confident tone. They should also have obedience training that can help deter their tendency to run off or chase cars, bikes, and 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 healthcare facilities helping the elderly.

Dogs and kids

This excellent family dog gets along well with children if they are properly raised and socialized. Good training is essential because of their instinct to herd which can cause Border Collies to nip, chase, and bark at kids. 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 running

Border Collies 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 objects 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.

Border Collie herding

Health issues

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 occurs 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 growth of cartilage in the joints),
  • allergies, etc.

You can perform hip and ophthalmologist evaluations on your dog to be sure that he is healthy.


Yes, Border Collies shed a lot. They have medium-long double coats that had to protect them from harsh outside conditions. These dogs had to work in all weather conditions, so they developed a pretty resistant coat.

Yes, Border Collies shed a lot. They have medium-long double coats that had to protect them from harsh outside conditions. These dogs had to work in all weather conditions, so they developed a pretty resistant coat.

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs. Most adult dogs are 18 - 22 inches tall and reach a weight of 30 - 55 pounds. Male dogs are usually larger than females.

Border Collies are not considered hypoallergenic. They shed quite a bit, so those of us with dog hair allergies will probably have to pick another breed.

Border Collies are really smart. In fact, they are considered the smartest dog breed in the world. One Border Collie learned more than 1.000 words and commands.

Yes! Border Collies are very visual, which means they are easily triggered by things they see. They bark a lot, especially at things that move in front of them, like bikes, cars, or joggers.

Training a Border Collie should start from the moment the puppy arrives at the owner’s home. The training should include crate, potty, and leash training. Throughout these processes, Border Collie owners should start working on basic obedience. Once the puppy grows a bit and reaches 4 months, owners can start teaching them more advanced things.

Yes, Border Collies love swimming, playing, and running in and around the water. These dogs will be more than happy if you take them on a fun beach day.

Purebred Border Collies should never be considered aggressive. They are eager to learn, intelligent, highly trainable, and active. However, if they get frustrated or their needs are not met, they can develop behavioral issues.

Border Collies are not among the fastest dog breeds. Nevertheless, they can reach an impressive speed of 30 MPH.

Border Collies can be taught to get along with cats. They are playful, so they might want to bother the cat and play with it, and some cats simply don’t want that.

Border Collies usually reach their final height when they’re 1 year old. However, they will still gain some weight and muscle mass until they’re 15 months.

Border Collies are from Great Britain. More precisely, they come from the area of England and Scotland’s borders. Shepherds from that area bred dogs for hundreds of years. 

Border Collies are fantastic family dogs to active families. However, they are terrible for families that prefer a more peaceful lifestyle. These dogs need loads of activities and training, and some families cannot provide them with that.

Border Collie breeders

Border Collie dogs are one of the most popular dogs in the world, and because of that, there are also many "bad" breeders who will try to earn money without caring for the benefits of the dogs, their health, and their 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 to 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.

Border Collie puppy

Although they are good dogs, you must devote your time to socialization and training. If you think 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 challenge 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 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


Updated at20.09.2023.

Breed History

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, the 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 fell in love with them thus becoming an enthusiast of the breed.

Border Collie running

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 shepherds 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.