Are you looking for an active family dog? If yes, Border Collie is the perfect canine companion for you. These dogs were bred to manage sheep in the hills and can perform many different tasks.
They’re famous for their intense and alert gaze, which helps them to guide the flock. With endless energy and drive, they are still used by farmers as herding dogs. Border Collies also make excellent sport dogs due to their intelligence and trainability. You can easily give them obedience and agility training to perform in various competitions.
They can be wonderful family pets but need tons of physical and mental stimulation. These dogs are clever and loyal companions that will never leave your side.
If you are considering bringing a Border Collie puppy home, our guide will help you prepare. Keep reading to know more about the dog breed.
Border Collie Dog Breed Overview
Breed Name: Border Collie
Breed Group: Herding
Height: 18 to 22 inches
Weight: 30 to 55 pounds
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Coat: Double coat, medium length
Color: Various (black, brown blue, chocolate, liver, yellow, gold, gray, red)
Temperament: Intelligent, energetic, eager to work
Grooming Needs: Moderate – regular brushing, occasional baths
Origin: Border regions of Scotland & England
Border Collies originated in two different countries – England and Scotland. They were bred around the borders of these two countries, and it is where they got their name from. The term “Collie” means “Sheepdog” in Scottish, as they were used to herd sheep.
Around the mid-1800s, Queen Victoria grew quite fond of the breed, likely boosting its reputation as the perfect sheep-herding dog. But that’s not all; there’s more to the origin story of Border Collies.
A dog named Old Hemp is said to be the father of Border Collies. He was born in 1893 and was a very brilliant herding dog. Observing his herding skills, his owner decided to breed over 200 puppies from him. Most of the Border Collies are descendants of these dogs.
Border Collies made their way to the U.S. in the early 1900s, soon after the International Sheep Dog Society formed. The American Kennel Club (AKC) officially recognized them in 1995.
Their charm and talent have led many Border Collies to Hollywood, appearing in movies like Hotel for Dogs. Some famous ones include Shep – the loyal dog who waited 5 years at a train station for his owner, who passed away. Then there is Chaser – an intelligent Border Collie who learned over 1,000 words for a research experiment.
Border Collies are strong and agile dogs that are medium in size and have athletic builds. They are lean and have a double coat, which makes them appear fluffy like a bear.
Despite being herding dogs, they are actually very cute and expressive. The biggest highlight of their facial feature is their big and oval eyes. These dogs can easily hold your attention by looking deep into your eyes with their alert expression.
Their ears sit high on their heads, often partly folded at the tip, giving them an alert look. Unlike some working dogs, they have long, bushy tails that are always wagging happily.
According to expert breeders, most of these dogs weigh between 30 and 55 pounds and are usually longer than they are tall. Male dogs are slightly taller and heavier than females.
|19 to 22 inches
|18 to 21 inches
|35 to 45 pounds
|30 to 40 pounds
Coat and Color
Border Collies have two coat types: smooth, short, and coarse, while the other is rough, medium-length, and feathered. Both coats have a double layer to shield them from tough weather.
They come in lots of colors and patterns, but black-and-white or a mix of black, white, and tan are common. These dogs can either have one solid color or a combination of two or more colors on the coat. Some can be merle, resembling Australian Shepherds, or even brindle, though these are rarer. Here are some common coat colors and patterns:
- Solid color
- Blue merle
- Red merle
Characteristics and Temperament
Border Collies are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and need for company. They’re not fans of being alone and thrive with lots of interaction. With their high energy levels, they’ll need activities to keep them engaged, or they might create their own fun, sometimes getting into mischief.
They’re more than just herding dogs; Border Collies can be trained for various tasks and, with proper training and boundaries, fit well into families. But they’re not the couch potato type—managing their exercise is crucial.
Border Collies have multifaceted personalities—they’re loving, affectionate, mischievous, and also demanding. They need plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Without proper activities, things can get a bit chaotic. Training can help manage their tendency to bark or howl excessively.
Their intelligence and sensitivity can lead to anxiety, especially if they are not well-trained or due to genetic factors. Establishing a strong bond and trust is crucial to prevent this. Their active lifestyle requires lots of physical activity, making them a challenge for first-time dog owners. Understanding their instincts and setting boundaries is key, especially concerning children, as they have strong herding instincts.
Here are some important characteristics of a Border Collie:
- They are very affectionate and loving.
- They are good with kids.
- These dogs are very friendly.
- They are moderately pet-friendly.
- These dogs are very playful.
- They are high-energy dogs and are very active.
- These dogs have high exercise needs.
- They are vocal and have a tendency to bark.
- They are very intelligent and easy to train.
- They shed moderately.
A Border Collie named Jumpy holds the Guinness World Record for skateboarding 100 meters in under 20 seconds.
Health and Nutrition
To keep your Border Collie in top shape, choose high-quality food packed with extra protein to fuel their active lifestyle and build strong muscles. Look for omega-3-rich food to keep their coat shiny and their joints healthy.
Consult your vet to choose the best food for your furry friend. Start with an AAFCO-approved food—it meets all the essential nutritional standards for pet meals. Also, pick food that suits their life stage, like puppy food until they’re around 12 to 18 months, then switch to adult food.
Border Collies rarely struggle with weight, so they can have meals twice a day or nibble throughout without overeating. To know how much to feed, follow the guidelines on the food packaging and your vet’s advice.
Each food varies in calories, so if you change what you feed, adjust the serving size accordingly. For a healthy diet, aim for 1.5 to 2 cups of good quality dry food daily, split into two meals. Consider adding a skin and joint supplement to their diet to maintain their cartilage health and keep their coat glossy during their active pursuits.
Common Health Problems
Border Collies are usually healthy, but they can inherit some health issues:
1. Hip Dysplasia
It is a common problem where the hip joint doesn’t fit properly, leading to discomfort and arthritis. Early screening helps, and treatments range from meds to surgery.
2. Collie Eye Anomaly
It is a genetic eye disease that can cause vision problems or blindness. It’s detectable in young pups, and responsible breeding helps prevent it.
This breed might face seizures starting around 2–5 years old. Treatment involves anti-seizure meds to manage the condition.
4. Multidrug Resistance Mutation (MDR1)
Some Border Collies are sensitive to certain medications due to a gene mutation. A simple test helps vets recommend safe drugs.
5. Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CL)
Another genetic disorder causes seizures, personality changes, and blindness. Testing by breeders helps avoid passing on this defect.
6. Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)
A rare immune system issue found only in Border Collies. It causes infections and developmental delays. Though not curable, treatments can help manage it.
Behavior and Training
Border Collies are bundles of energy, thanks to their herding nature. They’re super smart, craving lots of mental challenges. Training, socializing, and keeping them mentally engaged are key to their well-being.
Socializing from puppyhood is crucial to help them feel comfortable around different people and dogs. Without proper training and mental stimulation, they might resort to behaviors like herding or chewing.
Training is easy for Border Collies. They’re quick learners, acing basic commands and thriving in more advanced training. They excel in high-energy games like frisbee and fetch.
Starting training early is essential to steer their instincts away from herding behaviors, especially around young kids or other pets. They’re always ready for various activities, from obedience training to herding work and games like frisbee and fetch.
Border Collies make great search and rescue dogs.
Border Collies are high-energy dogs. They crave lots of exercise and mental challenges to stay happy. Aim for two long walks each day or play some fetch or Frisbee in a safe spot to keep them engaged.
It’s crucial to leash-walk them as they might chase cars or bikes. They’re excellent herders, but they shine in dog sports like agility and disc competitions, too. These activities keep their minds and bodies in good shape.
Caring for your Border Collie’s grooming is pretty easy. Their active lifestyle means they need less toenail trimming than other breeds. But as they have a double coat, you need to brush them regularly.
Usually, their double coat keeps their skin healthy. If you notice excessive scratching or licking, a vet check is a good idea.
They have medium-length hair that sheds moderately. Regular brushing and baths at home keep their coat clean and tangle-free.
You need to brush your teeth at least three to four times a week to keep the gums healthy.
Trim their nails once a month and regularly check their paws for any injuries.
Minimal care is needed, but any unusual discharge or irritation should prompt a vet visit.
It’s good to check their ears regularly to manage any build-up from outdoor activities. Simple cleaning does the trick, but if you notice irritation, contact your vet.
Are Border Collies Hypoallergenic?
No, Border Collies are not hypoallergenic as they tend to shed moderately because of the double-coat. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy their company.
With regular grooming and coat brushing, you can easily keep the shedding under control. It helps you to manage the allergens. However, if you have severe allergies, they might not be the best choice for you.
Border Collie puppies for sale from a good breeder usually range between $800 and $1,500. Top-quality Border Collie puppies might go for $3,500 or more. The price varies based on factors like age, gender, quality, family tree, and breeder’s location.
Border Collies usually live between 12 and 15 years, with 12 years being the average. Sometimes, they reach up to 18 years. Other breeds of similar size often live around 12 to 13 years.
One remarkable Border Collie named Bramble holds the record for longevity, reaching an impressive 25 years. Bramble followed an all-vegetarian diet of organic veggies, rice, and lentils, eating once a day and staying active.
With the right training, socializing, and plenty of mental and physical activity, Border Collie mixes can make wonderful family pets.
The price of a Border Collie puppy can be anywhere between $800 to $1,500 on average from reputable breeders.
Border Collies tend to bark a lot since they get easily excited by things moving quickly, like bikes or skateboards.
This is all you need to know about a Border Collie if you are planning to get them as a pet. These dogs are good for families and will always stay by your side. They are active, energetic, and very loyal. With proper training and early socialization, they can be wonderful pets. However, make sure you don’t leave them alone for too long. They also need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. If you are ready for this commitment, a Border Collie will fill your life with love and happiness.