The Border Collie was originally bred to herd sheep on the border between Scotland and England. While they’re still sometimes used as a sheepdog today, more commonly these pups are seen as companion dogs and can make an excellent family member to those who can match their personality. With a very strong working drive, the Border Collie has unlimited energy levels that’ll certainly keep you on your toes!
An intelligent breed that needs a lot of mental and physical exercise, the Border Collie can be a handful for those wanting a quieter life. However, they’re also known to be an extremely loving and friendly pup that will happily fit into most homes.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Border Collie and seeing whether they might be the dog for you, keep reading below.
History Of The Border Collie
The Border Collie is a well known sheepdog with amazing working abilities and impressive stamina and energy. Many fans of the breed advocate for the Collie to be bred only to working standards, not conformation. This is because they are just so good at what they do!
The Border Collie has been recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 1995. Let’s take a look at the breed’s origin below.
It is believed that the Border Collie dog has been around since humans in Great Britain first needed dogs to help them herd and guide sheep. These dogs varied depending on the area in which they were working and became associated with these areas, often being named after them. For example, Welsh Sheepdogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies and Scotch Collies.
The Border Collies name came from their partial Scottish heritage — the word collie is derived from the Scottish language and refers to sheepdogs. In the 1860s, Queen Victoria saw this dog breed for the first time and became enthusiastic about them. Soon, they began to grow in popularity all over the country and then all over the world, which is why the Border Collie is such a well-known dog today.
It is no surprise then, being such a popular breed that there are lots of Border Collie mix breeds that have been introduced over the years.
Characteristics Of The Border Collie
The Border Collie is a strong and active dog with an amazing work ethic. Even as companion dogs, you’ll find that their herding history influences how they live.
Border Collie’s are normally born in litter sizes of between 4 and 8 puppies, with the average being 6. A Border Collie puppy can cost between $800 and $1200, although the price will vary based on the breeder. You should always make sure that you are buying from a reputable breeder.
The Border Collie is a medium to large breed dog. Males usually stand between 19 to 22 inches tall and weigh between 35 to 45 pounds. Females are smaller and stand between 18 to 21 inches and weigh 30 to 40 pounds.
These dogs are athletic and well proportioned, with a body slightly longer than it is tall. Their ears stand erect on top of their head although the tip may flop over, and they normally carry an alert and interested expression. Their skull is flat and their muzzle is strong and slightly tapered at the nose. The Border Collie’s tail slightly curved and should stop at the hock.
The Border Collie can have one of two coats — rough or smooth. Both are double coats, with a coarser outer coat and soft undercoat. The rough coat is medium in length with feathering on the legs, chest and belly. The smooth variety is short all over, and is usually coarser in texture than the rough variety. The feathering is minimal on the smooth coat.
These dogs do shed and are therefore not the pup for those with allergies. Regular brushing can help to minimize shedding. We will go into more detail about grooming your Border Collie later on.
Border Collie’s are most commonly seen with a black coat with white on the face, neck, feet, legs and tail tip. This coat may or may not also have a tan coloring to it.
However, the Border may also be any bicolor, tricolor, merle or solid color, except from pure white.
The Border Collie is an active and energetic breed that likes to be kept busy. This is not a dog that is going to want to curl up next to you for a cuddle — instead, they would like to be outside roaming, being given a job to do or just exercising.
That being said, the Border Collie is an attentive and friendly breed that gets along very well with those that they know. Many Collie owners have said that their dogs manage to guess what they want them to do before they even do it!
The Collie’s intelligence makes them a dream to train, and they also excel at dog sports and agility training. This working dog needs to be kept mentally and physically stimulated so that they don’t get bored, otherwise they can begin to exhibit signs of destructive behaviors.
The Border Collie needs a firm and consistent owner from a young age, otherwise they can become stubborn and independent. However, when trained and socialized properly, they are very attentive and become very sensitive to their handler’s every cue.
The Border Collie has a relatively long life expectancy. On average, these dogs can live for between 12 and 15 years.
Known Health Issues
The Border Collie is a generally healthy dog but, like all dogs, they can be prone to some health conditions. We have laid out the main health problems they may face below.
– Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
– Collie Eye Anomaly — this is a condition that causes changes and abnormalities in the eye, which can sometimes lead to blindness. There is no treatment for this condition.
– Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) — this is an eye problem that eventually causes blindness from the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye.
– Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)— this is an inflammatory bone condition. It is normally seen in older dogs. It can be treated with surgery.
– Epilepsy — this seizure disorder can be treated with medication.
– Allergies — this is common in dogs and can be caused by food allergies, contact allergies and inhalant allergies. Treatment depends on the severity of the allergy and the cause.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced.
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Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Border Collie, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their trainability, their exercise needs and their grooming requirements.
Food And Diet
The Border Collie needs between 1.5 to 2 cups of food every day. The exact amount you feed them should be based on their age, their weight and their activity level. You should also check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding them based on these factors.
Try to find a food that meets all their nutritional requirements. The Collie is an active breed, so a food formulated for active dogs or a recipe that contains high protein is often advised. Take a look at the dog food we recommend below.
Best Dog Food For The Border Collie
We recommend the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Natural dry dog food for the Border Collie. This food is formulated for large breeds and therefore contains all the nutrients your pup will need to stay strong and healthy. With real chicken, your Border Collie will get the protein they require to keep their muscles lean, while also giving them the energy for their high activity levels.
There is also a blend of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals in this recipe to support immune system health, life stage requirements, and a healthy oxidative balance, as well as omega 3 & 6 fatty acids for skin and coat health. With no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, this mix provides your Collie with a healthy, balanced diet.BUY ON AMAZON
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You should never think about buying a Border Collie unless you are willing to meet their exercise needs. These dogs need long walks multiple times a day, alongside lots of mental stimulation to keep them alert and entertained.
The Border Collie can make an excellent exercise buddy that will happily accompany you while out hiking and walking. They also love to play and will like nothing more than chasing a ball that you have thrown.
Thanks to their intelligence, the Border Collie also excels at dog sports. You can try flyball, obedience training or agility training with them. This will keep them both physically exercised and mentally active.
The Border Collie can make a wonderful family dog in an environment where people understand their needs. These dogs are very energetic and athletic and need a lot of exercise every day. They also need to be kept mentally stimulated so they don’t become bored.
These pups can get on very well with children that they grow up with and will also get on well with older children. However, they can be aloof around younger children. The noisy play of young children may cause them to nip and bark at, activating their herding instinct.
With this herding instinct, the Border Collie will try to herd anything that moves! This also includes squirrels and the neighbors cat, so you will need to keep an eye on your Collie and never let them off the leash. They’ll also need a securely fenced yard so they can’t escape and go wandering.
The Border Collie can adapt to most living situations, as long as they have a lot of space to exercise. If you’re looking for a calm and lazy dog to join your family, the Border Collie certainly isn’t for you. However, when they are given the right amount of exercise they can grow up to be extremely happy and friendly dogs that get on well with everyone!
The Border Collie is a very intelligent breed and is therefore easy to train. Sometimes, these dogs can be strong minded and independent, so training is very important to keep them in line. Fortunately, as long as you give these pups enough exercise and mental stimulation, they will be an attentive dog that follows your every cue.
These dogs have a very strong herding instinct and will nip, nudge and bark at anything that moves, including cars, children, cats and squirrels. This cannot be trained out of them because it is within their natural instinct, but by giving them a job to do and keeping them entertained and exercised they will be less inclined to exhibit these behaviors.
Like all dogs, the Border Collie responds best to positive reinforcement techniques and reward based training. This includes verbal praise and treats.
You should never get angry or frustrated with your dog when training. They may not understand what is happening and this will cause them to not want to learn. You should ignore negative behavior and praise positive behavior so they learn which is more desirable.
If the Border Collie is not socialized enough from a young age, they can become fearful and shy. While you will never be able to socialize these dogs with small animals such as cats, you can teach the Border Collie how to behave around other dogs, adults and children.
You should introduce your Border Collie to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals in a calm and controlled way. This will allow them to grow up to be a well-rounded and well-adjusted member of society!
Fortunately, the Border Collie does not need a lot of grooming. These dogs shed a lot, so you will need to give them a bush once a week to help minimize this and help to keep their coat in good condition and knot-free.
You will only need to bathe your Border every 4 months or so, or when they are really dirty. Too much bathing can lead to skin irritation and may disrupt their natural oil production.
Trim your Border Collie’s nails as and when is needed. You should also brush their teeth as often as you can, at least two to three times a week. This will help to prevent dental decay and disease. You can always use dental chews if this is easier.
Border Collie FAQ’s
How much does a Border Collie cost?
A Border Collie can set you back between $800 and $1200. The price may very depending on the breeder. You should always make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder who can show you health clearances for both parent dogs.
If this is out of your price range or you would prefer to adopt, you can always check your local shelter. There are many rescue organizations out there that can help you rehome one of these pups.
Is the Border Collie good with children?
Border Collie’s are good with children, especially ones they are raised with. However, they can be a little wary of young children and their herding instincts might come out! The Border Collie may try to nip and bark at noisy kids, so you should always supervise them.
Socialize your Border Collie with children from a young age. Unfortunately, the herding instinct of the Collie cannot be trained out of them and they may just not get on with young children they don’t know. However, when they grow up together, Border Collie’s and children can be best friends!
The Border Collie is an active and intelligent breed that needs a family who is prepared to exercise! Certainly not for those looking for a lazy dog, the Collie will keep you on your toes with their amazing stamina and love of being outside. These pups need to be kept both physically and mentally stimulated to be happy, but if they are given enough exercise and entertainment they can be happy in every home.
With limited grooming needs and the ability to get on well with children, the Border Collie can be a great addition to many busy households. If you think you’ve got the ability to keep up with this fun-loving dog, why not think about a Border Collie for your new companion?