Border Collie

June 1, 2020 // 8 minute read

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Border Collies are medium-sized herding dogs with incredible energy and stamina. The Border Collie has a muscular body covered with a smooth coat that comes in various colors and patterns. They are also known for their intense gaze, which helps in their herding.

These dogs are known to be workaholics, and they can work all day tirelessly. Because of this, they’re not dogs for anyone, especially for first-time dog owners. But if you’re someone who also loves athletic activities, then they might be the perfect companions. Just make sure that you’ll be able to keep up with this dog’s energy.

Border Collie

Border Collie Statistics

Dog Breed GroupHerding
Breed SizeMedium
Height19-22 inches (male); 18-21 inches (female)
Weight30-55 pounds
Lifespan12-15 years

Border Collie Ratings

Energy level
Exercise needs
Requires attention
Friendly with family
Friendly with kids
Friendly with strangers
Friendly with other dogs
Prey Drive

Related Article: Best Dog Food For Border Collies

Border Collie History

Border Collies originated from the borderlands of England and Scotland way back in the 1700s. Hence the name was given to them. They are believed to be descendants of other Collie dog breeds such as the Bearded Collie and the Scotch Collie.

Just like any Collie (sheepdogs) type, the Border Collies were used to herd sheep. But they aren’t only good at this job, because they are also considered as the world’s greatest herders. Those who have witnessed their herding skills have said that Border Collies have various techniques they use to herd sheep successfully.

These techniques included crouching, creeping, and the “famous” eye (intense gaze). Combine this with their explosive energy, and you would undoubtedly have an excellent working dog.

Other than being excellent herding dogs, they also excel in other areas. They are actors, they have championship-level agility skills, and they are the world’s smartest dog breed. It’s certainly no wonder that they belong to the top 40 of the most popular dog breeds in the US to date.

Border Collie Dog Breed

Border Collie Temperament

Border Collies are highly intelligent and highly energetic dogs. This is what probably made them earn the title “best herding dog” and “world’s smartest dog breed.” Yes, they are amazing dogs, but they are not fit for first-time owners as they are quite challenging to deal with.

As the world’s smartest dog breed, Border Collies are easily trained. They learn so fast that you would need to come up with new things that will keep him entertained. He is also highly sensitive and will react quickly to anything you do, such as a whistle or a hand signal.

As excellent working dogs, the ideal home space for a Border Collie is rural or farm areas. They need a lot of space to run around, and of course, to do work.

In other words, these dogs are the best fit for highly active people. Having a Border Collie requires a lot of work. If you have a farm, then that’s great because you can assign him to herd livestock. But if you don’t, you would have to do a lot of long walks in a day, off-leash activities, and mentally stimulating activities.

This dog is not a great cuddle buddy. He doesn’t want to lie around all day long. He needs to run, walk, and be kept busy. Because if not, you will surely have to deal with excessive barking, digging, chasing, and other destructive behaviors.

Border Collies also have a trace of independence on them wherein they won’t follow you. And they also sometimes have a huge tendency to herd wherein they might chase your children and other pets around.

But, training them will help keep these bad temperaments at bay. It might need a lot of patience, but make sure to always remain gentle.

Another thing you can do is early socialization. This will help him accustomed to new things, new people, new sights and sound, and new animals. It will also help him gain his confidence and loosen fear when around strangers.

Border Collie Care Requirements

  • Nutrition: A high-quality and well-balanced diet is essential to maintain your Border Collie’s high energy. Their nutrient requirements and daily calorie intake are also quite higher than other breeds. Added to that, it must contain a balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Protein content should always be more than fat. It is highly recommended that their diet should contain at least 18% of protein. But, as they get older and become more active, a higher percentage is needed. For fats, the minimum should be 5% and must not exceed 8%. And carbohydrates should be no more than 10-15%. If you’re serving them a home-cooked meal, you can derive your protein from highly-digestible ingredients such as salmon and lamb. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, you can get from sweet potatoes, oatmeal, or brown rice. You can add fruits and vegetables too for some source of fiber. For commercial dog foods, stay away from products that contain meat by-products, fillers, and preservatives. These are not easy to digest and have very low nutritional value for a Border Collie. Stay away from products that might also cause allergies such as corn, wheat, and soy.
  • Grooming: A Border Collie comes in two types of coat – a rough-coat and a smooth-coat. But, regardless of which type of coat your Border Collie has, grooming is the same for both. Their coat sheds seasonally, but brushing at least once or twice a week is needed to maintain healthy growth. This will also help reduce loose hair when the shedding season comes. Other than that, it will help remove mats, tangles, and dirt that might form due to your Border’s activities. Bathing them should be done regularly too. As they are highly active dogs, they get dirty quickly. You need to check and clean their ears as well. If their hair gets too long, you can trim them up to keep their beautiful appearance. But, if you’re not confident in your trimming skills, then you can always bring them to an expert groomer. Don’t forget to check and trim their nails too. If kept too long, these will make it harder for your Border Collie to go about with his activities as these can be too painful.
  • Exercise: Border Collies are highly athletic. They require a lot of mental and physical activities daily. For those with farms and livestock, daily herding is already an excellent exercise for your Border Collie. However, if you don’t have one, you would need a combination of a daily walk, purposeful activity, and mental stimulation. A long walk of at least 45-60 minutes twice a day is ideal. Typically, it will depend on you because Border Collies can surely do this all day. It’s also better if you can go jogging, running, swimming, or biking so they would be able to burn more energy. If you have a fenced yard, you can also have them run around off-leash, but make sure they’re supervised. You can do some training, play fetch, frisbee, and a lot of other activities that will give him purpose. You also need to stimulate his mind on some indoor activities to keep him entertained even when inside the house.
  • Health: Border Collies have a long lifespan; however, it’s still best to understand that they are still at risk of several health problems. One of the most common is called Collie Eye Anomaly. This is a genetic disorder that affects a tissue that supplies oxygen to the retina, which might result in blindness. Progressive Retinal Atrophy is another common eye disease Border Collies is prone to, which can also lead to loss of vision. As highly active dogs, Border Collies are also prone to joint disorders such as hip and elbow dysplasia, and osteochondritis dissecans. These are extremely painful and can only be treated with surgery. Epilepsy is also common and usually shows when your Border Collie is at six months old. Most of these are genetic health problems and can be detected through early screening. But for some that don’t have screening tests available, you would have to watch out for symptoms and be sure to have them checked immediately.
  • Lifespan: The life expectancy of Border Collies is 12-15 years.
Border Collie Facts

Famous Border Collies

  • Nana: The Border Collie in the film Snow Dogs
  • Raffles: The animated Border Collie dog from the movie Rover Dangerfield
  • Bandit: The second dog from the series Little House on the Prairie
  • Fly: The farm dog from the movie Babe
  • Chaser: The Border Collie named as the “world’s smartest dog”
  • Old Hemp and Wiston Cap: Fathers of all border collies
  • Striker: Holds the Guinness Book of World Record for “Fastest car window opened by a dog”

Fun Facts About Border Collies

  • They came from the borderlands that connect England and Scotland, hence the name.
  • They are considered the best herding dog breed.
  • The Border Collie ranks 1st as the smartest dog breed.
  • The American Kennel Club first recognized them in 1995.
  • Border Collies appeared in many movies and films.
  • They have what you call a “crouching technique,” where they move swiftly in a catlike position.
  • Another trick they have is “the eye” that they use to intimidate the livestock.
  • Queen Victoria loved the Border Collies in the early 1860s.
  • They can be assigned to different jobs: herding, search and rescue, and actors.

Check Out Other Herding Dog Breeds:
Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collies, Beaucerons, Belgian Malinois, Belgian Sheepdog, Belgian Tervuren, Bergamasco Sheepdog, Berger Picards, Bouviers des Flandres, Briards, Canaan Dog, Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Collie, Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Finnish Lapphund, German Shepard, Miniature American Shepherd, Norwegian Buhunds, Old English Sheepdog, Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Polish Lowland Sheepdogs, Puli, Pumi, Pyrenean Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Spanish Water Dog, Swedish Vallhunds

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