Good for Novice Owners:
- Average Size: Medium
- Average Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Registered?: aca, akc
Border Collie Dog Breed Information
Did You Know?
The Border Collie is a very athletic, medium-sized dog that is part of the Herding Group. They were developed for herding sheep along the border between England and Scotland. Their ancestry can be traced back to crosses between the larger, heavier Roman herding dogs and the lighter, smaller, and spitz-type Viking herding dogs.
It is from these agile and compact herding dogs that the modern Border Collie was developed. The AKC recognized the Border Collie in 1995 and they are one of the most popular dog breeds. Border Collies are considered one of the world’s greatest herding dogs and consistently dominate competitive sheepdog trials and other dog sport competitions.
Border Collies are still used as herding and working dogs on farms and ranches today. They are even considered one of the best dog breeds for farms. In addition to making a great companion for an active family, they excel at dog sports like agility, tracking, obedience, and more.
The Border Collie is a very energetic dog that craves their owner’s affection. They are highly intelligent, loyal, affectionate, and responsive. However, they are not cuddly couch potatoes. They are happy to settle down and cuddle with you once the day’s work is done, but Border Collies love to work and be on the move.
They get along well with children and other dogs, and are considered one of the great dog breeds for large families. Although they are a friendly dog breed when well-socialized, they can still be reserved or slightly suspicious of strangers at first. Early socialization is key with any dog breed. It can go a long way in directing the seemingly endless energy and herding tendencies of the Border Collie into more positive activities.
Border Collies are sensitive, but also relatively adaptable. As one of the most active dog breeds, they thrive in homes with fenced yards where they can run freely. Although they are high energy, they can adapt to apartment living provided plenty of time is dedicated to getting them the daily exercise and mental stimulation they need.
Although they can handle some chill, they are not fans of very cold or hot climates. They will be happiest in a moderate climate and in a space where they get to run. They can be okay with some alone time, but they thrive on affection from their families and get bored easily, so they should not be left alone for long periods of time.
If left to their own devices, a Border Collie will start to invent their own games. They will also start to exhibit destructive behavior and other signs a dog isn’t getting enough exercise if they have too much pent-up energy or get bored.
Potential health concerns to be aware of in Border Collies can include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, deafness, collie eye anomaly, epilepsy, trapped neutrophil syndrome, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, and progressive retinal atrophy. All of these are health issues for which the parents can be tested and cleared.
Reputable breeders will screen their dogs to prevent passing avoidable issues to puppies. Make sure you talk to the breeder about the health and genetic history of both parents. You can also ask about any health tests or clearances that have been done. The National Breed Club recommends a hip evaluation and an ophthalmologist evaluation at a minimum.
Border Collies are one of the smartest dog breeds. They pick up on things quickly, can learn complicated commands, and are highly trainable dogs. Although they are quick and eager to learn, they tend to be very difficult for the average person to train, so may not be a good fit for novice dog owners. Even an experienced dog owner may benefit from some puppy training classes.
The classic Border Collie coat comes in two variations – rough and smooth. A rough coat is medium length and is flat or slightly wavy or feathered while a smooth coat is coarser and smoother. Common coat colors can vary from bicolor and tricolor to solid, merle, or sable.
Since Border Collies have a weather-resistant double coat that will shed a little year-round and heavier as seasons change, brushing a few times a week with a pin brush is recommended to remove tangles and prevent mats. During seasonal shedding, daily brushing is recommended. Bathing is on an occasional, as-needed basis.
In addition to coat care, you will also need to take care of your Border Collie’s nails, ears, and teeth. Nail trims once or twice a month keep nails from growing too long. Weekly ear checks along with careful cleanings as needed can help prevent ear infections. Daily dental care in addition to cleanings at the vet when needed can help prevent dental diseases.
One of the well-known facts about Border Collies is that they are high-energy dogs. They are known for their seemingly endless energy. These dogs need daily walks, playtime, time to run, and more, plus a job to do, to be happy and healthy. And, you will probably run out of energy before they do.
The good news is that they are athletic and versatile dogs, so once puppies finish growing and can do higher-impact activities, you can try a lot of different things with your Border Collie. They are one of the dog breeds that make good running partners and are likely to enjoy plenty of other activities.
You can try hiking, swimming, playing frisbee, trips to the dog park, and even training for a variety of dog sports, even if you don’t plan on officially competing. Your Border will be more than happy to have something active to do, especially if they get to spend time with you while doing it.
Fully-grown Border Collies usually stand 18-22 inches tall and weigh 30-55 pounds.
Border Collies generally live for 12-15 years on average.
The Border Collie was originally called a “Scotch Sheep Dog”. This dog breed also shows up in several dog movies and held a feature role in the movie Babe.