Border Collie

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Border Collie

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Wish to adopt a dog that can outsmart you? – Border Collie is where you stop. Border Collie breed tops the list of world’s smartest dogs and is known for his “stare”.

Highly trainable and intelligent, they have proved themselves in every walks of canine sports from agility to flyball and tracking. Though they are the smartest dogs, it is not easy to train them. You cannot laze around with this breed. They need constant dynamic training to polish their smartness.  

Originally bred to herd sheep in the farms of Scotland, they are dogs with utmost stamina and an unstoppable workhorse. They are very active and are best suited for country life. They will only sit calmly when they have done enough for the day and will demand a lot of attention and cuddles thereafter.

 If you do not have the stamina to out-run, and the brains to out-wit him, you better reconsider your ideas of adopting a Collie.

The breed originally flourished on the England-Scotland border, where they herded sheep. That’s how the “Border Collie” moniker was born; “collie” is a Scottish word for the sheepdog.

Border Collie Pictures

  • Border Collie
  • Border Collies
  • Border collie puppies

Quick Facts

Average Weight: 30 to 45 Pounds

Average Height: 18 to 22 inches at the shoulder

Dog Group: Herding Dog

AKC Rank: 35

At A Glance


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This is a medium-sized dog that does not grow more than 19-22 inches for males and 18-21 inches for females in height. Border Collie weight can vary from 30 to 45 pounds depending on gender. Female Border Collie dog weight is 26 to 42 pounds and for males, it can be anything between 31 to 45 pounds.

A healthy and active dog, Border Collie lifespan ranges from 12 to 15 years.

This is a highly energetic dog breed that requires a huge open space, mostly a field-like area, to vent out this energy. Border Collie isn’t apartment-friendly and may become cranky in an enclosed, claustrophobic environment. However, you can check out other apartment-friendly dogs. The list is huge and we would want you to adopt a dog that’s compatible with your lifestyle.

Border Collie makes a very loyal and faithful family dog. It is wary of strangers and can be a great watchdog. Similar to other herding dogs they are very protective of their family and alert them as soon as they smell something fishy. However, they may not be good for every family. They have high maintenance and require constant physical and mental stimulation. Failing to provide that, they may turn against their own family.  

This breed is very introverted and needs early socialization. Although they get along pretty well with other pets if brought up together since puppyhood, they may become snappish with strangers. Originally bred as herders, they tend to nip at the heel which may not go well with small pets. Their herding instinct needs to be controlled to make them a social and friendly pet.

Border Collie is a barking dog. It will let you know about the slightest of movements in and around your house. They are easily aroused by visuals and can sometimes bark more than necessary. They may also bark if they hear something, smell something unusual, or want to go out to exercise. You need to understand dog language to know exactly what your dog is talking about.

Border Collie was bred in a cold place and has a double coat which protects him from harsh weather conditions. However, this might backfire in hot weather. They shed their undercoat during summers but you need to get his outer coat trimmed at regular intervals and keep him hydrated. Extremely warm weather can cause them discomfort and you should know how to keep your dog cool during summers.

Ranks 1st on the list of the smartest dog breeds, Border Collie’s intelligence is a world-known fact. If you train him to do something, it won’t stop until it has learned the command and can grasp a surprising number of words too. However, just because Border Collie smartness can outdo you, it doesn’t mean they are easy to train. You need to give in a lot of patience and time to Border Collie training

Heh! They are workaholics. You have to take them for a walk of 20 minutes at least twice a day, sometimes more. Just a morning-evening stroll routine is not enough; they are herding dogs and require canine sports as a regular activity. Failing to do so, they may resort to “bad-boy” activities. Along with this, they also need a lot of mental exercises. So, if you are planning to laze around with this breed, then you better reconsider, mate!

Border Collie grooming needs are very minimalistic, even if it is a show dog. A bath once in two weeks and twice a week brushing is enough. Keep a check on the necessary trimming, nail clipping, and ear and anal cleaning routine. They tend to grow extra hair around feet and the back of their legs. Make sure you get them trimmed on his next trip to the groomer.

There is no dog breed that is 100% hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, Border Collie is not hypoallergenic. It does not mean that people with allergies cannot adopt a Collie but you need to extra take care of his hygiene and grooming needs. 

Border Collie price ranges from $600 to $800 on average.

Though Border Collie is purebred, there may be a dog that wants his forever home in some animal shelter near you. We suggest you adopt if you can.

About the Border Collie

About border collie

A medium-sized dog with not more than 45 pounds in weight and 22 inches at the shoulder, Border Collie possesses double the amount of stamina and energy. They were bred as sheepdogs in the rough terrains of England-Scotland border. Their regular work was running more than 50 miles a day. It makes then an ideal dog for country living.

It is a highly trainable dog who can learn a command in 5 repetitions and have proved to respond 95% of the time. They make an obedient and wonderful companion dog. They are great family dogs but it might get tiring (don’t let your dog read this) to keep up with the amount of mental and physical exercise that they need. If you are looking for a cuddly-cute couch potato then Border Collie may not be the right choice.

They are known for “the eye”, a practice of staring intensely into the eyes of the sheep to control them. So, the next time you see your Collie gaping at you, you do not really need to worry. They are just trying to hypnotize you.

They have a habit of nipping at the herd. This overwhelming urge can come out when they see cats, children, or other small or moving things, which makes them an absolute no-no for small children. Border Collie dog is very reserved and shy and may not be able to make friends. However, they can gel in with cats and other dogs pretty well if brought up together.

It is not very easy to train a Border Collie. You not only need a lot of stamina but also a huge open field for him to run and exercise around. This may be one of the biggest reasons for not adopting a Collie if you live in an apartment. Border Collie dog owner needs to be more active than the dog to meet up to his expectations. They are not only energetic but also very sensitive. A little scolding and they might just become super sad.

A package in itself, Border Collie will keep your house chirpy and warm with its affection and energy for a healthy lifespan of 12-15 years. Be ready for a roller coaster ride!

Modern-day Border Collie can trace back its legacy in one dog named Old Hemp (hell of a name for a dog, though). Widely considered to be the forefather of the entire breed, Old Hemp had a soft herding technique and is known to father 200 pups.

History

history of border collie

Interestingly, the story of our very intelligent Border Collie origin dates back to the time of the Roman and the Vikings. Being invaded by both, one after the other, there was a cross-breeding between the Roman-brought herding dogs and the Viking’s spitzes.

Herding dogs were bred and altered all the time to meet the demands of the terrain, weather, and of course the rattlers. These herding dogs were particularly identified by their origin – Welsh Sheepdogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies. However, these Roman crossed Viking dogs worked pretty well on the rocky terrains of Scotland and Wales. From there began the origin of Border Collie.  

So happened that, in 1860, these Scotch Sheep Dogs came to England for the second-ever dog show. Co-incidentally, the Queen was present there and got absolutely smitten by them.
Victoria and her secrets, you never really know.

What after?

Some R.J. Lloyd Prince began sheepdog trials and by 1876, in the name of the Queen, these wild dogs were brought to the Alexander Palace in London for demonstration. It is said that people were enchanted by the keenness of these dogs. Since then, Border Collie has been known as one of the best herders.

AKC recognized Border Collie as a Herding dog in 1995.

Border Collie was Queen Victoria’s favorite breed. She chose them “consistently over the many other collies and another breed she owned, to be her most intimate pets.” Several of her collies accompanied her everywhere she went and when they passed away, she immortalized them in the form of painting, sculptures and marble figurines.
Only a Border can make the Queen, herself, bow down. All Hail, the Border Collie

Facts Theatre

Parenting Guide and Care

Border collie care

Provide them with exercise and mental stimulation. Border Collie is not just an active dog but also a brainiac. If you fail to direct his energy and intelligence into something productive, he might develop destructive tendencies. Born workaholics, he needs exercise on a professional level, daily which should not be limited to walk. Blending regular walking with one canine sport daily can keep him healthy and busy.

Border Collie needs space. Being used to running in vast terrains for more than 50 miles a day, they need a similar space to wander even when domesticated. This means that they are not suited for apartment-style living. They need a large open field to run about and train for professional dog sport. Small places and congested flats can cause them discomfort and make them cranky.

Early socialization is a must. Border Collie is an introvert. And you know how introverts are? They just do not want to be friendly with anybody. So, if you want your Border Collie to get along well with other doggies in your neighborhood, he needs early socialization.
It doesn’t just end here. They were born herders and tend to nip chasing animals or children at the heel. You need to make your Collie understand that it is not cool to be rough with children and other friendly pets. Precisely for this reason, it is more than necessary to expose them to children, cats, and other dogs since puppyhood.

Border Collie is highly trainable. With proper obedience training, you can control every movement of your dog. They will not only listen to your commands but also act the way you want them to act. This way you can also make them friendly with children and other pets.
Additionally, they are very sensitive dogs. You do not want to hurt their feelings. Praise and positive reinforcement techniques like giving them their favorite treat when they obey your command can work wonders.
Note: They need a professional training. Adopting a Border Collie if you are a first-time owner may not be the right choice.

Border Collie barks a lot. A little movement and they will inform you about it immediately. They may bark for every emotion they feel, be it fear, caution, or even if they need attention. You need to start controlling his barking habits since puppyhood so that it doesn’t become a nuisance for your neighbors.

Border Collie is an attention-seeker. They need a lot of attention from their favorite person. Make sure you spend a lot of time cuddling and playing with him otherwise chances are that your puppy may suffer from separation anxiety and depression. If you have a tight working schedule and cannot make out time for your Collie, then you may not want to adopt him in the first place.  

A Border Collie House Rules, From The Border Collie Eye – Just to Make a Little Interesting

  1. Don’t come home smelling of other dogs.
  2. You must feed me every goodie you eat well except for the toxic foods.
  3. Don’t call me or lead me to a bath.
  4. Let me outside even though I just came in, there was an area I forgot to sniff.
  5. I can sleep anywhere I choose even if it means you trip over me.
  6. Don’t “sshhh” me from barking, I heard the wind blowing the leaves.
  7. Don’t move me while sleeping sideways in the middle of the bed; you have enough room on the edge.
  8. Don’t think you can leave the room without me.
  9. If it lands on the floor, it’s MINE.
  10. You will never pee alone again.

Personality and Temperament

border collie personality

When it comes to Border Collie characteristics, there is a lot of fields to cover Adopting a Border Collie is like adopting a truckload of madness. Though they are arguably the world’s smartest dogs, Border Collie temperament is not everyone’s to handle. They are a very active and energetic dog. They have a habit of working all day in harsh weather conditions. This strong working drive can be exhausting for you sometimes.
Border Collies tend to get bored very easily. You cannot make them do same things twice which means you need to be creative enough to come up with a new job for them every day.

They like to keep themselves busy and if he is bored he might resort to digging, barking, or chasing. He needs to serve a purpose and he might go to any extend for that.
Bred as a herder, he may possess certain herding instincts like nipping small pets and children or chasing cars. A proper training since puppyhood and early socialization can control these habits. If you are his favorite person, he is more likely to obey you and learn commands at a faster speed to impress you.

Border Collie dog is a very sensitive dog and will respond to even the slightest of the whistle of his favorite person. Be ready to get a reaction to every action of yours. They are very cautious of strangers. Alert with a ready bark, they make a wonderful watchdog.

Border collies can move swiftly in a catlike, crouched position because they have space between the tops of the shoulder blades, which lets them slither by while staying low to the ground. This technique lets them herd animals with extreme precision.

They are very shy and introverted dogs. Early socialization can help them overcome their reserved nature and may also control their nipping instincts. Proven to listen to command 95% of the time, Border Collie intelligence has always been the talk of the town. Positive reinforcement training methods can help them in ways you never imagined. Smart and agile dogs, if trained properly and with patience, Border Collie can stand out in every dog sport.

Additionally, they require a lot of attention from their family. Due to lack of enough affection, cuddles, and love, he might suffer from separation anxiety or depression. This means you are not only supposed to be his trainer-in-command but also his squishy soft-toy to cuddle with.

Did you know? “The eye” is their Infinity Gauntlet. They were known to bring down herd into submission just by staring at them with their intimidating eyes. The domesticated Border Collie does the same when it comes to his favorite food (wouldn’t deny, I eye food too. Guess I found my soul animal).

Colors and Grooming

We have a step-by-step grooming procedure for these smarty pants.

Border Collie Coat Grooming

Step 1: Detangling Spray
Because Border Collies mostly like working out in rugged terrain, their coat may trap dirt and tangle their fur. Detangling spray can be used to minimize hair breakage in comparison to brushing dry fur. It softens the tangles and makes it easier to brush off his coat.

Step 2: Border Collie Undercoat Grooming
Select a de-shedding tool of your choice (slicker brush or an undercoat rake) to remove dirt and fur exfoliation from his undercoat. Give several combs until you see zero sheds on the brush. Gentle brushing but firm pressure, that’s exactly how you do it. This movement not only helps in circulation beneath the skin but also helps rejuvenate nourishing oils throughout the undercoat.

Step 3: Border Collie Topcoat Grooming
Use a pin and bristle brush to groom his topcoat. Start with the pin side to remove all the shed and debris. Finally moving on to the bristle brush to give the

Step 4: Border Collie Ear Cleaning
Look out for ear wax and give their ear a cleaning every time you plan to groom their coat. Unclean ears and excess ear wax can lead to injuries or infections. Consult your vet for the best ear products.

Step 5: Nail Trimming
Regular nail trimming is important. It helps your dog maintain a grasp of the ground and prevent him from slipping and getting injured. While you are at it, give a little trim to the hair around his nails. They tend to grow fast and long which may cause them discomfort.

Border Collie grooming needs are minimalistic. A quick brushing twice a week and an occasional bath do it for him. They shed heavily twice a year – fall and spring. You need to take extra care of his grooming during this time. You may want to shift from brushing twice a week to four times a week.

They have healthy teeth but to maintain that bright smile, you need to brush his teeth thrice or four times a week to avoid foul odor or tooth infection.

Get his anal cleaning done every time you visit the groomer.

Feeding

Border Collie Feeding

Puppy Age (3-5 Months)

You must feed your Border Collie puppy at least three meals a day of ½ a cup of high-quality dry food.

Border Collie puppies need a minimum of 22% of protein and 8% of fat in their puppy food. They are an active breed and they require the right amount of nutrition. You may be feeding him according to his age but he may remain thin and hungry. Don’t stop him from eating as long as he is burning all those intakes.

Adult Age (1-5 Years)

For an adult dog, the food intake steadily shifts to two meals a day of 1.5-2.5 cups of high-quality dog food per serving.  

An active Border Collie engaged in sports will require 900-1000 calories a day. However, full-time herders will require 1400 calories per day.

Senior (5-8 Years)

Senior Border Collies become less active with a slower metabolism. You can either continue feeding in the same pattern or plan a senior dog diet. If your dog starts putting on weight, try feeding him a little less than regular. You can also steadily shift into a complete homemade dog food diet for senior dogs. It is healthy, cheap and you would know what you are feeding you, grown-up boy.

When compared to a 150 lb Great Dane who eats 1,500 calories a day, at less than a third the size, Border Collies really do burn a lot of energy.

Health and Vaccination

Border collie health

Active dogs are mostly healthy dogs. But that does not mean they are not prone to certain health conditions.

1. Hip Dysplasia –

Although mostly seen in larger breeds, it may be evident in other dogs too. It is a condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit into the hip socket causing constant friction between both. It leads to gradual degradation and eventual failure of the joint.
Symptoms may include decreased range of motion, reluctance in rising, “bunny-hoping” or loss of thigh muscle mass.
You may ask your breeder to provide you with a certificate of the parent’s hip dysplasia tests. Feed your dog with enough calcium and fiber during his growing years to avoid bone-problems. Try not breeding dogs with hip dysplasia

2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) –

This is an eye disease that leads to degeneration of the retina, causing vision loss or complete blindness. The symptoms may not appear at early ages but it may include night blindness, bumping into things in dim light, or unwillingness to go into dark rooms. It is hereditary. Adopt your puppy from a responsible dog breeder that keeps a check on the breeding lot for such health conditions.

3. Epilepsy –

While epilepsy is common in a lot of dog breeds, it is not always inherited. It is a neurological condition that may cause mild or severe convulsions.
Symptoms may include running frantically, rigid limbs, staggered, hiding, or losing consciousness.
Seizures are frightening, but the long-term prognosis of dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It is important to take your dog to a vet when you see such

4. Collie Eye Anomaly –

It is an inherited, developmental disease mostly found in herding dogs like Collies, Australian Shepherds, and Border Collies. There is a mutation on the gene that determines the development of the eye which causes the blood vessels that support the retina to underdeveloped. It may also lead to partial or complete blindness.
Symptoms may include abnormally small eyeballs, sunken eyeballs, or bumping into things.
This usually occurs while your Border Collie puppy turns two. Sadly, there is no treatment for this condition.

5. Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD) –

An abnormal development of cartilage on the end of a bone in the joint is an inflammatory condition. There are chances of the diseased cartilage to separate from the base bone. It commonly affects the shoulders, elbow, hip, or knee joints.
Symptoms may include limping or laming in the affected leg, swollen joint, or warm to touch.
You need to consult the vet if you see such symptoms. It most severe cases it requires surgery.

It is not necessary that every Border Collie has to go through these conditions. If taken care of like your toddler and adopted the puppy from a responsible breeder, such problems may hardly arise.

Get your puppy vaccinated with canine parvovirus and canine distemper in the initial 6-8 weeks followed by boosters after every 3 years.

Deworming is necessary. Ask your vet about a worming prevention plan between 2-12 weeks of your puppy.

There are a lot while talking about vaccination. You can read our Beginner’s Guide To Dog Vaccination to know more. 

Frequently Asked Questions


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Where do border Collie come from? Their existence can be traced in the history of the Roman and V0iking invasion of England. Romans brought their set of dogs that were later cross-bred with the Viking’s wild dogs. What can as a final species was the Border Collie puppy. They were developed to herd sheep on the England-Scottish border and were brought to England on the demand of Queen Victoria.

Why do you hug somebody? It is their way of showing affection towards the person they love. Border Collie loves his owner and is also ready to share his toys with his favorite person.

They can definitely swim if they are motivated to do so since puppyhood. Swimming can be a great exercise for a Border Collie puppy and can keep them busy for a while. Try taking a ball the next time you go swimming with your Collie. Let him alone in the pool with the ball and enjoy the show with a glass of lemonade. Cheers!

Unfortunately, no! Border Collie is not hypoallergenic. However, it doesn’t mean that people with allergies cannot adopt a Collie. You just have to take extra care of their grooming. Border Collie shedding period is twice a year – fall and spring. You need to maintain a regular coat brushing routine during this time to avoid unnecessary allergies.

Border Collie breed is a faithful and excellent family dog. However, they are not meant for every family. Master-like-dog…that means, you need to have a lot of patience and time to bring up this breed. Border Collie training can get hectic. They are a working breed and if you can provide him with enough mental and physical stimulation without being fed up by his smartness, then he is for you.

Aggression can be common in Border Collies especially if their exercise needs do not meet. He can also get aggressive if not socialized since puppyhood or if he needs your attention. Barking on little things come naturally to them. As they are herding breeds, they may try to nip chasing animals and cars due to their herding instincts. However, if Border Collie training needs are fulfilled, they can definitely do better.

A full-grown breed of Border Collie weight 26-42 lbs for female and 31-45 lbs for male Border Collie dogs. Their height may vary from 18-21 inches in females and 19-22 inches in males, at the shoulder. These are considered medium-sized dog breeds.

Crouching is a technique. Border collies can move swiftly in a catlike, crouched position because they have space between the tops of the shoulder blades, which lets them slither by while staying low to the ground. This technique lets them herd animals with extreme precision.

Similar Breeds

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That’s all about Border Collie, the smartest herding dog. Hope you liked this article and it helped you know this breed a little better.

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