Border Collie


The Border Collie dog was selectively bred in order to regulate the movement of sheep and rally them. This necessity arose in the hilly regions where Sheep used to be herded by farmers in England and Scotland.

He is known to regulate the flock of sheep merely with his strong eye stare. He is one of the most energetic and stamina-filled working dogs, and so, he is considered as one of the top herding dogs in the doggy kingdom.

Even today after so many centuries, Border Collie’s purpose has not changed – they are still used mainly as herding dogs in ranches and fields.

An extremely smart and trainable dog, he is highly competitive in several outdoor dog sports such as flying disc contests, tracking, agility, flyball, and obedience.

Did You Know?

Because the collie was first used near the borders joining England and Scotland, it came to be known as the Border Collie.

Border Collie Pictures

Quick Facts

Avg. Weight: 30-45 pounds

Avg. Height: 18-22 inches

Life Expectancy: 12-17 years

Dog Group: Herding

Colors: Black, White, Blue, Red Merle, Blue Merle, Brindle, Lilac, Chocolate, Liver, Sable Merle, Sable, Red, Gold

Other Names: Scotch Sheepdog, Highland Collie, Welsh Sheep Dog

At A Glance

Size (3/5) 

Border collie size is medium with superhero energy levels and stamina.

They grow up to 22 inches in height at the shoulders.

They have a slightly longer body with a sickle-shaped furry tail.

When they grow up there will be a need to buy a new dog bed, though this breed isn’t a luxury lover.

Affection Level (5/5)

Border Collie temperament is known to affectionate, smart and energetic.

When they are encouraged to spend their time as puppies with other dogs, they grow up to be friendly and tolerable of them.

Border collie aggression is not something very common out there, but if you think he is getting aggressive lookout for causes like growling, barking, and biting in him.

They tend to be little reserved towards strangers but are affectionate to their family members.

Most dogs get attached to one member of the family, with their happiness and protection being their prime life goal.

They are also a very good choice for therapy as they get along very well with senior people.

Apartment-Friendly (2/5)

These energetic dogs need large places to play and use their energy.

They aren’t advisable to apartment dwellers as many believe small spaces restrict their activities.

Dog parks, hiking, and other activities provide a way for these dogs to release their energy.

They are happy as long they are provided with daily stimulus for their daily activity needs.

Cold Weather Tolerability (4/5)

Their double coat provides good protection against the low temperatures and cold winds.

Due to their place of origin being cold climate place they have adapted well to wintery conditions.

The undercoat traps the air between the hairs thus it becomes an insulation coat for the dog.

It also keeps the dog dry when it is wet and cold outside.

Hot Weather Tolerability (4/5)

Their double coat isn’t that good on hot days as in cold ones.

They shed their undercoat hair during summer as it helps regulate air ear their skin.

Trimming their coat a little and hydration are the most important things that the owners should do.

Even though they fare well, owners need to keep them cool in summers.

Barking Tendencies (2/5)

They don’t bark a lot until anything unusual happens or anyone strange is there.

Since the protection of herd or family is ingrained in them they respond to any odd occurrences.

Owners need to train them at an early age to control their level of barking.

Being shy and sensitive they might bark at other animals so socializing them is important.  

 Cat-Friendly (3/5)

This breed is somewhat cat-friendly with high tolerance towards them.

If the cat is outgoing and friendly they tend to get along very well with each other.

The only annoyance the cat can get is from their herding behavior.

They need to be trained to reduce their herding behavior as it sometimes can lead to nasty outcomes with cats.

Dog-Friendly (3/5)

They are shy and reserved dogs who need to be trained in order to socialize with other dogs.

Since they were bred for their work, they mostly focus on it and have less canine social skills.

Experience from a young age and training is the best way to increase their sociability.

Dog-parks, dog-events, walks are good places for them to make new friends and interact more with other dogs.

In case they aren’t trained they either shy away or deem other dogs as suspicious.

Exercise Needs (5/5)

Border Collies are known as workaholics of the canine world.

They are known for their never-ending energy and stamina with needing almost more than an hour of playing.

They aren’t advised for those houses where they aren’t exercised for their daily needs.

Due to their herding background, they are good for the outside work more.

Grooming Needs (3/5)

Border Collies are medium shedders and need brushing at least once a week.

During summer and fall, they have excessive dog shedding and needs brushing more often.

They need a bath once monthly as frequent baths strip their skin of necessary oils.

Brushing in a few days and trimming nails once a month is enough to keep them clean and well groomed.

Playfulness (5/5)

They are very playful with always ready for some intense games.

Since their energy bar is high, they need more than a few games to use their energy.

It is advised that the dogs must at least have 90 minutes of playing or exercising daily.

Or it should be equal to walking them at least 2 miles a day.

Trainability (5/5)

Border coolie ranks 1st among the smart dog breeds list and hence is very easy to train.

In past shepherds bred those who were had favorable traits like the ease of trainability and intelligence.

The modern dogs are all born with the best of these traits.

They only need to be told new commands a few times before they associate that order with the intended action to be done.

They very easily pick up the signs of the owners like hand movement; whistles to know what to do.

Intelligence (5/5)

They are considered the most intelligent breed of the canine world.

They need mental stimulation every day to exercise the brain and if not satisfied they tend to be destructive.

They can read peoples movements very fast and how to react to them.

In the past they used capability they herded the cattle or sheep according to wishes of the shepherd.

If owners have patience enough they can teach anything to their dogs like words and actions.

Due to this trait along with agility, they are very one of the popular dog breeds in dog competitions.

Mouthiness (3/5)

They don’t chew or bite much other than when expected.

Though they have a nipping problem that can be controlled by training them at a young age.

Most of them are trained to nip only at the cattle for herding and not at other things.

Price Group

Border Collie puppies cost $600 – $800 on an average.

Many advice that dogs can be adopted from rescue shelters, those who know how to act in public.

Pedigree and working dog parent’s heritage are major factors for the price of the puppies.

About Border Collie

He is highly renowned for his skills in gathering sheep and keeping them on track. With his glaring eyes, the sheep cannot dare to go away from the shepherd. This skill is such a treat to watch that it makes us feel proud of the usefulness of dogs.

The Collie weighs at 30 – 45 pounds. His height is 18 – 22 inches long. A Collie can live up to 12 – 15 years of age.

A collie is so rich in activity and stamina that he can run more than 30 miles in a day. This working nature of the Collie was developed from his daily work schedule in Scotland’s valleys and hills. You won’t anywhere find a good working dog like the Collie.

The advantages of the Collie can easily become disadvantages if the family does not understand him well. He certainly does not enjoy being cuddled and is not the one who remains lazing around all day. He enjoys only being occupied in some kind of work.
Maintaining a Collie can be extremely challenging and tedious to a family who wants a relaxed time with its dog – it cannot match the stamina of the Collie.

Border Collie Herding Milk Cows


Today’s Collies are the descendants of the earliest Collies that originated in the region of Britain where they were used to guard and manage sheep. The shepherds used Collies in Britain and Scotland as the most cherished medium to manage their sheep.

According to the region and the terrain these dogs were occupied in, they came to be known by many names such as Scotch Collies, Highland Collies, Northern Sheepdogs, and Welsh Sheepdogs. In fact, the phrase sheepdogs are closely associated with the derived word collie.

In the year 1860, because of a dog show, Queen Victoria became a fan of the Scotch Sheep Dogs.

In 1876, 100 Welsh Sheepdogs were showcased in London. The spectators were stupefied at the understanding of dogs, who did their job even when the handlers just blew whistles and did hand signals.

In recent times, the Collie has come to be recognized as the best herding dog. Thus, many breeders today are more interested in breeding these dogs especially for working rather than confirmation. In 1995, the Border Collie was identified as a breed by the AKC.

Did You Know?

Most of the recent studies have shown that the Border Collies are the smartest and the most intelligent dog breeds on planet earth.

Facts Theatre

They are not only herders.

If you think that Collies can only be sheepdogs, then you are at a huge loss. The intelligence of Collies makes them useful for other human supporting activities such as medical emergencies, search-and-rescue, and therapy.

One dog is the father of all Collies who is…

Old Hemp was the first Collie who set a benchmark for Collies of subsequent generations – his qualities inspired the breeding of later Border Collies.

The great poet cherished the Collie

The poet of Scotland, Robert Burns thought of the breed as sincere and trustworthy. In his childhood, he owned a Collie named Luath. His poems and his statue have commemorated Luath.

They are talented actors

Collies have acted in the famous sitcom “Mad About You” with the main couple. He was named Murray in the TV series.

Parenting Guide & Care

  • As the Collies do not accommodate well at home, they cannot remain good in an apartment for an extended duration. You need to give him a large amount of workout in a big yard.
  • As they are very emotionally delicate dogs, they constantly require positive reinforcement – they may be a bit difficult at times due to their sensitivity.
  • Collies enjoy being around humans and hence they may not like being left alone for longer times.
  • In order to train them in socialization with children, they need to be exposed to children from an early age. Because they can be reluctant, advise the children to give them treats.
  • Convey to your Collie that it is not okay when he gets rough with children. Pause him quickly if he herds the kids.
  • Let your children meet the Border Collie in a dog park. There, kids can communicate with other dogs and with other humans too. Let the kids see the puppy minimum one time per week.
  • They are very obedient dogs, yet human involvement is necessary for their training. They are smart workers and so, tend to be obedient in working. Giving obedience training to Collies will get you in utter control of the dog, even with children.
  • Even your kids should be taught the ideal way to behave around dogs. Only if the kids are not sufficiently old to handle the Collie with esteem, you should be wary.
    If a child plays naughtily with the Collie, of which the chances are high, Collies can bite them back causing them trauma.
  • Border Collies are energetic and can easily harm infants if they encounter them closely. You must never let Collies near infants.
  • Be vigilant of their barking habits as they are the ones who can often bark. They tend to bark at certain events only though. For example, they bark when they are bored, distressed, fearful, happy, and lonely.
  • You may opt for quieter pooches while disregarding Collies.
  • You will be responsible for lots of things because of their smartness. Importantly, you will need to provide the Border Collie with lots of mental stimulation. Without it, he would turn highly destructive.
  • This breed requires patience to own. The owners with an active routine are more suited to care for these pooches.

Personality and Temperament

  • Borders are known to do a lot of herding, even of non-living things such as a bag of oranges you have put down. He will trail behind you in the home relentlessly.
  • As a dog sport competitor, he excels to the top as he has abilities like the desire to please, ease of training, and drive.
  • His focus is unmatched in the arena of dogs. A typical stare of the Collie establishes his control of the sheep who then turn and proceed based on his directives. The Border can as easily entice you into giving in to his demands.
  • Borders are often seen as having compulsive behaviors. Some such behaviors include waiting for the washing machine cycle to finish, waiting for another pet to awaken, and chasing bugs. Though this kind of behavior is awkward, it does not affect his life in a significantly bad way.
    If the Collie is distressed or hasn’t acquired enough mental stimulation, these kinds of behaviors can occur.
  • Because of their herding instincts, they can get along finely with any other animal. However, other animals may very likely have an issue with the Border.
    Cats exhibit a variety of behaviors with Borders. Some will be okay with it; some would not be. Some may like to play with the Collie. Certain Collies tend to chase cats, so always prefer an adult and a mature Collie to adopt.
  • If you have an active lifestyle, have the breed adopted. You need to be able to do things that the dog can do as well. A Collie for an apartment is not suited if the owners are not active enough.
  • He can be highly destructive. In his teen years, he can be really difficult to handle.

Did You Know?

The Guinness World Record for the fastest car window wound down by a dog is held by the Border Collie. The dog from Hungary took a mere 11.34 seconds to open a car window using his paw and nose.

Colors & Grooming


The Border Collie consists of two different types of coats: smooth and rough. The smooth-coated Collies have small hair, minimal feathering, and coarse feel.
The rough-coated Collies have hair of medium length, and the feathering exists only on the stomach, chest, and legs.

Collies are of many colors: red Border Collie, blue merle Border Collie, brown Border Collie, black Border Collie, along with other Border Collie colors.

The color of the coat is mostly black that has a white patch on the front face. The patch also exists on the tip of the tail, legs, neck, and feet.
This is a typical characteristic only in Collies without purely white coats.

Below are some tips to groom a Collie:

  • He isn’t too fussy and does not actually need extra grooming to maintain his good looks.
  • His double coat can resist weather and so brushing it two times in a week will keep oils on it well-distributed and will stop matting.
    Brushing should be done regularly during the shedding season to reduce hair fall in the house.
    Bathing is a necessity only if your pooch is dirty or smells – once in 3 – 4 months is okay.
  • His teeth need to be brushed 2 or 3 times per week to eradicate lurking microorganisms and tartar. The best option would be to brush his teeth on a day-to-day basis.
  • Occasionally, analyze his ears and shorten his nails every week. This helps remove foul odor, redness, and filth.


Feeding a Border Collie is just as important as feeding any other dog. His hunger needs must be looked after before he becomes too destructive.

The amount of food recommended for a Collie is 1.5 to 2 cups of dry and quality food, for two meals per day.

Given below is the segregation of feeding according to life stages:

Puppy Phase

Feeding a Collie pup is quite similar to feeding children. Because they need an ample amount of physical exercise, they also require a lot of healthy food items to maintain their well-being and to assist in the growth of bones and muscles.

You should prefer the quantity of the food as mentioned in the packaging of food. The professionals write the nutrients based on a dog’s height and weight. We warn you against overfeeding your pup and take necessary countermeasures in terms of reducing the feeding amount.
Failing to do this may make your pooch ill and start having various health problems.

We suggest you feed your Border Collie pup minimum twice a day. Follow a fixed and regular schedule.

It is wrong to assume that your puppy is hungry if it nibbles your clothes and shoes. The truth is he is teething.

Adult Phase

This would be a cakewalk if you have fed your puppy successfully. Looking at food packaging is required no more for an adult; you would be giving him food depending upon his weight.

Spontaneously decrease his food intake when he starts to get overweight. Giving him less treats is also beneficial in maintaining his weight. Skinny Collies must be given more food than usual.

An example of a proper Collie diet would be dry food 2 cups during dinner and lunch and a cup of milk oats during breakfast.

Taking your Collie for occasional vet analysis ensures you take the correct decision on feeding him the right quantity of food.

In fact, after observing his weight, the vet can recommend whether to reduce his intake or increase his intake.

Senior Phase

The feeding differs for a puppy, adult, and seniors. An item fed for maintaining a senior’s health is not appropriate for a puppy or an adult. Above the age of 7, the Collie reaches a senior stage. In other words, when he reaches the final 25% of expected Border Collie lifespan, he becomes a senior.
During this period, it is very crucial that you give the diet according to the specific needs of the senior pooch.

Senior age has dedicated commercial diets available made specifically to deal with his requirements. It is up to the vet to conclude if these commercial foods are viable for your senior Collie or not.

Chicken dead body without fat will be more suitable to a senior Collie instead of raw bones because of his age. Gravy-rich dry dog food is also fine for him.

Did You Know?


Health and Vaccinations

This breed, who can live up to 12 to 15 years is susceptible to certain health issues such as Collie eye anomaly, hip dysplasia, patent ductus arteriosus, lens luxation, dissecans, PRA, and seizures.

On certain occasions, the BC may be observed with a behavior that is compulsive. Along with that, he can also possess ceroid lipofuscinosis and cerebellar abiotrophy. To diagnose a Border Collie, the vet may undertake certain tests as eye tests, CEA, DNA, and hip tests.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a genetic condition wherein the bone of the thigh does not attach properly to the hip.

The causes of the disease are highly hereditary in nature and leave less scope for any environmental effect. This disease may be the precursor to arthritis.

The symptoms of the disease include limpness in hind legs and major inconvenience in lying down or rising up.

The treatment of arthritis can be done quickly. The procedure of x-ray for pooch’s joints is carried out to identify this condition. Surgery is only considered during severe hip dysplasia.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

The retina degrades during PRA. The symptoms include night-blindness, and progressively it becomes day-blindness as well.

The causes are purely genetic. This disease is seen in multiple breeds and not just in Collies. Both males and females are equally susceptible to this disease.

The treatment for PRA includes a gene therapy, which is not widely available. It would be great if you could make your pooch avoid pitfalls while walking. Keep dogs on a leash all the time to prevent accidents such as colliding with objects like walls.


The causes of epilepsy are often hereditary if not always. This condition affects the nervous system of affected dogs.

You will see symptoms such as seizures (mild to grave). Often, seizures take the form of abnormal behavior in dogs. These behaviors include hiding, staggering, and running chaotically out of fear.

In certain cases, the dog falls sideways, he may become unconscious, or his limbs may become stiff.

The treatment for epilepsy is available but there is no cure yet found. Certain drugs to help in alleviating the symptoms of the disease. If diagnosed and treated successfully, nothing would stop your pooch from living a normal life.
Two times in a day, Phenobarbital drug is given to dogs, usually in liquid or pill form. Do not put your dog off medications abruptly, or even once, because doing so may lead to another seizure episode.
Some dogs lack phenobarbital tolerance, hence it is replaced with a drug called Valium that can be supplemented by other medications.

Collie Eye Anomaly

During CEA, there are modifications and abnormalities in the eye. Sometimes, this can result in total blindness.

The causes of Collie Eye Anomaly are purely hereditary and are not in any way a result of the external environment.

The symptoms seen are retinal displacement, staphyloma, coloboma, and choroidal hypoplasia.

Surprisingly, the treatment for the disease is yet to be found.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)

This disease affects the bones of Collies. It is a common disease found in Border Collies. The causes involve an uneven growth of cartilage in the elbow as well as shoulder joints.

The symptoms observed are a pain in the joints along with their stiffening. This makes the elbow or the shoulders difficult to bend.

The treatments include surgical and conservative treatments.
The conservative treatment involves complete resting in bed up till 4 to 10 weeks. If carried on with this treatment with patience and proper regulation, the cartilage has high chances of getting healed.
Surgical treatment is for more severe OCD after the failure of conservative treatment. After the surgery, the dog needs to rest for a few weeks and then he can resume to normal.

Your Border Collie needs to be vaccinated with basic shots that are the same for all dogs. The vaccinations needed by your Collie at 7, 10, 13, and 16 weeks of age are distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.

If your pooch comes in frequent contact with other dogs, he has to be given the vaccine of intranasal bordetella at ages between 8 to 16 weeks.

Provide him shots of rabies at 4 to 6 months. To know more about vaccinations, read our vaccination guide.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to train a Border Collie?

The Collie should be trained frequently and early. He cannot live without a job at hand. Ensure to provide them a lot of mental workouts. You can do this by providing them agility training in the yard. This involves items such as various objects that Collies can do things with such as touch them by the nose, pick and retrieve, and put in a fixed spot.

When do Border Collies stop growing?

When they are between 12 and 15 months old, their body stops producing the growth cells. At this time, they would have already reached their maximum height and weight. However, some Collies may keep gaining weight up to 18 months of age.

Where do Border Collies come from?

These dogs were built naturally to the herd. They used to be bred specifically to handle sheep in the fields. In fact, they could herd other animals as well as children. In the border regions of England and Scotland, these Collies were born in the early 18th century.

Do Border Collies like to swim?

If you teach them swimming at a young age, they can become lovers of the sport. By swimming, they workout themselves well in very hot weather. Moreover, a Collie with hip dysplasia is highly benefitted with this exercise. Swimming will also ensure the strength of hip muscles without weighing heavily on joints.

Similar Breeds

Hey Readers!
Now, reveal what kind of Border Collie have you experienced in life?
Let us know in the comments section below.
Happy Petting To You Guys!



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