This is a dog breed known for their high intelligence and super-high energy level.
Border collie is a herding dog breed of medium height with a slightly longer body.
Known for “the eye” that they give while herding cattle, the shepherds consider them as an ideal dog to have.
Quick to learn with seemingly never-ending stamina makes them a good choice for outside work and adventures.
Most of the newer dogs can be traced back to one dog names Old Hemp who lived in the late 19th century and fathered almost 200 pups.
Queen Victoria of the British Royalty was a great fan of this breed and owned many of them as well.
Border Collie puppies are born in a litter of approximate 6-8.
On being separated by their family, they experience anxiety and stress.
Gentle care and soothing nature are all that they need at first, with a good diet of proteins and calories.
They grow up to be adults in a year and need to be trained early in life for house life and obeying commands.
Adults are intelligent, focused and sensitive, with the intense need for physical and mental stimulation.
They have straight body hair that grows in a medium length body coat, which is very dense.
They are average shedders with weekly brushing and monthly bathing required, thus not needing high maintenance.
They have a high activity level and unless satisfied they are prone to destroy furniture and other items to relieve them out of boredom.
FACT-ILICIOUS: Queen Victoria Loved This Smart Tail Wagger! In the 1860s she became an active Border Collie lover.
A. 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
B. 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.
C. About Border Collie :
You might be left with a constant question, “how much exercise does a Border collie need?’’
Here’s a bit of help,
These medium size dogs are intelligent, super agile and active.
They have a thick double coat with soft undercoat with rough straight hair as the outer coat.
They are easily trained with them being able to understand even the slightest hints of commands from their owners.
They are a highly intelligent breed with some even saying them “rocket scientists” of the canine world.
They are very loyal to their owners and are known to keep a distance from strangers.
These shy reserved dogs don’t socialize much with other dogs and need training for that.
They are best known as herding dogs with them having them shepherding behavior ingrained with them.
They use a hypnosis stare known as the eye to herd the cattle, they are considered good sheepdogs.
Dog competitions are rocked by this breed as they outdo most other dog breeds in most categories.
They are also workaholics of the dog world with a high demand for exercise or work so they need active owners or schedules.
Border coolie is the easiest breed of dog to train.
D. Where Border Collie Came From:
They originated from Northumberland, which is near the Anglo-Scottish border thus their name.
They have helped shepherds in herding cattle for hundreds of years before the term “Border Collie” was coined by the International Sheep Dog Society in 1915.
Most of their characteristics and behavior comes from Old Hemp who lived from 1893-1901 and was a champion of sheepdog competitions.
Most modern dogs trace their lineage to him and thus his eye stance is inherited by them.
They are the legacy of the large, heavy-boned dogs brought by the Romans and smaller and quicker Spitz-like dogs brought by Vikings in England.
They have the best of both, thus becoming favored by shepherds as herding dogs.
Here is one of the amazing Border collie facts for you,
FACT-ILICIOUS: Their name comes from the region in which they flourished! Border Coolies got their name because they were bred on the border of England and Scotland.
They are medium in size with the expected height range of 18-22 inches at the shoulders.
The puppies reach their full height at 12-15 months.
Like other breeds, they also suffer from dwarfism resulting in short height and long body.
Dwarfism is rare but some show adult dogs are also short in height.
When they are breed with small heighted dogs their off-springs are often short heighted.
High intelligence and ease of training make this dog the star among shepherds and in dog competitions.
They are bred for this from over the ages and thus have heightened responses to human commands.
They need a strong and confident owner to train them as they have an independent nature.
Most owners train them at a puppy age so they know the puppies would know the hierarchy.
They can be trained for dog competitions for agility, endurance, and intelligence.
They have a good memory and like to stick to schedules and routines.
They have smooth and small haired undercoat with a long hair fur coat on top of it.
They are average shedders with heavy shedding twice a year during summer and fall seasons.
Normally brushing once a week and bathing is enough to keep their coat healthy and problem free.
During hot weather, it is advised to trim their coat and not shave it.
Border Collies shedding happens either naturally or due to a lack of nutrient fulfillment through their diet.
Old age and being sick also affects dog shedding of their fur.
H. Common Diseases:
TARGETING THE BONES
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia:
In this inherited condition due to abnormalities in the bone structure affect the joints on the hip and the elbow.
The joints don’t have free and easy movements due to this condition.
Pain and lameness are some visible signs of this, while others don’t display any such signs.
Hip Dysplasia is treatable by surgery and medicated treatments in severe and painful cases.
Owners should check the medical background of the puppy’s parents so see for the condition.
- Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD):
In this, the cartilages improperly grow in the joints in the elbows and shoulders.
It can be due to puppies growing too quickly with their weight not matching their height.
Painful stiffening of joints happens within severe cases the dog can’t even bend their joints.
Puppies as young as four to nine months can be affected and should be detected by the vets.
Owners are asked not to over-feed their puppies due to the complications that can arise due to it.
- Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome:
This hereditary disease weakens and impairs the immune system of the dogs.
The bone marrow isn’t able to release the white blood cells into the bloodstream thereby affecting their fighting chances against any infections.
There is no possible explanation of this mutation and some say it might as old as the breed itself.
The affected dogs can die because of any infections due to low immunity.
There is no cure in the present with the DNA test being used to detect the disease.
TARGETING THE NASAL CAVITY
Sometimes dogs have allergic reactions to some substances with some being inhalant allergies.
These are caused by airborne allergen like pollen, dust, sprays, etc.
Allergies are of 3 types: food, contact and inhalant allergies.
Treatments include treating the cause by removing them from near the dog, and medications.
TARGETING THE EYES
- Collie Eye Anomaly:
It is an inherited medical condition in which there are changes and abnormalities in the eye.
Changes that happen are choroidal hypoplasia (abnormal development of choroids), coloboma (defect in the optic disc), staphyloma (thinning of the sclera), and retinal detachment.
It usually occurs at the age of two years and sometimes leads to blindness.
There is no treatment currently available and eye examination is advised before adopting or breeding the dogs.
Inflammatory cells of the eye enter the cornea and during the exposure to ultraviolet light it darkens.
It can develop into complete blindness as it progresses.
At early signs of the cornea, darkening owners need to get them checked by the vets.
Preventive eye medications and doggie sunglasses are some ways for owners to help their dogs with sun exposure.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA):
This is an inherited disease where dogs go blind due to genetic traits.
The retina gradually deteriorates due to this with night blindness and dilated pupils being the early stages.
The day blindness is another advanced stage of this disease with some dogs having full blindness too.
The would-be-owner should check the puppy or dog for this genetic condition.
TARGETING THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
This is also an inherited neurological condition that affects this breed.
It causes mild or severe seizures with some affected dogs showing unusual behavior.
During seizures, owners should remain calm and comfort the dog by placing pillows and cushions around.
Rushing to vet should be the next after this episode, with proper diagnosis and treatment be followed meticulously.
- Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis:
It is a rare progressive neurological disease in which affected dogs lack one several of the enzymes that are responsible for fat and protein breakdown.
It usually appears in dogs from 1 year old to 3 years old with a high chance of fatality.
Rear leg weakness and imbalance are the signs of serious disease.
Later it progresses to weakness in all the four legs and loss of vision.
This disease has no effective treatment available currently with studies and medical research going on this.
TARGETING THE BODY
- Malignant Hyperthermia:
In this dogs have a defective internal thermostat which can lead to high body temperatures.
It leads to heat stroke, muscle rigidity, and organ damages.
It can happen due to using anesthesia when the dental and surgical procedures so extra precautions need to be taken by the doctors.
Screening of the heart should be done by the vets to determine this condition.
- Portosystemic Shunt:
In this liver disorder, the blood supply instead of going to the liver goes around it.
Due to that the liver can get the required blood flow to function properly and grow even.
The liver whose job is to cleanse the toxins from the bloodstream can’t do that too.
Stunted growth, seizures are some signs of this problem.
- Patent Ductus Arteriosus:
This medical condition affects their heart with Border Collies being susceptible to it.
The small vessel in the heart that carries blood between the two parts doesn’t close after birth shortly.
The result of this is fluid build-up and strain in the heart due to excess blood being carried to the lungs.
Signs are mild and severe coughing, fatigue when exercising, weight loss, breath shortness and weakness in hind limbs.
Surgery to close the blood vessel is the best solution.
- Border Collie Collapse:
Also known as the “wobbles” this disease is found in herding and working dog breeds.
High-intensity exercises that may seem too exciting and stimulating to the dog is thought to be related to this disease.
Symptoms are disorientation, mental dullness, attention loss, unsteady hind limbs or dragging of them with the need to constantly sit down.
There is no currently available treatment for this and diagnosis different for each dog based on their symptoms.
It is advisable to avoid the activities that might trigger the collapse.
- Hearing Problems:
They are mostly affected by two types of hearing problems with one affecting at puppy stage and others at the adult stage.
In one the puppy has defects since birth that is pigment based.
In other, the dog gradually loses their hearing as they ages with most having normal hearing at a young stage.
Medical studies are undergoing for finding the genetic cause for the onset of adult dog hearing loss.
The doctors need to conduct a full body test to detect any of these conditions with owners scheduling their check-ups regularly.
They on average need 2.5 cups of dog food every day.
Their food should be equally distributed over the whole day so as to avoid overeating.
A feeding routine should be established as they don’t have a self-regulatory attitude to food.
Their food should consist of 70% animal protein and fat with other 30% consisting of plant-based food.
There are some ingredients that should not be in dog food along with by-products, fillers, artificial flavors, and preservatives.
Owners should check for them before buying commercial dog food, whether kibble or canned, whole meats or meat meals.
One thing to remember is that adult Border Collies require over 1000 calories a day.
Puppies need around 750 calories per day with more frequency of feeding.
Pet keepers should ensure that they satisfy all nutritional and caloric demands of their pets.
J. Vaccination and Care:
They need vaccination for a healthy and long active life. Here are the vaccinations that should be given to the dog.
DHLP-P 7,10,13,16 weeks
Intranasal Bordetella 8-16 weeks
Rabies 4-6 months
Boosters 6 months
Lyme Disease annually
DHLP-P: Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza
Deworming and boosters should also be done as per the vet recommendation.
They also need to have some medical tests that need to be done to avoid some preventable diseases.
K. Monthly Expense Estimation:
It costs around $108 – $138 a month to take care of them.
These include food, treats, toys and pet insurance for them on a monthly basis.
Some additional costs include pet furniture, vet visits, vaccinations and grooming needs of the dog.
Some of them are mandatory cost while others are basically on a dog’s comfort such as beds or toys.
Some owners also spend on obedience and training classes so they have good canine manners.
L. Behavior with:
They are great with children if trained right.
Though it is recommended to not have small children around them if they are untrained as they night nip the ankles.
Their affectionate and loving nature makes them great nannies for the children.
Also, their protective instinct is also a bonus to ensure the safety of the child.
They understand what a child wants and are very good playmates with gentleness.
They go well with other dogs with proper socialization training of them at puppy age.
They traditionally are shy and don’t play much with other dogs as their sole purpose was to herd cattle.
They might also make other dogs uncomfortable with their eye stance and herding nature.
Training them to mingle with other dogs is one of the most important training that owners must give to their dogs.
When raised together at a young age they are like the best buddies to be.
Otherwise, they might seriously annoy the cat with their herding tendencies resulting in scratches on their bodies.
Their loving and affectionate nature makes them good with cats.
In a house with both, they indulge in their own games for hours with each chasing or herding other.
This is a breed that has a loving, affectionate and loyal temperament to their owners and family members.
Their high intelligence and super agility make them a common sight in many dog tournaments.
Those traits also make them ideal herding dogs along with the hypnotic eye stare that makes the cattle follow their lead easily.
These hyperactive dogs are always full of charge and quick to learn and adapt to new surroundings.
They have an inbuilt nature to please their owners thus often taking a protective stance to them.
They are very shy and sensitive dogs and need to be trained to be socializing with other dogs and family pets.
They need high energy plays and workloads to let out of all their energy.
They also have a high need for mental stimulation so owners need to plan new activities and games every week.
N. Something Fun About Border Collies:
- In some dog competitions, there is an ABC category which means “Anything But Collies” to give other breeds a chance to win.
- A Border Collie named Chaser has learned over 1000 words from her owner and understands all of them.
- Striker, BorderCollie holds the Guinness Book of World Records for “Fastest Car Window Opened by a Dog” for a non-electric window opener.
This was all about this super intelligent and agile dog breed from our side.
In case you have anything to add feel free to comment below.
Happy petting to you!