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Border Collie

Border Collie

The ultimate herder, the Border Collie is a medium-sized, well-proportioned dog that is easily recognisable whether working or competing in dog sports. Known for their tireless energy, stamina and working drive, this breed is one of the most active and always wanting to please.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Extra training required
  • Generally healthy breed
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys one to two hours of walking a day
  • Medium dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming once a week
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Barks and alerts to visitors/anything unusual
  • Generally friendly with other dogs
  • May need additional training to live with other pets
  • May need additional supervision to live with children
  • Needs a large garden
  • Can live in semi-rural areas
  • Can be left alone with training
Generally healthy breed

The Border Collie breed can suffer from: 
- Collie eye anomaly, which is an inherited condition where the eye does not develop properly, which can lead to blindness.  
- Hip dysplasia 
- Epilepsy¹ which is a condition where abnormal brain function can lead to seizures which damages the brain. 
- Multi-drug resistance which is a problem where dogs have an increased sensitivity to certain medications. 
- Ceroid lipofuscinosis which is an inherited disease that can be fatal. 
- Sensory neuropathy which is a condition where the nerves become damaged causing pain and weakness.  
- Glaucoma which is a painful condition where the pressure in the eye builds up. 
- Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome which is an inherited condition where the immune system struggles to protect itself against disease. 

Priority Kennel Club health schemes and testing: 
- Hip dysplasia screening scheme 
- Eye screening scheme 
- Eye testing for pectinate ligament abnormality to find out how likely the dog is to develop glaucoma 

¹ C. Rusbridge, 'Canine idiopathic epilepsy', May 2016, Veterinary Ireland Journal

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12–15 years
Weight: 14–20kg
Height: 48–53cm
Colours: The coat can either be smooth or of medium length and the most common colour is black and white, although other colours with white are also seen – e.g. brown, blue merle, red and tricolour
Size: Medium
Kennel Club group: Pastoral

Ratings

Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 5/5
Easy to train: 5/5
Tolerates being alone: 1/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 5/5
Grooming needs: 3/5
Shedding: 3/5
Border Collie

Personality

Border Collies are always ready to work, attentive, lively and alert. They will form a very close bond with their owner and family but, unless given plenty of time and exercise, they are not ideal pets for a family with very young children, as it’s in their nature to herd anything that moves - your children included! If not kept physically and mentally stimulated they will become bored, developing behavioural problems or getting into mischief, as their brains are always active.

The Border Collie will suit an extremely active owner who is able to give them plenty of exercise, enjoys training, and who wants a very full-on dog.

Border Collie

History and Origins

The Border Collie dog breed dates back to the 1700s, although it wasn’t given its present name until 1915. Border Collies worked with shepherds in the border area between Scotland and England for hundreds of years, being bred purely for their working ability. Some Border breeders fear emphasis on looks and beauty could lead to the breed's ruination and, therefore, still concentrate primarily on their working qualities. There are often differences between show and working strains.

did you know?

Did you Know?

  • There are many theories on how Collies got their names but as ‘collie’ is Gaelic for ‘useful’ perhaps it’s as simple as Scottish farmers recognising one of the key traits of their dogs.
  • American psychologist Dr. Stanley Coren classified the Border Collie as the most intelligent breed of dog, ranking first out of 133 breeds.
  • Border Collies are known for their intense stare, allowing them to control a flock with a simple glance.
  • This breed is highly sensitive and doesn’t respond well to harsh treatment or loud noises.
  • If not well socialised, the Border Collie can become very shy and wary of other dogs and people.

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