|Group Classification||AKC (American Kennel Club): Herding
UKC (United Kennel Club): Herding
CKC (Canadian Kennel Club): Herding
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): Working
RKC (The Royal Kennel Club): Pastoral
FCI (Fédération Cynologique Internationale): Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattledogs; Section 1: Sheepdogs
|Bred For||Herding, Working Ability, Companionship|
|Known For||Intense Stare (“Eye”), High Energy, Intelligence, Biddable Stock Sense|
|Activities||Herding, Running, Hiking, Conformation Shows, Dog Sports|
|Measurements||Height at Withers: Males 19-20 in.; Females 18-21 in.
Weight Range: Males and Females 30-55 lbs.
|Coat||Type: Moderate Length, Smooth, Dense, Soft
Grooming: Weekly Brushing, Occasional Bathing, Periodic Nail Trimming, Regular Tooth Brushing
|Temperament||Energetic, Affectionate, Smart|
|Expectations||Lifespan: 12-15 Years
Energy Level: High
Exercise Requirements: 2 Hours/Day (Minimum), Daily Walks, Vigorous Running, Regular Exercise, Playing with Another Dog, Mental Stimulation
|Border Collie Breed Standard||AKC Border Collie Breed Standard
UKC Border Collie Breed Standard
CKC Border Collie Breed Standard
ANKC Border Collie Breed Standard
RKC Border Collie Breed Standard
FCI Border Collie Breed Standard
|Similar Breeds||Australian Shepherd, Bearded Collie,
Collie, Miniature American Shepherd,
The Border Collie is a remarkably agile, intelligent, and energetic breed, renowned for its herding prowess and unparalleled work ethic. Originating from the border regions between Scotland and England, this breed is not just a diligent worker but also a cherished companion for families worldwide.
The height of male Border Collies typically ranges from 19 to 22 inches, while females usually stand between 18 and 21 inches tall.
In terms of weight, adult Border Collies generally weigh between 30 and 55 pounds.
The Border Collie is a dog of medium build that exudes a sense of graceful fluidity and balance. The length-to-height ratio is approximately 10:9, providing them with a slightly rectangular silhouette. This proportion ensures swift, ground-covering movement, essential for the dog’s herding activities. These dogs possess both endurance and agility, demonstrating their adaptability to various terrains and tasks. The substance of their physique is solid without appearing heavy or coarse, and their overall conformation exhibits strength and athleticism without sacrificing speed or agility.
Texture: The Border Collie boasts a coat that can vary in texture. Generally, these dogs come in two types: a coarse, rough coat that protects from the elements, and a sleek, smooth coat that showcases the dog’s contours. Both coat varieties are dense and weather-resistant, providing the necessary protection for a hard-working, all-weather dog.
Note: Both coat varieties of the Border Collie serve to protect these dogs while working long days over rugged terrain. Color and markings are of no functional concern, and white markings may be clear or ticked with color to varying degrees. Random white patches on the body are acceptable; however, the color of the ears should be that of the body’s primary coat color.
Skull: The skull of a Border Collie is relatively broad, displaying moderate width and a length that is equal to that of its strong, tapering muzzle. A slight furrow exists between the eyes, and atop the skull.
Expression: The Border Collie possesses an intense, keen, and alert expression. This expression is often described as “eager,” reflecting this dog’s readiness and enthusiasm for work.
Eyes: Set well apart, the eyes of the Border Collie are of medium size and can be brown, blue, or even one of each. They give the breed its famous piercing gaze, which is particularly pronounced when the dog is working.
Ears: The Border Collie’s ears stand erect or semi-erect. They are medium in size, with the tips either held erect or falling forward.
Muzzle: The muzzle is of moderate length and width, tapering slightly to the nose, and strong in its appearance. The jaws are powerful, reflecting the breed’s function as a herding dog with a unique working style.
Nose: The nose color typically complements the primary coat color of the Border Collie. For instance, a black coat will generally correspond with a black nose, while a blue coat will typically have a slate-colored nose.
Bite: The Border Collie has a set of strong, white teeth that meet in a scissors bite, an important asset in any herding dog.
The tail of the Border Collie is a natural extension of its agile and graceful form. Set on low and reaching at least to the hock, the tail can have a slight upward swirl, like a shepherd’s crook. When the dog is working, the tail is carried low. When excited, it may be carried high. When the Border Collie is at rest, the tail hangs down naturally.
The hair on the Border Collie’s tail is dense and forms a bushy appearance, often referred to as a “brush,” especially on its underside. It’s essential to note that this functional breed does not have its tail docked.
Owning a Border Collie is a rewarding experience that brings with it the joy of companionship from one of the most intelligent and agile breeds in the canine world. Known for their unmatched energy and responsiveness, Border Collies are not just working dogs but also loving family members. However, like any breed, they come with specific requirements and considerations that potential owners should be aware of to ensure the dog’s health and happiness.
The Border Collie, like any other dog, has certain health aspects that prospective and current owners should be familiar with. Generally, this purebred is robust and hardy, boasting a relatively long lifespan compared to some other breeds.
On average, a Border Collie’s life expectancy ranges between 12 to 15 years, provided the dog receives proper care, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups.
While Border Collies are generally healthy dogs, like all breeds and mixed breeds they can be susceptible to certain health conditions. Here are some of the more common issues that Border Collies can face:
Hip Dysplasia: This is a condition where the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. It can lead to arthritis over time.
Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA): A congenital, inherited eye disorder that involves malformation in the eye and can lead to blindness.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a degenerative eye disorder that eventually causes blindness due to the loss of photoreceptors at the back of the eye.
Epilepsy: This is a neurological disorder that can cause seizures of varying severity.
Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD): OCD is a condition where improper growth of cartilage in the joints can lead to painful stiffness.
Allergies: Dogs of all breeds and mixed breeds can be allergic to certain foods, chemicals, pollen, and/or other substances in the environment.
Deafness: Some Border Collies can be born deaf in one or both ears.
Border Collie owners should schedule regular vet check-ups to detect any early signs of these conditions and to discuss preventive measures. Regular health screenings, a balanced diet, and moderate exercise can go a long way towards ensuring your Border Collie lives a long, healthy life.
The Border Collie’s personality showcases the breed’s remarkable intelligence, energy, and dedication. Recognized for its outstanding intellect, which ranks among the top among all dog breeds, this isn’t merely for show or agility. Instead, this intelligence has its roots in the breed’s long-standing role as herders.
Border Collies often have a keen sense of responsibility, making them superb workers and attentive companions. But, are they suitable for novice owners? While they are undoubtedly loyal and can be trained efficiently due to their intelligence, the Border Collie’s high energy and need for mental stimulation might pose challenges for first-time dog owners. The needs of this intelligent breed are better understood and met by those who have experience with very active dogs.
Sensitivity is another trait the Border Collie possesses in abundance. These dogs are often in tune with their owners’ emotions and can sense shifts in mood, which makes them excellent emotional support companions. However, this sensitivity means they don’t respond well to harsh training methods; positive reinforcement is key.
Border Collies deeply value companionship and staying active. If left alone for long stretches, they can become bored, which might lead to destructive behaviors. For times when they might be left alone, it’s beneficial to provide them with interactive toys or puzzles to keep them engaged.
As for their compatibility with other pets, Border Collies generally get along well with other dogs, especially if they’ve been socialized early. However, given their herding instinct, they might try to herd other pets, including cats, which can sometimes lead to conflicts.
The Border Collie’s interactions with young children are usually positive, but as with all breeds, supervision is essential. The herding instinct of this breed may prompt these dogs to try and herd children, especially if the kids are running. It’s crucial to teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young kids to prevent biting or ear-pulling from either party.
Lastly, when it comes to strangers, Border Collies are often reserved at first. While not aggressive, they might be wary of unfamiliar faces. Early socialization can help them become more open to meeting new people in any environment.
Proper nutrition is a cornerstone for maintaining the health and vitality of a Border Collie. These active dogs require a balanced diet that fuels their energy levels and supports their cognitive functions.
For Border Collie puppies, it’s crucial to offer a diet formulated specifically for their rapid growth phase. High-quality puppy food provides essential nutrients that cater to their developmental needs. As they transition to adulthood, their nutritional requirements change, and feeding them with premium adult dog food ensures they receive the right balance of proteins, fats, and other essential nutrients.
The amount of food a Border Collie needs can vary based on factors such as age, metabolism, activity level, and overall health. On average, an adult Border Collie might require about 1.5 to 2 cups of high-quality dry food daily, divided into two meals. However, this is a general guideline, and the specific needs can differ. It’s always wise to consult with a veterinarian or a pet nutritionist to determine the right portion sizes and feeding schedule for an individual dog.
Consistency in feeding routines can benefit the dog’s digestion and overall well-being. Setting specific meal times and sticking to them helps to establish a routine that the dog can anticipate and rely upon.
It’s also essential to monitor the Border Collie’s weight and adjust its diet accordingly. Overfeeding can lead to obesity, which brings a host of health issues. At the same time, underfeeding can leave a dog malnourished and lacking energy.
Lastly, fresh water should always be available for the Border Collie. Ensuring the dog stays well-hydrated, especially after exercise or play, is vital for optimal health.
Training a Border Collie is an engaging journey, one that leverages the breed’s sharp intellect and eagerness to please. Known for their remarkable intelligence, Border Collies often thrive with obedience and agility training.
Border Collies are notably easy to train due to their quick learning ability and inherent desire to work. Training sessions with these dogs tend to be rewarding and effective. Yet, their high intelligence can sometimes make them independent thinkers. For successful training outcomes, it’s essential to maintain consistency, show patience, and employ positive reinforcement methods.
Regarding vocal tendencies, Border Collies have a moderate tendency to bark, especially if they spot something unusual or if they’re left alone for extended periods. It’s beneficial to address excessive barking early on, teaching them commands like “quiet” or “enough” to manage their vocalizations.
One of the many facets of their intelligence is their keen, observant nature. This means that while they pick up commands swiftly, they’re also sensitive to their environment and can get distracted. Engaging their attention during training sessions is crucial.
Border Collies also have a wanderlust potential. Their curiosity can sometimes drive them to explore, so it’s essential to leash them during walks or have a secure fenced area for them to run. Recall training can be beneficial to be certain they always return when called.
As herding dogs, they can have a natural predation instinct. This might sometimes manifest when they’re playing, especially with fast-moving objects or animals. While this behavior is instinctual, early training and socialization can help to manage and redirect this tendency in a more controlled manner.
Originating from enthusiastic herding dogs, the Border Collie embodies energy, agility, and endurance. Addressing the breed’s exercise requirements is vital for its overall physical and mental health.
When it comes to exercise needs, Border Collies are among the breeds that require a substantial amount of physical activity. A simple walk around the block is unlikely to suffice. Instead, these dogs thrive on prolonged play sessions, challenging games, and activities that stimulate their mind and body.
In terms of energy level, they are undeniably high-energy dogs. Border Collies thrive on being active and are often on the move, whether it’s playing fetch, herding, or engaging in agility training. This inherent energy means they are not the best fit for sedentary households. Without adequate exercise, they can become restless, which might lead to unwanted behaviors.
As for intensity, the Border Collie is not one to lie idle. They engage in activities with a focused intensity, whether it’s chasing a ball or learning a new trick. This intensity is a hallmark of the breed, a testament to its working dog lineage.
Additionally, the Border Collie’s playfulness cannot be overstated. These dogs adore playing games, and their intelligence means they can quickly grasp and enjoy complex games like hide-and-seek or puzzle toys. Integrating play into their exercise routine can be a fantastic way to bond with them while also meeting their physical needs.
Grooming plays an integral role in the overall health and well-being of a Border Collie. The breed’s coat, while beautiful, requires regular attention to keep it in top condition and free from potential issues.
The coat of a Border Collie is typically of medium length, with a texture that’s dense and weather-resistant. This dual-layer coat effectively protects these dogs from various weather conditions, be it rain or cold. While they’re not the heaviest of shedders, they do shed seasonally, especially during the spring and fall.
Border Collies have moderate grooming needs. Regularly brushing them at least once a week aids in removing loose hair, preventing matting, and spreading natural oils across their coat. This regimen can help to minimize the shedding of hair indoors and also provides an opportunity for the owner to check for skin conditions, parasites, or other potential concerns.
Despite the Border Collie’s moderate shedding, regular grooming can effectively manage and reduce the amount of hair that finds its way onto furniture and clothing. During peak shedding seasons, increasing the frequency of brushings can help immensely.
Other grooming essentials include regular nail trims, checking and cleaning the ears to prevent infections, and maintaining good oral hygiene through brushing or giving dental chews.
Living with a Border Collie is a unique and enriching experience that offers immense rewards, but it also requires dedication to meeting their specific needs.
Regarding apartment living, while a Border Collie can adapt to an apartment setting, it’s not the ideal environment for this active breed. If this dog is housed in an apartment, it’s paramount to ensure it gets ample exercise and mental stimulation daily. Access to open spaces, like safe dog parks or large enclosed yards, can greatly benefit the dog’s overall well-being.
Border Collies possess a thick double coat designed to shield them from diverse weather conditions. In cold weather, they’re naturally more resilient, thanks to their dense undercoat. This feature makes them well-suited for regions with chilly climates. However, it’s still essential to monitor them during extremely cold periods, ensuring they are not exposed for prolonged durations.
In contrast, hot weather can be more challenging for most Border Collies. Their thick coat can make them prone to overheating. During warmer months, it’s crucial to exercise them during the cooler parts of the day, like early mornings or late evenings, and always ensure they have access to fresh water. Shade, and possibly a kiddie pool, can also offer them relief from the heat.
The arrival of Border Collie puppies into a household is always a time of joy and excitement. These agile and intelligent pups, with their boundless energy and bright eyes, captivate hearts instantly. As with all puppies, they undergo accelerated growth and development in the initial months, so it’s vital for owners to be well-prepared and informed about their needs and tendencies.
Caring for a Border Collie puppy demands patience, attention, and understanding. As descendants of herding dogs, these puppies are naturally energetic and curious. Early socialization is key: introducing them to various sights, sounds, experiences, and people will ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.
Diet plays a pivotal role in the healthy growth of Border Collie puppies. It is important to make sure they receive high-quality puppy food that meets their specific nutritional requirements. Regular vet check-ups are vital at this stage, with vaccinations and deworming schedules to be strictly followed.
Puppy-proofing your home is also essential. Remove any hazardous objects they might chew on and provide them with suitable toys to keep them entertained and mentally stimulated. Setting up a routine early, with designated feeding, play, and rest times, can help with instilling discipline.
Begin basic obedience training once they are a few weeks old. The Border Collie’s intelligence makes these dogs quick learners, but it’s also important to remember they’re still young and can be easily distracted. Training sessions should be short, consistent, and fun.
Above all, it’s essential to shower Border Collie puppies with love, attention, and care. They form strong bonds with their families, and a nurturing environment during their formative months will lay the foundation for a lifelong, loyal partnership.
The Border Collie’s innate intelligence, agility, and drive make it an exceptional participant in a wide range of activities and dog sports. Engaging them in these activities not only caters to their physical needs, it also provides essential mental stimulation.
Herding Trials: Given their herding lineage, it’s no surprise that Border Collies excel in Herding Trials. These events mimic the tasks these dogs would perform on a farm, showcasing their ability to control and move livestock with precision.
Agility: One of the most popular dog sports, Agility is an area where the Border Collie often shines. The speed, nimbleness, and keen intelligence of the breed allow them to navigate courses with ease, making them frequent winners at many Agility Trials.
Obedience: With their desire to please and unmatched intelligence, Border Collies often dominate Obedience Trials. These events test a dog’s ability to perform a series of commands and exercises with precision, highlighting their training and bond with their individual handlers.
Flyball: A relay race that combines speed and precision, Flyball is an adrenaline-packed sport that many Border Collies relish. In this fast-paced sport, teams of dogs race over hurdles to retrieve a ball and return it to their handlers in quick succession.
Search and Rescue: Their keen senses, paired with their work ethic, make Border Collies valuable assets in search and rescue operations. Thanks to their work ethic and skill set, they’re often trained to locate missing persons in various terrains and conditions.
Conformation Shows: An integral part of the dog world, Conformation shows evaluate a dog’s adherence to its Breed Standard. While Border Collies are often associated with their work and performance abilities, they also have an unmistakable presence in the show ring, demonstrating their breed’s physical attributes and unique way of going.
Engaging a Border Collie in these activities and dog sports taps into the dog’s natural instincts and abilities. Participation fosters a deeper bond between the dog and the handler, and ensures the breed’s physical and mental needs are adequately met.
The Border Collie’s history is deeply intertwined with the rolling hills and rugged landscapes of the British Isles, where they have been esteemed herding dogs for centuries.
The origins of the Border Collie trace back to the Roman Empire’s occupation of Britain. The Romans introduced their larger, more robust sheepdogs to the region. When the empire’s control waned and the Vikings arrived with their smaller spitz-type herders, a natural amalgamation of breeds occurred. This mixing was likely the genesis of the earliest Border Collie.
However, the breed’s refinement and distinction truly began on the borderlands of Scotland and England, giving rise to its name, “Border Collie.” Here, the dogs were selectively bred for their herding prowess rather than for their appearance. These dogs were celebrated for their keen intelligence, work ethic, and their uncanny ability to herd sheep with minimal guidance, often using their signature “herding eye” to command and control the flock.
One notable event that elevated the breed’s status was in 1860 at a dog show held in Birmingham, England, where “Scotch Sheep-Dogs” were first exhibited. But perhaps the most iconic moment in the breed’s history was the performance of a dog named “Old Hemp” in the late 19th century. His herding style was less aggressive, more controlled, and highly efficient. Many consider Old Hemp the progenitor of the modern Border Collie due to his considerable influence on the breed.
The breed’s journey to official recognition has spanned various kennel clubs. The American Kennel Club (AKC) formally recognized the Border Collie in 1995. Across the Atlantic, The Royal Kennel Club (UK) had already acknowledged the breed earlier in the 20th century. Meanwhile, the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), a significant international canine organization, also recognizes the Border Collie, further cementing the breed’s global appeal.
Today, the Border Collie is not just confined to the fields for herding. The intelligence, agility, and versatility of the breed have made many individuals genuine stars in various dog sports, and their loyalty and affectionate nature have endeared them to households worldwide. While they’ve evolved from their early days on the British moors, their intrinsic herding nature remains a testament to their storied past.
Being a part of a breed club is an excellent opportunity for Border Collie enthusiasts to connect, share insights, and engage in activities that promote the breed’s welfare and heritage.
In the United States, the Border Collie Society of America (BCSA), established in 1990, stands as the primary breed club dedicated to the Border Collie. Established with a mission to preserve the breed’s working ability, the BCSA offers resources on breed health, training, and events while also hosting specialty shows and performance-based competitions.
Canada has the Canadian Border Collie Association, the organization that is committed to the protection and promotion of the breed within Canada, offering educational resources, organizing events, and emphasizing responsible breeding practices.
In the United Kingdom, the Border Collie Club of Great Britain serves as a guardian of the breed’s heritage. With a longstanding presence since its inception in 1973, the BCCGB champions the welfare of the Border Collie while offering members opportunities for competition, training, and camaraderie.
Joining a breed-specific club offers Border Collie owners and admirers a platform to celebrate and support these incredible dogs. Whether it’s through events and competitions or education and advocacy, these clubs play an essential role in ensuring the breed has a bright future.
Rescue groups play a pivotal role in providing a second chance for Border Collies that have been abandoned, mistreated, or need a new home. The dedicated efforts of these organizations provide dogs in need with proper care, rehabilitation, and eventually, loving forever homes.
In the United States, the Border Collie Rescue and Rehab organization stands out as a prominent group that dedicates itself to the rescue, rehabilitation, and rehoming of Border Collies. The organization’s efforts are not just limited to rescues but extend to educating the public on responsible dog ownership.
Canada is home to the Border Collie Rescue Ontario, a nonprofit that emphasizes rescuing and providing foster care for Border Collies in need. The group’s passion for the breed shines through its volunteers’ commitment to finding suitable homes that match the unique needs of each dog.
In the United Kingdom, the Border Collie Trust GB operates with a mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome Border Collies and Collie crosses throughout the country. The extensive experience and dedication of its volunteer members ensure that each dog receives individual attention and care.
Herding Gaze: One of the Border Collie’s most notable traits is its intense “herding eye.” This penetrating gaze is utilized to control and move herds, particularly sheep, without physical contact.
Intelligence Ranking: Border Collies often top the charts in studies assessing canine intelligence. They can learn a new command in less than five repetitions and are known to understand a vast number of words and commands.
Movie Stars: Thanks to their trainability and striking looks, Border Collies have starred in several movies and TV shows. One of the most famous is Babe, in which a typically competent Border Collie plays a pivotal role.
Versatile Workers: While they’re renowned sheepherders, Border Collies have also been used in search and rescue missions, as therapy dogs, and even in sniffing out certain diseases in medical settings.
High Energy Levels: Border Collies are not couch potatoes. They thrive on activity and can run up to 50 miles in a single day when herding sheep.
Variety in Appearance: While many picture a black and white coat when thinking of a Border Collie, the breed comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.
Natural Instinct: Even if they are not trained for herding, many Border Collies will display natural herding behaviors, sometimes even trying to herd humans or other pets in the household!
Origin of Name: The “Border” in Border Collie refers to the border region between Scotland and England, where the breed was extensively developed and refined.
Yes, Border Collies shed. They have a double coat that sheds throughout the year, with a more pronounced shedding season typically occurring in the spring and fall. Regular grooming can help to manage and reduce the amount of hair that’s shed.
Border Collies have a relatively long lifespan for a dog of their size. On average, they live between 12 and 15 years. With proper care, regular veterinary check-ups, and a healthy lifestyle, some Border Collies can live even longer.
Male Border Collies usually stand between 19 and 22 inches tall, whereas females typically measure from 18 to 21 inches tall. Adult Border Collies commonly weigh in the range of 30 to 55 pounds.
No, Border Collies are not considered hypoallergenic. These dogs shed and produce dander, which can trigger allergies in sensitive individuals. It’s always advisable for potential dog owners with allergies to spend time with the breed first to see if there’s a reaction.
Absolutely! Border Collies are often touted as one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the world. Their sharp intellect, combined with their eagerness to please, makes them highly trainable and adept at a range of tasks, from herding to a variety of dog sports.
Border Collies are swift and agile runners. On average, they can reach speeds of up to 20 to 30 miles per hour, depending on their health, age, and physical conditioning. Their speed, combined with their intelligence, makes them exceptional herders.
Yes, Border Collies can be excellent with children, especially when properly socialized from a young age. They are often affectionate and even protective of their family members. However, due to their herding instincts, they might occasionally try to herd younger children. So, it’s essential to supervise interactions and provide proper boundaries for both the dog and the children.
Border Collies can be vocal, and they often bark to communicate and alert their owners, or when they’re simply bored or anxious. Their barking can also be a manifestation of their herding instincts. Proper training, mental stimulation, and regular exercise can help to manage excessive barking.