The Border Collie is a medium-sized purebred dog characterized by its intelligence and energetic nature. They are highly affectionate, and love nothing more than pleasing people and working alongside their owners. For many decades, Border Collies have been bred to be herding dogs, but recently they have gained popularity as household pets as well, likely due to their lovable traits, such as their friendliness and playfulness. However, the Border Collie is a very high maintenance breed, needing extensive exercise and lots of mental stimulation to truly be happy.
History and Origins
The Border Collie originates in Northumberland, which is a place on the Scottish Borders. They were developed to be herding dogs and were particularly used to herd flocks of sheep. Being so successful at herding sheep, they are also known by the name Scottish Sheepdog.
All modern Border Collies are considered descendants of a dog called Old Hemp, who was born at the end of the 19th century and owned by Adam Telfer. Old Hemp gained the reputation of being the best herding dog in the area, and he soon became a widely sought-after stud dog. It is thought that Old Hemp had over 200 offspring.
The term Border Collie was first used back in 1915 when the Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society listed and registered them as a breed separate from other Collies.
The Border Collie received official recognition from the American Kennel Club in 1995.
Border Collie Characteristics & Temperament
Border Collies are extremely intelligent and are quick learners. In fact, they are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. Besides their intelligence, they love working with people and will do whatever it takes to please their owners.
The Border Collie is incredibly easy to train, and while they have an innate herding drive, they excel at many different skills. They are also exceptional PAT dogs, rescue and sniffer dogs, and always dominate canine sports.
The Border Collie is a playful and high-energy dog, and if they are unable to release this energy through exercise and mental stimulation, they will become agitated and misbehave. Leaving them on their own for too long will also result in destructive behavior. The Border Collie is therefore not recommended for people who do not have an active lifestyle.
The Border Collie is affectionate and is friendly to all people. However, they will often have a stronger connection with one person in particular.
Due to the Border Collie’s innate herding drive, they will likely chase after other animals, with the objective of controlling and herding them. They may try to round up people or other animals in the household.
They make great watchdogs, as Border Collies tend to be territorial and will let their owners know if there is a stranger about or if they feel something is off.
Appearance, Colors, Size
The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog, weighing around 12 kg to 20 kg and having a height up to 56 cm. Males will typically be taller and weigh slightly more.
They have double coats, and some Border Collies have longer fur while others have a sleeker coat. If they have longer fur, they will have a mane around their neck and feathered legs.
Although Border Collies can vary in color, the most common is the black and white and brown and white combinations. Nearly all Border Collies have white-collar, white legs, and a white tip at the end of their tail.
A Border Collie has an athletic build, with muscular hindquarters and thighs. They have a broad head and arched neck.
Border Collies have medium-sized ears, and a long, feathered tail which slightly curves. While a Border Collie will lift up their tail when they are excited, they will never carry it over their back.
A Border Collie’s eyes are oval-shaped and normally brown in hue, but Merles can have blue eyes. A Border Collie is well known for having an attentive and strong stare.
Border Collie Health
A Border Collie has an average life expectancy of 10 to 14 years. Although overall a healthy breed, they do have a tendency to be affected by the following health conditions and illnesses:
• Collie Eye Anomaly
• Hip Dysplasia
• Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome
• Ceroid Lipofuscinosis
• Multi-drug Resistance
• Sensory Neuropathy
• Imerslund-Gräsbeck Syndrome
Grooming & Shedding
Border Collies are low maintenance when it comes to grooming. To keep a Border Collie’s coat in good condition, you will only need to brush them two to three times a week.
While their shedding is moderate, they will shed more in Spring and Autumn and therefore require more grooming during these seasons.
Border Collie Price and Breeders
Border Collie puppies will typically cost around 1,000 to 1,500 dollars but expect to pay more for specific traits. To find reputable breeders in your area, you can check out the list made by the Border Collie Society of America: https://www.bordercolliesociety.com/bcsa-breeder-referral-directory/
Adopting a Border Collie is a lot cheaper, with the cost usually staying below 300 dollars. The Border Collie Society of America also provides a list of trustworthy Border Collie rescue groups across the United States.