Origin

The Border Collie is a herding dog breed that has its roots within the borders of the English-Scottish region. It is a descendant of the dogs used by the Vikings to herd reindeer, as well as the old British droving breeds, and the spaniel included.

The etymology of the name of this breed is still a source of debate among fanciers. According to Gosset, the term came from the words ‘coal’, ‘coaley’ or ‘coly’, which is related to the color black in the English language.

In Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, they are ranked as number one. Also, they are often cited as the most intelligent of all dogs by many other award-giving bodies.

Border Collie in the park

In January 2011, a Border Collie was reported to have learned 1,022 words and acts consequently to human citation of those words. The Border Collie was first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1995.

Traits and Behavior

The temperament of a Border Collie depends highly on the trainer. Experienced trainers can produce good-tempered, playful dogs, while inexperienced can produce aggressive and fearful temperaments. With good training, Border Collies are extremely loyal, affectionate, playful, inquisitive, and at times, clownish.

Border Collie playing

This highly affectionate dog can become overly attached to their family, which can be bad since this dog often develops separation anxiety.

Normally, Border Collies are wary around strangers. However, modern Border Collies (with proper training) are friendly and would welcome a new friend eagerly.

Training is of utmost importance to this dog since they are excitable and would tend to jump at people.

Their keen sense makes them good watchdogs; however, their friendliness makes them unreliable guard dogs. Border Collies can display aggression towards other dogs and non-canine animals, therefore socialization should be done as soon as possible.

Most Border Collies (not all) are highly intelligent and can be taught complex tasks. However, their stubbornness can prove to be a challenge. They can choose to ignore commands and it would take a huge amount of effort to make them follow.

This dog is resistant and headstrong against corrections, however, they respond well towards reward-based training.

Border Collie playing in the sand

This highly playful dog loves to roll around in the mud and would not be a good match for people who are easily embarrassed or are meticulously clean. They drool a lot and would eat messily. Owners should expect to clean after their pets constantly.

Pet Care and Diseases

Border Collie resting on a bench

The exercise needs of these high energy dogs are easily met. This makes them good as house or apartment pets.

Regular playtime and daily walks are sufficient for Border Collies.

They also like fetching, playing with children and jogging. These mild-tempered dogs are quite happy to just stay at home and curl up beside its owner.

This breed’s grooming requirements can be met by an average person, too. Their fur needs weekly combing.

They also need trimming every two months to maintain that healthy-looking coat. Border Collies are a fairly healthy breed.

They can live up to seventeen years. However, they are prone to Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (C.L), Hip Dysplasia (H.D), Collie Eye Anomaly, Choroidal Hypoplasia (CEA), Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)  and Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD).

Appearance

The American Kennel Club describes the Border Collie as, “a well balanced, medium-sized dog of athletic appearance, displaying style and agility in equal measure with soundness and strength.”

Their bodies are a bit longer than they are tall, with moderately long, low-set tails. They stand typically between 18 and 22 inches at the shoulder and weighing in between 30 and 45 pounds. As an adult, females tend to be slightly smaller than their male counterparts.

Border Collie running

They have wide, flat skulls and their muzzles are usually the same length as the skull. The Border Collie’s nose color should match the main color of his body. Eyes can be any color, and some dogs have two different colored eyes (usually found in Merle patterns).

Their ears can be erect, semi-erect or fully dropped. They come in two coat varieties: rough and smooth; and they may come in just about any color and color pattern including solid, bicolor, tricolor and merle.

Border Collie side view

General Information

The estimated life expectancy for this breed is about 10-17 years. The average litter size is approximately 4-8 puppies. Other names include Scottish Sheep Dog, English Sheep Dog, Welsh Sheep Dog or “Ci Defaid” in Welsh.

Breed Club

Visit this dog club website dedicated to Border Collies. Click this link: http://www.bordercollie.org/

Featured Video

Watch this video: “Border collie Zoe & Amazing Dog Tricks!”