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Height: 48 - 56cm M | 46 - 53cm F
Weight: 14 - 20kg M | 12 - 19kg F
Life Expectancy: 12 - 15 Years

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Introduction

The Border collie is amongst the most popular of herding dogs. It is highly intelligent and relatively calm, but requires more than an apartment life. Since it’s a herding dog with high levels of energy and intelligence, it should be given a job or tasks. Grooming is not a hard chore since a weekly brushing will do. One thing to note though is that the Border collie is an expert escape artist if not kept busy. The most common health condition to watch out for is the collie eye anomaly (CEA).

Are you thinking of getting a Border collie? Here is a brief background of this canine often referred to as the most intelligent dog in the world.


book icon History

When talking about herding dogs, expect for the Border collie to be mentioned. Developed for this purpose, it is believed to be a descendant of the Scottish landrace collie. Today’s Border collie comes from a dog named Old Hemp bred by Adam Telfer. The breed got its name from its place of origin, Northumberland, England, which lies along the Anglo-Scottish border. Secretary of the International Sheep Dog (ISDS) Society James Reid was the first to use this name in 1915. The group wanted to separate this breed from the collie breed recognised by the Kennel Club. Although they came from the same working stock, it was bred differently in terms of appearance.

The Border collie had been effectively working as a herding dog for hundreds of years, but only became popular in 1984. This was when Old Hemp won the dog trial in Bala, Wales. The breed was first recognised by the Kennel Club in 1977, which standards were amended a year later.


comb icon Appearance and Grooming

The Border collie is a well-balanced, athletic dog that exudes intelligence, strength, and grace. It weighs 30–45 pounds and stands 46–58 centimetres at the withers. It has a fairly broad skull, strong and muscular neck, moderately short muzzle, and athletic body. Its eyes are oval-shaped, usually black and set wide apart. Its medium ears are set well apart and erect, or semi-erect. Its nose can be black or brown if the coat is brown or chocolate.

According to the Kennel Club standards, the Border collie can come in various colours except solid white. The most popular is black with a white blaze, with or without tan. It can also come in other solid colours, bicolour, tricolour, and merle.

The Border collie comes in two types of weather-resistant coats: (1) moderately long and rough and (2) short and smooth. Both types have dense topcoats and soft undercoats. The medium-length coat variety has thicker hair on the neck and upper shoulders that forms a mane. It also has feathering on the chest, belly and legs. Grooming in both types is a breeze as weekly brushing is enough to prevent matting and distributes natural oils. Bathing can be done as needed, about three to four times a year or when it has that doggy smell.

When grooming your dog, do not focus only on the coat. You also need to clean the ears, brush the teeth, trim nails, and check for ticks or fleas. Doing these things regularly will help in detecting diseases and other abnormalities early.


bulb icon Temperament and Intelligence

The Border collie is an alert, sharp, obedient, intelligent, hard-working, and persistent herd dog. It is a good family dog especially when it is properly raised and trained at a young age. It generally gets along with children and other pets. However, its herding instincts cause it to nip, chase, and bark. This behaviour can be corrected or lessened with proper training.

The Border collie was originally bred to endure physically demanding jobs. It will thrive in a home with a big area that it can run around and release its energy. It is a not a breed for families in apartment buildings with no access to a fenced yard. Before getting one as a pet, make sure that you can provide it with ample exercise. When it is left to its own devices, it can be destructive and noisy.

Training this breed is quite easy and enjoyable. Its brainpower is incomparable and this dog is often considered the smartest canine in the world. As a highly sensitive canine, it eagerly responds to commands and easily recognises its owners’ needs. It loves physically challenging and mentally stimulating training exercises such as sheepdog trials, advanced obedience, freestyle obedience, and tracking.

In terms of temperament and intelligence, each breed may likely have different predispositions. There are a lot of contributing factors that help shape a dog’s personality and abilities. These factors include genetics, the environment, and early training.


food icon Nutrition and Feeding

A typical serving for an adult Border collie is 1 1/2–2 cups of excellent-quality dry dog food per day. On the other hand, a collie puppy can consume only 1/2–1 cup per day as it has a smaller stomach. Its high energy needs equate to high nutrient requirements. However, like in every breed, the amount of food depends on its age, size, build, activity level, and metabolism. It is important to understand the basic nutritional needs of your Border collie as a breed, but you should also consider its individual characteristics.

As an active dog, the Border collie requires more protein and less carbohydrates to support its energy needs. Protein provides vital nutrients for building muscles. The longer-coated collie also requires healthier fats to keep its coat shiny. Provide it with dog food containing fish, or include fish oil or flaxseed supplements.

Typical calorie needs of an adult Border collie per day:

  • Physically active, lengthy exercise regimens: up to 1,000 calories daily
  • Senior and less active: up to 700 calories daily
  • Full-time working dog: up to 1,400 calories daily

stethoscope icon Health and Exercise

The Border collie is generally healthy, but it is predisposed to certain medical conditions. These include eye issues like collie eye anomaly and progressive and retinal atrophy (PRA). It can also develop hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD).

This herding breed requires plenty of exercise, which should be physically and mentally stimulating. As a workaholic canine, a bored collie will find something to amuse itself, which is usually destructive. Its exercise routine can be a mix of twenty- to thirty-minute runs, along with agility games such as fly ball and flying disk. If you live in a farm with sheep, goats, or cows, dog sports will be great. If you live in the city, make sure that you won’t leave your Border collie in the yard unsupervised, even if it is fenced. With its instinct to herd and chase, it will chase anything that moves like animals, running children, bicycles, and cars.


pound icon Cost of Ownership

A well-bred pedigree Border Collie from a KC-registered breeder costs anywhere from £300 to £600. On top of this, you have to spend about £200 for basic dog supplies and equipment like leashes, collars, crates, beds, and toys. You must also set aside around £40-£50 a month for a high-quality dog food that provides the daily nutritional requirements to keep your Border Collie healthy.

The costs of regular veterinary visits, vaccinations, boosters, and preventive care add up to £1000 annually. To ensure that you are prepared for unforeseen expenses caused by ailments or health emergencies, get pet insurance. The monthly insurance premium is about £20 for basic cover and £40 for a lifetime policy, depending on your dog’s breed, age, and health condition.


Border Collie Breed Highlights

  • The Border collie is a medium-size dog with high energy levels.
  • It is very easy to train, highly obedient, and very intelligent.
  • As it is a working dog breed, it needs a job or task to do to keep it from getting bored.
  • It requires regular daily exercises and other physical and mental stimulation.
  • It is ideal for experienced dog owners willing to spend time with the dog.
  • It is a herding dog bred to work at the farm.

Are you sure the Border Collie is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.

Dog Breed Selector Quiz

Not sure of your choice? Check out our Pet Finder to find breeds more suitable to your personality and lifestyle.

Disclaimer:
The information, including measurements, prices and other estimates, on this page is provided for general reference purposes only.

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