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The Border Collie is among 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 Border Collies are expert escape artists if not kept busy. Most common health conditions 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 as the most intelligent dog in the world.
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 Scottish landrace collies. Today’s Border Collies come 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.
Border Collies had been effectively working as herding dogs 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.
The Border Collie is a well-balanced, athletic dog that exudes intelligence, strength and grace. It weighs 30 to 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, Border Collies 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.
Border Collies come 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 are a breeze as weekly brushing is enough to prevent matting and distribute natural oils. Bathing can be done as needed, about 3 to 4 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 early detection of diseases and other abnormalities.
The Border Collie is an alert, sharp, obedient, intelligent, hardworking, 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 with physically demanding jobs. It will thrive in a home with a big area 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 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 in the world. As a highly sensitive canine, it eagerly responds to commands and easily recognises owners’ needs. It loves physically challenging and mentally stimulating training exercises such as sheepdog trials, advanced obedience, freestyle obedience, and tracking.
n terms of temperament and intelligence, each breed may likely have different pre-dispositions. There are a lot of contributing factors to help shape a dog’s personality and abilities. These factors include genetics, the environment and early training.
A typical serving for an adult Border Collie is 1.5 to 2 cups of excellent quality dry dog food per day. On the other hand, Collie puppies can consume only 1/2 to 1 cup per day as they have smaller stomachs. 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 active dogs, Border Collies require more protein and less carbohydrates to support their energy needs. Protein provides vital nutrients for building muscles. Longer-coated Collies also require healthier fats to keep their coats shiny. Provide them with dog food containing fish or include fish oil or flaxseed supplements.
Typical calorie needs of adult Border Collies per day:
Border Collies are generally healthy but are predisposed to certain medical conditions. These include eye issues like Collie Eye Anomaly and Progressive and Retinal Atrophy (PRA). They can also develop Hip Dysplasia, Epilepsy and Osteochondrosis 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 20- to 30-minute runs, along with agility games such as flyball 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.
Border Collies are in the low spectrum when it comes to dog costs. Its total estimated cost over its life expectancy of 12 - 14 years is £16,977. On the first year, you might need to shell out at least £1,900 and £1,150 every year after that.
Keep in mind that this is just a fair estimate based on general costs and does not include specialised care for treatments of diseases.
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.
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