Border Collie: Dog Breed Info

Border Collie

The Border Collie is commonly acknowledged as the most intelligent breed of dog, often considered the top achiever among canines. Their loyalty, intelligence, and need for companionship make them a popular breed. In the right hands, they make excellent furry companions. Besides being highly active and ambitious, they possess additional skills in running, herding, and search-and-rescue work. Despite their small size, they have a strong and muscular physique, although city living might not be suitable for them. Their dedication to tasks, whether it’s herding cattle or playing fetch, makes them successful. However, their favorite role is being a loyal and energetic companion. If you desire a lively, well-behaved, and endlessly energetic working dog, the Border Collie is an ideal choice.

Border Collie Appearance

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that were specifically bred for work, and their physical appearance is well-suited for their purpose. They have a sturdy and agile body, usually weighing up to 45 pounds. These dogs have double-coated fur, which comes in two types: rough, medium-length coats and smooth, short coats. Both coats provide protection against harsh weather.

Border Collies can be found in various colors and patterns, with black-and-white or tricolor combinations being the most common. They have high-set ears, often partially folded at the tip, and long, bushy tails that constantly wag. However, the most renowned characteristic of this breed is their eyes. Oval-shaped and available in shades of brown or light blue, a Border Collie’s eyes always show an alert and focused expression. This intense gaze is advantageous for their work, where they use eye contact to control the flock.

History of Border Collie

“Collie” originated in the border regions between England and Scotland, where it means “Sheepdog.” This breed’s history can be traced back to ancient Rome when Roman herding dogs were brought to Britain during the conquest. The Vikings later introduced their smaller and faster dogs, and breeders in Scotland combined these two herding breeds to create a small and agile dog suitable for the rugged highlands. In 1860, Queen Victoria’s fondness for the border collie after spotting them in Balmoral further increased their popularity. Sheepdog trials, where dogs displayed their skills with minimal guidance, gained attention in 1876.

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AKC officially recognized the breed in 1995 after gradually reaching the United States in the early 1900s. Unlike other breeds, the emphasis for border collies has always been on their working ability rather than their physical characteristics. They are widely regarded as the top herding dogs worldwide.


AKC officially recognized the breed in 1995 after gradually reaching the United States in the early 1900s. Unlike other breeds, the emphasis for border collies has always been on their working ability rather than their physical characteristics. They are widely regarded as the top herding dogs worldwide.

According to many, Border Collies are the most intelligent breed, ranked extremely high in terms of intelligence. Their herding instincts can be challenging in a home with small children or other animals, as they may try to herd them. However, they are affectionate and enjoy being part of the family. Establishing a strong relationship and providing early training is crucial due to their intelligence and energy levels.

Furthermore, without proper guidance, they may develop their behaviors. While loyal and affectionate, Border Collies can be protective and sometimes exhibit aggression towards strangers or other dogs. It is important to train them to interact appropriately with others from a young age.

How to Care for a Border Collie

While Border Collie puppies and adult dogs are renowned for their high intelligence, it is crucial to offer them proper human supervision. Ensuring sufficient exercise, quality time with people, and a structured schedule involving grooming, training, and outdoor pursuits is essential. Through this approach, these inherently eager-to-please dogs can flourish to their fullest potential.


Border Collies shed constantly and need regular grooming, regardless of their coat type. It is important to bathe them only as needed, and brushing should be done every few days or even daily during shedding season. It is advisable to have a professional trim the longer parts of their fur approximately four times a year, as shaving or clipping may interfere with their ability to control body temperature. Due to their active lifestyle, their nails are often naturally worn down; however, if their nails touch the floor, they should be clipped. Regular cleaning of their ears is necessary, and any changes in their ears may indicate an infection.


Border Collies should be trained to control their behavior, especially as their herding instincts emerge around 6-8 weeks old. Their herding abilities improve between 6-12 months of age. The time it takes to train them varies based on factors like their personality, the commands taught, and consistency in training. It is important to establish a foundation of obedience using positive reinforcement for this intelligent breed. With consistent instruction, teaching fundamental commands like “sit” and “stay” is simple, enabling them to swiftly advance to more intricate commands. Seeking assistance from a certified dog trainer is advisable for proper training. Once they have mastered the basics, Border Collies can benefit from agility training, showcasing their balancing and jumping skills.

Diet & Nutrition

Determining the best nutrition plan for your Border Collie depends on factors such as exercise levels, age, weight, and allergies. Seeking guidance from a veterinarian is recommended to evaluate the ideal diet for your dog, taking into account their size, age, and level of physical activity. Border Collies are prone to food allergies that can result in a dry, itchy coat or digestive issues. Consulting with a vet is essential before making any dietary changes. It may be necessary to switch to a different formula or follow an ingredient-elimination diet to address these symptoms effectively.


To prevent boredom and mischief, active Border Collies require daily walks and playtime. If you don’t have a farm, engage their body and mind through activities like agility training. Creating a backyard course or competing in a contest can be fun. However, if agility isn’t your preference, dedicated playtime and long walks with your Border Collie are essential. Activities such as running, speed walking, fetch, or Frisbee are great for keeping them entertained and fulfilled.

Border Collie Health

On average, Border Collies usually have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years, typically around 12 years. Although they are generally healthy, it’s essential to recognize that Border Collies are prone to specific health conditions. Recognizing these concerns can help owners and veterinarians stay alert for possible issues, take preventive measures, and ultimately support a lengthier and healthier life for Border Collies.

Hip Dysplasia

Border Collies are most commonly affected by hip dysplasia, in which the hip joint does not fit properly. This causes pain and inflammation, eventually leading to arthritis. Early detection through exams and radiographs allows for surgical intervention or management with medication and supplements.


Knowing the parentage or pedigree of your puppy is crucial, as cancer is a primary factor contributing to mortality among Border Collies. To ensure the well-being of your dog, reputable breeders often utilize a vast database known as the Anadune Border Collie Database. This resource enables the evaluation of breeding pairs, identifying potential DNA-related concerns and providing insight into the level of inbreeding.


Border Collies are more prone to developing epilepsy, a seizure disorder, compared to other breeds. Onset typically occurs between 2 to 5 years of age, requiring anti-seizure medications for management. Although the exact cause of this condition is unknown, some breeds, such as Border Collies, are more susceptible to it. The inheritance factor is vital, making it beneficial to have information about the medical history of the dog’s parents.

Collie Eye Anomaly

Border Collies can be affected by Collie eye anomaly, a genetic eye disease that can lead to deformities and vision problems. The disorder is present from birth and can typically be diagnosed by 5-6 weeks of age. Although genetic testing exists, treatment options for Collie’s eye anomaly are limited. Consequently, it is crucial to find reputable breeders who prioritize testing for this condition and take necessary precautions to maintain the well-being of their dogs.

Collapsing after Exercise

Induced Border Collie collapse (BCC) refers to a condition where a Border Collie, who appears to be in good health, experiences states of dizziness, disorientation, or confusion either during or after vigorous physical activity. This altered state can last anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes. There is no clear explanation for this phenomenon, but genetic factors may play a role.

Final Thoughts

As one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, Border Collies are known for their loyal natures, intelligence, and need for companionship. They excel in running, herding, and search-and-rescue work. They have a strong and muscular physique and come in various colors and patterns, with distinct oval-shaped eyes that always show an alert and focused expression. The breed originated from the border regions of England and Scotland and has a long history of herding.

Border Collies require proper exercise, mental stimulation, and early training to thrive. They shed constantly and need regular grooming. It is essential to focus on positive reinforcement during training, and to provide them with a balanced diet tailored to their needs. Generally, they are healthy, but they are susceptible to certain diseases such as  Cancer, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, collie eye anomaly, and Border Collie collapse, so regular veterinary check-ups are important.

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