Border Collie


Key Breed Facts

The Border Collie breed is also commonly known by the names Scottish Sheepdog, Collie.
Lifespan
10 - 14 years
Pedigree Breed ?
Yes - KC Recognised in the Pastoral Group
Height
Males 48 - 56 cm
Females 46 - 53 cm at the withers
Weight
Males 14 - 20 kg
Females 12 - 19 kg
Average Price (More Info)
£480 for KC Registered
£293 for Non KC Registered

Looking for a Border Collie ?

If you are looking to buy or adopt a Border Collie, you can view our :

Border Collie for sale section
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Border Collie for stud section.

Introduction


The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent dogs on the planet, ranking number one out of seventy-nine other breeds. For generations, the Border Collie has worked alongside shepherds both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world and they are highly prized for being supreme working and companion dogs for people who lead outdoor lives.



Known to be the finest herding dog on the planet, Border collies are athletic and energetic characters that like nothing better than being given things to do, even in a home environment. Interestingly, all modern day Border Collies are direct descendants of one tri-colour dog called Old Hemp, a Border Collie bred by Adam Telfer that gained himself the reputation of being supremely good at the job he was bred to do.


History


As their name suggests, the Border Collie originates in the county of Northumberland on the Scottish Borders. They were bred to be herding dogs and more especially, to work with shepherds and flocks of sheep. Their name was first used in 1915 when James Reid, the Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society registered these dogs as Border Collies so they could be differentiated from other collie breeds already registered on his list.



Border Collies have worked with shepherds on the border between England and Scotland for hundreds of years and were highly prized for their intelligence and ability to work in challenging environments. It was not until the end of the 19th century that the breed became very popular after dogs were exhibited at the first ever sheep dog trials held in 1873 in Wales. A dog called Old Hemp won top prize all thanks to his intelligence and the way he worked sheep. He went on to win many top competitions around the country and to sire many of the best Border Collies around at the time. As previously mentioned, all modern Border Collies are descendants of Old Hemp.



Today, Border Collies can be found working in many other countries of the world and they are also a popular choice as companion dogs and family pets thanks to their lovely, honest and energetic natures. The Border Collie is renowned for their willingness to work alongside people which is another reason why the breed is considered being one of the most popular working dogs on the planet.


Appearance


Height at the withers: Males 48 - 56 cm, Females 46 - 53 cm



Average weight: Males 14 - 20 kg, Females 12 - 19 kg



Border Collies are very graceful dogs, always on the alert and ready to obey commands they are given whether as a working dog or in a home environment. As long as they are given the correct amount of exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis, Border Collies make wonderful family pets. They are medium in size and boast double coats with some dogs have luxurious wavy coats and others having slicker, finer ones. Border Collies come in an array of colours, but the most recognised dogs the world over are those that boast black and white coats with a white blaze, a white collar and white on their legs.



Border Collies boast broad heads with a very distinct stop and tapering muzzle. They have black noses except if they have brown or chocolate coats when their noses are brown in colour. Dogs with blue coats have slate coloured noses but all dogs have well developed nostrils. Their oval eyes are set wide apart on a dog's head and are brown with the exception of Merles when one or both of their eyes can be blue. Sometimes just part of a merle’s eyes is blue, but all Border Collies boast a very keen, intelligent and mild look in their eyes whether they are working or at when they are at rest.



Their ears are medium in size and set well apart on a dog's head which they carry either erect or semi-erect. Their mouths are strong and dogs boast a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. A Border Collie has a strong, muscular neck that they hold slightly arched and which is wider at the shoulder than the nape.



Their forequarters are strong and well boned with well laid back shoulders and nice straight front legs. They boast athletic looking bodies with well sprung ribs and a deep chest over deep, muscular loins. The hindquarters are muscular with well-developed thighs and back legs. Their feet are oval in shape with deep pads, tight arched toes and short nails.



Border Collies have quite long tales that are set low and which are well covered in hair and which have a slight curve in them right to the tip, all of which adds to the perfect balance and proportions of these dogs. When excited, a Border Collie will raise their tale, but they never carry them over their backs.



When it comes to their coats, Border Collies can either have quite long hair or their coats are short and smooth. However, both have a very dense topcoat and softer undercoat which offers dogs a lot of protection against the elements. Long-coated dogs have longer hair around their necks and upper shoulders which forms a mane and they have feathers on their legs and under their tails.



Border Collies, as previously mentioned come in a variety of colours and combinations of colours with the most recognisable being the black and white dog. However, other colours include the following:




  • Tricolour - black/tan/white or sable and white

  • Red or chocolate and white

  • Red tricolour - red/tan/white

  • Lilac

  • Red merle

  • Blue merle

  • Brindle



However, any white in a dog's coat should never be the predominant colour in their coats.


Temperament


Border Collies are considered the most intelligent dogs on the planet boasting an extremely strong instinct to work alongside man, they are always ready and alert to any commands they are given. This makes the breed highly trainable and Border Collies have proved themselves not only in the working environment herding flocks of sheep, but as search and rescue dogs, tracker and sniffer dogs too. They are always a firm favourite in the show ring and boast an impressive track record for winning at many canine sporting activities which includes agility.



Border Collies need to be given a lot of exercise and they need lots of mental stimulation to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They are never happier than when they are working or being given something to do. They are definitely not a good choice for people who lead a more sedentary, indoor life because Border Collies are high maintenance in the exercise department. With this said, they are the perfect choice for people and families who lead busy outdoor lives where a canine companion would fit in perfectly with their lifestyle.



A Border Collie's training needs to start as early as possible and they need to be well socialised from a young age too. Trainers love these dogs because they are so responsive to commands and because they learn new things exceptionally quickly. Border Collies like to know their place in the pack and who is the Alpha Dog in a household or they might start displaying a more dominant side to their character which is something to be avoided at all costs. The result is an unruly, hard to manage and unhappy dog that’s hard to handle. They also tend to form a very strong bond with one person in a household although always friendly and affectionate to the rest of the household.



Being so intelligent means that Border Collies are quick to learn the good and the bad which includes how to open cupboards and doors, something potential owners need to be aware of. If they are left to their own devices for long periods of time, boredom quickly sets in and dogs find their own way of amusing themselves which includes chasing people, cars, bicycles and anything else that takes their fancy. Other behavioural problems that develop when dogs are left on their own for long periods of time include being destructive around the house, pacing up and down which is a sure sign of a Border Collie being unhappy and bored.


Intelligence / Trainability


The Border Collie is at the top of the list when it comes to intelligence with the added bonus being that these active and lively dogs like to please. Rarely do Collies get it wrong once they are shown or taught what to do. They may be hyperactive characters, but this not mean they cannot focus on an owner during a training session.



However, like all dogs, a Border Collie's training and education has to start early for them to be truly well-rounded dogs. Socialising a Collie from a young age is essential. They respond incredibly well too positive reinforcment, but their training needs to be consistent and always fair. Dogs need understand their place in a pack and who is alpha dog in a household or they may become unruly and hard to handle.


Children and Other Pets


Collies are not always the best choice as a family pet because of their need to round things up and this includes children and anything else that takes their fancy. With this said, if well socialised from a young age and living with a family where most of the day is spent in the great outdoors, the Border Collie would fit in well with that sort of lifestyle and generally get on well with the kids.



They can also be a little aloof when meeting dogs they don't already know which could lead to them showing a little aggressive behaviour towards the dogs. When it comes to small family pets and cats, if a Border Collie has grown up with them, they are generally good around them. However, the need to herd and round things up is so deeply ingrained in their natures that these dogs may well still continue to herd other pets in a household when they feel they have to.


Health


The average life expectancy of a Border Collie is between 10 and 14 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.



However, like so many other pure breeds, the Border Collie is known to suffer from certain hereditary health conditions which are worth knowing about if you share your home with one of these high energy dogs. The health issues that most affect the breed include the following:




Caring for a Border Collie


As with any other breed, Border Collies need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, they need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.


Grooming


Border Collies are not high maintenance in the grooming department, but they do need to be given a weekly brush to keep their coats in good condition and any shed hair under control. Like other breeds, they tend to shed more during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming would be necessary. It's also important to keep an eye on a dog's ears to make sure they are kept nice and dry because if any moisture remains in their ears it can lead to a yeast infection which can be notoriously hard to clear up.



Border Collies can often be allergic to fleas and as a result, proper care of their coat and skin is of paramount importance. Regular brushing will not only keep the coat in great condition, but will also give you the chance to look for signs of any fleas and to treat when necessary using a dog-specific flea treatment.


Exercise


As previously mentioned, Border Collies are high energy dogs that need to be given a minimum of 2 hours exercise a day although the more these dogs get, the happier they are. On top of this because they are such intelligent dogs, Border Collies need to be given heaps of mental stimulation to be truly happy, well-rounded characters. A great way of keeping a dog's brain busy is to play lots of interactive games with them which includes things like throwing a ball so they can retrieve it or taking part in agility classes which Border Collies excel at.


Feeding


If you get a Border Collie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.



Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature Border Collie twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories which is important or they might start to gain too much weight which is especially true of Border Collies when they reach their golden years.


Average Cost to keep/care for a Border Collie


If you get a Border Collie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule for your new pet and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same type of puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upset and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change their diet again.



Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature Border Collie twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories which is important or they might start to gain too much weight which is especially true of Border Collies when they reach their golden years.


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