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Border Collies have long been a firm favourite working dog being one of the preferred herding breeds not only in the UK but elsewhere in the world too. They are also one of the most popular family pets and companions thanks to their lively, loyal and fun-loving natures. If you are thinking about getting a Border Collie, whether a puppy or older dog, the frequently asked questions below may help you decide if one of these high-energy dogs is the best choice for you.
In general, well-bred Border Collies are healthy dogs and can live anything from 10 to 14 years when well cared for and fed an appropriate diet to suit their ages. With this said, they are known to suffer from a few hereditary and congenital health issues some of which are detailed below:
Research into various breeds has established that the Border Collie is one of the most intelligent breeds on the planet. They have always been highly prized for their herding abilities because they are so quick to learn voice commands. Border Collies also respond incredibly well to hand signals, whistle commands and they are known to understand more words than any other breed in the world. The key is to keep a Border Collie occupied and busy otherwise they tend to get themselves into trouble thanks to the fact they search out things to do when they are bored which can get them into trouble.
Border Collies being medium sized dogs can live anything from 10 to 14+ years providing they are well cared for. Being active, high-energy dogs, they should not be over-exercised when young which could result in joint problems later in a dog’s life. Border Collie puppies should be taught to keep all four feet on the ground and not to jump up on furniture, run up and down stairs or in and out of cars which is the best way to ensure their still growing joints are kept healthy.
Unfortunately, Border Collies do suffer from seizures because they are prone to idiopathic epilepsy with more research needed to understand why this is, bearing in mind that Border Collies are among one of the breeds most likely to suffer from the disorder. Most Border Collies have seizures at night when they are sleeping or first thing in the morning which is why they often go unnoticed.
Border Collies shed steadily throughout the year and like many other breeds they can shed profusely in the spring and then again in the autumn which is when it’s a good idea to brush their coats more frequently to keep on top of things. For house proud people, this can be a problem because it’s when Border Collies leave their hair all over the house which includes on the furniture, carpets and even on the curtains and in the car.
Border Collies love being around people, more especially if they are well-bred and spend the first weeks of their lives in a home environment rather than in kennels. They make wonderful family pets for people who lead active, outdoor lives and who would like an high-energy canine companion at their side. They are not a good choice for people who lead more sedentary lives or for novice owners because being so smart, a Border Collie would quickly get the better of anyone who is unfamiliar with the needs of such a smart, active dog.
Border Collies are renowned for their speed whether they are herding a flock of sheep or taking part in an agility or flyball competition. They have been recorded running at anything between 20 to 30 miles per hour, speeds which they can maintain without any problems at all. They are also very capable of turning at speed too something they need to do to keep flocks of sheep together. Border Collies are among some of the most sure-footed dogs in the world.
Some Border Collies like to “bark” a little too much and will voice an opinion for the slightest reason. However, others are not so vocal and will only bark when something they don’t like is going on or when there are strangers about which is why they make such good watchdogs.
Border Collies form very strong ties with their families and with one person in particular. They are very much a “one man dog” kind of breed. However, a well-bred, nicely socialised Border Collie is always loving and loyal to all members of the family although they can be wary and shy around people they don’t know. Border Collies are known to be even-tempered by nature and will always be protective of the people they love.
Border Collies are always on the alert to what goes on in their environment, a trait that is deeply embedded in their psyche and why they make such brilliant herding dogs. As such, even in a home environment, Border Collies make wonderful watchdogs, always quick off the mark to let their owners know when strangers are about. However, rarely would a Border Collie show any sort of aggression towards someone they don’t know, preferring to keep their distance and bark.
Most Border Collies love being in and around water. They are particularly strong swimmers which is why some of them are trained to be “water rescue dogs”. Some Border Collies are also trained to dive into the depths of lakes to search for drowning victims, and some dogs are even trained to leap out of helicopters into the water when they are helping handlers on search and rescue missions.
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