The Border collie is the UK’s 12th most popular dog breed overall, and the breed has climbed the rankings by a notch over the last year, rising from 13th place in 2017. The reasons why individual owners choose the Border collie as their dog of choice are many and varied, but the breed can also be quite a challenge to care for in terms of their high intelligence and need for masses of exercise, which means that they’re not a good fit for everyone.
However, even though the Border collie is right at the top of the rankings when it comes to both their need for exercise and their high intelligence, they can still live very happily within domestic homes with lively, active families.
If you want a dog that can be trained to execute a huge range of commands and perhaps even compete in canine sports such as heelwork, agility and herding dog trials, the Border collie might be the right pick – and if you are active and like to jog, hike, or spend lots of time outside with your dog, they might be a great match too.
In this article, we will look at all of the Border collie’s best traits to help to explain why they are, and always have been, one of the most popular dog breeds in the UK. Read on to learn more.
When it comes to canine intelligence, the Border collie is literally at the very top of the list – taking first place in the Coren ranking of canine intelligence by breed.
There are a huge range of advantages of and applications for this high intelligence, and many dogs of the breed seem to have an almost supernatural ability to predict what you are going to say or do next, and react with lightning-fast reflexes.
Border collies were initially prized for their skills as working herding dogs, which is a role that they are still in great demand for today, and watching farm collies work at full capacity is truly something to behold.
They also commonly compete at high levels in all manner of canine sports like flyball and agility, as well as specialist dog herding trials and competitions.
This means that dogs of the breed have a huge capacity to learn and remember commands, and their vocabulary of commands generally far exceeds that of the average pet of other breeds.
They also pick up on new commands very quickly – often with just a couple of repetitions – and can also remember and retain commands long-term very well too.
If a high-energy dog is what you are looking for, again, the Border collie is right at the top of the rankings. This means that if you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle and aren’t keen to walk and play with your dog for at least a couple of hours a day, the Border collie probably won’t be a good choice for you.
However, if you are active and like to run, jog, walk for miles and generally get out there and explore, the Border collie will be a great fit for your lifestyle. This also makes them a good choice for families where everyone will take part in exercising and entertaining the dog, to spread the load a little and ensure that all of their needs are met effectively.
They are very fast on their feet and capable of adapting on the go, making quick turns and thinking ahead to their next command and action, which is what makes them such a good choice for canine sport.
Border collies have an acute ability to focus and concentrate, and when they set their minds to something, nothing will divert their attention. This can become almost obsessive when it comes to things like herding or chasing a ball, and so finding ways to focus the dog’s energies and mental abilities into a positive outlet is the key to successfully managing dogs of the breed.
Border collies have a huge lust for life, and high levels of enthusiasm for everything – including their families. They form very strong bonds with the people who live with them and look after them, and are very loyal too. They will often be protective of children, but they might also exhibit a tendency to try and herd them, which can be hilarious but should also be discouraged.
After a busy day playing, learning or running around, they like nothing more than to curl up on the sofa with their favourite people to chill out and relax in preparation for another fun-filled busy day.
The purchase price for Border collies on average is well within the reach of most families – pedigree dogs of the breed with the associated Kennel Club paperwork tend to change hands for figures in the region of £555, whilst for non-pedigree dogs without papers, the average is about £372.
Working dogs with a proven track record, those bred from show winners or top-level sporting dogs and dogs that are particularly good examples of the breed will often cost rather more than this, but the average Border collie is not hugely costly to buy.
If you are considering buying a Border collie, browse a range of adverts to get a feel for the level of variance in prices across dogs of the breed, and remember that dogs from proven stock and particularly, from parents that have undergone the appropriate health tests are likely to cost more.
This can be seen as an investment in your future dog’s wellness and longevity, and all prospective Border collie buyers are advised to choose a dog from health tested parents that was bred by a breeder who keeps the health and improvement of the breed as a whole at the forefront of their minds.