The Border Collie is a medium-sized, well-proportioned dog. The coat can either be smooth or of medium length and the most common colour is black and white, although other colours with white are also seen – e.g. brown, blue merle, red and tricolour. Adult males are around 53cm; females slightly less. The weight range for the breed is around 14-20kg.
- Category size: Medium
- Grooming requirements: More than once a week
- Shedding: Moderate
- Allergies: No
- Noise: Not too noisy
- Dog Group Kennel Club: Pastoral
- Alone: 1 to 3 hours
- Other pets: Medium
- Stability as a guard: Medium
The Border Collie dog breed dates back to the 1700s although it was not given its present name until 1915. Border Collies worked with shepherds in the border area between Scotland and England for hundreds of years, being bred purely for their working ability. Some Border breeders fear emphasis on looks and beauty could lead to the breed's ruination and, therefore, still concentrate primarily on their working qualities. There are often differences between show and working strains.
Border Collies are always ready to work, attentive, lively and alert. They will form a very close bond with their owner and family but, unless given plenty of time and exercise, they are not ideal pets for a family with very young children, as it is in their nature to herd anything that moves - your children included! If not kept physically and mentally stimulated they will become bored, developing behavioural problems or getting into mischief, as their brains are always active.
The Border Collie is a very hardy breed, generally with few health problems. However, as with many breeds, they can suffer from hereditary eye disorders, and hip dysplasia (a condition that can lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important. Epilepsy is also relatively common in the breed.
With their need to be busy and their great desire to please, the Border Collie thrives on training, which is a great way of exercising their mind and body. They are like a gift from heaven for those wanting to compete in obedience/agility/flyball/freestyle/herding trials. Failure to exercise them can result in the Border developing behavioural problems or making them difficult to live with. For an adult, two hours-plus of daily exercise is needed, along with mental stimulation.
Your dog's diet needs to have the right balance of all the main nutrient groups including a constant supply of fresh water. It's also important to conduct regular body condition scores to ensure you keep your dog in ideal shape and remember to feed him at least twice daily and in accordance with the feeding guidelines of his particular food.
In both the medium-length and smooth variety, the top coat is dense and the undercoat thick and soft. With the longer-haired coat, there is a noticeable mane around the neck and shoulders. The coat is easy to maintain, providing it is brushed a couple of times a week for the medium-length and once a week for the smooth variety, and any tangles dealt with on a regular basis.
Is this the right dog breed for you?
All dogs have their own, unique personality, but some instincts and behaviours they’re born with. Try our breed selector and find out which dog breeds better match your preferences and lifestyle. If you and your dog enjoy similar things, you will be more likely to live a happy, fulfilling life together.
What to Consider next
It is incredibly fulfilling to adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization. It often means offering them a second chance in life. There are many dogs waiting for a loving family, a forever home. Reputable centers will be very careful about matching the right people with the right dogs. Staff learns all they can about the dogs they take in, and will spend time getting to know you, your family and your lifestyle, before they match you with any of their dogs. They’ll also be happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have before and after the adoption.
Finding a good breeder
If your heart is set on a pedigree puppy, then your best bet is to find a reputable breeder. Contact The Kennel Club or a breed-club secretary who may have a list of litters available, or should be able to put you in contact with breeders in your area. Try to choose a breeder who is part of the Kennel Club’s assured breeder scheme.Visit dog shows to meet breeders in person and inquire about availability of pups of your chosen breed.
Welcoming your dog home
Whether you’re bringing home a tiny puppy or rehoming an adult dog, this is a hugely exciting time for everyone. While you’re waiting for the big day you might need to distract yourself, so luckily there are a few things you need to sort out before you welcome your new arrival. Click here for more information