Surely everyone knows the adorable and speedy Border Collie, the breed sometimes called ‘The Shepherd’s dog’. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, they have a body slightly longer than they are tall. This monochrome mastermind is really, really intelligent – topping Stanley Coren’s list ‘The Intelligence of Dogs’. Bred to herd, Border Collies enjoy sprinting across fields and returning gleefully to their master. Friendly to the people they know, Border Collies can be wary of strangers and need plenty of exercise to stay happy.
The modern Border Collie owes its heritage to a dog named Old Hemp who took part in the 1873 sheepdog trials in Wales, herding his cattle without barking or injuring the sheep. His performance became the model for how all sheepdogs were expected behave. The name Border Collie starting becoming popular around 1915, supposedly referring to the border regions of England, Scotland and Wales where the dogs have gathered up flocks on far-flung hills for more than 100 years.
Border Collies can live for 12 years or more, sometimes to a grand old age of 17. However, Collies can suffer from epilepsy, deafness, sight problems and hip issues. Some Collies also have a genetic sensitivity to certain drugs, so care sometimes needs to be taken with treatments.
The personal trainer
Always alert and rearing to go, Collies love running and fetching. A long, morning jog would be their idea of a perfect start to the day. Remember to bring a ball and strong throwing arm. Reward and praise them when they come back, or you’ll be running after them instead.
If you’re looking for co-working companion then the Border Collie is an obvious choice. Fiercely intelligent, Collies can be trained to carry out tasks – which is why they’re a firm favourite with farmers. Games and exercise are important to keep their minds healthy active – Collies have lots of energy and can become erratic if they aren’t challenged.
Full time commitment
Border Collies need lots of space to stretch their energetic legs, so they’re not suited to small gardens or indoor living. If you’re the type who loves countryside rambles, you’ll find a kindred spirit in the outdoorsy Collie.
Routine and discipline are key to training Border Collies. Their keen intelligence makes them fantastic working dogs but they need firm leadership from a young age.
Collies are fairly easy to housebreak. They’re fast learners so a good routine and plenty of praise should be in place from the beginning.
Where to find Border Collies
Border Collie Groups
Want to swap all the Collie gossip with fellow sheepdog enthusiasts? Find a breed group below.
Border Collie Club of Great Britain
Midlands Border Collie Club
Border Collie Trust
Southern Border Collie Club
Border Collie Breed Council
West of England Border Collie Club
International Sheep Dog Society
Adopt a Collie
Border Collie Breeders
Can’t wait to get a Border Collie pup to call your own? Here’s a list of approved breeders.
Kennel Club Assured Breeders