Border Collie pros and cons
Owning a Border Collie comes with advantages and challenges. Border Collies are highly intelligent and are on the top of the list of most intelligent breeds in the world, which is a pro. Using positive motivation techinques during obedience training produces great results as Border Collies are eager to learn new tricks and commands. This is a very active breed that needs an owner who has the energy to spend plenty of time outdoors with the dog. Border Collies require a home with a large yard, where the dog can run around during the day. This breed is not fit to live in a small apartment and does best in a country environment or on a farm, where the dog can apply the strong herding instinct and live a purposeful life. Border collies are naturally protective and make good watchdogs.
Cons of owning a Border Collie is that this is a very demanding breed that needs a job to do during the day, otherwise the dog can become destructive out of boredom. Dogs do not intentionally get destructive, instead the lack of mental stimulation that Border Collies require during the day causes the dog to find something to do to keep busy. Punishing a Border Collie for a ripped up couch is not productive and the cause for this destructive behavior often lays in the owner's not understanding the breed. Border Collie's original purpose was to be a sheepdog who stays busy during the day protecting and guiding the sheep. Keeping a Border Collie indoors most of the day will naturally result in too much energy that builds up in this highly active breed and the dog is looking for a way to release that energy that would otherwise be spent on herding sheep. Potential owners need to have a good understanding of the breed to make sure that this breed matches the lifestyle that will make the owner and the dog happy in the long run. Another con with Border Collies is that this dog requires a good amount of socialization during puppyhood. Undersocialized Border Collies may be inclined to aggressive behavior. Border Collies are not ideal for first time dog owners and are more suited for people who have experience and understanding of this specific dog breed.
Border Collie shedding
Do Border Collies shed? Yes, Border Collie is an average shedder and extra care is needed when the soft, dense undercoat is shedding. To achieve the smooth coat and to minimize shedding, the Border Collie needs regular combing and brushing to keep the coat gleaming. Border Collies come in two coat types - smooth coats and long coats. Long coats are more demanding in terms of grooming and need daily brushing, which can be a disadvantage.
Border Collie Brushes to help manage shedding
Many Border Collie owners report that using a Furminator deshedding tool helps to keep their pet's shedding to a minimum. See video below where a Border Collie owner is providing a demo.
Furminator deshedding tool can be very useful when managing Border Collie's heavy shedding. Video of a vet demonstrating the proper use of a Furminator tool on a dog.
Other good brushes for Border Collies include:
Border Collie size
Border Collie weight
Border Collie male weight: 30 to 44 lb (14 to 20 kg)
Border Collie female weight: 26 to 41 lb (12 to 19 kg)
Border Collie size
Border Collie male height: 18 to 22 in (48 to 56 cm)
Border Collie female height: 18 to 20 in (46 to 53 cm)
Border Collie top running speed
Border Collie running speed: between 20 and 30 mph (32 to 48 km/h)
Border Collie coat: there are two coat varieties: a short, sleek coat (about 1 inch (2.5 cm) long) and a coarse, rough coat (about 3 inches (7.6 cm) long).
Border Collie colors: red/white, black/red/white ("tri"s), blue merle, red merle, mostly white, tan and black, brindle, sable, and mostly black varieties.
How many puppies do Border Collies have?
Border Collie litter size: 4 to 8 puppies
How long do Border Collies live?
Border Collie lifespan: 13 to 15 years
How much does a Border Collie cost?
Border Collie prices start at $400 and up, depending on many factors.
Border Collie temperament
The Border Collie is a working breed that is known for its intelligence and high working drive. If you are thinking about getting a Border Collie, it is very important to keep in mind that this dog breed will do best with an owner who can spend a lot of time with the dog. A Border Collie life expectancy is up to 15 years, depending on health, care, nutrition and genetics. As an owner of a Border Collie you need to be ready to exercise your dog both mentally and physically and ideally your dog will be helping you to carry out different tasks. Are Border Collies good with kids? The breed is not suitable for families with young children as the dog may try to herd children and even strangers by instinct. The dog's herding instinct is coming into play especially around young children as in the dog's eyes kids represent a stock of sheep and when children are running around, the dog will attempt to round up the "sheep" by nipping at the heels of a child and barking. A child's normal reaction to this is to get frightened and run faster. This behavior only intensifies the dog's herding instinct and the dog may start biting the child the same way it would bite a sheep that is trying to get away from the herd. There is nothing that can be done to prevent your Border Collie from following its herding instinct and experts recommend not getting this breed for families with young children. For this reason many Border Collies end up in rescue as families with kids soon realize that this dog is not a good fit for families with young children. Border Collies have been bred to herd sheep and that requires a lot of physical stamina and endurance. Herding sheep is an all-day activity and often entails miles of endless running and sprinting across uneven patches of farmland.
The herding breed is considered to be a high-energy breed that is very active and the owner needs to find a positive outlet for the dog's energy every day to keep the dog happy. Keeping the dog in an apartment all day will lead to various behavior issues. The dog is not fit for a life in an apartment as a family pet because such lifestyle may result in boredom and behavior problems such as being destructive. The endless energy of this dog needs to be spent every day in a way where the dog is engaged both physically and mentally.
Border Collies need mental stimulation during the day and stuffable dog toys will keep the dog busy trying to get treats out of the toys. Stuffable toys are a good way to entertain the intelligent dog.
Given this information, it is easy to see why Border Collies excel at police work, search and rescue, narcotics and bomb detection and even can be trained as a guide dog for the blind. The Border Collie is a great candidate for obedience, agility and Frisbee™ training.
If your Border Collie is not getting enough exercise, the dog may start getting busy with something that you may not appreciate - like chewing furniture or digging holes in the backyard. The destructive dog behavior is a result of the dog being bored and left with nothing to do. Border Collie breed does best with an owner who is ready to spend plenty of time with the dog, providing both physical and mental stimulation to this active and energetic herding breed.
See video below that shows how Border Collies are being trained to herd sheep. Notice how happy the dogs are when they are given a job to do. If you are considering a Border Collie breed - be sure your dog will have a job to do as these working dogs have a lot of energy that needs to be channeled in a positive direction, such as herding sheep.
Border Collie videos
Border Collie herding
Consider the history of the breed to understand your Border Collie. This breed was originally used as a herding dog. As a result it is in the breed's character to be helpful, and to please the owner. Remember that the dog has a unique herding talent to control the sheep with his eyes by using a hypnotizing stare. His strong herding instinct can not be controlled even through training and as a result, owning a Border Collie is not for everyone. In order to manage multiple sheep, Border Collie needs to be fast. How fast can a Border Collie run? This agile herding dog breed is capable of running at a speed of 20 to 30 miles per hour (32 - 48 km/h).
The Border Collie video below provides a glimpse into the life of the herding dog.
Border Collie supplies
If you are planning to travel with your Border Collie, having a dog crate can make trips safer and less stressful for the crate trained Border Collie. A dog should have enough space in the crate to stand up full height and to stretch out while laying down. The dog should be able to turn around easily. If a crate is too big, the dog may be tempted to use the unused part of the crate as his toilet. For a Border Collie puppy, get a crate that is big enough to accommodate a full grown Border Collie and use a crate separator to allocate enough area in the crate for the puppy. Never use a crate as a way to punish the dog as your pet will be reluctant to use the crate in the future. Do not leave a dog in the crate for hours on end - puppies should not be left in a crate longer than an hour or two. Always tire out your dog before placing him in a crate. Leave some safe chewable toys for the dog to keep him busy while you are away.
Keeping a young Border Collie puppy unsupervised even for an hour is much safer for the puppy when he is in his crate. Do not leave a puppy in a crate for long periods of time. A young puppy can spend up to two hours in a crate - any longer may have negative effects on the dog. A crate is supposed to be a safe area for the dog to sleep and relax. Never use a crate as a way to punish the dog as he will be reluctant to use the crate in the future.
Outdoor weather resistant dog kennel will keep the Border Collie comfortable outside.
Dog bed for a Border Collie
Border Collie supplies include a comfortable dog bed. If you have a crate, get a comfortable crate bed for the dog and use the crate as his sleeping area. Border Collies are active dogs and need a good rest after a busy day. Orthopedic dog bed with a removable cover will help to distribute the dog's weight more evenly and the dog will get a much better rest. The removable cover is easy to keep fresh and clean.
Dog toys for Border Collie breed
Chewable dog toys are absolutely necessary for a Border Collie - regardless of the age of the dog. Young Border Collie puppies that are teething are prone to chewing whatever they can find on their way. Give the puppy some chewable dog toys that can soothe the irritated gums and will keep the dog busy chewing on something that is safe for him. Get toys that don't have any small parts that the dog can accidentally swallow. Older Border Collies also need chewable toys to keep the teeth healthy and strong. If you are crating the dog, providing him with a chewable toy will keep him busy for some time.
Intelligent Border Collies are able to memorize their toys by their names. Get one new toy at a time and always refer to the toy by a name that you choose for the toy. After a few days the dog will know the name of the toy. If you trained your Border Collie to retrieve things, a good mental exercise for the smart dog would be to bring you the correct dog toy once you call it by the name. Put a couple of toys in one place and ask the dog to retrieve a specific toy, referring to it by the name that the dog already knows. After the dog successfully learns to bring the correct toy, increase the amount of toys you are using and soon you will be amazed at the results. Border Collies are among the smartest dog breeds and can really benefit from some mental exercises. Not only are you stimulating the dog's brain with mental exercises but you are also building a strong bond with your dog during such games.
Border Collie dog food
Herding dogs such as the Border Collie are very active and need a well balanced dog food to stay in best physical and mental shape.
How to groom a Border Collie
Bathe the Border Collie or use dry shampoo only when necessary.
Dog dental care is essential from a young age. Over a half of all dogs suffer from dental issues by the time they are two years old. Many owners do not realize that brushing their dog's teeth daily is essential to help keep the dog's teeth healthy.
Keep the dog's ears clean to prevent ear infections. Use a soft, clean towel to wipe the dog's ears after each bath or after swimming. Ear wipes for dogs help to keep the dog's ears clean.
Border Collie grooming involves trimming the dog's nails anytime you hear clicking sound when the dog is walking on a hardwood floor. The clicking sound indicates that it's time to clip your pet's nails. Overgrown nails may cause pain and changes in posture. If you accidenally cut your dog's nail too much and the dog nail is bleeding, styptic powder can quickly help stop bleeding.
Border Collie obedience training
For a professional dog trainer this breed is a pleasure to work with. The dog is very observant and pays attention to every detail during training. As a result for someone who is new to training a dog, this breed may not be the easiest to train. The reason is that a professional dog trainer trains the dog by using the same voice/gesture associated with a specific command. Your Border Collie pays great attention to every detail and if you are new to training a dog then your command may be delivered with a different gesture every time and the dog thinks that this is a totally new command since your voice command may not be delivered with the same gesture at the same time. For example, if you are training your Border Collie a "sit" command by saying "Sit!" and raising your left hand, your Border Collie learns by making the association between the word "Sit!" and you raising your left hand. If next time you try to give the dog the command "Sit!" without raising your left hand at the same time, the dog will assume it is a different command and may not know what is expected. As long as you are using the same gesture with the same command every time there should not be any causes for confusion on the part of your dog. This is precisely the reason why some novice dog trainers may argue that the Border Collie is not an easily trainable dog breed.
Housetraining is important as any Border Collie owner needs to get the dog potty trained starting as soon as the dog arrives. Be on the lookout for signs of readiness - the dog will walk in circles and sniff the floor when he is ready to use a toilet. Immediately take the dog outside to the designated dog toilet area and let him finish his business. Have a small treat handy and give him the treat as soon as the dog is done. Continue rewarding good behavior and ignore accidents that normally happen during dog potty training. Casually clean up the mess and continue to watch for the signs of readiness to use the bathroom. Consistency is the key. Border Collies are intelligent dogs and soon figure out what is required to get a reward.
Border Collie health issues
Prone to epilepsy, hip dysplasia, PRA (Collie Eye Anomaly where 85-90 percent of Scotch Collies, 10 percent of Shelties are born with this non-progressive eye disease) and deafness. Often allergic to fleas. Some herding dogs carry a MDR1 gene which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that are otherwise okay to give another dog, but if tested positive for this gene can kill them.
Border Collie origin
The Border Collie was originally called the "Scotch Sheep Dog" and originated in Northumberland along the borders of Scotland and England. It is a descendant from dogs used by the Vikings to herd reindeer, the old British droving breeds, with spaniel added. The Border Collie was first recognized by the AKC in 1995.