The Border Collie an extremely intelligent dog breed. They still perform the task that they were originally bred, working sheep and cattle. These dogs have always been prized for being supreme working dogs but also companion dogs for those that love the outdoor lifestyle. Border Collies are tenacious while at the same time being one of the most versatile breeds in the world. Border Collies are athletic and energetic characters that like nothing better than being given things to do, they love to have a job, even in a home environment. Some highlights:
Most intelligent breed on the planet.
In the right hands, Border Collies are extremely easy to train.
Good with children, although can and will herd them.
Border Collie Puppies are an extremely popular breed both in the UK and abroad, so well bred puppies can demand a high price. With this in mind you need to consider a few things when looking at Border Collie puppies. Beware of online scams, online adverts showing pictures of gorgeous Border Collie puppies at very low prices. Many of these ask for money upfront before you have even met the puppies and Mum. Always visit puppies at home and see them with their Mum and Dad. As stated before Border Collie puppies are one of the most popular breeds in the UK and this means that many backyard breeders are breeding puppies without the proper care being taken. Under Kennel Club guidelines a dam can only have 4 litters and she has to be between a certain age. Anyone wishing to purchase a Border Collie puppy should ensure that they see all relevant documentation for both puppies and dam. Some downsides to the Border Collie:
High maintenance on all fronts.
Require a tremendous amount of mental stimulation and exercise
Not the best for first time dog owners
Strong herding drive
The Border Collie name derives from the borders of England, Scotland and Wales where they originally showed their worth, working in the unforgiving hills and mountains. These hard working dogs have always been highly regarded for not only their intelligence, but also for their innate ability to herd flocks. The breed was first mentioned and recorded in dog trials held in North Wales in 1873, but it took another 30 or so years until a Border Collie registry was established, namely the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS). Border Collies were first recognised by The Kennel Club as being a pedigree breed in 1977 when the first breed standard was established. This was then amended a year later in 1978 and still remains in place to this day. There are two registries for Border Collies, the International Sheep Dog Society which promotes the working Border Collie while the Kennel Club promotes good breeding practices to standardise the breed appearance.
Border Collies have broad heads with a very distinct stop and tapering muzzle. Most have black or brown noses. Their oval eyes are set wide apart on a dog's head and are traditionally brown with the exception of Merles when one or both of their eyes can be blue. All Border Collies boast a very keen, intelligent and mild look in their eyes whether they are working or when they are at rest.
Medium sized, around 50cm at the withers
Male 14-20kg Females 12-19kg
Traditionally Border Collies are Black & White or Tricolour, but they come in a variety of colours from the traditional through Blue to Brown Merle. All of these colours are recognised by The Kennel Club.
Border Collies are smart and intelligent as a breed. They have a strong instinct and drive to work alongside man. The breed is easy to train with their always ready and alert attitude. Border Collies have proved themselves not only in the working environment herding sheep but also in search and rescue, tracker and sniffer dogs. They have an amazing track record in agility and other sporting activities. Border Collie puppies need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy, well-rounded and well-behaved adult dogs. These dogs are high energy and so would not be the best choice for people who lead a more sedentary, indoor lifestyle. However, they are the perfect choice for people with families who lead busy outdoor lives where a high energy dog would fit in perfectly with their busy lifestyle.
They can be quite territorial and are quick off the mark to let their owners when there are strangers about or when something is not quite right in their environment.
A bored Border Collie can develop some unwanted behaviour. Some Border Collies are barkers and others are not, the same as with most breeds. The best way to look at it is, a tired Border Collie is a good Border Collie. This describes the breed perfectly.
Border Collie puppies need to start their training early. This will ensure that you have a well rounded adult dog. These dogs are highly trainable, intelligent and an added bonus is that they like to please their humans. They respond particularly well to positive reinforcement.
Border Collies have a lovely playful streak in them and love interactive games. These dogs have thrived at many sporting activities such as flyball, agility and obedience. They continue this playful streak until well into their golden years and this is why they are such a fun addition to the home environment.
Collies are not always a good choice for families with children as they have a tendency to herd or try to herd anything and everything. Although if Border Collie puppies are well socialised from a young age and live in a family that spends most of its day in the great outdoors they will fit in beautifully.
Border Collies can be somewhat aloof when meeting other dogs. If they have been brought up with other pets they can be generally fine around them. However, with some Border Collies their ingrained need to herd will continue with other pets in the household.
Some Border Collies can develop separation anxiety due to the strong bond that they develop with their humans. This is why these dogs do better in a home where there is at least one person at home most of the day.
Some Border Collies love the water while others don’t like to get their feet wet. If they love the water most are good swimmers.
They tend to live between 10-14 years.
These are high energy dogs and have extremely high exercise needs.
On the whole the breed is healthy and robust. They are prone to certain health conditions such as Hip Dysplasia and Epilepsy among the most common.
Border Collies will do best in a house with a large garden.
A good quality balanced diet.
Collies need to be brushed at least once a week. They are not high maintenance in this area though.
Like other breeds they shed in the Spring and again in the Autumn.
As a rough guide in pricing: Cost to buy: roughly £500-600 for a well-bred Border Collie puppy Other costs (Vet, Food etc): £70-£100 per month
You can read our general buying guide here (/advice-on-buying-a-puppy/), with the most important thing being going to view your Border Collie Puppy, seeing it with its mother, and checking the quality of the breeder. More specifically, here is some Border Collie puppy buying advice:
Ensure that your puppy comes from a good breeder, where puppies are bred to further the breed and not just for money. The border collie is a special breed and needs to be bred in accordance with it's intelligence, with love and affection.
A big thank you to the following sources who helped to shape this article: https://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/services/public/breed/display.aspx?id=5166 https://www.bordercollietrustgb.org.uk/ https://valgraysbcrescue.org.uk/