The Border Collie



This article was provided to Pet Guardian Angels of America by Sam Cummings


The Border Collie dog breed is one of the most popular among farm people. It is one of the most agile as many Border Collie owners train them for dog sports. In fact, they win many of those competitions each year thanks to their intelligence, agility, hard work, and of course, their training.

Here is a rundown of what you need to know about the Border Collie dog breed.

Border Collie Origins

Although there is actually no certainty where the Border Collie breed came from, many assume that it was first seen in England and Scotland. Also, no one is sure when the breed first appeared, but mentions of a Collie started to circulate around the 19th century.

Furthermore, there is still controversy about the origins of the name “Border Collie.” Some believe that “collie” means “black” in reference to the main coat for a Border Collie. Others like to think that “collie” refers to the sheep the dogs were herding as their primary job. However, the most likely explanation is that the breed was developed in the Anglo-Scottish borders.

Border Collie Breeding

Before the industrial revolution, the world economy was based on agriculture. That meant that everyone had a farm with a lot of cattle and livestock. Therefore, shepherds needed a dog that would do the job as perfectly as possible.

Although many other dogs were doing the job relatively well, the Border Collie had to be developed to boast a maximum herding instinct. In the mid 19th century, the breed started spreading around the United Kingdom as being the best herding dogs ever.

With their agility and intelligence, Border Collies swiftly became the number one herding dog in the world by the 1950s. That title is still theirs up until today with relatively no strong competition from other herding dogs. Their herding instinct is simply unmatched, which could be a bad thing if you want a family dog.

Border Collie Characteristics

There are a few unique characteristics that make Border Collies the unique breed that they are. Down below are a few of them, which most Collies share. Note that the individual dogs may not show any of these depending on training and the environment, but the instinct may still be there. You can check this complete Border Collie guide for more on the breed.


Border Collies are medium-sized dogs; their height ranges between 18 and 22 inches and can weigh anything from 27 to 45 pounds.

They are mostly black with a white blaze and neck. However, they can also be all colors of the rainbow except the solid white as it is not considered a standard coat color for the breed.

Strong Herding Instinct

As mentioned above, the Border Collies are the best herding dogs in the world because of their strong herding instinct. This makes them the perfect dogs for living on a farm where livestock is always moving around.
However, if you are looking for a dog for your house, a Border Collie usually comes with an instinct to herd running things, including random people and pets, into the backyard and the living room. There is no way to turn off that instinct, but there are many ways you can use it to your advantage.


Life most hard working dog breeds, Border Collies do not like to sit around the house and do nothing. They have a tremendous amount of energy that needs to be burnt out one way or another. If they are on a farm, it is easy to let them run after sheep. However, put them in an apartment and watch being fully destroyed by a jumping dog.
The hyperactivity of a Border Collie can be toned down by long exercise hours and mental games. If you can’t devote a few hours a day working your dog, you’ll need someone else to do it. Otherwise, your house will see the worse of it.
Being this hyperactive, Border Collies need a diet that keeps them both strong and healthy. You should learn more about what to feed your Border Collie if you ever decide to get one.

Super Intelligence

Other than being the best herding dogs, Border Collies are the world’s smartest dogs. Their intelligence is fascinating compared with other dogs. Border Collies need just as much mental exercise as they need a physical one.
The challenge here is to always find more complicated tricks for your dog to learn. They should be both mentally challenging with a few puzzles to solves and physically demanding so that the dog is burning energy as well.

Living with a Border Collie

Considering the characteristics above, it is easily understandable how hard it is to live with a Border Collie. They won’t adapt to an apartment no matter how much you would like to believe so. Because they don’t have enough space to run around, they will require at least a backyard.

When it comes to the herding instinct, both kids and pets become livestock. Therefore, at random moments of the day, a Border Collie will line the family members in his favorite spot and keep an eye on them. The same goes for neighbors pets, random people jogging, cars moving around. Basically, anything that moves is livestock that will eventually need herding, and the Border Collie is up for the task.

Grooming is relatively easy with a Border Collie in the house. They shed heavily between seasons, but very few times on daily basis. Brushing is advised once a week, but bathing is best once every few months.

Training A Border Collie

Among the most difficult dog breeds to train are Border Collies. Their intelligence can be the disadvantage when it comes to dog training. They easily learn and remember the commands of their owner, but if the latter is not an expert, they may confuse the dog.

Therefore, here are a few tips to consider when training a Border Collie:

  • If you can afford one, hire an expert to train your dog, and maybe teach you how to perform the commands just as well as he or she does.
  • Always start with the basic obedience training. Here are the 5 basic commands that your dog should master first.
  • Socialize your dog as much as possible, but the training should be in a quiet spots. They can quickly lose focus when there’s too much happening around them.
  • Keep your dog busy both physically and mentally. Always have new tricks up your sleeves so that your Border Collie is always interested in learning.
  • Stay consistent and patient. It is literally not a walk in the park with a Border Collie. It’s hard, difficult, but possible.


A Border Collie is indeed a great dog to own. However, it is not a typical house pet that you can cuddle with when you feel sad. If you ever decide to get yours, learn more about the Border Collie health issues that you may face as a dog owner. After all, you want to be a responsible dog owner. Who knows? Your Border Collie may win a dog contest if you care for him well enough.

Sam Cummings is a blogger and a dog lover. He’s eager to learn more about human’s best friend. He is the proud owner of DiamondPup, a website that he runs to help spread more accurate information about dog breeds, training, health and much more.