Border Collie Breed overview
They are renowned as one of the smartest and most energetic dog breeds in the world. His intelligence, athleticism, and working ability, combined with his dedication to his job, make them a dog who excels at a variety of tasks, including herding, obedience, and agility events. Loyal and affectionate, it loves to interact with his family and throws all his energy into the task assigned to him; however, he is more than happy to cuddle and nap at home as soon as the job is completed.
He makes an excellent family dog, although his intelligence requires a significant amount of mental stimulation and his energy levels need sufficient physical activity to keep this breed happy and healthy.
Border Collies can reach 56 cm in height and 20 kg in weight.
Their life expectancy is 10 -14 years.
The Border Collie is an athletic, medium-sized dog (15-20kg) with long hair. They can have a rough or smooth coat, and although black and white is the most common colour, the breed actually has a wide variety of colours and patterns. Originally bred for controll sheeps in Scotland, these dogs are intelligent, hard working, quick and agile, with seemingly endless supplies of energy. They need dedicated owners and a lot of exercise, and thrive when they are given a job to do, or competitive obedience and agility. Being extremely eager to please they form a strong and loving bond with their owner, but can sometimes be suspicious or reserved with strangers. This breed needs a high energy diet to keep up with their activity levels, and average food costs are around $25-30/month. On average, they have a life expectancy of 12 years, and certain health problems the breed are prone to include epilepsy, collie eye anomaly and deafness.
Fun fact…Queen Victoria was a big fan of the Border Collie
A healthy dog can live between 10 and 14 years, although some members of the breed have been known to live upwards of 16 years. Any dog breed can develop certain diseases or illnesses, but they are generally one of healthy and hardy breeds in Australia. With appropriate care and feeding, this dog will live happily for many years.
- Suitability for Children – Low
- Tendency to Bark – Medium
- Energy – High
- Suitability as a Guard Dog – Medium
- Grooming Requirements – Once a Week
- Trimming Required – Occasionally
- Amount of hair shed – Moderate
- Food Cost – $10 to $ 15
- Average Monthly Pet insurance Premium – $58
Origins of Border collie
The history of the this breed originates during the Roman Empire’s conquest of Britain. The Romans brought their working dogs to the island, and years after the Roman Empire had crumbled, Viking raiders came to Britain with their own smaller herding dogs. These breeds were crossbred, and the eventual result was the Border Collie, an agile and compact dog that was ideal for working livestock in the Scottish highlands and the Welsh mountains. The breed itself was not formally recognized until 1893 and introduced to Australia in the 1890s. Over time, the Border Collie earned its reputation as an unmatchable herding dog whose focus and drive, from sweeping outruns to crouching to explosive bursts of speed, is a skill to marvel.
Border Collie Temperament
As a medium-sized dog, he packs quite a punch in the energy department. Demanding yet playful, this breed needs extensive playtime and exercise. they are a very sensitive breed, and if they become bored and their physical and mental requirements are not met, they can become depressed and anxious, leading them to destructive actions to relieve their boredom and give their energy an outlet. Some of them even become escape artists in an attempt to meet their needs. As long as it is kept busy and active, he will be a happy and productive family member.
Their intelligence levels mean that this dog is quick to learn and desirous of praise. That said, this breed does require firm, consistent training and the earlier in the dog’s life, the better. As a puppy, the Border Collie needs early socialization with other animals and children. Constant, steady leadership is a trait that they are attracted to in their owners. The breed’s energy and drive need to be appropriately directed, or you are likely to end up with a Border Collie who will herd anything in sight, whether it be squirrels or children or cars. The herding instinct can cause an untrained them to bark, nip, and nudge whatever he has decided to round up. For some of them, obedience training is a must.
Common Border Collie Conditions and Diseases
While a generally healthy dog, is susceptible to certain medical conditions and diseases. While there is no certainty that your pooch will develop one or more of these common illnesses, it is best to know what conditions this breed is prone to develop at any stage of life.
If you purchase your puppy from a breeder, make sure the breeder is responsible and not associated with puppy mills or pet stores. Reputable breeders will test their breeding to ensure they and their puppies are free of genetic diseases and possess sound temperaments.
These are the most common types of medical concerns to know before bringing a Border Collie into your family:
- Hip dysplasia is a deformity that causes the thigh bone and the hip joint not to fit together correctly; this condition typically occurs when the dog is a puppy. Diet and genetics are generally to blame for this disease. Some level of pain and discomfort usually accompanied the symptoms of hip dysplasia which range from arthritis to hind end weakness to lameness.. Hip dysplasia can be addressed through weight management, moderate exercise, dietary supplements, water therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)covers a range of eye diseases that result in the gradual deterioration of the retina. In the early stages of PRA, the Border Collie will become night-blind; eventually, he will lose his sight during the day as the disease runs its course. Most them can adjust to their limited vision or blindness with the help of their veterinarian and owners.
- Allergies can also impact them generally in three potential areas: food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies. All three allergy forms can be treated through dietary changes, environmental changes, corticosteroids or topical medications.
- Collie eye anomaly is an inherited disease that causes abnormalities to occur in the eye; sometimes, though rarely, these changes can result in blindness. The collie eye abnormalities include coloboma (defective optic disc), choroidal hypoplasia (abnormal choroid development), retinal detachment, and staphyloma (thinning of the sclera). There is no treatment for collie eye anomaly. This disease manifests itself by the time a Border Collie is two years old, so older Border Collies without this disease will never develop it.
- Osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) is an orthopedic disease that causes improper growth of cartilage within joints, typically in the dog’s elbows or shoulders. The joints become painfully stiff, and over time, the dog is unable to bend the elbow. Studies show that an overfeeding of “growth formula” puppy foods may be the reason the disease develops in some dogs.
- Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland does not produce proper levels of the thyroid hormone in the dog’s body. This condition often results in weight gain, lethargy, spaciness, depression, and lower immune system responses. Hypothyroidism can be detected through specialized blood tests and treated with medications and dietary changes.
- Canine epilepsy is a neurological condition that is sometimes, but not always, genetic in nature. Epilepsy causes seizures that may embody a variety of physical reactions including dizziness, fainting spells, rigidity, frantic running, spinning in circles, staggering, or falling over. Although frightening to see, epileptic seizures can be managed with veterinary assistance, and long-term prognosis is typically good for most Border Collies with this disease.
- Trapped neutrophil syndrome (TNS) is a hereditary condition where the dog’s white blood cells are produced but cannot be released into the bloodstream. The result is a compromised immune system which leaves the dog vulnerable to infections it cannot fight. There is no cure for this disease, but it can be detected in DNA tests.
- Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) is a rare disease that only affects Border Collies who are bred for the show ring. Dogs who have NCL rarely live beyond 2 years old because of the severe neurological impairments that occur with this condition. DNA tests can detect both infected dogs and breeding carriers of NCL. Unfortunately, there is no treatment or cure for this disease.
General Exercise and Care
Although they are a highly adaptable dog, his need for high levels of exercise makes him better suited to a family with some space in home: either a securely fenced backyard or a rural environment such as a farm or ranch. Because of the breed’s intelligence levels, the Border Collie requires a good deal of physical and mental stimulation daily; therefore, owners need to understand and provide these requirements for their dog. A healthy outlet for the Border Collie’s bright mind and intense energy levels is a must to live happily with this breed.
This breed was originally developed to work all day in the rugged Scottish highlands to herd sheep, and as such, retains the workaholic nature of its ancestors. In short, this breed of dog needs to have a job to do daily. This need is one reason why Border Collies have excelled at competitive sports and careers with point-driven goals, such as search-and-rescue, seeing-eye, and police dogs.
If your dog does not have a specific job to complete, substitute that job with ample amounts of exercise. This dog breed requires much more than a walk around the block once or twice a day; training with a goal works best, and Border Collies love to play with frisbees, flying discs and fly balls which both satisfy their need for exercise and their need for mental stimulation.
The Border Collie should have 1½ to 2 cups of high-quality dog food daily, divided equally into two meals. Due to its reputation as a high-energy breed, an active dog needs a higher calorie diet than a more sedentary dog. Talk with your veterinarian about the type of food your Border Collie needs based on his activity level, weight, and individual health.
Coat and Grooming
There are two types of coats associated with the Border Collie, the smooth coat and the rough coat. Both kinds of coats are double coats meaning there is a soft undercoat and a coarse outer coat over it. The smooth breed has short hair that is coarse in texture with little feathering on the rest of the body. The rough breed has medium length fur with feathering on the belly, chest, and legs. Both varieties of the breed are mostly black in color with white markings on the neck, legs, feet, and tail tip, and a white blaze on the face. Border Collies can be any bicolor, tricolor, solid color or merle but never the color white.
Excessive grooming is not necessary for them, but weekly brushing will keep his weather-resistant double coat shiny and free of matting. During shedding season, brushing more frequently helps to minimize the amount of hair shed. Bathing is only necessary once every four months or whenever your Border Collie is smelly or dirty.
Aside from coat care, the it requires dental care; brushing his teeth at least two to three times a week works to remove tartar and bacteria growth. A Border Collie’s ears should also be checked regularly for redness, dirt, or pronounced odors that might indicate an infection. Trim the dog’s nails once a month to prevent overgrowth and splitting.
Children and Other Pets
If trained properly, especially when young, the Border Collie makes a wonderful family pet. Typically, this breed gets along well with children and other household animals, but all family members will need to be aware of the Border Collie’s inherent need to herd; this includes nipping, chasing, and barking habits that are ingrained in the dog’s biology. Proper and consistent training will direct the Border Collie’s instincts in a more appropriate direction.
They gained notoriety in the 19th century when Queen Victoria became enamored with the breed and widely promoted it.
Despite being a recognized breed for over a century, the Border Collie breed was only recognized officially by the American Kennel Club in 1995.
They were initially classified as the “Scotch Sheep Dog”.
“Collie” is a Scottish word used for “sheep dog.”