The border collie is a beautiful medium sized breed that is prized for his keen intelligence and herding abilities. They are fast, high energy dogs that are often associated with farms and agility competitions. They require adequate physical and mental stimulation and are not for those who lead a laidback lifestyle or first-time dog owners.
That being said, a border collie can be a wonderful companion and family pet for active individuals who can provide him with the right attention and training. He is loveable, devoted and aims to please. The following are the fundamental facts about this canine that will help you determine whether or not he is the right choice for you.
Height and weight – Males stand 19-22 inches at the shoulders and weigh between 30 – 45 pounds. Females are 18-21 inches at the withers and weigh anywhere from 27-42 pounds.
General appearance – Border collies have a longish body and a relatively wide skull with a pronounced stop. Their ears are typically half-perked, oval eyes are usually brown but may also be a pale shade of blue and they have a muzzle that tapers to a black nose. These dogs are available in two coat varieties. One features courser and longer hair (3 inches), while the other has short sleek hair (1 inch). The colors of the coats include black and white, red and white, black and gray, tri-colored and all black.
Temperament – The border collie is intelligent, eager, energetic and alert. He is an intense worker, affectionate towards family and friends and slightly reserved towards strangers. He can become destructive and neurotic if left to his own devices or is plagued with boredom. He does not like to be idle for long periods of time.
Trainability – A border collie is a quick learner and loves hard work. He excels at obedience and his intelligence, high energy and stamina make him ideal for agility, a sport at which he is a well recognized champion. Training this breed is an absolute must.
Energy level – This pooch needs to be rigorously exercised. Aside from having a long brisk daily walk, he needs playtime and to participate in activities that release both his mental and physical energy. Playing fetch with a ball or Frisbee can help. These canines do best in a yard where they can run free. Apartment life is not suitable and he does best with active individuals.
Compatibility with pets and children – Though he can get along fine with other dogs and children, he will require an owner with strong leadership and kids need to be made aware of the dog’s herding instinct and know how to properly respond to it. Many a child has been bitten and traumatized by a pet border collie who was only acting on its instinct to herd.
Health problems – Mostly they are a hardy breed, but common illnesses that may occur include hip dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly (eye disease common among collies), flea allergies, deafness and epilepsy to name a few.
Life expectancy – The average border collie lives between 12-15 years.
Grooming – A coat brushing every few days, monthly nail clippings, bi-weekly ear cleanings and a bath only when necessary are all he requires. He’s relatively easy to take care of and is an average shedder.
The border collie is a gorgeous and magnificent dog but he isn’t always the best choice, especially when it comes to being a family pet in a household of small children. Those most compatible for this four-legged wonder are active people who want to take the time and energy to raise a strong, happy and healthy working dog.