Are border collie dogs good with children?  This is a common question that is often asked by families who are considering obtaining this breed as a pet.  However, this is not an easy question to answer because many factors will determine a yes or no response. 

The first thing you need to understand is that border collie dogs were bred with a herding instinct.  Their main purpose was to herd livestock and even today they are considered to be the best herders of any dog.  The second thing you need to realize is that no matter what you do, you will never train this characteristic out of this canine.  It is part of his genetic makeup.

The instinct is stronger in some than in others, but the need to round-up and herd sheep will almost always overtake the dog and, the reality is, in the mind of this pooch, children are simply wool-less sheep.  Thus, without knowing how to control the issue, kids and border collies can be a disaster waiting to happen.

Why?  Basically the reason is the natural instincts of the two are completely incompatible.   Consider the following situation:  An excited child who was minding his/her own business or was playing with their sweet four legged friend, runs out the front door or into the backyard.  Suddenly, the border collie dogs herding nature kicks in and he wants to re-collect the escaped “sheep”.  He runs full tilt and blocks the child’s path, looking very threatening.

The child’s natural reaction is to become frightened, scream and run.  Unfortunately, this response only furthers the collie’s desire to put the “livestock” back in line and he will become even more ferocious, nipping at the kid’s heels or grabbing on to them to drag them back into the home.  Though the animal will find nothing wrong with his actions, the poor little boy or girl and any onlooker will be traumatized by the ordeal.

Therefore, in order for a child and border collie dogs to pleasantly exist together, you need to make sure you don’t inadvertently train your family pet to treat your children as farm animals.  This can be achieved by…

  • Teaching him obedience and dominance training.  You need to make it clear to your canine where his place is in your pack.   Make sure you feed him after you and your family eat, walk through doors before him, etc.
  • Telling your child to stay quiet, calm and stand still when the pooch attempts to herd them.  This will make him less likely to nip or bite and he’ll no longer think of the kid escaping and turn back into “normal” mode.
  • Do not leave your kids unsupervised with the dog.   Especially those under the age of 10.

Thus, the answer as to whether or not border collie dogs are a good family pet is something that can only be determined by the individual owner.  If you are willing to fully understand this breed and are ready to put a full-time effort in to train this dog, as well as educate your children on how to react and respond to the pooch, you should have no major problems creating a happy and healthy environment where everyone gets along.