Border Collies

A Devoted Working Dog

The Border collie is a true shepherd’s dog. It traces its roots to England and Scotland. He was used and bred to herd cattle, and is considered the best working dog for that class. Even today, the Border collie’s instinct is to work and master livestock. But he can also make a great pet for owners with time to devote to his constant need for work.

Border collies are found in a variety of coat colors including black and white, tri-color, red and white, black and gray, and all black. These dogs are not bred for their looks (though many owners find them to be quite beautiful); they are bred strictly for their working ability and keen intelligence. They are considered by many to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds.

Border collie

The Border collie is a true shepherd’s dog. It traces its roots to England and Scotland. He was used and bred to herd cattle, and is considered the best working dog for that class. Even today, the Border collie’s instinct is to work and master livestock. But he can also make a great pet for owners with time to devote to his constant need for work.  

Some might consider the Border collie a “high maintenance” dog. In some ways, he is indeed that. But for the right owner and in the right household, he can be perfect. His intelligence and energy are among his best attributes. He is also a very loyal dog and will go to great lengths to please his master. 

Border collie

Considered by many to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds, Border collies are happiest when they are working. They like to have a job to do, whether it be herding, agility or obedience training. They are bred for endurance and need to be constantly stimulated. They are not the type of dog that will be content lying around the house all day. If the dog becomes constantly bored, he can get destructive or neurotic.

The work ethic and intelligence of this breed means that it needs a lot of attention. These dogs are best suited for experienced dog owners who have the time and knowledge to raise them. Training is key for the Border collie. Because of his strong herding nature, he can be inclined to try to “herd” children and strangers. He must be trained not to do this, as it is part of his overall temperament.

The Border collie needs a dominant master, otherwise he will try to assert his authority and become leader of the pack in your home. But because of his intelligence, he can be trained and socialized to get along with all types of people.

Of course, this dog is also ideal for farmers who need his help on the farm. He is perfectly suited for this type of work and stimulation. The Border collie does not do well with apartment living; he needs a lot of space for exercise and activities.

His exercise requirements are intense. Two 45-minute walks per day along with 15 to 30 minutes of obedience, agility or tricks is recommended. 

Border collie

Border collies are found in a variety of coat colors including black and white, tri-color, red and white, black and gray, and all black. These dogs are not bred for their looks (though many owners find them to be quite beautiful); they are bred strictly for their working ability and keen intelligence.

While these medical conditions are known to occur in the breed your Border collie will not necessarily develop any of the conditions listed below. Choosing a reputable shelter, rescue group  or breeder from which to purchase your pet will help minimize the risks.

Canine hip dysplasia is a hereditary malformation of the hip joint that is more commonly associated with large breed dogs. It can cause discomfort and lameness and result in arthritis. X-rays of the hips when dogs are young (under 2 years) can help identify if this problem is present will allow owners to identify a proper exercise, diet and treatment regimen if their dog is affected.

Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is an inherited congenital condition in which the collection of blood vessels that absorb scattered light and nourish the retina are underdeveloped. This mutation can result in other defects with more severe consequences, such as retinal detachment.  When this mutation occurs, it takes place in both eyes, although one eye may be more affected than the other. A genetic analysis can help determine if your Border collie has this condition, although there are no symptoms until the onset of blindness takes place and you notice there is something wrong. Consulting with your veterinarian during your dog's first six to eight weeks of life can help prevent retinal detachment from occurring. 

Hypothyroidism occurs when not enough thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland. A DNA test can identify carriers of this disorder of the thyroid gland. Dogs that test positive for CHG should not be bred.

Lens luxation occurs when structures that hold the ocular lens in position weaken or break, causing the lens to dislocate. This condition is more commonly diagnosed in terrier breeds. It is therefore important to watch for any signs of discomfort or change in appearance of your Norfolk terrier’s eye and call your veterinarian immediately if you see any changes. Surgical removal of the lens is the only effective treatment to alleviate pain and restore vision.

Osteochondritis dissecans is a disease of the cartilage that can affect various joints in a dog. The cartilage is damaged or grows abnormally, due to either trauma to the joint, genetics, rapid growth, hormone imbalances, or nutrition, causing great pain in the dog's joints. OCD may affect the shoulder, elbow, knee or hock, although the shoulder is most commonly affected. Discuss treatment options with your veterinarian.

Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a heart condition in which blood flows from the aorta into the pulmonary artery, and then to the lungs. This can lead to congestive heart failure. 

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an adult-onset condition which typically occurs between ages 4 and 10. Symptoms include night blindness leading to total blindness between the ages of three and five.

As with any pet, be sure to regularly consult a veterinarian for routine care and medical advice for your four-legged friend.

Fun Facts about Border Collies

  • Border collies make great search-and-rescue dogs. 
  • The top obedience dog in the U.S. is a black-and-white Border collie. 
  • The Border collie is one of the few breeds still used for his original purpose. • It is said that the Border collie has a way of “mesmerizing” livestock.