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Border Collie

15 September 2023

Let’s talk about… Border Collies: what are they?

  • Border Collies are highly intelligent and energetic dogs that originated in the border regions between Scotland and England.
  • They were initially bred for herding livestock, particularly sheep, and are known for their exceptional herding instincts and abilities.
  • Border Collies are often regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds and have been recognized for their problem-solving abilities and trainability.
  • Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with a well-balanced and athletic build.
  • They have a dense double coat that comes in various colours and patterns, including black and white, red and white, and tri-color.
  • Males typically stand at a height of 48-56 cm and weigh between 14-20 kg, while females are slightly smaller, standing at a height of 46-53 cm and weighing between 12-19 kg.
  • The average life expectancy of Border Collies is around 12-15 years.
Border Collie  Exercise Needs 5/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Border Collies like?

  • Border Collies are known for their high energy levels, intelligence, and intense focus.
  • They are extremely loyal, responsive, and eager to please their owners.
  • These dogs have a strong work ethic and thrive in environments where they have a job to do or are given mentally stimulating activities.
  • They are often described as sensitive and can be responsive to subtle cues and commands.
  • Border Collies are generally good with families, including children and other pets, but their herding instincts may lead them to nip at heels or attempt to herd running children or animals.
  • Proper socialisation from a young age is crucial to help them understand appropriate behaviour and reduce any tendencies to chase or nip.
Dora, the Border Collie
Dora, the Border Collie

How much exercise do Border Collies need?

  • Border Collies are one of the most active dog breeds and require a significant amount of exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • They need at least 2-3 hours of vigorous exercise every day to fulfil their energy requirements.
  • This can include activities such as running, playing fetch, participating in dog sports like agility or flyball, or even herding activities if available.
  • It's important to note that Border Collies thrive on mental stimulation as well.
  • Engaging them in training sessions, puzzle toys, or interactive games can help fulfil their intellectual needs.
  • Providing them with tasks or jobs to do, such as learning new tricks or obedience training, can also help channel their intelligence and energy in a positive way.
Jasper, the Border Collie
Jasper, the Border Collie

Do Border Collies need a lot of grooming?

  • Border Collies have a dense double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition.
  • They shed moderately throughout the year and experience heavier shedding during seasonal coat changes.
  • Brushing their coat at least once or twice a week will help remove loose hair and prevent matting.
  • During shedding seasons, more frequent brushing may be necessary to manage the increased amount of loose hair.
  • Bathing should be done as needed or when they get particularly dirty, using a mild dog shampoo or as advised by your vet.
  • Additionally, Border Collies may benefit from regular professional grooming to maintain a neat and tidy appearance.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Peanut, the Border Collie
Peanut, the Border Collie

Are Border Collies easy to train?

  • Border Collies are highly trainable dogs and excel in various training activities.
  • Their intelligence, willingness to please, and ability to focus make them quick learners. They thrive on mental stimulation and enjoy the challenges of training sessions.
  • Consistency, positive reinforcement, and reward-based training methods work best with Border Collies. They respond well to praise, treats, and play as motivation.
  • Early socialisation is essential to expose them to different people, animals, and environments, helping them develop into well-rounded and confident dogs.
  • It's important to note that training should start from an early age to establish good behaviours and prevent any potential herding instincts from becoming problematic.
  • Border Collies enjoy having a job to do, so providing them with tasks or participating in dog sports and activities can be a great way to engage their minds and keep them mentally fulfilled.
Rocky, the Border Collie
Rocky, the Border Collie

What do Border Collies eat?

  • A well-balanced and high-quality dog food is essential to meet the nutritional needs of Border Collies.
  • Their diet should be appropriate for their age, size, and activity level. Consult with your vet to determine the appropriate amount and type of food for your Border Collie.
  • For Border Collie puppies, it's important to feed them a puppy-specific diet formulated to support their growth and development.
  • Puppies typically require more frequent feeding and a higher calorie intake compared to adult dogs. Most puppies need fed 3-4 times a day until they are 6 months old when it can be reduced to twice daily
  • As they mature, their dietary needs will change, and they can transition to adult dog food around 12-18 months of age.
  • It's crucial to monitor their weight and adjust their portions accordingly to prevent obesity.

Are Border Collies healthy?

Border Collies are generally a healthy breed, but like any dog, they can be prone to certain health issues. Some of the health concerns that may affect Border Collies include:

Bones and Joints

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort and arthritis


  • Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) - A hereditary eye condition that can lead to visual impairment or blindness.
  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye


  • Deafness - the same as humans, an inability to hear

Multidrug Resistance (MDR1) - increased sensitivity to some medications


  • Epilepsy - A condition of the brain that causes dogs to have fits
  • Sensory Neuropathy (SN) – a nerve disease that affects mobility.

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have any concerns about the health of your dog or want to discuss further if a Border Collie is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Border Collies

BorrowMyDoggy has 15849 Border Collie members

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

Collie Dog Breeds

Bearded Collie

Border Collie

Rough Collie

Smooth Collie

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