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Breed Border Collie
  • Breed Group
    Herding Group
  • Temperament
    Loyal, Intelligent, Energetic, Athletic
  • Personality
    • Height18-22 in
    • Weight30-55 lbs
    • Lifespan12-15 years
    • EnergyHigh
    • GroomingModerate
    • SheddingModerate

Border Collie

Border Collie Facts and Best Dog Food - NutriCanine

The Border Collie is a sheep-herding dog that emerged along the border between Scotland and England during the 1800s. The first notable dog of the type was named Old Hemp (1893-1901). He was extremely intelligent and a true master of sheep. Considered the foundation of the Border Collie breed, Old Hemp became a stud and fathered over 200 pups. Significant development of the Border Collie occurred in the 19th century when Queen Victoria took an instant liking to them during her stay at Balmoral Castle in the Highlands of Scotland. The Queen owned many dogs during her reign, but her favourite and constant companion was her Border Collie, Sharp.

Border Collies were eventually brought to other areas, including the ranches of Australia and New Zealand to help with sheep herding. Today, Border Collies are still used for working livestock on farms and ranches around the world.  Border Collies make great watch dogs and get along well with children and other pets they‚Äôre raised with. This breed also excels at agility sports with their speed, grace and natural athleticism. The Border Collie was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1995.

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Border Collie Appearance 

The Border Collie is a medium-sized herding dog with a strong, agile body. Border Collies can grow to be 18 to 22 inches tall and weigh 30-45 pounds. Those unfamiliar with the breeds can often mistake a Border Collie for an Australian Shepherd. However, Aussies are usually characterized by their heavier build and docked tails, while Border Collies tend to be thinner with a long, bushier tails. One of the Border Collie’s most famous features is their alert oval shaped eyes that come in shades of brown or blue.

Border Collie Temperament 

The Border Collie personality is characterized as energetic, smart, alert and hard-working. Border Collies have a natural herding instinct and are best suited for country-side living. Border Collies are sensitive dogs and very in-touch with their surroundings. From a whistle to a raised eyebrow, Border Collies have a natural ability to recognize and respond to visual, vocal and behavioral cues. This high sensitivity can cause some Border Collies to be anxious or fearful of loud noises.

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Grooming Your Border Collie

The Border Collie breed boasts two types of coat, rough or smooth. Their medium-length double-coat consists of a coarse overcoat and soft undercoat. The most common Border Collie colours are black and white. It’s pretty rare to see a Border Collie with one solid colour. Throughout the year, the Border Collie sheds a moderate amount. To keep the shedding under control, it’s recommended that you brush your Border Collie two to three times a week. This will ensure your Border Collie’s coat stays healthy and looking its best. Border Collies also need regular nail trimming, ear cleaning and dental care.

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Training & Exercise for Your Border Collie 

Your Border Collie puppy can begin training as soon as you bring them home. Early socialization is important to prevent shyness around strangers and encourage appropriate behaviour at home. As one of the smartest breeds, training comes easy to the Border Collie. When training your Border Collie, start with small, easy commands such as sit, stay and come. Once your Border Collie has mastered some of the basic behavioural techniques, it will be easier to progress to more complex commands. Border Collies respond well to treats as incentives and positive reinforcement. 

Border Collies require an ample amount of exercise and mental stimulation in order to be happy and healthy. Border Collies thrive in the farming lifestyle where they can run freely and herd to their heart's content. However, they can adapt to city living with an active owner and a securely fenced yard. Your Border Collie would love to accompany you on a run, bike ride or long hike. This breed also loves dog sports, especially agility and disc dog competitions.

Health Considerations for Border Collies 

The Border Collie is a generally healthy breed with a life span of 10-17 years. To ensure your Border Collie gets the most out of these years, it’s important to be aware of the common health issues this breed is prone to such as collie eye anomaly (CEA), hip dysplasia, epilepsy, osteochondrosis (OCD) and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

Collie eye anomaly (CEA)

Collie eye anomaly is an inherited disease specific to certain breeds like the Border Collie. This condition causes an abnormal development of the eye‚Äôs choroid. The choroid is a blood vessel layer between the sclera and retina. Its purpose is to provide oxygen and nutrients to the retina. Common symptoms to be aware of in your Border Collie include abnormally small eyeballs, sunken in eyeballs and signs of blindness.  The majority of Border Collies with this condition are only mildly affected; however, more severe cases can lead to vision loss. Although there is no treatment or cure for this disorder, responsible breeders are able to screen for the presence of the CEA gene.


Epilepsy is a neurological disease that’s often, but not always, inherited. Commonly found in Border Collies, this disorder affects the brain’s electric activity and can cause your Border Collie to suffer from epileptic seizures, which are brief bursts of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. An epileptic episode can typically last between one and several minutes. It's important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of seizures to get your Border Collie medical help as quickly as possible. Some common signs to look for include twitching, tremors, shaking and convulsions. Treatment might involve lifelong anti-seizure medication; however, this will help your Border Collie maintain a good quality of life. If your Border Collie is having a seizure, call an emergency vet and make sure they can’t injure themselves.

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia (CHD) is one of the most common canine ailments. It’s a genetic condition that causes an abnormal formation of the hip socket that can eventually lead to lameness and arthritis of the joints. This hereditary disease can be magnified by factors including excessive growth rate, age, types of exercise and improper weight and nutrition. While mild conditions can be managed with prescription medication and physical therapy, more severe cases could require surgery. To prevent or reduce the severity of hip dysplasia, it’s important to ensure your Border Collie gets a proper diet and the right amount of exercise.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) 

Osteochondrosis Dissecans is a joint disease that can develop in young, large-breed dogs including the Border Collie. This disorder causes the abnormal development of the cartilage in your Border Collies joints. Border Collies are most commonly affected in the elbows and shoulders. Symptoms to look out for in your Border Collie include swelling, tenderness, lameness and joint stiffness. It‚Äôs important to seek veterinary advice if your Border Collie shows any signs of this condition. Your vet will be able to recommend a proper treatment plan which may result in surgery or arthroscopy.  

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) 

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) occurs when the retina of a Border Collie’s eye starts to deteriorate. Some dogs may experience total blindness, while others remain unaffected but can be carriers of the gene. There is currently no treatment that can cure this disease; however, you can learn to spot the signs early to ensure your Border Collie continues to live a fulfilling life. Some common signs to look for include night blindness, bumping into objects and inability to follow hand signals/commands.

It’s important to monitor your Border Collie’s vision to detect various eye conditions early on, especially in the first years of their life. It’s recommended that you have your Border Collie’s eyes checked by your vet on a regular basis.

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What Makes a Border Collie Unique? 

No1. Smartest dog breed

Known as the brainiacs of the canine world, Border Collies are ranked the number one most intelligent breed. Their instinctive intelligence is required in herding sheep and easily translates to other tasks such as agility training. Border Collies are capable of learning a remarkable number of tricks and commands. These dogs need to be mentally stimulated and are happiest when they have a job to do. 

Their name comes from their home region   

The Border Collie‚Äôs name derives from their original stomping grounds. The breed originated on the ‚Äúborder‚ÄĚ of Scotland and England and the name ‚Äúcollie‚ÄĚ is a Scottish word commonly used to describe sheepdogs.

Border Collies have an intense ‚Äúeye‚ÄĚ

A technique Border Collies use to herd sheep is referred to as ‚Äúthe eye.‚ÄĚ A hypnotic stare they employ to intimidate and control livestock. You may also see your Border Collie use ‚Äúthe eye‚ÄĚ when they want something from you, such as food or attention. 

Canine Book of World Records

As a result of their exceptional intelligence and trainability, many Border Collies have broken various world records. A Border Collie named Striker holds the world record for being the fastest dog to open a car window. He did so in 11.34 seconds using his paw and nose. Another Border Collie named Chaser has been taught to identify over 1,000 objects.

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Why NutriCanine Is Great For Border Collies

Top 10 Facts About Border Collies

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