Sheep dogs, sheep herders or herding dogs. However you recognise them, the Border Collie is our energetic bundle of joy that we’re newly naming the taskmaster.
Border Collies originate from the Anglo-Scots, between the English and Scottish border. They were bred to herd and sure are good at it! Now known as the best herding dog in the world, our active friends are workaholics with a strong desire to keep people together. Popular for their good looks and medium size, they make for wonderful family dogs given that they have the freedom to do what they do best – run!
What does a Border collie look like?
Border Collies are often compared and confused with the Australian Shepherd breed of dog and have a life expectancy of 12-15 years. Whilst they are similar in looks, Border Collies have features that help you to tell the difference. Their bodies are longer than they are high, (male Collies averagely grow to 56cm tall with females at just 51cm. Their weight is also lighter than you may expect with males sitting at a healthy 13-21kg and females 13-19kg).
Their ears are upstanding with a tip over at the top. The cartilage in these hardens up once they reach around six months old.
You’ll find this popular dog breed in an array of colours including: black (with or without white), red and white, solid colour, bi-colour, tri-colour, merle and sable. The length of their coats varies depending on whether you have a short-haired and long-haired Border Collie. Their coats are doubled and straight haired, making them the average shedder. Brush often to minimise the shedding but keep a close eye on the basics (nail and ear care).
What are Border Collie dogs like?
Border Collie dogs have a natural lively nature. They are incredibly intelligent and their focus is next to none which makes them quick learners. In fact, they want to learn. They love to be challenged and given a job to do, if they are busy then they are happy! A bored Border Collie with little mental or physical stimulation can quickly become a destructive one. They are quick to excel in dog competitions and performance activities such as agility, obedience and flying disc competitions. You’ll often find them in the number one spot at these events!
This medium dog breed can also be protective. Their herding instincts make them wary of strangers and sensitive to sound, meaning they’re excellent watchdogs. Their herding traits involve an intense stare, creeping movements and gathering behaviour. Plenty of socialisation from a young age is important to prevent aggression towards those that are not necessarily a threat. Activities that are demanding and interesting as well as obedience training will help to keep your Border occupied and respectful.
In short, this wonderful dog breed’s traits include: active, high energy, quick learner, smart, agile.
If you’re an indoors and low-activity person, Border Collies are not the dog breed for you. They need social interaction, mental stimulation, physical activity and a high-energy individual to match their demands. Simply leaving this breed of dog to their own devices is out of the question. Doing so will leave you with a destructive and bored dog!
Are Border Collies prone to any diseases?
Whilst every dog has the ability obtain a disease throughout their life, Border Collies have a few that they are more prone to.
Hip and elbow dysplasia is the most common problem that a Border Collie has to deal with. This joint disease is mostly inherited from their parents. It is a condition where the hip socket doesn’t fully cover the ball portion of the connecting bone. Because of this, the joint is partially dislocated, causing wear to the joint over time. It often leads to arthritis. Osteochondritis Dissecans, (OCD) is another joint condition in which bone underneath the cartilage of a joint dies due to lack of blood flow, causing pain and hindering of joint motion.
Here at Petz Park, we know just how common joint problems really are. That’s why we formulated a joint product - Hip + Joint for Dogs – that is loved by thousands:
Collie eye anomaly and Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) are two eye diseases that these farm dogs may experience in their lives. Also genetically passed down, both can have serious effects. Whilst they are manageable or may not be progressive, they are important to know about from your breeder or rescue group upon deciding on your dog. We already know that the Border Collie is frighteningly smart and so adapting to these problems may seem like nothing to them. Ensuring they stay safe if experiencing either of these should be priority.
Epilepsy is another problem that is seen in our Border Collie friends and can usually be detected from an early age. It is another condition which is inherited and often seen in the form of seizures. Medication is used to manage this.
Border Collies are kind, excitable and free. They are suited to a country style of living or an active person. With the right care, nutrition and training, you’ll be well on your way to having a best friend for life.
And if you don’t mind being outsmarted by your dog every once in a while, then a Border Collie may well be the dog for you!