Friday, August 9, 2013

Meet the breed: Border Collie

 The Border Collie is a herding breed. They are really energetic, fun little guys and girls!

Adult male height tends to be about 20 inches. The females tend to be slightly shorter. Adult male healthy weight tends to be about 40 pounds and the females tend to be slightly lighter.

There are varieties with short coats and varieties with longer coats.

The colors are quite varied. I believe this is a complete color list:

  •  black and white
  • tricolor
  • red and white
  • black and gray
  •  yellow
  •  yellow and white
  •  sable
  • all black

In my experience, this breed generally seems to be very eager to learn. They are extremely high energy dogs. They really excel in agility. They usually really love playing fetch with a ball, Frisbee, stick, etc.

Ironically, for such a high energy breed, I have found that many of these guys are sort of shy and timid. This is mostly true of puppies. Proper socialization is very important at an early age.

 As with most of the herding dogs, it is important to begin training as early as you can

Because of their instinctual herding nature, you have to sometimes stop unwanted herding behavior early. Many of these guys tend to nip at your heels when you are playing and they sometimes try to herd people as they would livestock. This behavior can be successfully addressed, but it is much easier to deal with it in puppy-hood than later in life.

I can not over stress that these guys/girls need a lot of mental and physical exercise. I mean several hours per day if possible. If you do not have that sort of time to put into a dog, the Border Collie is probably not a good fit for your pack.

Like most dogs, if the Border Collie does not get enough stimulation through exercise, he can become pretty destructive around the house. Many people get frustrated with Border Collies for this issue. Quite a few of these guys end up at shelters because their people simply did not take the time to work with them. These dogs, like all high energy breeds, need to work!

It is not nearly sufficient to simply walk these dogs a few minutes a day. They need more physical exercise and a lot of it should be interactive with the people. You can not just let these dogs loose in the back yard for a while and expect that to be sufficient mental and physical stimulation.

Please understand, I am not suggesting that the Border Collie does not need to walked on a leash. Quite the opposite is true! You should go for a brisk walk at least two or maybe three times a day with these guys in addition to the other exercise. The on-leash walking , in my opinion, reinforces the human/dog bond with these guys and for that reason I think it is essential!

These dogs are really cool because generally, their main desire is to please their people. They really bond closely with people in general and the people in their home in particular.

The Border Collie also has a quite remarkable stamina. This is part of the reason they require so much work and exercise. I tell people that when training a dog, most dogs are only good for about 15 minutes at a time of working on commands and behaviors. Most dogs lose focus quickly after about 15 minutes and further work is frustrating and counterproductive. My experience has been that Border Collies however, in general, can work on training much longer than that without losing focus.

There are a few health problems to which the Border Collie is more susceptible than are other breeds. The following is a list of the one of which I am aware:

  • epilepsy
  • hip dysplasia
  • PRA (Collie Eye Anomaly) 
  • deafness
  • allergies to fleas occurs more often in the Border Collie than in most other breeds.

The Border Collie can be crate trained. Although he must have interaction with people more often than most other breeds. I would not leave a Border Collie in a crate or any sort of confined space for extended periods of time. Much like our friend the Beagle, the Border Collie can be quite the escape artist!

An interesting bit of trivia about the ancestry of this remarkable breed: The Border Collie is rumored to have descended from dogs that the Vikings used to herd Reindeer. So, if you need a good Reindeer herder in your pack, this breed may be a perfect addition!

However, the Border Collie is probably not the best choice for apartment dwellers due to the amount of exercise that they require.

Because they are so eager to learn, they can make great service dogs!

If you want an energetic, eager and fun little guy in your pack, the Border Collie is very much worth considering. If you have the time to spend working with these guys they make very loyal, intelligent, and eager companions!

As always, please consider adoption when adding a new member to your pack! Also consider an adult or senior dog, these guys need forever homes too and they make great additions to your pack!

If you have questions about rescue groups in your area from which to adopt, please contact me. Also contact me with your general dog and dog training needs at any time!

Till Next Time


William Moore
William Moore Canine Training


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