The Border Collie is a medium-sized and energetic dog with a great work ethic that originated from Northumberland which is at the border between England and Scotland.
He is also considered to be the smartest dog breed in the world.
This dog has a great ability to impose his will on sheep which also makes him one of the best sheepdog. However, due to this and his high intelligence, he may also try to impose his will on you as an owner.
There is more to this smart and energetic doggie has to offer.
Most of which we are going to look at in this article and much more.
So, why don’t we get right into it?
About the Border Collie
This dog is famously known for being the premier herder with “the eye“, an intense gaze, which he uses to control sheep.
Even today, he is still used around the world mainly as a sheepdog.
This canine is not suitable for all families, especially those that do not understand him.
Collies are not couch potato dogs and they are happiest when they are given a job to do with high physical and mental stimulation needs.
Also being a herding dog, he may try to control and flock other animals that may be in the house with strong instincts to bark, nip, and even nudge.
With all that said, when he gets the right owner that understands his needs, this is a great canine to live with.
He is also very trainable but can be sensitive.
With proper training, socialization, and care this pooch can easily adapt to any type of living situation.
So, what is the story behind this incredible dog breed?
History and origin of this dog breed
Border Collies originated from a place known as Northumberland which is at the border between England and Scotland.
They were bred for the sole purpose of herding livestock and would often herd the sheep all by themselves for miles. Borders could do this because they could think independently and could run for miles in the hilly area.
The name Border Collie came from the fact that they were bred in a place that was on the Anglo Scottish border.
They are believed to have originated from the Old Hemp a tri-color dog that was bred by Adam Telfer.
The Old Hemp was often used by shepherds as he was well known as the best herding dog around.
With the term, Border Collie, being first used in 1915 Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society James Reid. The dog was named to separate the dog from already existing Collies.
At the royal castle Balmoral, Queen Victoria fell in love with a Collie.
This is the point that made a difference between Border Collies and the Collies that we know today.
They only became popular in the late 10th century when they were presented to the first official sheepdog trial placed in Bala, Wales.
People started adopting Border collies after they started becoming famous for their intelligence and drive to work with humans. Since then this dog has been used in shows and working lines.
BC pros and cons
✓ These dogs are extremely hardworking and loyal.
✔ They are very brilliant, which makes them highly trainable.
✓ Welsh Sheepdogs make a great partner for active people with their love for sports and other activities.
✘ If they are not well stimulated, these canines can get extremely successful.
✗ These dogs are not suitable for apartment living mainly because of their high energy.
✘ They are unsuitable for homes with small children due to their strong herding instincts.
General Characteristics and appearance of the Border Collie
|Border Collie summary table|
|Height||Male: 19-22 inches, Female: 18-21 inches|
|Suitable For||Experienced and active dog owners|
|Color Variations||Black with or without white, red and white, solid color, bi-color, tri-color, merle, sable|
|Health concerns||Pannus, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, and Lens Luxation|
|Temperament||Tenacious, Loyal, Alert, Energetic, Responsive, Intelligent and can be destructive when they are bored|
|Other names||Scotch Sheepdog, Welsh Sheepdog, Highland Collie|
Height and weight
Border collies look like a lightweight version of the Aussie but have a feathered tail that reaches the hocks.
Male Borders stand at up to 22 inches tall and weigh at an average of 45 pounds(20kgs).
Females are up to 21 inches tall and have an average weight of 42 pounds(19kgs).
The Collie’s physical appearance
The Highland Collie is a muscular, athletic, and well-balanced dog.
These dogs have medium-sized and alert ears that can be erect or even semi-erect.
Their oval eyes are set well apart, with an alert expression and can come in several colors that include;
Some may also have heterochromia a condition that makes them have two different colored eyes. However, this mainly occurs in BCs that have a merle coat.
Their muzzles should be the same length as their skulls with noses that usually have colors that match those of the coat.
Coat appearance and shedding
The Welsh Sheepdog has can come in a coat that can either be smooth or rough with several colors and color combinations that include;
|Cream||Black and white||Blue|
They shed throughout the year and blow their coat during the spring and fall season.
Border Collies shed a lot due to their long double coats that protect them from the harsh conditions during herding.
Temperament and personality traits
Due to their nature, Border Collies will herd anything from you to the kids, other pets, and also any items that you may have dropped. This why keeping him busy is worthwhile.
They form tight bonds with family members and want to be with them at any given time. He will also tend to follow you everywhere you go even in the bathroom.
These dogs learn very quickly and you may have to come up with different ways to keep them involved.
He can master even the little clues from a snap to a whistle.
You have to keep in mind that this dog was bred to keep on running and herd. He is not a dog to lie on the couch and wait for treats.
The good thing with this is that it makes him easy to train and excels in top dog competitions something that you can be proud of.
Highland Collies love to stay focused and can do it like it is nobody’s business and the ‘eye’ is a measure of how much a Border Collie can stare.
This hypnotic stare compels sheep to move and turn.
That means that nothing can stop him from getting you to do what he wants apart from proper training.
|Ease of care||
Living with other animals
Being a herding dog, the Welsh Sheepdog tends to get along with other animals.
The only question is whether other animals enjoy having this dog around as he tries to take care of them.
Some cats can live with the BC while others will not tolerate being watched and herd all the time.
These pooches don’t like closed spaces, and keeping them in an apartment would not be an excellent idea. They tend to be annoying when living in apartments as they are very destructive.
You may ask how destructive they are. Well, you have to multiply the destructiveness of an average by 10. So, start training you BC from the time you get him no matter how young. Even young Border Collies tend to learn quickly.
Frequently asked questions
Do Border Collies bark a lot?
Think of it as a way of speaking and Collies likes to talk about what they see. This simply means that they tend to bark a lot. They will bark at anything that moves quickly but there is a simple solution for this. Reinforce your training by requesting someone to come by the door. Do something that will initiate your dog’s barking. After that try to distract the dog by asking him to sit. If he obeys give him the treat to show him your appreciation.
Is the Border Collie a great family dog?
The Border Collie is a people-oriented dog but he is not easy going may not be suitable for all families. These dogs are best suited for active families that can understand and take care of their energy needs.
Caring and Grooming a Border Collie
Border Collie has a double coat with the topcoat being longer than the undercoat and should be groomed every regularly.
Frequent grooming should be increased during the heavy shedding seasons.
The process of taking care of the dog’s coat should be done as follow;
- Brush the whole coat before grooming.
- Remove mats using a mat splitter. For thick mats use an electric hair-splitter.
- Use scissors to remove extra hair on the feet. Collies are extremely sensitive to their feet being touched. So, care should be taken when you are doing this.
- The hair around the ear should be trimmed. Ear cleaning should be done by a professional.
- The hair on the dog’s tail is the main culprit to matting. The hair around it should thus be trimmed more often as it tends to grow faster.
Take note: Never shave your Border Collie. Shaving it may change the way the hair grows back but it grows back. It may also not be suited for your dog during the cold season.
For the eyes, you will need to remove any foreign matter and keep them moist.
You will also need paw balm to keep their paws pliable, soft and prevent them from drying.
Feeding a Welsh Sheepdog
Border Collies have high energy requirements something that should be considered while feeding them.
You will have to feed it on high-quality food that has a good calorific value and is high on protein. Remember that protein is very important for your dogs’ growth no matter the breed.
So how much calories do they require?
- For a senior dog that is less active, that might amount to 700 calories a day.
- Active Collies that engage in active sports every day might need 900-1000 calories per day.
- Herding Collies need about 1400 calories of food daily.
Most people feed their dogs on kibble. To sum this up in terms of how much Kibble, you would need 1.5 to 2 cups of kibble as a starting point for your Colie.
If your feeding your dog on kibble that is very high on calories you would need less.
To maintain a Collie’s bones kibble that is high on chondroitin and glucosamine is required.
To get that shiny coat that you all love, get a formula that has Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids help control arthritis pain and inflammation in older Collies.
Water will also help to keep your dog hydrated.
Feeding Border Collie puppies
Pups have a small stomach and half a cup to one cup of food may be enough for them per day.
During their rapid growth phase(about 2 and a half to 8 months of age) feed your pup with a high-calorie meal to keep up with the fast growth.
Overfeeding or free feeding your Border Collie puppy would not be a great idea. Keep a meal schedule and we would recommend feeding the puppy twice a day.
This prevents your dog from becoming obese and developing bone issues.
The time will come when you will need to switch from puppy food to adult food and your Border Collies will tend to show less interest in the food that you are introducing.
This when the dog is about 80% of the adult size. It is usually about 12 months for Border Collies. This can be done by making it a gradual process.
Introduce your Collie to adult food by mixing both meals in an equal proportion. You will need to do this over a week or so.
If you are feeding the dog on dry food make sure that there is a lot of water to help indigestion. All dog lovers know that water is very important for dogs’ health.
Training for a Border Collie
As we mentioned before you need to properly train your BC to live with him smoothly but he learns things quickly.
Don’t mistake this with being easy to train. Just as quickly as they learn good habits they can also pick up bad habits.
It is necessary if you train your dog proper habits from the start to prevent them from having some bad behavior. This means using positive reinforcement to effectively train him.
It would be best if you started training when the dog is still a puppy.
The most reprimanding thing that you can do with a Border Collie is scolding him and ignoring for some time.
This breed thrives on attention and will learn very fast that bad habits will take away his social time.
The first thing is to ensure that the dog understands the house routine. The next thing would be the basic sit and stay commands before which you will also have to toilet train your dog.
Some difficult tricks should wait until the dog is much older.
You should also stick to a training routine.
Tips to follow during training
- Try to keep your dog’s attention on the training task that is at hand.
- The best time to train your Highland Collie is when the dogs’ mood is high.
- You should be consistent with the process of training your dog.
- Take time to teach the dog a specific trick or command to make sure that he has grasped it.
- Encourage and affirm the dog a lot.
- You don’t have to force them to learn things as they like it.
Do the research and understand how dogs think. This way you will be able to learn new techniques on how to deal with your dog even during training. Visit websites that are dedicated to this dog breed.
We all want a dog that can interact with other people and other dogs. Do this by socializing your dog and investing enough time into training the dog.
Exercise with the dog a lot. This will not only help your dog but also benefit you as far as your health is concerned. 20-30 minutes of running would be great and doable even with a busy schedule.
Keep the training as simple as it can be. Use simple terminologies like “sit” instead of “sit down.” Start with the simple tricks to the harder ones.
Have patience for all times sake as dogs are very sensitive to their owners’ moods. Use a calm voice other than shouting at your dog. Win your dogs’ trust and don’t let them sense your frustration.
Stick to one trainer. This makes training very easy as Border Collies are used to having one master. Choose someone in your family that will be in charge of training your dog.
Don’t forget that this is a herding dog. Train your Border Collie to control his herding instincts.
A well-bred Collie is less likely to inherit any health issues. However, this dog is also susceptible to some health issues that include;
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
- Lens Luxation
Facts about the Border collie
- Collie is a Scottish word that is used to describe sheepdogs including the Border Collie.
- The Border Collie was first classified as the Scotch Sheep Dog.
- A Border Collie was featured in the movie “Babe.” This movie was about a pig learning to herd sheep from a Border that was named Fly.
- Poet Laureate of Scotland, Robert Burns described the Border Collie as a faithful and honest dog.
- Queen Victoria in the 19th century saw a Border Collie and became an active enthusiast. This was the point where the divergence of the Collie and the modern Border Collie began.
- Border Collies are considered to be descendants of the Old Hemp.
- They are simply geniuses.
- Border Collies learn quickly but they are easy to train.
- A Collie named Striker holds the record for the fastest dog to open a car window.
Other Collie types
Apart from the Border Collie there also other types of recognized Collies.
1. The Collie
When you mention the Collie People tend to think about the classic Collie Lassie.
This dog posses a long rough coat while the smooth-coated type has short hair. Both of them come in white and sable. Full-grown Collies are 22-23 inches at the shoulder with males being larger than females.
They have a brave, intelligent, and loyal temperament. Well on Tv they are also able to save fallen kids.
2. Bearded Collie
Also known as the Highland Collie this dog gets his name from his appearance due to their appearance which is, of course, a beard.
They range from 22-23 inches at the shoulder.
The color of a puppy’s coat may change as it grows. Adult beardies may range from dark gray, light gray, or brown with white. These dogs have double coats so they need regular grooming.
They also require a good amount of exercise.
3. Shetland Sheepdog
This dog is often called the miniature Collie. He resembles a rough-coated Collie.
This dog originates from Scotland Shetlands Islands where due to the harsh conditions the animals there became diminutive like the Shetland pony.
They average 13-16 inches at the shoulder and is a very smart and loyal dog.
So, if you like a Collie and have a small space this dog may be ideal for you but still needs regular exercise. He is also shy to strangers.
The Border Collie is a high energy, athletic, and alert dog breed that is happiest when he is given a task.
They are very intelligent and highly trainable with strong herding instincts.
Unfortunately, these heading instincts also mean that they are most likely to chase after any moving objects such as vehicles and other animals.
They have high exercise needs and can be destructive if their needs are not met.
There you go WOOOFFF!!