Border Collie Dog Breed Caring and Family, Social Life, Physical Traits, Diet Information

Border Collies

Border Collies are the perfect example of work-hard-play-hard canine companions, and part of the herding breed group. These Collies are born herders, and their herding skills remained a part of them, even if they are no longer working dogs. They will herd other pets, your children, and if they can get out, they’d even try to herd neighborhood kids on their bicycles. The Border Collie breed, or BC for short, is considered one of the smartest dog breeds.

Border Collie males typically weigh between 30 and 45 pounds and stand between 18 and 24 inches at the shoulder. In turn, females weigh slightly less, at 26 to 45 pounds, and they stand between 18 and 21 inches high. The lifespan of the Border Collies is 10 to 17 years, and they have 4 to 8 puppies per litter.

The Border Collie is an energetic dog with excellent watchdog skills that will alert you to the arrival of the letter carrier, a burglar, or a squirrel. Some can become nuisance barkers, so it’s up to the owner to teach the BC the difference between real threats and non-threats.

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What are the Breed Traits and Characteristics of Border Collies?

They are overachievers that come with plenty more skills than herding on their resume, including running, and search and rescue activities. They’re energetic workaholics who love having a job to do. Whether it is joining their doggy dad jogging or hiking, or playing flyball, fetch, or Frisbee with the kids in the backyard, they’re equally committed. True go-getters, Border Collies excel in many roles, but being your canine companion just may just be their greatest role yet.

Border Collies are fiercely loyal to their people, and this protectiveness can potentially lead to aggression around strangers or other dogs. On top of that, their intelligence can give them an “I know best” attitude, and they may appoint themselves Park Ranger at the dog park to make sure other dogs stay in line, which may not be appreciated. For those reasons, a Border Collie needs to be well-trained as a puppy to be primed for playing nicely with others.

How Does the Border Collie Interact with Family?

Do you have the time to spend with your Border Collie? Border Collies require strenuous activity in their daily lives. Before you bring home one of these animals, you have to consider whether you have the time, patience, and energy to deal with their temperament. They are exceptional family dogs, with a lot of love to give, but they require a whole lot in return.

Border Collie’s are such a high-energy breed, they can get carried away outdoors. They require a safe, secure fenced-in yard, and a strong harness whenever you take your BC out for walks. They have incredible speed and can get away from you at a moment’s notice.

Do you have a suitable living space? A Border Collie, especially a puppy, might not fare well in an apartment setting. They require lots of space to roam and explore. Apartments or cramped living conditions often aren’t suitable for the breed.

Border Collies thrive in homes where they have work and physical activity, so they require a specific purpose to stay content. If this isn’t fulfilled, they become restless, anxious, and sometimes resentful due to pent-up energy and boredom. That being said, this is an ideal family pet for very busy individuals and families that enjoy hiking, biking, jogging, and other physical activities, preferably outdoors.

How Does the Border Collie Interact with Other Dogs?

The Border Collie breed is known for its bold personality. This is why they find it hard to get along with other canines. Still, it doesn’t mean that your dog is a lost cause. Many Border Collies can thrive with a companion dog, but you have to be very careful with the breed. Moreover, proper socialization, training, and introduction to other dogs are important to help a Border Collie adjust to a multi-canine household.

How are Border Collies with Older People?

Even if you’re in good shape, don’t underestimate how much exercise it may take to keep your dog happy and healthy. Border Collies require plenty of exercise, and they don’t like walking—they prefer jogging.  Despite their loyalty and affection, Border Collies can be too much for older people. Especially those who live in apartments.

How are Border Collies with Children?

The breed’s tendency to herd by nipping and nudging may make them less ideal for very small children, who may appear more like wayward sheep to this herding dog. But border collies can be trained to act properly around children. Older, gentle kids can do quite well with the breed. Pet owners must socialize both dogs and children to teach them how to deal with each other.

How are Border Collies with Strangers, Neighbors, and Guests?

Border Collies, as a breed, are wary of people apart from their human family. If they are familiar with neighbors and frequent visitors or guests, they will likely accept their presence. Nevertheless, Border Collie owners must remain alert for red flags that might show signs of aggression building up. Most Border Collies will take their cues from their owners. If the dog owner welcomes guests or strangers, they will do the same.

Border Collies are innately protective dogs. They will not hesitate to let strangers know they are not welcome on your property unless you approve it. Though they are not known for aggression, they can appear quite intimidating. However, early socializing and manners training is crucial to keep their more protective instincts in check.

What are the Physical Traits of the Border Collie?

The Border Collie is a well-balanced, medium-sized dog with an athletic and muscular appearance. They are an extremely intelligent breed, with a keen and alert expression. The breed comes in two coat types, rough and smooth coat.

The smooth coats are shorter than the rough coats. Both rough and smooth-coated dogs have soft, double coats. These Collies have beautiful fur that comes in many colors and patterns. They can be solid, bicolor, tricolor, or merle. The most common color pattern found in this attractive dog is a combination of black and white. 

Their nose color usually matches the main color of their fur. They have a wide, flat skull and their muzzle is the same length as the skull. Dogs with the merle pattern sometimes have two different colored eyes.  Their oval eyes are set well apart.

The teeth of the Border Collie should meet in a neat scissors bite; they should have no over or under bites. The ears of this alert canine are medium-sized, set apart, and may be carried erect or semi-erect.  When the ears are held semi-erect, the tips may fold forward.

Their muzzle is strong, tapering slightly to the nose. They have a moderately long tail. When they are happily working, the tail is set low with a slight upward swirl. Their paws are oval with deep and strong pads, and the toes are somewhat arched and close together.

How to Feed a Border Collie?

Your Border Collie’s adult size determines its dietary needs through all life stages. Thus, base your pooch’s diet on a medium breed’s unique nutritional and digestive needs. Different life stages bring different nutritional needs. Most dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large, giant, and even toy breeds. 

It is always a good idea to discuss your dog’s dietary requirements with your vet. That can prepare you to deal with age-related issues as your Border Collie grows. A veterinarian can advise on diets, portion sizes, meal frequencies, and all nutrition matters. That could ensure your furry friend lives a long life with optimal health. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and the list below shows some essential nutrients for Border Collies.

  • Protein
  • Fatty acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

Avoid feeding your Border Collie from the table; all it does is add weight. Instead, follow the advice below to ensure your furry friend’s optimal health.

How Much Food Does Your Border Collie Need

Despite the Border Collie’s medium size and thick fur coat, it is an agile, athletic breed. They need food containing animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy. Add to that, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness. A dog of this size, activity level, and demeanor will thrive best on premium dry food because this food type contains balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients.

Your Border Collie’s daily portion depends on life stage, health, metabolism, activity level, and the brand and formula of food. Feed your Border Collie food formulated for a medium breed with recipes for puppies, adults, and seniors. Some brands off formulas for all life stages.

Border Collies’ daily cups of food should be spread over 2 to 3 meals per day. Feeding Border Collies several meals instead of one meal per day can prevent life-threatening bloat. However, fresh drinking water must always be available for your furry friend. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian. 

Recommended premium food specially formulated for breeds like Border Collies. 

The best dry dog food for Border Collies is

ACANA Grasslands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food

Feed your furry friend a nutritious meal that is delicious and full of protein with ACANA Grasslands Grain-Free Dry Dog Food. This recipe is formulated with 70% animal ingredients including grass-fed lamb, duck, cage-free eggs, quail, and rainbow trout, plus 30% fruits, vegetables, and botanicals. There are also added vitamins, minerals, natural preservatives and probiotics, and zero artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives! ACANA always uses premium ingredients from a curated group of trusted farmers, ranchers, and fishers, and every batch of food is made in their state-of-the-art Kentucky kitchen.

Below is a list of the benefits offered by the ACANA range of Dry Dog Food formulas:

  • Protein-Packed: Responsibly sourced real meat and meat meal meal, containing almost 300% more protein than fresh meat, is the first ingredient. The recipes contain loads of animal protein for strong, lean muscles in medium to large-breed dogs.
  • Omegas 3 and 6: Naturally occurring omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids support skin and coat health. And glucosamine and chondroitin help maintain healthy hip and joint function. It will support all your dog’s adventures to keep your canine companion running healthy for many years.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruits help support immune health.

When Border Collies are healthy and active, every day is an adventure. That’s why ACANA Dry Dog Food formulas contain everything dogs need to thrive, starting with real protein as the first ingredient.

How Much Should a Border Collie Puppy Eat? 

The Border Collie is a medium breed whose puppies need high-quality puppy food formulated for a medium-breed dog. It is essential to divide puppies’ food into several smaller portions to feed puppies throughout the day. From three to six months, Border Collie puppies can eat three meals per day. From six months onward, Border Collies can have two meals per day, to avoid bloat, which could be life-threatening. Only high-quality and branded puppy food is acceptable. Below are tips and guidance for feeding puppies.

  • Border Collie puppies require slow, sustained growth to help prevent orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Raise them on diets designed for medium-breed puppies. Whatever diet you choose shouldn’t overemphasize protein, fat, and calorie levels.
  • Border Collies should be fed according to a schedule, spreading meal times two or three times per day. Getting puppies accustomed to meals at specific times is better than leaving food out to allow feeding through the day.
  • The exceptions are Border Collies with medical conditions like hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. They need to nibble bits of food throughout the day.
  • Never feed your puppy from the table. It only encourages begging. Everyone in the family must follow this rule.

What are the Health Tests that Border Collies Should Take?

Border Collies can be affected by several genetic health issues. Not all of these conditions are detectable in a growing puppy. It can be hard to predict whether an animal will be free of these disorders. Hence, it is important to find a reputable breeder committed to breeding the healthiest animals possible.

Border Collie Society of America (BCSA), is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States. It participates in the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Program. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC’s website to see if a breeder’s dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with independent health certification. This must show proof of the health of the parents, grandparents, etc. of the dog. Certification shows that screening took place for genetic defects and that the breeding pair is healthy for breeding. Having the dog’s vet checked is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

CHIC certification is a good indicator that the breeder responsibly factors good health into their selection criteria. The breed-specific list below represents the basic health screening recommendations, and it is not all-encompassing.

The BCSA Board of Directors strongly recommends that all Border Collie Breeders

commit to screening their dogs for the following:

Dogs should be identified by microchip and results recorded at OFA and/or CHIC


Recommended Health Tests From the BCSA Board of Directors:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Hip – Evaluation from OFA, AVCO, or PennHip after 24 months of age
  • Eyes – Examination by Board Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist, annually until age 7
  • Additional tests: General Health Check, including Heart, Vaccines, Fleas, and Worms

What are the common health problems of Border Collies?

All dogs could develop genetic health concerns, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. The Border Collie has some health conditions that can be a concern. However, even healthy Border Collies should have regular veterinarian checkups.

Robust with genes designed for working into retirement, the Border Collie has a healthy life expectancy that can go well into the teens. That said, there are some health issues that Border Collies may be more prone to having. Knowing about these issues can help you and your vet keep an eye out for problems, practice preventative care and help keep your Border Collie healthy longer. Owners should ensure the following list of health conditions are monitored throughout the dog’s life.

Hip Dysplasia:

  • Hip dysplasia occurs when the ball and socket of the hip bone don’t properly fit. It can be an inherited condition that manifests due to poor nutrition or lack of exercise and can result in pain and loss of mobility. Hip dysplasia can be managed with diet, joint supplements, physical therapy, and medication. Severe cases of hip dysplasia may need to be fixed through surgery, including a hip replacement.


  • Epilepsy, or a seizure condition, may manifest in young adulthood (around 2 years old or older). Seizures can range from mild to severe. Anti-seizure medication may help, and some dogs may only have one seizure in their lifetime. Other dogs may have multiple seizures that interfere with their quality of life. Epilepsy may be inherited, so knowing your dog’s parents’ medical history can be helpful.

Eye Abnormality

  • Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a congenital eye problem, which means your Border Collie was born with the disease. The disease can be diagnosed with an eye exam when your dog is a puppy, but one symptom seen by the naked eye is cloudy, sunken eyeballs. There is no cure for CEA, but a genetic test of potential dog parents can ensure that dogs are not bred with CEA.

Collapsing After Exercise

  • Induced Border Collie Collapse (BCC) is when an apparently healthy Border Collie becomes dazed, disoriented, or confused during or after intense exercise. Unlike the name, the Border Collie won’t collapse but may seem “out of it” for 20 or so minutes. It’s unclear why this happens, although heat may be a factor.

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)

  • TNS is a common fatal genetic autosomal disorder that has only been found in Border Collies. With this condition, the bone marrow produces the neutrophils normally, but they are not transferred to the blood where they are needed to fight illnesses. In other words, the neutrophils are trapped, which is where the condition got its name. With such a low immune system, the puppy usually does not make it through his first year of life.

Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis better (NCL)

  • NCL is an inherited disease often referred to as Storage disease. It is a rare disease that affects your Border Collie’s nerve cells when the build-up of waste products in the brain starts manifesting themselves as symptoms in your dog at around 18 months old.

Congenital Sensorineural Deafness (CSD)

  • CSD occurs in Border Collies, but its prevalence and inheritance are unknown. This study estimated the prevalence of CSD in Border Collies, and investigated its association with phenotypic attributes linked to the merle gene, including coat pigmentation and iris color. Deafness in Border Collies is associated with pigmentation patterns linked to the merle gene.

Border Collies may be affected by various other health problems, including hypothyroidism, cancer, and noncancerous growths. Call your vet if you see something unusual (like peeing less than normal) or ignoring food), feel a growth, or notice your Border Collie whimpering or snarling when you touch a spot on their body.

What are the Exercise Needs of a Border Collie?

Border Collies need a lot of exercise—they were born to work! If you’re not putting your Border Collie to work on a farm, a great way to exercise their brain and their body is through agility training. Set a course up in your backyard and you and your pup can get to work. If you enjoy a little friendly agility competition, dog sports may be a fun activity. You will soon find your doggy dude’s energy level never drops.

If agility courses don’t interest you, make sure you dedicate at least an hour or two every day to exercising your pup. Activities like running, walking (speed walking is a plus!) or games like fetch or Frisbee are ideal.

What are the Nutritional Needs of Border Collies?

The nutritional needs of a Border Collie include high levels of specific nutrients. The essential nutrients for the Border Collie are listed below.

  • Protein: Border Collies need natural animal protein, valuable for the amino acids essential for Border Collie’s health. Equally important is the fact that protein builds lean muscles and provides energy.
  • Fat: Animal protein provides adequate fat, an additional energy source that boosts the Border Collie’s metabolism. However, there is a fine line between enough and too much. Excessive fat levels in the dog’s daily diet could result in weight gain and, ultimately, obesity. Most importantly, adults and senior Border Collies need lower fat levels than puppies.
  • Carbohydrates: Although carbs are not essential nutrients, they are crucial energy sources. Giving the Border Collies sufficient carbs will provide energy, encouraging the body’s protein absorption to build lean muscle. Beware, though, that too many carbohydrates can lead to obesity.
  • DHA: It is one of the components of omega-3 fatty acids. It promotes proper eye and brain development in Border Collie puppies, and DHA develops cognitive development in puppies and slows cognitive decline in older dogs. Furthermore, omega fatty acids benefit aging Border Collies by treating chronic kidney disease and canine arthritis. Omega-3 oils improve the coat health of the Border Collie.
  • Micronutrient: Taurine is one micronutrient that aids heart health. Other valuable micronutrients for promoting strong joints in Border Collies are chondroitin and glucosamine.
  • Minerals: Beneficial minerals for a Border Collie’s growth include a healthy balance of phosphorus and calcium. Pre- and probiotics and chelated minerals provide additional health to the diets of Border Collies.

What is the Shedding Level of Border Collies?

A Border Collie has a double coat, which will need to be groomed more than once a week, often more during the shedding seasons of spring and autumn. Border Collies shed throughout the year, and they need thorough brushing at least twice per week. As the seasons change, they blow their coats during spring and fall, during which time they shed significantly more.

What is the Coat Grooming Frequency of Border Collies?

Aside from frequent brushing, Border Collies’ grooming needs are pretty average. With a coat made for heavy-duty work, a Border Collie doesn’t need frequent bathing unless they get very messy—which can happen given they love being outdoors. Having a towel handy by the door can help you dry off their feet and undercoat when they get home. Daily brushing can help get any tangles or dried mud out of their coat and tail quickly and effectively. Think of these brushing sessions as more of a bonding experience than work.

Border Collies may get dry, itchy skin so ask your vet about specific products to use. Their ears can be prone to waxy buildup, so regularly inspecting and cleaning their ears can help prevent infections and keep them in tail-wagging shape. And just like any other dog, make sure their nails are regularly trimmed (every two weeks or so) and kept short.

Border Collie owners living in warm climates must never cut their dog short to help him cope with the heat. Shaving the undercoat could do the opposite. The undercoat is the insulation that allows the pup to remain cool in summer and warm in winter. 

Coat grooming is essential for various reasons, as listed below.

  • Grooming gives your dog a healthy look and promotes hygiene. 
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of skin infections.
  • Grooming promotes the growth and development of a lustrous and shiny coat.
  • Grooming allows you to check for fleas and take early preventive and treatment measures.
  • Proper grooming lowers the risks of ear infections since you can check the ears and wipe them dry after regular grooming.
  • While grooming, you can check the skin folds for any skin problems and alert the vet before they worsen. That is an essential step around the facial skin folds of your Border Collie.
  • Grooming boosts the bond between you and your Border Collie.

Your dog should be calm during grooming. If your Border Collie seems anxious during brushing sessions, take her for a short walk, spoil her with her favorite treat, and help her see it as a time to bond.

What is the Drooling Level of Border Collies?

As a Border Collie owner, you could expect to find your furry friend’s drooling is below average. However, drooling is a natural process, and the list below shows the primary triggers of drooling. However, if drooling becomes excessive, a trip to the vet is recommended.

  • The thought of delicious meals like a favorite treat or meat
  • Mouth and throat problems like fractures in the mouth, throat, or esophagus.
  • Plaque build-up can also irritate the mouth and cause excessive saliva.
  • A foreign object stuck in the throat prevents swallowing, thus causing drooling. 
  • Growth in the mouth also stimulates drooling.
  • Stomach upsets.
  • Excessive heat, especially during summer
  • The main symptom of diseases like kidney disease, liver problems, seizures, botulism, and rabies is drooling.
  • Motion sickness and anxiety. Dogs who dislike traveling will get anxious whenever they board a car. Stress makes a dog pant and causes breathing with an open mouth, thus causing drooling.
  • Excitement and agitation make dogs drool.
  • Sexual excitement, like when a male Border Collie spots a female pooch in heat, causes drooling. Likewise, a female in her heat cycle might drool if she picks up the scent of a male.

What is the Coat Type of the Border Collie?

The Border Collie has a double coat that comes in two types. One is short and smooth, sometimes with a bit of feathering on the front legs. The other, known as a rough coat, is medium to long with hair that is flat or slightly wavy. Either way, expect to brush a Border Collie once or twice a week to remove dead hair and keep shedding to a minimum.

What are the Colors of the Border Collie’s Coat?

This is important information for anyone who considers buying or adopting a Border Collie. In both types, the coat comes in the following colors:

  • White
  • Red
  • Chocolate
  • Blue
  • Liver
  • Lilac
  • Merle
  • Brindle
  • Sable

These colors may be solid or solid with lighter shadings in the ruff, tail, and feathering.

Is the Border Collie Playful?

A border collie will be friendly and playful with those in her circle but can be hesitant with strangers. As with any breed, it’s essential to properly socialize and train your Border Collie from a young age, so she is comfortable around new people and in new situations. Border Collies tend to become over-excited, and might be a bit rambunctious while playing with kids. Such play should also happen under adult supervision.

Is a Border Collie Protective?

Similar to other herding and sheepdogs, Border Collies have a protective temperament and can be distrusting of strangers. Socializing them frequently at a young age will help prevent their protective nature from leading to excessive shyness or aggression around strangers. The protective quality of Border Collies also makes them excellent watchdogs. They will always alert their family when they notice anything out of the ordinary.

What is the Adaptability Level of Border Collies?

While the Border Collie is a highly adaptable dog, he’s best suited to an environment that gives him some elbow room: a city home with a securely fenced yard, or a country farm or ranch. Because he has a propensity to herd and chase, he must be protected from his not-so-bright instinct to chase cars.

Can Border Collies be Aggressive?

Border Collies are not usually social, outgoing dogs. They tend to be aloof with strangers and can be aggressive with other dogs. Though, they are typically only aggressive with dogs of the same sex. They are not an aggressive breed, yet each dog is unique. Therefore, early socialization with other dogs, pets, and people is essential.

Signs of Aggression:

  • An aggressive dog may:
  • Curl his lips to bare his teeth while snarling and growling.
  • Hold his body and tail tense with the hair on his neck and back raised.
  • Shift his weight to escape or start lunging.
  • Narrow his eyes and fix you with an intense stare.

Border Collies have well-known stares that form a part of their herding skills—stares that make sheep do what the Collie commands with its eyes.

Can Border Collies be Dangerous?

Border collies are considered a safe breed, generally not attempting to or actively posing a threat. But there are instances of border collies attacking other animals and humans, even children. Parents should never leave children in the company of dogs without supervision.

Do Border Collies Ever Attack?

Border Collies will need a very good reason to attack anyone. Even then, a BC who is about to attack will give you plenty of warning signs. Dogs may attack out of aggression, fear, or insecurity. Often a dog will express discomfort or fear of what you are doing before biting. Some signs that the dog is uncomfortable and may escalate to an attack include:

  • Crouching.
  • Tucking his tail between his legs.
  • Lowering his ears.
  • Averting his eyes. Signs of Aggression:

An aggressive dog may:

Curl his lips to bare his teeth while snarling and growling.

Hold his body and tail tense with the hair on his neck and back raised.

Narrow his eyes and fix you with an intense stare.

Shift his weight to escape or start lunging.

Can Border Collies Kill Humans?

Border Colliers are bred to work along with people, and they are more likely to protect than to attack. However, exceptions might exist, and these affectionate dogs are certainly capable of killing, but highly unlikely.

Do Border Collies cope with being left alone?

Border Collies are herding dogs built to run, work hard, and perform demanding jobs for their pet parents. Unfortunately, because they’re so focused on their people, Border Collies are a dog breed that might be at a higher risk of developing separation anxiety.

Can I leave my Border Collie at home?

The Border Collie dog breed tends to cope when left alone for short periods. However, they should not be left alone for more than three or four hours, and certainly not for your 8-hour workday. If it is impossible for one family member to be at home, reaching out to doggy daycare may be an answer.

When left isolated, Border Collies display signs of separation anxiety. Some Border Collies tend to form strong bonds with one family member. When that person has to go somewhere, the Border Collie will find it tough to cope, even for less than an hour. Border Collies are very active, and being alone, with nothing to do could be too much to handle. If your Border Collie has to find something to do, the consequences could lead to destructive behavior.

How to Train a Border Collie?

The Border Collie dog breed is highly intelligent and eager to please. For them, work is fun, and any Border Collie training will be met with full attention. Hence, their trainability is never a problem. Furthermore, they are an intelligent dog breed. Basic commands like “sit” and “stay” can be easy to teach once your puppy has reached 8 months old, and this breed will take to more complicated commands like “shake” and “roll over.”

That said, the immense intelligence of your Border Collie can work against them in a training setting. They get bored and distracted easily, and “squirrel” can be more fun than “sit” during the early days of training. But they want to please you, so positive reinforcement with plenty of treats and affection can help remind them to keep their eyes on their teacher. Short training periods every day will lead to better results than trying to cram training into a long weekend session. You can always reach out to a certified dog trainer for additional guidance.

Once Border Collies have conquered basic training, they may appreciate agility training. Think of agility school as college for your Border Collie—a chance to learn to balance, jump and show off their skills to their best friend—you!

Make Training Bonding Time

It’s also important to remember that Border Collies often struggle with separation anxiety. So, setting them up for dealing with this is critical. Work on alone time for Border Collies by doing it slowly, leaving for short periods frequently. Praise them when they’re quiet and well-behaved in your absence. You must get this right, as an agitated Border Collie will bark continually. Below are a few tips to ease the training process.

  • Praise good behavior by making a fuss. Your Border Collie will know if you fake it.
  • Time commands wisely because corrections after the fact will confuse your Border Collie.
  • Be consistent and persistent. Never let it slip because your Border Collie will learn that it is optional to obey.
  • Be the pack leader and show happiness while training your Border Collie.
  • Making your Border Collie sit and wait for your command to start eating will confirm your status as pack leader.
  • Training your Border Collie with love in your heart will avoid your Border Collie seeing training as punishment.

How Frequently does a Border Collie Bark?

The Border Collie is a barking breed. They are easily visually stimulated which is often why they bark so much. They will bark at anything that moves quickly, such as bikes, skateboards, and the like.

Barking in the car, barking at people on bikes, and barking at lawnmowers are high on the list of behavioral issues of barkers like Border Collies.

Border Collies do not have great discerning abilities. They see something whizzing past and it concerns them. Dogs don’t recognize it as a human on a skateboard or a human on a bike. They bark just to send it on its way. The fact that it was already going that way is lost on the dog, and it mistakenly believes that their barking is what dispatched it.

With the Border Collie breed, you also have the strong herding instinct and that just adds to the problem.

Border Collies have no way of telling you how they feel, and barking is the only way to deliver the message. It’s up to you to understand the different barks your pooch utters.

Different barks your Border Collie use to talk to you

  • Border Collies hate being left alone, and barking is one way of coping with loneliness. 
  • Border Collies need a lot of exercise, and the lack of exercise and anxiety can also trigger barking.
  • Alarm barking is when your Border Collie barks to alert you of approaching danger. Alarm barking can save you from danger; however, Border Collies may bark before ascertaining that there is a real danger. 
  • Another type of barking is demand barking. This happens when a Border Collie feels entitled to something or your attention and would bark as a way of demanding their rights.
  • The Border Collie uses arousal barking to show their frustrations.
  • Boredom barking signals that your Border Collie is tired or bored due to being left alone or infrequent exercises. 
  • Frequent barking can be a nuisance to both the owner and neighbors. Some types of barking tend to be monotonous and continuous. 

Continuous barking without an apparent reason might signify a health problem to discuss with the vet.

What is the need for Mental Stimulation of a Border Collie?

All dogs require an outlet for their minds. If they are not provided the opportunity to challenge their minds, they will come up with ways to achieve this. This usually manifests itself in bad behavior such as excessive barking, digging, escaping, and other destructive behaviors.

Constant stimulation throughout the day is required to keep your Border Collie happy. Brain games are a great and easy way to stimulate his mind. Be sure to rotate a few of these games throughout the week to keep your Border Collie occupied. However, you will have to be creative, given that Border Collies are not very playful. Below is a list of suggestions, some of which might work with your Border Collie.

  • Playing with interactive games or toys, including dog puzzles and canine board games.
  • Encourage sniffing during regular evening walks.
  • Provide healthy chews like dehydrated sweet potato strips. Chewing for more extended periods calms the brain, thus lowering stress levels.
  • Hide and seek games
  • Drop and fetch games
  • Regular walks

These mental stimulation techniques should start at an early stage. Border Collies who are six years and older tend to have problems with their thinking ability. The primary signs of mental disorientation are listed below.

  • Excessive anxiety.
  • Frequent accidents.
  • Failure to recall previously learned commands.
  • Changes in sleep and wake patterns.
  • Low interest in physical activities.
  • Poor social skills.

What are the Breed Standards of Border Collies?

Border Collies are athletic and muscular, and this medium-sized dog exudes strength. They often have an intense, expressive gaze coming from their almond-shaped eyes. Their ears are just as expressive, frequently switching between alert and semi-alert positions as they take in the world around them, and their feathered tail stands proudly when they’re happy or excited. Their double-coated fur comes in two types—rough (medium-length) coat and smooth (short) coat—and in a variety of color options like merle, blue merle, red merle, tricolor, and lilac.

Some breed standards of Border Collies are given in the table below.

Breed Standards 

Color: The Border Collie comes in a wide range of equally acceptable colors and patterns including black, brown, white, Red, Chocolate, Blue, Liver, Lilac, Merle, and Brindle.

Size: Border Collies are classified as a medium breed.

Eye Color: Their eyes are moderately sized ovals, usually brown but can be blue.

Ears: Border Collie ears are medium-size and pointed, and can be held in an alert or semi-alert position.

Weight:  Males weigh 30 to 45 pounds, and females weigh 26 to 45 pounds.

Height: Males are 18 to 24 inches high at the withers, and females are 18 to 21 inches.

Where to Buy or Adopt a Border Collie?

A purebred Border Collie puppy’s price can range between $700 and $1,500. Lower prices are generally available within shelters and rescues. However, it is possible for puppies to cost as much as $5,000 from top breeders. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary. The status of the breeder you select, the location, and the sex of the puppy will affect the price. The demand for the breed at the time will also impact the price. The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also play a role in the price.

If you want to bring a Border Collie home, you should not rush. Truth is, purebred puppies are not available on demand. Ads of breeders who always have Border Collie puppies available are sure to be puppy farms or scams. The more realistic way is to put your name on a waiting list. While waiting for your Border Collie puppy, you can learn about this cute little fur ball.

The Importance of Reputable Breeders or Shelters

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue facility is crucial. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy. The breeder will, unquestionably, have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. They are more interested in placing pups in suitable homes than making big bucks. 

Be wary of breeders who only tell you nothing but the good things about the breed. Likewise, those who make irrational promises to promote their puppies. Be especially suspicious when you are offered a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. 

Border Collie puppies are adorable, and it’s one of the reasons they are so popular. Cute puppies sell, making the Border Collie a favorite of puppy mills and greedy, irresponsible breeders. Do your homework before buying one of these little dogs. That way, you’ll be well rewarded with a beautiful companion dog.

You can ensure you get a healthy Border Collie puppy from a breeder or a rescue organization. The best is to reach out to the registered organizations for the specific breed, if available. The Border Collie is recognized by the AKC, UKC, and FIC, listed below, along with other registered kennel clubs that might put potential Border Collie owners in touch with reputable breed clubs. 

Registered Breeders and Kennel Clubs

  • American Canine Registry
  • American Kennel Club
  • America’s Pet Registry
  • Dog Registry of America Inc.
  • Federation Cynologique Internationale
  • Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • American Canine Association, Inc.
  • Australian National Kennel Council
  • Continental Kennel Club
  • National Kennel Club
  • New Zealand Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club
  • The American Int. Border Collie Registry
  • The American Border Collie Association
  • Twisted Acres Ranch Benson, Arizona
  • The Wiebe Ranch Bradley, California
  • Wildblue Border Collies Peyton, Colorado
  • Powerhouse Border Collies Lancaster, California
  • Triskle Border Collie Torrington, Wyoming
  • Wochme Border Collies Lexington, North Carolina
  • J-Tail Border Collies Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Cirrus Sky Dogs Bryan, Texas
  • North Star Border Collies Saint Paul, Minnesota

If you manage to track down Border Collie breeders, make sure you go to the facility and insist on meeting both the puppies’ parents. That will give you a feel for their temperament. Border Collie puppies are often peppy and playful, all should have cheery expressions and kind eyes. 

It might take some time to find a legitimate breeder, and travel may very well be in the cards. Steer clear of backyard breeding by avoiding sales sites and ad pages. When you select a breeder, make sure they have proof of successful, healthy litters with any documentation necessary.

What if You Find Your Special Border Collie Abroad?

You might find a Border Collie puppy or a rescued adult to adopt or buy from abroad. However, not all countries allow importing adopted dogs. Those whose countries will enable the importation of Border Collies may find the logistics challenging. 

Procedures include obtaining certification from a vet to prove the Border Collie’s vaccination status. The buyer must file the additional required veterinary documents before the travel. Furthermore, your country must approve the veterinarian to authorize the importation. It will be the importing Border Collie parent’s responsibility to ensure you use the services of a certified vet.

What are the Rescue Clubs for Border Collies?

There are millions of homeless dogs worldwide; many are purebreds needing homes. Adopting a Border Collie can be life-changing, not only for the dog but also for the adopter. If you prefer adopting to purchasing a pup from a breeder, visit the National Border Collie Rescue website. A Border Collie rescue group is an excellent idea if you want to adopt an older dog or even a Border Collie mix.

Border Collie mixes adopted from a shelter may share physical characteristics of the breed, but their temperament may not match the breed standard. Shelters and rescues attempt to determine each dog’s personality through a series of evaluations. Even if the dog’s temperament does not follow the breed standard, you can get the dog that suits your home. 

The adoption fee for a Border Collie from a rescue group or animal shelter will probably be between $200 and $300. Most rescue groups and shelters will vaccinate, microchip, spay/neuter, and vet BCs before adoption.

You can also reach out to your local rescue organization or animal shelter. You can inquire about the availability of Border Collies or related mixes available for adoption. If they have none, then, you can always put your name on a list. That way, they will call you when one comes in.

Registered Rescue Centers and Shelters

  • Arizona Border Collie Rescue (AZBCR) – Arizona
  • Border Collies In Need, Inc. (BCIN) – Southern California
  • Border Collie Save and Rescue, Inc. (BCSAVE) – Central and North Texas
  • Glen Highland Farm (GHF) – New England
  • Look Back Border Collie Rescue, Inc. (LBR) – Southern California
  • Heart of a Border Collie Rescue (HBCR) – Minnesota
  • Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue (MABCR) – New England
  • Midwest Border Collie Rescue (MWBCR) – Wisconsin
  • Northern California Border Collie Rescue & Adoptions (NCBCRA) – Northern California
  • Border Collie International Rescue List
  • Border Collie Rescue on Line – UK
  • Border Collie Rescue – Canada’s Guide to Dogs

Facebook is another resource for pet adoption. You can search for Border Collie rescue groups in your region.

You can also search for adoptable Border Collies online on reliable websites such as

Border Collie Mixes

Border Collie mixes may be available for adoption in shelters and rescues. If you want to adopt an AKC registered or a mixed breed Border Collie, the best first step is to contact shelters and breed-specific rescues to let them know of your interest.

Below is a list of several Border Collie mixes.

  • Border Collie-Australian Shepherd mix (Border Aussies or Aussie Collies)
  • Border Collie-Labrador mix (Borabor)
  • Border Collie-Husky mix (Border Husky)
  • Border Collie-German Shepherd mix (Shollie)
  • Border Collie-Golden Retriever mix (Golden Collies)
  • Border Collie-Poodle mix (Bordoodle)
  • Border Collie-Corgi mix (Borgi)
  • Border Collie-Beagle mix (Border Beagle)
  • Border Collie-Pitbull mix (Border Bull)
  • Border Collie-Heeler mix (Border Heeler)

What is the History of the Border Collie?

The Border Collie origin comes from the UK from the border between England and Scotland. The word “Collie” was a Scottish word to describe sheep herding dogs. The Border Collie became an identifiable breed separate from the Collie dog in the mid-19th century and got a popularity boost when Queen Victoria raised several of these dogs.

Despite their distinctive look and popularity, the American Kennel Club (AKC) only recognized the Border Collie breed in 1995. Before, their classification was as the “Scotch Sheep Dog.” Border Collies’ workhorse tendencies and their “stare” are their outstanding traits. “The Stare” is the piercing gaze they give sheep to help them get in line without needing to bark, nip, or chase. Border Collies have been the stars of sheepdog trials (a trait exemplified in the movie “Babe”) and hold many Guinness World Records, including the fastest time a dog has unwound a non-electric car window.  A dog known as the “smartest dog in the world,” Chaser the Dog, was a Border Collie who knew and understood thousands of words.

Their exceptional intelligence and showmanship, but equally their loyalty, ability to guard their house, and companionship abilities are what make Border Collies sought-after family pets today.

What is the Average Maintenance Cost for Border Collies?

The prices of Border Collies range between $2,000 and $4,000. The cost of a puppy from a registered breeder could vary. The breeder, the location, the puppy’s sex, and the demand for the breed at the time will affect the price. 

The bloodline of the puppy and its parents could also influence the price. If you find this breed in a shelter, the price could be $300 to $500. That price usually covers the cost of care provided while keeping the Border Collie. Additional fees might cover extras like vaccinations and sterilizations. 

It is always best to consider annual expenses for maintaining your Border Collie before making the purchase. The first year will be the most expensive, as puppies require extra vet care. Likewise, there will be one-time purchases like microchips, sterilization, licensing, etc. You can expect to spend about $6,900 for your dog’s first year. Subsequently, the price will go down to about $2,100 a year. 

Food and medical only, excluding toys, food and water bowls, cages, doggy blankets, beds, etc., could cost about $850. The list below shows the most regular annual expenses for dogs similar to the Border Collie.

  • Food items
  • Veterinary care
  • Vaccinations
  • Preventive medicine
  • Toys
  • Pet insurance
  • Pet Supplies

Other potential expenses include training, socializing, doggy daycare, dog sitters, dog walkers, etc. Grooming would likely add a significant amount to the maintenance costs of Border Collies because they need professional grooming to trim and bathe the Border Collie.

How to Name a Border Collie?

Choosing a name for your Border Collie involves essential building blocks, including the significance of the sound. The Border Collie’s name will mean something to its humans, but for your canine companion, only the sound matters. Border Collies respond best to two-syllable names that are not short enough for them to confuse with single-syllable command words like “sit,” stay,” “come,” and “down.” However, the names should not be long enough to become puzzling.

It is always a good idea not to rush into selecting a name. Spend a week or so with your new Border Collie pup. By then, its character traits might be all the inspiration you require. Call out any name ideas, using different tones and sounds for the two syllables, and watch your puppy’s reaction to the sound. Remember, you must compose a sound that your Border Collie will recognize from a distance, among many other sounds.

Pick a name that could sound different in regular interaction and yelling or calling your Border Collie.

Below is a list of suggestions of names for Border Collie dudes

  • Swift –  A perfect name for a speedy dog
  • Ziggy – A quirky name to fit the breed’s playful personality
  • Patch – Border Collies often have a dark patch of fur over one or both of their eyes
  • Bandit – A stray Border Collie adopted by Laura Ingalls on the TV show Little House on the Prairie
  • Astro – An out-of-this-world name, for an out-of-this-world pup

Below is a list of suggestions of names for Border Collie babes

  • Oreo – A black and white cookie that’s almost as sweet as this black and white dog
  • Skye – An island in Scotland
  • Star – A nod to the Border Collie’s success in show biz
  • Amber – Fitting for a pup with amber eyes
  • Betsy – A Border Collie famous for learning more than 300 words

Have we answered your questions about owning a Border Collie?

 If your family is not that active, you might want to check out the breeds below to find a more laid-back pooch.

What Dog Breeds are Similar to the Border Collie?

Herding and working dogs similar to Border Collies include Australian shepherds, Shetland sheepdogs, Icelandic sheepdogs, Finnish Lapphunds, and Keeshonden.

SHetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog – Image Shutterstock

  • Shetland Sheepdog – Shares the same collie traits of high intelligence, high energy, and excellent working ability, but well-behaved within the home and with a smaller size that is better for first-time owners or those with smaller homes.
  • Rough Collie – A similar build and intelligence to border collies, rough collies (Lassie is a famous example) aren’t as physically demanding, needing only long walks. They’re also easier to train by inexperienced owners.

    Keeshond – Image Shutterstock

  • Keeshond: Keeshonden are known to be very loyal and friendly towards their owners and have a highly affectionate nature. However, they are much more friendly to strangers, so they may not be the right watchdog for someone.
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Mari Serfontein