The Border Collie is a medium sized bundle of energy, looking rather like a lightly built Australian Shepherd without a bobtail. The body is slightly longer than the height at the withers. The skull is fairly wide with a distinct stop. The muzzle tapers to the black nose. The ears are usually half-perked. The oval eyes are generally dark brown, except in merles where one or more eyes may be blue. The teeth should meet in a scissors bite. The tail reaches at least to the hock and is sometimes raised when the dog is excited, but is never carried over the back. There are two varieties of Border Collie: one with coarse hair (thick, straight, about 3 inches (7.6 cm.) long), and one with sleek hair (about 1 inch (2.5 cm.) long. The coat colors come in black and white, tri-color, red & white, black & gray, and all black. White should never be the main color. The longer haired variety should have a mane and tail brush. The hair on the face, ears and front legs is always short and sleek. Since Border Collies are bred for working ability and intelligence rather than for physical beauty, conformation varies widely.
The Border Collie is a very intelligent and responsive dog. It excels at obedience, agility and Frisbee (TM). They thrive on praise, are sensitive and very trainable. The Border Collies are commonly used in the agility competitions, as sports like agility are right up this intelligent dogs alley. The Border Collie is highly energetic with great stamina. Provided it gets sufficient activity to keep it occupied and ample exercise, the Border Collie will get along quite happily with other dogs, and children, however the Border Collie may be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex if you are not showing 100% leadership with them. They should not be trusted with small non-canine pets, however there are plenty of Border Collies that live and get along with family cats. This breed should be very well socialized as a puppy to prevent shyness. To be truly happy, it needs a lot of: ongoing attention, extensive daily exercise, and a job to do. For those who wish to reach high levels in dog sports, the Border Collie is a gift from heaven. Farmers (for whom the dogs perform work for which they were bred) are also happy with them. It is not surprising that at competitive levels in various sports such as: agility skills, obedience, and sheepdog trials, the Border Collie are represented among the leaders in the sport. They are perfectionist with a permanent will to please. This breed lives for serving you day in and day out. They are not ideal pets for people who have no plans to spend a lot of time with them. These dogs are too intelligent to lie around the house all day with nothing to do. If there is insufficient activity then it will find its own work to do, and that may not be what YOU had in mind when we say the word WORK. They can become destructive if they get bored or if they are ignored. They can become neurotic if they are left alone for long periods with nothing to do, leading to many behavior problems. This breed is known as an escape artist. Because of his strong herding instincts, the Border Collie may try to herd children and strangers and must be told this is not acceptable. They do best with an experienced owner that has lots of time to spend with the dog. The adolescent Border Collie often goes through a phase where he challenges his master's authority. Dominance level is highly variable in Border Collies. You need to be this dogs firm, confident, consistent pack leader, or he may try and take over. If you allow them to take over, without enough socialization and mental and physical exercise, they can be highly reactive and sound sensitive, making them a poor choice for families with young children.
Height: Dogs 19-22 inches (48-56 cm.) Bitches 18-21 inches (46-53 cm.)
Weight: Dogs 30-45 pounds (14-20 kg.) Bitches 27-42 pounds (12-19 kg.)
They are generally a hardy breed, but some are prone to hip dysphasia, PRA and an eye disease common to Collies known as Collie Eye Anomaly. Many Border Collies are allergic to fleas and some are prone to epilepsy and deafness.
The Border Collie is not recommended for apartment life. They are very active indoors and do best with acreage. This breed will do fine in a kennel provided it has daily activity and sees plenty of its handler. This breed is not suited to life chained up in the back yard all day.
Physical exercise alone is not sufficient for this very intelligent and highly energetic dog. They want to work and must do so with body and mind as one, carrying out different tasks. Fast and agile, these lively little dogs have boundless energy and thrive on hard work and play. They should also be taken on a long, brisk daily walk. They are a delight to see streaking after a ball or bringing straying sheep back to the fold.
About 12-15 years
4 - 8 puppies - Average 6
The Border Collie needs regular combing and brushing to keep the coat gleaming. Extra care is needed when the soft, dense undercoat is shedding. Bathe or dry shampoo only when necessary. Check the ears and coat regularly for ticks. This breed is an average shedder.
The Border Collie originated in Northumberland on the Scottish/English border. The breed is descended from old British droving breeds with some spaniel added. An outstanding herder, this hardy, agile, untiring sheepdog, is capable of mastering any type of herd. It is said that the Border Collie has an eye that can hypnotize cattle. He crouches down and mesmerizes the animals with its intense stare. One of the most trainable breeds, the Border Collie also serves well as a narcotics and bomb detection dog and is a frequent high performer in obedience, agility, Frisbee(TM) trials, police work, search & rescue, Flyball, performing tricks and competitive obedience. Some Border Collies have been trained very successfully as blind guide dogs. Currently very good results are obtained with them for general assistance to the handicapped in The Netherlands.
Herding, AKC Herding