Updated 09-08-2023

Border Collie Characteristics, Facts & Traits

The hilly border region between Scotland and England was the initial breeding ground for this dog, and it was used to tame and herd sheep. There are many people who know about the "eye" they utilize to keep their flocks in line. Many farms and ranches around the world still utilise Border Collies to herd sheep because of their incredible stamina and work ethic.

For example, Border Collies are excellent at obedience, flyball and agility, as well as tracking and flying disc contests, demonstrating their intelligence and trainability. Family members can be wonderful as long as they have plenty of physical and mental exercise. You'll also have to be comfortable around a dog who may be smarter than you. Those looking for a canine friend who will keep them on their toes and active at all times may consider getting one of these canines. Listed below are all the qualities and data you need to know about the Border Collie dog breed!


  • Border Collies are incredibly sensitive, often responding to the tiniest command, and seeming to anticipate their owner's needs before they are spoken.
  • When it comes to directing his energy, the Border Collie needs to find an outlet that is both mentally and physically stimulating. If he doesn't, he'll come up with his own games and become a nuisance to deal with.
  • Children, vehicles, cyclists, cats, and even squirrels are no match for the Border Collie's herding prowess. You need to keep him in an enclosed area to avoid him becoming an issue in the community.
  •  Border Collies' herding instincts can be triggered by the boisterous behaviour of small children, causing them to pinch, nudge, and bark.
  • The Border Collie needs to be well-socialized in order to avoid timidity.
  • However, because of his curiosity and intellect, the Border Collie has the potential to become an expert escape artist.
  •  Never purchase a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store if you want a healthy canine. In order to ensure that her breeding canines are free of genetic illnesses that could be passed on to the pups, look for a reliable breeder that checks them.


Social Appearance 


It's a common misconception that a little dog is better suited to living in a limited space. Many tiny dogs have too much energy and are too yappy to live in an apartment building. An apartment dog's best attributes include being quiet, low energy, somewhat peaceful indoors, and respectful to the other inhabitants. Your dog's personal space in your apartment can be improved by purchasing one of these fantastic dog cages.

Sensitivity Level

Depending on the dog, a strong rebuke can be taken in stride by some, while others regard even the tiniest hint of disapproval as a personal attack. If you have a loud or pushy owner, a chaotic home, or a routine that is unpredictable or variable, your low-sensitivity dog, often known as "easy-going," "tolerant," "resilient," or even "thick-skinned," will be able to handle it better. Do you have young children, host a lot of parties, or have a hectic lifestyle? Choose a dog that isn't overly sensitive.


You can't tell from looking at them whether or not they're hyperactive, but when they do anything, they do it vigorously. They tug at their leashes (unless you teach them not to), they push their way through barriers, and they down their meals in huge, gobbling gulps. A home with young children or an elderly or feeble person may not be the best place for these dynamos to learn proper etiquette. On the other side, a dog with poor vitality adopts a more reserved demeanor.

Potential for Playfulness

The playful nature of certain dogs never fades away, and they're always ready for a game, whereas the reserved and serious tendencies of other dogs develop through time. Think about how many times a day you want to play fetch or tag with your dog, and whether or not you have children or other dogs who can act as substitutes.

Personality Appearance


In the same way as working dogs, such as those that herd sheep, are bred for intelligence and decision-making, working dogs like those who run all day need to exercise their bodies. The two most common activities that a bored pet engages in are digging and chewing, both of which require mental stimulation. There are several ways to keep a dog's brain active, including obedience training, interactive dog toys like tug of war, and dog sports like agility and search and rescue.

Energy Level

Energy-draining dogs are always on the lookout for a new activity. There are several jobs that require a lot of stamina from dogs, such as herding livestock or recovering prey for hunters. Children are more likely to engage in activities such as jumping, playing and exploring new sights and smells as a result of this change in their environment

A low-energy dog is more like a couch potato than a dog that needs a lot of exercise. Think about your level of physical activity and whether or not you find a hyperactive dog irritating before making your final choice.

Easy To Train

Easy to train dogs can more easily form associations between a cue (like "sit"), an action (like sitting), and a reward than dogs that are more difficult to train. Dogs that require more time, patience, and repetition are more difficult to train.

Getting your dog interested in training will require incentives and games because many breeds are intelligent but have a "What's in it for me?" mentality when it comes to learning new things.

Family Affection Level

Affectionate With Family

Since puppyhood, some breeds remain aloof and independent; others form deep bonds with one individual but are uninterested in the rest of the family; still other types shower their entire family with affection. Canines raised in homes with people tend to be more open to human interaction and develop stronger ties, regardless of their breed or upbringing.


Kids-friendly dogs are calm, strong enough to bear the hefty hugs and pets kids can dish out, and have an unfazed attitude about rushing, scream-inducing children. There are several names you may not expect to see on the list: Fierce-looking Both Boxers and American Staffordshire Terriers are regarded as family dogs (which are considered Pit Bulls). Chihuahuas, which are small, sensitive, and potentially sharp, are not always family-friendly.

Dog Friendly

Dog friendship and human friendship are two entirely different things. The fact that a dog is friendly with humans doesn't mean it's immune to aggression or aggression from other dogs; some canines choose to play rather than fight; others will just run away. The type of animal isn't the only consideration. Dogs who have spent a lot of time playing with their littermates and their mother at the age of six to eight weeks are more likely to be socially competent.

Physical Appearance

Amount of Shedding

Having a dog in the house means that you'll have to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothing and in the home. It's worth noting, however, that shedding varies widely among breeds. Some dogs shed all year long, while others ``blow" just during specific times of the year, and still others don't shed at all. If you're a stickler for cleanliness, you'll need to choose a breed that sheds less or lower your expectations. You can use a deshedding tool to keep your house a little cleaner.

Drooling Potential

While greeting you, some dogs may cover their arms with ropes of drool and create large, wet patches on your clothing. If you don't mind a little drool, go for it; but if you're a stickler for cleanliness, you may want to look for a dog with a low drool rating.

Easy To Groom

Some breeds of dogs can simply be brushed and left alone, while others require frequent washing, trimming, and other grooming in order to maintain their health and appearance. If you don't have the time or money to take care of a dog that requires a lot of grooming, you may want to look into hiring a professional.

Exercise Needs

Evening walks around the neighbourhood are perfectly acceptable for some breeds. Others, particularly those trained for physically demanding vocations like herding or hunting, require regular, rigorous exercise.

They can gain weight and release their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, including barking, chewing, and digging, if not given enough exercise. Those looking to train their dog for an energetic canine activity, such as agility, should consider getting a dog that needs a lot of exercise.

Average sizes and life expectancy of the breed


30 to 45 pounds


12 to 15 years


18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder


The Border Collie, the ultimate sheepdog, is the product of more than a century of selective breeding focused on performance above all else. There were a wide range of sheep herding dogs in Great Britain throughout the 1800s. Sheep-circling dogs, sometimes known as "fetching" dogs, were among the breeds on hand. The majority of these canines were obnoxious, nipping and barking as they went about their work.

Dogs have always boasted their supremacy, and the first sheepdog trial was organised in 1873 in an attempt to settle these claims. Hemp, a dog who stood out in the trials, would be the inspiration for the first Border Collies. Instead of yelling and kicking, he intimidated the sheep by quietly staring at them ("giving eye"). Border Collies trace their ancestry back to hemp.

To begin with, the initial standard was drafted in 1906, although this was different from most breed physical standards in that it focused solely on function rather than looks. Since then, the breed has evolved as a result of this focus. It wasn't until 1915 that the Border Collie name was first reported in reference to the dog's origins along the English-Scottish borderlands.

When Border Collies first arrived in the United States, they immediately impressed serious shepherds with their quickness in herding and obedience. As a result, the breed was elevated to a new level of competition in obedience events. When AKC began to recognise the Border Collie as a show dog, many Border Collie supporters tried to keep their beloved pets from being recognised for their intelligence and beauty. An official recognition by the American Kennel Club (AKC) came in 1995, though.

Personality and Temperament

Border collies are hard-working canines that thrive in rural environments. These dogs might grow agitated and destructive if they are kept in a solitary environment. The breed is highly clever, quickly learns new things, and reacts well to positive reinforcement.

For this reason, they make good guard dogs because of their herding instincts. They'll keep an eye out for the kids in the household. If raised with children and other pets, they are friendly and affectionate, but if not, they can be shy and snappish, nipping at the heels of strangers in the same manner a sheepdog might.

With all that mental and physical energy stored up, the Border Collie is just eager to be let loose on the world. Because of their superior intelligence and willingness to please, the BC may be an excellent family member if provided with an interesting job to do each day. Because of their devoted nature, they make excellent pets if you give them enough exercise. To other animals, they can be disconcerting since they are so focused on what they are doing that they tend to stare. Besides chasing other animals, they also enjoy it. Strangers are treated with caution, even suspicion by them. BCs can be destructive and acquire bad habits if they don't have a job.


Border collies, especially pups, require a specific set of considerations for new pet owners. Border collies have breed-specific characteristics that owners should be aware of, such as genetic conditions and special grooming requirements due to their medium size and thick coat.


However, Border Collies are susceptible to a variety of illnesses, just like any other breed. If you're thinking about getting a Border Collie, it's crucial to know about these disorders.

Find a reputable breeder who can show you the health clearances for both of your dog's parents before you acquire a puppy. It is important to note that a dog's health clearance proves that it has been checked and cleared of a specific illness.

Hip Dysplasia

It is a genetic condition that causes the thigh bone to slip out of the hip joint. There are certain dogs that display indicators of back leg pain and lameness, while others do not. (X-ray scanning is the most accurate method of diagnosing the problem.) Arthritis can develop in a dog as he or she gets older. Before acquiring a puppy, be sure the breeder can provide proof that the parents of the dog have been tested for hip dysplasia and found to be healthy.


This is a neurological disorder that runs in families, although not always. If you have epilepsy, you may experience mild or severe seizures that manifest themselves in strange behaviour (such as running furiously as if you were being followed, staggering, or hiding) or even in a loss of consciousness. If your dog has idiopathic epilepsy and has had seizures, the long-term prognosis is often quite excellent. It's critical that you get your dog to the vet as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and treatment of his seizure disorder.

Collie Eye Anomaly

It can cause blindness if left untreated. This is a hereditary disorder that can cause abnormalities in the eyes. Defects in the optic disc such as coloboma and staphylocytic sclerosis, as well as retinal detachment, all fall under this category. Dogs under the age of two are more likely to be born with a Collie eye anomaly. There is no cure for this disease, which means it is incurable.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a category of eye diseases that cause the retina to degenerate at an accelerated pace. As the disease develops, affected dogs lose their ability to see during the day as well. Many affected dogs are able to adapt to their diminished or impaired vision as long as their surroundings remain unchanged.


Food allergies, contact allergies, and inhalant allergies are the three main forms of allergies in dogs. Dietary restrictions, drugs, and alterations to one's surroundings are all possible treatment options, and they all depend on the underlying problem.

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD)

Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD) is a disorder of the elbows caused by abnormal cartilage formation in the joints. Shoulders have also been affected. To the point where the dog is unable to flex his elbow, it causes a painful stiffness of the joint As early as four to nine months of age, it can be diagnosed in dogs. "Growth formula" puppy food or high-protein diets may contribute to its development if overfed.

Recommended Health Tests 

  1. Hip Evaluation
  2. Ophthalmologist Evaluation


It is necessary to feed a border collie twice a day. For every meal, give your dog 75 to 1 cup of dry dog food, depending on the size and amount of exercise. Don't forget to offer clean and fresh water.

It is important to remember that your dog's dietary requirements will fluctuate with time. Talk to your veterinarian about what to do if you see weight gain in your dog. Changes to the feeding schedule, food type, or amount may be necessary. The amount of daily exercise this naturally energetic dog receives should also be considered.


Grooming Border collies can have a rough or a smooth medium-length double coat, with a harsh outer coat and a soft undercoat. Regular weekly brushing is essential to keep the coat clear of tangles, so make a habit of it. They just require a bath every three to four months at the most.

It's crucial to keep an eye on the nails of an active border collie, even if they are naturally worn down. This will assist keep your feet in good health and protect them from hurting. Brush the dog's teeth at least twice or three times a week to maintain good dental health.


A border collie's energy level should be taken into consideration when training or owning one. Dogs of this type require a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation to keep their bodies and minds in condition. An absolute minimum of two hours of vigorous walking each day is required at the very least. A leash is required since border collies are known to chase automobiles and bicycles. Play fetch or Frisbee with your dog in a safe environment to burn off some energy and give him something to focus on. In addition to herding, they excel in agility and disc dog competitions, two other popular canine sports.


The breed is one of the most intelligent and can learn new things quickly. It is imperative that this intelligent canine receives thorough instruction, which should not be too difficult for him to accomplish. Make sure that your dog is well socialised so that it is comfortable in all situations.

Children and other Pets

The Border Collie is a good family dog if properly raised and well trained as a young pup. Dogs and other animals can get along with him, but his herding tendencies can urge him to nip, chase, or bark at children (especially very young children) and other animals.

It is important to teach youngsters how to deal with dogs, as well as oversee any encounters between dogs and young people so that there is no risk of either side biting the other. Your youngster should be taught never to approach a dog while it is eating or sleeping, or to try to steal the dog's food. A youngster should never be left alone with a dog, no matter how nice.


A puppy food for Border Collies is required, as is a dog diet suitable for all life stages. For the best possible nutrition, a premium brand is required. To discourage chewing on household things, curb their herding instincts, and meet their physical demands, Border collie puppies should be trained as early as possible. Black and white are the two most common hues, however red merle, sable, tan, blue, grey, and sable also exist.

Dog breeds similar to Border Collies

Australian shepherds, Shetland sheepdogs, Icelandic sheepdogs, and Finnish lapphunds are examples of herding and working dogs that are similar to Border Collies.

Shetland sheepdog

Collie features including intellect, enthusiasm and working aptitude, but with a smaller size that is better suited for first-time owners or those who live in smaller homes. "

Rough Collie

Rough collies (Lassie is a notable example) have a comparable build and intellect to border collies but are less physically demanding, requiring merely long walks. As a result, they are also easier to teach by novice owners.


This dog breed is a mix between a Border Collie and a Greyhound, making it more adaptable to a wide range of environments.