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Border Collie

Border-Collie

An Eager & Energetic Herding Dog

Agile, alert, active

Border Collies are curious, busy, and intelligent, medium-sized dogs. This loyal and obedient breed is a bit reserved with strangers, but is protective and an excellent watchdog. Border Collies make great companions for ranchers and families that can give plenty of attention to them. As herding dogs, they may chase cars or try to herd children and other animals. Their abundance of mental and physical energy must be put toward a challenging task every day or they will become bored or destructive—an owner who can give them plenty of attention, exercise, and tasks to perform is essential.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:18-23 in. Weight:30-45 lb Lifespan:12-15 years

Size
3

1=small 5=large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
5

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
3

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
2

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Routine Care: A Border Collie is a very smart dog with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are athletic and acrobatic dogs that excel at agility competitions, flyball, and herding events. Border Collies can be sound sensitive, so be prepared for thunderstorms, New Year's Eve, and The Fourth of July!

Grooming: Brush their coat at least weekly.

Dental: Border Collies generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


Widely considered the most intelligent dog breed, a Border Collie can be a handful. Without proper exercise and mental stimulation they can develop problem behaviors.

Positive Traits:

• Highly active and eager to have a purpose

• Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

• Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

• Alert, curious, and busy

• Athletic and agile

• Well suited as a companion or working dog

Negative Traits:

• Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

• Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals

• Prone to separation anxiety

• Needs frequent attention from her family

• Can be snappy with children

• Sheds quite a bit and needs to be brushed regularly

Whether you are considering adding a new Border Collie to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Border Collie will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Border Collie you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Border Collie could encounter:


Border Collies were bred as herding dogs in the countryside between Scotland and England. They are known for their intelligence and the intense stare they use on flocks of sheep. They are extremely active dogs that do best when they have a job. Their natural herding abilities can lead to herding anything that moves, including children and small animals. Border Collies are generally a healthy breed with an average life span of 12-15 years. Some can suffer from common health concerns like hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Border Collie shows signs of the following:

• Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

• Stiffness or reluctance to rise/sit/use stairs

• Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

• Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

• Anxiety, destructive behaviors, vocalization, hiding, panting, drooling

• Lethargy, drooling, or abnormal behavior following drug administration

• Easily overheated

• Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

• Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

• Slowly growing puppy with a poor appetite

• Weakness and excessive clumsiness in the rear legs

• Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

• Cloudiness to eye lens

• Small blood vessels extending onto the clear cornea

• Vision impairment

• Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

  • Care

    Routine Care: A Border Collie is a very smart dog with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They are athletic and acrobatic dogs that excel at agility competitions, flyball, and herding events. Border Collies can be sound sensitive, so be prepared for thunderstorms, New Year's Eve, and The Fourth of July!

    Grooming: Brush their coat at least weekly.

    Dental: Border Collies generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how!


  • Characteristics

    Widely considered the most intelligent dog breed, a Border Collie can be a handful. Without proper exercise and mental stimulation they can develop problem behaviors.

    Positive Traits:

    • Highly active and eager to have a purpose

    • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used

    • Vigilant watchdog with a ready bark

    • Alert, curious, and busy

    • Athletic and agile

    • Well suited as a companion or working dog

    Negative Traits:

    • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices

    • Strong herding instinct can lead to chasing cars and small animals

    • Prone to separation anxiety

    • Needs frequent attention from her family

    • Can be snappy with children

    • Sheds quite a bit and needs to be brushed regularly

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Border Collie to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Border Collie will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds. 

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Border Collie you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Border Collie could encounter:


  • History

    Border Collies were bred as herding dogs in the countryside between Scotland and England. They are known for their intelligence and the intense stare they use on flocks of sheep. They are extremely active dogs that do best when they have a job. Their natural herding abilities can lead to herding anything that moves, including children and small animals. Border Collies are generally a healthy breed with an average life span of 12-15 years. Some can suffer from common health concerns like hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and hypothyroidism. Early diagnosis is the key to a long and happy life, so be sure to schedule routine checkups.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Border Collie shows signs of the following:

    • Leg stiffness, reluctance to rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump, or “bunny hopping”

    • Stiffness or reluctance to rise/sit/use stairs

    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors

    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

    • Anxiety, destructive behaviors, vocalization, hiding, panting, drooling

    • Lethargy, drooling, or abnormal behavior following drug administration

    • Easily overheated

    • Fatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath

    • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating

    • Slowly growing puppy with a poor appetite

    • Weakness and excessive clumsiness in the rear legs

    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes

    • Cloudiness to eye lens

    • Small blood vessels extending onto the clear cornea

    • Vision impairment

    • Dilated pupils in daylight, or increased "eye shine" at night

Border Collie Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Border Collie breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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