The Border Collie originated in Northumberland on the Scottish/English border. The breed is descended from old British droving breeds with some spaniel added in. An outstanding herder of cattle and sheep, the Border Collie crouches down and mesmerizes the animals with his 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 and Frisbee(TM) trials.
A medium sized bundle of energy, looking rather like a lightly built Australian Shepherd without a bob-tail. 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-pricked. The oval eyes are generally brown, except in merles where one or more eye 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. The sleek short coat or coarser, medium to long rough coat comes in black and white, tri-color, red and white, black and gray, and all black. Merle and sable colorations are also acceptable. White should never be the main color. The rough variety should have a mane, tail brush, and feathered forelegs. The forelegs may also be feathered in the smooth variety. The hair on the face, ears and front legs is always short and sleek. Since many Border Collies are bred for working ability and intelligence rather than for physical beauty, conformation can vary widely.
To be truly happy, a Border Collie needs a lot of ongoing attention, extensive daily exercise, and a job to do. Can become destructive if bored or ignored. The Border Collie can become neurotic if left alone for long periods, leading to many behavior problems. Known as an escape artist. Because of his strong herding instincts, the Border Collie may be snappish with children and strangers. Best with an experienced owner with lots of time to spend with the dog. Prospective owners who are looking for a pet should consider other similar, but calmer breeds like show line Australian Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs. Prone to hip dysplasia, PRA and an eye disease common to collies called Collie Eye Anomaly. Buy only from OFA and CERF certified stock. Also may be prone to epilepsy and deafness. Many Border Collies are allergic to fleas.
Very smart, alert, and responsive, with concentrated intensity when working. Excels at obedience, agility and Frisbee(TM). Sensitive and trainable. Loves praise. Highly energetic, with great stamina. May be reserved with strangers. The adolescent Border Collie often goes through a phase where he challenges his master's authority. Many are highly reactive and sound sensitive, making them a poor choice for families with young children. The Border Collie should be very well socialized as a puppy to prevent shyness. Dominance level is highly variable in Border Collies. The Border Collie is now recognized by the AKC.
Children: Best with older, considerate children.
Friendliness: Moderately protective.
Trainability: Very easy to train.
Independence: Moderately dependent on people.
Other Pets: May be aggressive with dogs of the same sex; do not trust with non-canine pets.
Combativeness: Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive.
Noise: Likes to bark.
Grooming and Physical Needs:
Grooming: Very little grooming needed.
Trimming & Stripping: No trimming or stripping needed.
Coat: Medium coat.
Shedding: Average Shedder.
Exercise: Vigorous daily exercise needed.
Jogging: An excellent jogging companion.
Indoors: Very active indoors.
Apartments: Not recommended for apartments.
Outdoor Space: Best with acreage.
Climate: Does well in most climates.
Owner: Not recommended for novice owners.
Longevity: Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years).
herding, police work, narcotics detection, search & rescue, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.