Border Collies are herding dogs that always need a job! These super-intelligent dogs have an extraordinary amount of energy and endurance to last them all day out in the fields. Their high energy level means these dogs are best suited for active homes where they get plenty of exercise and mental stimulation every day.
But there are many reasons why families love Border Collies, too. They're loyal and affectionate, and they're also incredibly intelligent. Border Collies are easy to train and they're well-suited for dog sports like agility.
Bred as working dogs, Border Collies are relatively new to the AKC registry, only being recognized since 1995. Border Collies can have long hair or short coats in all kinds of color combinations including black, red, gold, merle, brindle, blue, white, sable, and gold. They are iconically black with white markings on the ears and chest made most famous from the Border Collie characters Fly and Rex in the movie "Babe."
Herding and High-Energy Dogs
Border Collies come from the sheepdog breed that has natural tendencies to protect herds rather than hunt them; A testament to their long history of helping man with their livestock.
These dogs are very smart and excel with purpose. If they are raised with small children in the family it is important that the child understands how to interact with dogs. Nipping at family members' heels is a common issue for these dogs, but it can be corrected with training and daily exercise. Border Collies are also notoriously wary of strangers but, like most dogs, these characteristics can improve with adequate training.
Because Border Collies are so intelligent, the breed is known for its excellent trainability. The breed quickly learns and excels in high-energy sports like flyball, agility, and games of frisbee.
The American Kennel Club tells us, that these energetic dogs are generally hardy but there are a few health problems and issues to look out for.
"A responsible breeder will screen breeding stock for health conditions such as hip dysplasia, progressive renal atrophy, deafness, epilepsy, collie eye anomaly, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, and trapped neutrophil syndrome."
There are two types of coats in the breed. The rough-coat is medium in length and the smooth coat is shorter. The breed standard colors include blue merle, red merle, and white and black among other varieties and colors.
Some fun facts? They were first classified as the Scotch Sheep Dog. This heritage breed was instrumental in developing both the smooth coat and rough coat Border Collies and the Australian Shepard. The Scotch Collie is now only seen in small numbers.
Borders are known to be the greatest herders! And don't miss sheepdog trials if these are anywhere near where you live! They are worth the drive.
Bringing Home a Border Collie
Border Collies can be good family dogs but borders form tight bonds with their family and want to be with them every second they can. But if you live in an apartment, they will need a lot of physical activity. So this breed is not a great family pet if you don't live in an area where there is space for them to burn off that tireless energy with a lot of physical exercise.
If you're interested in the breed, there are many Border Collie rescues and breeders that provide not only responsible breeding advice but thoughts on sheep herding and the breed's herding instinct.
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