Everything You Need to Know About Border Collies

Posted by Mateja Lane

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The smartest!

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.

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."

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. Border Collies are also notoriously wary of strangers but, like most dogs, these characteristics can improve with adequate training.

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 others varieties and colors.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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General Appearance

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that can have short or long coats. These working dogs are super agile, maintain balance while traveling at top speeds, and remain alert at all times. These herding dogs have an excessive amount of energy and endurance and do best with a job if they are not working on the farm.


Border Collies are quick thinkers and decision makers. Their intelligent eyes reflect their eagerness to please their keepers. Their eyes usually correspond to the color of their coats and they may have different color eyes in the case of merles. The ears are medium in size and fall lightly on the sides of the head.


Border Collies come in a variety of colors from red, merle, gold, and sable but are most iconically black with white markings on the ears and chest. They can have longer coats or short coarse hair.


Border Collies are working dogs but are agile and not excessively muscular. The back is in line and neither sloped nor arched when viewed from the side. These dogs are agile and quick, built to herd large livestock. Their paw pads are extra thick to protect them in the fields.


Border Collies are generally a healthy breed and likelihood of disease can be determined by blood line.

Do you have a Border Collie? Show us in the comments below!

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Everything You Need to Know About Border Collies