The "Workhorse" Border Collie

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Border Collie
Weight: 40 — 45 lbs
Height: 18” — 23”
AKC Rank 2008 #51
Lifespan: 10—14 yrs
Group: Herding
Origin: England

Breed Overview

Original function: Sheep herder. Today, sheep herder. Colors, solid, bicolor, tricolor, merle, sable; gold, white not allowed.

Dog Breed Info - The Border Collie

The Collie out for a walk
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In 1873, the first sheepdog herding contest was held. There was one dog out of all the contestants that had a different approach to herding. Instead of barking and nipping at the sheep, he would stare at them and they would move.

This caught everyone’s attention. The dog’s name was ‘Hemp.” He was considered to be the father of the Border Collie. In 1906 the first standards was drawn, but unlike the standards of most breeds, this was a description of ability with no regard to physical appearance. This emphasis has shaped the breed ever since. In fact, the dogs were still referred to simply as “sheepdogs.” in 1915 the name Border Collie was first recorded with reference to the dog’s origin around the British and Scottish borders. This dog came to America and quickly caught on with sheep men who were amazed at the quick action of the dog in the fields and his overall capabilities. The AKC registered the Collie in 1995.


Yes. One of the most trainable breeds. Border Collies love to play and train with their owners as this gives them mental and physical stimulation. They love clicker training and positive reinforcement. Pick yup a clicker at your local pet store.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Border Collie? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

The Border Collie puppies learn house training, potty training, toilet training, housebreaking or whatever you want to call it pretty fast. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

A Border Collie Puppy
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Mental and physical energy defines the Border Collie. This dog is among the most intelligent and obedient of the breeds. However, it is NOT a good house dog. This dog must have a challenging job every day. If given enough exercise every day, this Collie can be a dependable and loyal companion. The dog is very intent on whatever it does and tends to stare, which can unnerve other animals. It also tends to chase other animals. It is reserved, even protective around strangers. Without a job, this dog can become destructive and harmful. Very few dogs are as work-orientated as this breed.

If you happen to get a one with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Gets along with some dogs, but chooses his friends. May remain wary of some dogs.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

No. Wants to be the only pet in the house.

Friendly Toward Strangers

No. They are wary of strangers, but very loyal to their master.


Very playful, especially outdoors.


The Border Collie can be affectionate but tends to side with one person. This is not a family dog.

Good with children?

No. Too much energy. Not really a family dog.

Good with Seniors over 65?

No. Too active and needs too much exercise.

Living environment

Needs house with lots of property to run in, chase balls and play fetch for exercise. The Border Collie needs to run and play ball more than most breeds, as they have enormous energy.

This Border Collie is leaping high
in the air to catch an oncoming ball.
(Ball is out of sight in the photo)
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Energy level

Very high. 10 bars out of 10 on the scale. These Collies need a lot of mental and physical work every day to satisfy their energetic needs.

Exercise needs, daily

Very high.10 bars out of 10 on the scale.


Yes, good watchdogs.

Guard dog

Yes, pretty good. If this was a bigger dog it would be a great guard dog.


No, not much.


Yes, needs brushing twice weekly with a firm bristle brush.



Suggested Reading - The Border Collie

  • Book at far left - "Talking Sheepdogs - Training Your Working Border Collie." An owners guide and training manual, softcover.

  • 2nd from left - A comprehensive Owners Guide. Click on the cover photo to read more about the book.

  • 3rd from the left is "The Guide To Raising Your Pet Border Collie." A different approach to raising and training your new dog. Click on the cover photo for more information.

  • At the far right is "50 Games To Play With Your Dog" which is a fun book full of simple, easy-to-teach-and-play games to keep yous dog interested and busy.

Border Collie Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Border Collie puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been VERY well socialized and started in obedience training.
Border Collie Breeders with puppies for sale.

Border Collie Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older Collie and are looking for a Border Collie Rescue group in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Border Collie Rescue - (Nationwide) Hopefully you can find something here. If you do find one to adopt, look for any dog health records and keep for possible future reference.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but if between Petfinder and here you don't find what you want, go online and look for Border Collie Rescue, shelters, kennels and even foster homes to possibly locate more dogs.


Dog Health Issues For The Border Collie
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems listed for the Border Collie by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are the dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates

  • Hip dysplasia - Hind end limping, back leg acts lame. Wear and time causes the femur to fit poorly into the pelvic socket with improper rotation causing great lameness, pain and difficulty walking for the Border Collie. You may notice the dog “hopping”” like a rabbit when running plus hesitating to climb stairs, all due to pain in the hind quarters. The problem actually starts as a very young puppy with an abnormal formation of the hip joint and grows progressively. A vet can locate this with a diagnostics test.

  • Pannus—A disorder of the cornea of the eye affecting certain breeds in the 4 to 7 year range with an increase in dogs living at higher elevations. Not painful and treatable. If not treated for the remaining life of the dog, the cornea will slowly darken and scar causing visual impairment.

  • Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treated right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem.

  • Cataracts - Hazy or cloudy vision and if not treated will eventually cause total blindness.

  • Collie eye anomaly—Abnormal eye development. Watch your dog closely, as many will experience retinal detachment causing blindness, usually around 6 to 12 months old. If your Border Collie is bumping into things, get it to the vet fast. Also, look for abnormal blood vessels or vessels have a twisted appearance, or you find holes or shallow areas in the dog’s eyes which could be inadequate development of a fiber coating Any change in the eyes is reason to call the vet NOW.

  • Patent ductus arteriosus—Canine congenital heart failure. Before birth, blood from the heart passes the lungs by a small vessel called the ductus arteriosus. That small vessel is supposes to vanish after birth and the infant breathes on it’s own With this disease, the vessel does not go away resulting in improper circulation of blood.

  • Osteocondrosis dissecans—A painful joint problem. Weakened cartilage becomes elevated because of joint fluids between it and surrounding bone, eventually causing degenerative joint disease and lameness Sometimes these “flaps” of loose cartilage break loose and float around causing even more pain around the joint “capsule.” Movement is compromised.

  • Osteochondritis dissecans—A common type of elbow dysplasia except it can occur in any joint including the shoulder. Flaps of cartilage run against tissue causing irritation, pain, lameness and in time, joint degeneration disease and arthritis. Pieces can break loose and float around limiting movement, or getting lodged or wedged inside the joint itself. Look for lameness, pain and swelling in joints. Treatments include non-steroid anti-inflammatory meds, weight loss, confinement to rest the joints, and dietary supplements for joint health. Surgery is the last option for very severe cases.

  • Deafness—Hereditary or caused by: Excessive loud noise, Intolerance to anesthesia, drug toxicity, and Otitis (middle ear infection), In some cases, one ear can have no hearing from birth and the other ear can be losing the ability to hear over time, undetected, then suddenly one morning the hearing is totally gone. There is no reversing once that happens.

  • Seizures - A serious disorder that usually shows up at around 2 to 4 or 5 years of age in the dog.

  • Hypothyroidism—An underactive thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone which reduces the Border Collie's metabolism level. Hypothyroidism stems from the dog’s immune system attacking the tissues of the thyroid gland. Bottom line is the dog becomes symptomatic. The cause can be a predisposition for thyroid problems, air pollution and allergies. A FEW symptoms of the disorder include lethargy, weight gain, skin infections, dry skin, hair loss, slow heart rate, ear infections, depression. See your set right away.

  • Cerebellar abiotrophy—Brain disorder with no known treatment. It’s a degenerative condition that indicates loss of necessary nutritional substances. Cerebellar nerve cells form normally and then degenerate and die off causing inability to control distance and speed. Loss of muscular control is not seen at birth of the dog but gradually appears over time until finally disabling completely. Cause, unknown. The diagnosis is made when there is increasing neurological dysfunction seen day to day in the dog.

  • Ceroid lipofuscinosis—Brain cells are destroyed by a build-up of Ceroid lipfuscin, a waste product, which will lead to abnormal neurologic functions. (You don’t want you dog to have this.)

  • Compulsive behavior—Compulsive abnormal behavior that interferes with normal behavior.

Other problems could occur with your Border Collie. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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