Border Collie Dog Breed Information
A smart, energetic, and affectionate breed, it is no wonder that the Border Collie is a top-20 dog among breeds in the U.S. While Border Collies are traditionally herding dogs, their demeanor and desire to please also make them great family dogs. If you plan to add a pup to your family, here is what you need to know about Border Collies.
A Little History
Like many established breeds, the Border Collie’s exact origin is unclear. We know that 19th century herding dogs were used in Great Britain to round-up cattle and other livestock, and it is believed that the Border Collie was among them. Most agree they descended from sheep-herding dogs along the border between Scotland and England, which is how they got their name in 1915. In 1995, Border Collie fanciers finally persuaded the American Kennel Club to recognize the breed formally.
What are Border Collies Like?
This medium-sized dog is just longer than it is tall, and comes in a wide variety of color combinations. Their coats can be one color, two colors, three colors, merle, or sable. Their facial expression is intelligent, as they are always alert and aware of their surroundings. When their coats are short their hair is smooth, though as it gets longer it becomes wavy, or even rough.
Pet parents use words like enthusiastic, obedient, loyal, and people-pleaser to describe their Border Collies. They love to learn new tricks and encounter new challenges, and their intelligence makes them one of the best family dogs available. That said, they tend to give chase to other animals, so you should monitor your Border Collie’s interactions with other pets.
Caring for Border Collies
Border Collies have strong bones that help them run tirelessly and with grace. Consequently, they are not suited for apartment dwelling, as they need space to run and exercise. While they enjoy the outdoors, they prefer to live indoors to spend time with their masters. Because they are so intelligent, they need to be challenged with mental activity to maintain good behavior. An occasional bath and weekly brushing helps maintain a healthy coat, but during shedding season you may need to brush them daily. Of course, don’t forget to brush their teeth!
Most Border Collies live between 10 and 14 years. This breed is prone to certain conditions such as canine hip dysplasia (CHD), hypothyroidism, and osteochondritis dissecans (OCD)1. It is important to visit your veterinarian early and regularly to detect problem signs. Your veterinarian may want to run hip, DNA, and eye tests routinely for your Border Collie.
If you are adopting a Border Collie puppy from a breeder, expect to pay around $1,200, plus another $1,500 on supplies, initial veterinary expenses, and training in the first year. After that, Border Collie pet parents spend about $800 annually on food, healthcare, and other supplies.
In most cases, CHD is best treated with surgery, which can cost pet parents anywhere from $1,700 to more than $4,500. Similarly, procedures to treat OCD can cost between $2,000 and $4,000 per affected joint. A pet insurance policy from 4Paws Insurance helps pet parents secure important veterinary treatment and worry less about the cost.
Comments from our Chief Pet Officer
This is a very intelligent breed with varying levels of dominance within each liter. Border Collies are not best-suited for families with small children or apartment life. However, they are great with young professionals that need an exercise buddy or families that have older children that love to run and play with a companion. This breed does require work and structure, and they need firm commands. If left to their own devices they will take charge, so make sure you work with a trainer to ensure that you are the alpha in this relationship. Lastly, Border Collies are pleasers, so if you have a large yard, love to exercise, and do not mind structure, this could be the perfect match for you.