By Macy Gen Veterinary AssistantMacy Gen Last updated: 17th March 2023

Border Collie


Macy Gen Veterinary Assistant Macy Gen
Last updated: 17th March 2023

Originating in the Anglo-Scottish region, the Border Collie is a livestock guardian breed popular for its high level of intelligence, athletic body, high energy levels, and affectionate nature.

Border Collie Pictures

Quick Information

Other namesScottish Sheepdog
CoatClose-fitting, weather resistant, dense double coat which can be rough or smooth; Topcoat– straight or a little wavy and rough; Undercoat: soft, dense, short
ColorBlack, brindle, red, blue, gold, sable, lilac, red merle, white and red, white and black, saddleback sable, slate, seal, white and seal, white and gold, white and sable
Breed typePurebred
Average life expectancy (How long do they live)12 to 15 years
Size (How big do they get)Medium
Height of a full grown Border CollieMale: 19 to 22 inches; Female: 18 to 21 inches
Weight of a full grown Border Collie30 to 55 pounds
Litter sizeApproximately 6 puppies
Behavioral characteristicsAlert, smart, hardworking, energetic, affectionate
Good with childrenYes, though preferably older kids
Barking tendencyMostly no, except when bored
Climate compatibility Adapts well to all types of climate
Shedding (Do they shed)Moderately high, but excessive during spring and fall
Competitive Registration Qualification/ InformationAKC, FCI, ANKC, CKC, NZKC, UKC, KC (UK)
CountryU.K, England-Scotland border

What does a Border Collie look like

Head: Flat, and well defined.

Eyes: Well set, oval-shaped, and moderately sized.

Ears: Medium sized, well set, erect or semi-erect.

Muzzle: Strong, tapering to its nose slightly.

Tail: Low set and of a moderate length.

History and Origin

They have a long and eventful history deriving their ancestry from the landrace collies. Collie in Scottish dialect means sheepdogs, and this is the job for which these dogs are extremely famed. When Rome had conquered Britain, they brought along with them their dogs which were big, heavily boned and adept at herding. When the Viking raiders began invading Britain, they also carried their canines which were herding dogs though smaller in size with a swift gait. The old Roman breeds and the spitz-kind dogs were crossed resulting in agile, herding breeds which were adept at working in the hilly terrain of Wales and Scotland. The Border Collie is regarded as the best herder in the world, doing their job with ease and efficiency.

The Border Collies of the modern times, however, is said to have their ancestry linked to the Old Hemp which is a tricolor breed, born in 1893, in Northumberland. The AKC recognized it in its herding dog category on 1st October 1995, and besides U.K and U.S.A, it also attained popularity in Australia as well as New Zealand.

Temperament and Personality

The Border Collie is smart, energetic, alert and hardworking. They make for perfect house companions, but always love to be busy, in some kind of a task. When bored they could indulge in a whole lot of destructive activities like digging holes, scraping furniture and so on. They are initially wary and reserved with strangers but could gradually get friendly when it sees his master greeting the unknown face amicably. They are affectionate towards kids but are better suited with older ones. They are good chasers, and the sight of smaller kids could trigger this aspect causing them to nip or run after the little ones. The same goes for dogs and other pets, hence socialization is needed before you acquaint your Border Collie with other pets.



Being a bundle of energy and always desiring to be involved in some activity of the other. Hence, taking them out on a long walk, alongside giving them sufficient playtime is essential to keep them physically and mentally energized.  Therefore, this dog is ideal for only those who can match their energy levels.


Both rough and smooth coated variety shed on a moderate basis, need to be brushed once a week. However, during spring and fall, they shed heavily requiring regular combing during that time. Bathe it only when it gets dirty. Other grooming needs include brushing its teeth twice or thrice, trimming its nails one time in a month, as well as cleaning its eyes and ears on a routine basis to ensure overall hygiene and cleanliness.

Health Problem

Though healthy and hardy, some of the common health problems they may face include hip and elbow dysplasia, congenital eye diseases, hypothyroidism, osteochondritis and diabetes mellitus.


They are intelligent dogs and may be easy to train if the master is firm and tactful enough. However, they can be independent and often display a streak of stubbornness. Hence proper handling with positive reinforcement is needed.

  • Socialization training should be given to the Border Collie puppies so that they can get along well with other dogs and pets comfortably. Take them to a dog park from their puppyhood so that they can observe other canines. Instead of going inside let them stand out and give them time to watch other dogs. If you see them getting irate or aggressive, take them away. In case they are calm and cooperative praise your Border Collie and reward it with a treat.
  • Obedience training is a must from the early days of its life and make sure you teach it basic commands like “No” or “Stop” to keep a check on its destructive habits.
  • To get control over its habit to nip or bite, you need to take initiatives from the early days of its life. Whenever you find it nipping at your ankle or feet stop moving and wave a toy (which you need to keep handy always). When it stops biting give it the toy or a treat. In this way, it would be able to understand that positive behavior fetches rewards and gradually be able to get over its destructive habit.


The National Research Council of the National Academies mentions that a Border Collie having a weight of about 40 pounds needs 1109 calories a day. Choose a good quality dry dog food which has all the nutrient it requires and is devoid of any colorings or additives. While including homemade food have a word with a vet to make sure that you are giving it the right amount of nutrients.

Interesting Facts

  • The 1995 comedy movie Babe features a Border Collie by the name of Fly.

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