Getting to Know Your Border Collie

The next breed we want to learn about in our Getting to Know Your Dog Breed is the Border Collie. Border Collies are said to be one of the most intelligent dogs, easy to train and quick to learn.Life expectancy: The Border Collie’s life expectancy is 12 – 15 years.

Size: Border Collies weigh between 30-55 lbs and stand about 18-22 inches tall at the shoulder.

Color: Typically, you will see Border Collies that are black and white or sable and white, but they come in a wide variety of variations, including a merle or brindle coloring.

Origins: Today’s Border Collie finds its origins hundreds of years ago from a combination of Roman Empire large, big-boned herding dogs and the Vikings smaller, more agile spitz type herders. The results are compact, agile, strong Border Collies well-suited for their herding jobs in the hilly terrain of Scotland and Wales.Personality:  As mentioned, Border Collies are highly intelligent and if you have seen them work livestock, you can see it in action. They are intensely focused, task oriented and can be a bit compulsive herding everything from your cats, kids and toys on the floor. But they are loving, friendly to all and eager to please.

It takes a dedicated owner to find the right level of exercise and the right kind of “job” for your Border Collie. They are infamous for their ability to stare down livestock to get them to do what they want, and they will attempt to use that technique on the family. They are extremely loyal and love their family, but their intensity and need to be in everyone’s business all the time can be a challenge.

Health Issues: Border Collies are a fairly hardy dog with a long life expectancy. But like any animal they can develop disease and are predisposed to certain ailments. Many high energy dogs are susceptible to hip or elbow dysplasia and Border Collies are no exception.

They are also predisposed to a condition called Collie Eye Anomaly, a group of eye disorders ranging from minor to severe. There is genetic testing that can determine if a dog is clear or carries the disease, so be sure and ask about this if you get your dog from a breeder.

Other diseases known to occur in Border Collies includes epilepsy, PRA (Progressive Retinal Atrophy) and allergies.Fitness/energy level:  They are energetic and enthusiastic adventurers who are always looking for something to do. Border Collie owners must be dedicated to a high level of exercise to keep these dynamos in check. If you don’t have a job for them, it will show in their behavior. Since most of us don’t have livestock for them to tend, agility is a great outlet for them and they excel at it. Other high energy sports like flyball, dock diving, or competitive frisbee are also great energy outlets for your Border Collie.

They are also well suited for search and rescue efforts.

Native foods for the Border Collie: Native foods for Border Collies are foods found in Wales and Scotland and would include deer, rabbit, goat, salmon, trout, pumpkin a wide variety of berries.

Good foods to feed your Border Collie: Based on the Border Collie’s origin, here are a few foods that contain some of the key ingredients that the original Border Collies would have likely eaten. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but rather provide ‘food for thought’.

Wellness™ Complete Health Complete Health Limited Ingredient Salmon & Potato

Instinct™ Original Original Real Rabbit

Nutram™ Total T23 Grain Free Turkey, Chicken & DuckFun facts about the Border Collie:

  • One of the more famous Border Collies is Chaser who is known for having the largest tested memory of a non-human and can accurately identify and retrieve 1,022 objects.
  • The movie Babe highlighted the skills of Border Collies and generated a surge in their popularity.
  • A famous poet Robert Burns owned a Border Collie named Luath and her death inspired his well-known poem called The Twa Dogs  on the special bond between dog and man.

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