If you’ve been thinking about getting a dog, either an adult or a pup then most likely you’ve been looking at different breeds and come across the Border Collie.
This amazing breed have some features which remind one of their ancestors, namely the wolves.
These traits are very prominent in Border Collies and you may also see them helping to herd sheep.
A Little Bit About Border Collies
Border Collies made their first appearance in the UK around the sixteenth century. They were primarily used as hunting dogs and have been specifically bred to do this job.
Because the Border Collie is smart and obedient, they are popular as hunting dogs. They also possess great endurance traits which gives them the patience when herding sheep.
In 2019 the Border Collie ranked as 35 in the AKC for the most popular breed. Male Border Collies grow up to 22” in height and weigh around 55 pounds, with the females being slightly smaller and lighter.
The breed tends to be muscular yet quick on their feet. They are very agile and have excellent balance. Most Border Collies need to be assigned a task to keep them happy.
They enjoy company of other people most of the time although they are a bit aloof with strangers until they are comfortable. Now let’s take a look at Border Collies pros and cons.
Pros of Border Collies
#1 It’s all about playing games
This breed will play fetch with you for hours on end. In fact, you’ll probably get tired before he does. Any game that involves throwing and bringing things back will please this breed.
Border Collies love playing with frisbees, anything that shows off their ability to jump and catch will simply make their day.
Because of this they are popular entrants at agility events and shows where they quickly learn new moves.
#2 Border Collies love exercise
These dogs were bred to work in the fields of Scotland and keep the sheep together.
If you have small children, don’t be surprised if your Border Collie keeps them in the same place and doesn’t let them wander off!
They thrive on a good amount of exercise each day as well as some play time.
#3 They love to learn
It is a recognised fact that no other breed is as versatile in learning than the Border Collie.
While it may take some time to teach a perfect trick, they will remember it faultlessly with the right cue.
These dogs can learn almost anything, which also makes them excellent companion dogs.
#4 The breed has two types of coat
One coat is smooth, short and coarse and sheds less during the different seasons. The other type is medium-length and feathered.
This coat needs to be brushed at least 3 times a week to get rid of any tangles and debris.
Both types of coat are weather-resistant, durable and very dense. While they are not hypoallergenic, the short coat sheds less than the longer coat.
#5 Border Collies are a hardy breed
Being bred for climatic conditions in Scotland has meant that these are among the healthiest and hardiest breeds in the world.
The average lifespan is 12-15 years. Because they are so hardy, they are the ideal pet for colder countries where a smaller and less hardy dog would not be happy.
#6 They love games and puzzles
Border Collies enjoy mental stimulation and enjoy an owner who keeps them on their toes. They love any game and puzzle challenges that stimulate them mentally.
Anything that makes the Border Collie think will meet with full approval. They will gladly learn new tricks to show off to your friends.
#7 Border Collies are recognised by the AKC
The breed standard is very forgiving. It is acceptable for a Border Collie to have scars and broken teeth because these have happened in the workplace.
In fact, they are often favoured by judges because it shows that the dog has the chance to use its’ natural instincts.
Judges also look for the herding instinct because it shows that the genetics have not been interfered with.
The AKC accepted Border Collies as a breed in 1995 which is the reason why they are not as popular as other dogs who have been recognised earlier.
#8 They cost less than other breeds
A licensed breeder selling a pup with all the paperwork will ask for $600 – $800 although you sometimes find them offered for $200.
You should always make sure that you have seen the medical records of both parents before buying a pup.
Cons of Border Collies
#1 They have some health issues
Pups should be checked for hip and eye problems. The breed has a tendency for epilepsy and deafness as well as renal atrophy.
They need regular ear checks to prevent infection and must have their teeth cleaned frequently.
#2 Sometimes they nip, sometimes they stare
The herding instinct means that some Border Collies will nip at people they way they would at sheep who do not listen.
Occasionally they will nip if they feel they are not the centre of attention or no one is listening to them.
They may also resort to poking at small children with their nose if they do not stay where the dog wants them to.
Other animals who do not go where they should may find themselves nipped on the back legs.
The staring may unnerve some people although it is simply the dog remaining focused until he receives a new instruction.
#3 Border Collies are very territorial
If strangers visit the house the dog may bark and run around wildly until he is certain all is well.
Because in years gone by the Border Collie was king of all he saw, he still imagines that all he sees belongs to him, even to the point that he may nip at joggers running past the house.
It is important that these dogs are well-socialised from an early age to prevent bad habits forming.
#4 He’s an escape artist
To keep them safe in the yard the fence needs to be 8-10’ high. Anything lower will mean that he works out how to escape.
Below the fence there needs to be at least 3’ of metal to stop him digging out and running off.
Gates need extra closures because they can and will learn how to open the latches.
While the breed truly loves their family, they also love exploring and running free and will gladly head off by themselves while you are out.
For this reason, they do not do well being left alone for great lengths of time.
#5 Border Collies need exercise
To have a dog who is not a compulsive destroyer of furniture shoes and anything else, he must be exercised – a lot.
A quick walk around the block will not be enough, he needs to burn off some of the energy. Dog-friendly events are great for Border Collies for burn off energy and show off their skills.
#5 They get restless
Not enough mental stimulation will soon lead to other issues such as eating disorders.
Trying to force the dog to eat will only make him refuse more. The problem of restlessness must be taken care of.
#7 They are naturally cautious
They will bark at anything which is unusual. If they hear a noise upstairs, you can be sure that they will bark.
This is because they are naturally cautious. This is also the reason why it is important to socialise the dog.
They are shy until they get to know other dogs and people and may even appear standoffish, but this is all part of their breeding.
So, is a Border Collie right for you?
Border Collies will suit homes where the humans are active, and the household is high-energy. If you prefer to spend your days reading quietly then this breed may not be for you.
You should be able to commit to a 60 minute walk each day as well as a good play session. If the energy is not burned off destructive behaviour will follow.
This breed will try to outwit its owner any way it can. They will dig under or climb over in their effort to go and explore the area. Leaving them alone for extended periods is not a good idea.
Not every family wants its young children herded into a corner and kept there, so this is a trait that you need to be aware of and not have the dog rule the family.
Border Collies Pros And Cons: Final thoughts
Border Collies primarily need exercise – and lots of it. If you cannot set aside the time to do this, then this may not be the right breed for you.
The breed is incredibly smart and loves a challenge, both mentally and physically. They are easy to train and love to show off what they have learned.
Coming in at a decent price makes Border Collies a good pet to the right family and with attention to their medical needs can be a great pet for many years.