Intuitive and intelligent, the Border Collie is a herding dog breed that was developed to collect and control sheep in the rolling countryside of the border between Scotland and England (popularly known as border guards). The breed is known for its unique ability to manage its flock.
The Border Collie is a dog with unlimited energy, stamina and workforce. All these qualities make it an exemplary herding dog, and it is still used today to herd sheep on farms and ranches all over the world.
Highly trainable and intelligent, the Border Collie also excels in various dog sports such as flyball, frisbee throwing, training, and more. This breed is considered the most intelligent of all breeds worldwide.
Description of the border collie breed
If you have ever had the opportunity to watch a Border Collie among a herd of sheep, know that you have seen a master at work. He intuitively feels the wishes of the shepherd, skillfully answers commands and is always exactly where he needs to be. It looks impressive.
The Border Collie, a medium-sized dog of 47 to 53 cm at the withers, seems to have an uncanny amount of energy and stamina that has been developed over the years during the dog's physical labor - all day long in the mountains and valleys of the Scottish countryside. Sometimes he worked 80 km or more a day. When it comes to acquiring the perfect dog for work, no one can replace the Border Collie breed.
There is also a dark side to the Border Collie's energy and hard work. It manifests itself in a house where the qualities of the breed are not understood. The dog does not like to be carried in his arms, cherished and basked with him. All he needs is a job. Living next to an energetic, intelligent and well-to-do physically hardy dog sometimes even annoys the owner or family who want a laid-back family pet, nothing more. He's not the option.
The Border Collie is a herding dog that will always show an irresistible desire to gather a herd. It can be not only a herd of sheep, but also children, cats, squirrels, or anything that moves, including cars. It is impossible to rid the dog of this instinct, so it must be directed in the right direction. He must have tasks, whether it is actually sheep herding or competing dog sports. Brisk walking, daily active play are not enough to satisfy the Border Collie's activity.
However, for a breed owner, the Border Collie is a wonderful dog and lifelong friend. Intelligence and obedience make him easy to train. He is sensitive and, according to those who know him well, he has a strange ability to know that you are going to ask him before you ask. If he is well socialized and trained from puppyhood, he can adapt to almost any life situation.
The Border Collie is a good option for people who lead an active lifestyle, especially for those who love dog sports and want to win for their pet. With proper training, this breed excels in any activity and sport.
The owner or family that is willing to properly socialize and train the Border Collie will find a part of themselves in this intelligent, empathetic breed.
– The Border Collie is a very sensitive breed, often responding to the most subtle commands and able to predict the desires of its owner in advance.
– A workaholic who thrives on mental and physical exertion. Border collies have to live in motion, in work, in sports, in order to direct their energy there. Otherwise he will invent his own game and he may become the problem of life.
“A border collie will make a herd anything that moves. This, including, can be children, cars, people on bicycles, cats, squirrels. He can become a real problem if he is allowed to wander around. A securely fenced yard is essential. Children's romps can stimulate a dog's shepherd instinct.
– The Border Collie doesn't usually get lost, but his curiosity and level of intelligence can lead him to a life of freelance artist.
To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from people you are not sure about, in the market or in pet stores. Look for a breeder who breeds this breed. It is necessary to examine not only the puppy, but also its parents, to make sure that they do not have genetic abnormalities and diseases that could pass to the puppy. The Border Collie may have weak eyes and elbow joints. You should pay special attention to this when choosing a puppy.
Border Collies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain medical conditions. Not all Border Collies are at risk of these diseases, but it is important to be aware of them if you are considering this breed as your pet.
Diseases specific to the border collie
Hip dysplasia. This is a hereditary disease in which the femur does not fit snugly against the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and limp on one or both hind legs, and some show no outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray examination is the most reliable way to diagnose the problem). The disease can develop in dogs at any age. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. So if you are buying a puppy, ask the breeder to provide proof that the puppy's parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and have no problem with it.
Progressive retinal atrophy. This is a series of eye diseases that involve the gradual deterioration of vision. In the early stages of the disease, the dog begins to see poorly at night. Many visually impaired dogs adapt well to life with their limitations and behave normally as long as their environment remains the same.
Epilepsy. It is a neurological disorder that is often, but not always, hereditary. Epilepsy can cause mild or severe seizures that manifest as fever, staggering, loss of balance, loss of consciousness, in severe cases, seizures that are frightening to watch. But, the prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally good. It is important that the veterinarian makes the correct diagnosis (especially since seizures can be caused by other causes) and treatment.
Collie eye anomaly. This is an inherited disease that causes changes and abnormalities in the eye, which can sometimes lead to blindness. These changes may include choroidal hypoplasia (malformations of the choroid), coloboma (defect of the optic disc), staphyloma (thinning of the sclera), and retinal detachment. Collie eye anomaly usually occurs after two years of a dog's life. There are no conditions for treatment.
Allergy. There are three main types of allergies in dogs:
- food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog's diet;
- contact allergy, which is caused by a reaction to various things such as flea powders, dog shampoos, various chemicals, etc.;
- inhalation allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mold.
Osteochondrosis dissecting. This is a disease that occurs as a result of abnormal growth of cartilage in the joints. It usually occurs in the elbows and shoulders. This causes joint pain, so much so that the dog does not bend the elbow. Even 8-month-old puppies can be subjected to this disease. Overfeeding a puppy with vitamins for active growth or foods high in protein can contribute to the development of the disease.
Border Collie Care
While the Border Collie is highly adaptable to any environment, he is best suited for open spaces: a country house yard with secure fencing, or a farm.
Regardless of the environment, he requires a lot of mental and physical activity every day, and he needs an owner who is willing and able to provide this to the pet. This can be a big burden for owners who don't know what kind of treasure they have in their hands. If you're thinking of getting a Border Collie friend, make sure you can provide him with a proper outlet for his natural energy and bright mind. If you are not a sheep farm owner, dog sports are a good alternative.
The hardworking Border Collie is not a slob and does not need excessive grooming to look good. Bathing is recommended only if necessary - every four months or as it gets dirty.
It is also recommended that you brush your Border Collie's teeth at least two to three times a week to keep tartar and bacteria from building up. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Nails should be trimmed once a month if needed. You should also check your ears once a week for dirt, redness, or an unpleasant odor that could indicate an infection. Ears can also be wiped daily to avoid diseases. It's not difficult, read here - Dog ear cleaning.
Your pet should be examined as often as possible, looking for ulcers, rashes, and signs of infection such as redness, soreness, or inflammation on the skin, nose, mouth, eyes, and legs. The eyes should look clear, without redness. Your daily assessment of your pet's condition will help you identify potential health problems early.
Feeding the Border Collie
The recommended daily amount of high quality dry food is 1,5 to 2 cups per day, divided into two meals - breakfast and dinner.
The amount of food a dog needs depends on its size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. All dogs are individuals, just like people, and not all of them need the same amount of food. It goes without saying that a very active dog needs more food than a homebody dog. The quality of the dog food you buy also matters.
Wool, color and appearance
The Border Collie dog breed has two types of coat: long and smooth hair. Both types have a coarse outer coat and a soft undercoat. The long-haired type is of medium length with feathering on the legs, chest and belly. The smooth-haired type appears in the form of short hair over the entire surface of the body.
The coat color is most often black with a white blaze on the face, neck, legs and tail tip with or without the presence of fawn. It can also be bicolor and tricolor in any variations, merle, solid color (except white). White should always be in the minority.
Children and other pets
The Border Collie is a good family dog as long as it is properly raised and trained from an early age. He gets along well with children and other pets, although his herd instinct will cause him to nip, chase, and bark at children (especially small children) and animals if his instincts are not channeled.
As with any other breed, you should always teach your children how to properly behave around a dog. And also always control any interactions between dogs and small children in order to prevent any bites on both sides, especially the ears and tail of the dog, because kids are pulled into their mouths and try everything in the world, even dogs. Teach your child to never approach a dog (this applies to all breeds) while it is eating.
I wish you that this wonderful breed of border collie, which has appeared or may appear in your life, will become your best, obedient and intelligent friend who will gladly support you in your active life.