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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Border Collie

Border Collie

Origin: Scotland/England

AKC Group: Herding

Height: 18 inches (Male)

Weight: 27 pounds (Male)

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Male height: 
18 inches
Male weight: 
27 pounds
Border Collies have a double coat. There are two coat types: rough, which has medium-length hair, and smooth, which is short and coarser in texture than the rough.
All colors and combinations of markings are acceptable, although black and white is the primary color pattern associated with the breed.

This breed gets its name from the border country between and England where it was developed. For hundreds of years, these dogs - known simply as shepherd's dogs or collies - helped shepherds manage their flocks. One of the distinct features that began to develop in these collies was the "eye" - a hypnotic stare that willed the sheep to move and turn. Working sheepdogs began to be selected for their "eye" finesse, working style, and durability. The advent of sheepdog trials in 1873 helped establish the Border Collie's modern heritage. Old Hemp, a collie born in 1894, is considered the founder of the modern Border Collie breed. Border Collies came to the United States in the late 19th century, and by the 1950s, were one of the premier working dogs on farms and ranches, where they continue to demonstrate their prowess and skill over sheep.

The classic Border Collie temperament is high energy, incredibly intelligent, sensitive, gentle, good natured, happy and honest. He tends to have a type-A personality with a get-it-done attitude. Dogs who come from working lines can be pushy and bossy, as this attitude is necessary for doing their job properly. Owners not interested in using the Border Collie for his original purpose would do well to find a breeder with "show" or "pet" dogs.
At home: 
Ideally, a Border Collie would live in the country surrounded by lots of land and sheep to herd. This doesn't mean that they can't do well in a suburban home with an active family, but in general, they do not make good apartment dogs. They need social interaction with their owners and will not be happy if left alone for most of the day. In fact, a bored or underexercised Border Collie is prone to problem behaviors, including obsessive behaviors. A securely fenced yard - complete with latches that the gifted Border Collie can't open - is necessary. Their herding nature means that they will herd just about anything they see - children, bicycles, lawn mowers.
The Border Collie requires lots of exercise and won't be satisfied with just a jaunt around the block. He needs vigorous activity to keep him healthy and content. But beyond mere physical exercise, he must have mental stimulation as well - chores, activities, attention, tasks. Whether it's safeguarding the farm's livestock or bringing you your slippers, the Border Collie is a dog who needs a job to be happy.
The high-energy Border Collie requires a nutritious, well-balanced diet to keep him in top shape.
The Border Collie's intense drive and high intelligence make him exceptionally trainable.
Border Collies can get along well with children and other pets as long as they are socialized properly.
The average life span for the Border Collie is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns include Collie eye anomaly (CEA); epilepsy; hip dysplasia; and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
Fun fact: 

Traditionally, shepherds gave their working Border Collies short, one-syllable names, like Mick or Bess, because they could easily be shouted on a windy hillside to quickly signal the dog.

Grooming blurb: 
Both the rough- and smooth-coated Border Collies need regular brushing with a pin brush to keep their coats free of dead hair and looking their best.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.