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.
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.
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.
Besides serving as exceptional working farm dogs, Border Collies are renowned for their prowess in the fast-paced sport of agility, where accuracy and speed matter. The Border Collie is also an able athlete in a number of other sports, including flyball, herding trials, obedience and rally.
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).
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.
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