We often think of a Border Collie as the quintessential Australian working dog, but the breed actually originated on the border of Scotland and England and is arguably considered the world’s best herding dog.
This smart, highly energetic and trainable breed has great stamina and a need for order and a job to do above anything else.
Border Collie’s are very people-oriented and are wonderful family dog, but can have an inborn protective streak like many herding breeds so can be wary of strangers. Early socialisation is essential to help prevent shyness or reactivity to people they don’t know.
The Border Collie can also be highly sensitive to sound, so they don’t always mix well with young children and may develop phobias to loud noises, like thunderstorms, so you’ll need to work on that early.
The black-and-white Border Collie is most familiar, but the breed comes in all colours and combinations and can be solid, bi or tri coloured, merle and sable with a smooth or rough, double coat. Their expected lifespan is around 12 to 15 years of age.
Expecting a Border Collie to spend its days in the backyard with nothing to keep them occupied is a sure way to create a barking, bored, destructive dog instead of a calm, well-behaved, loyal companion.
If you are not prepared to help meet the mental and physical needs of a Border Collie, then please don’t get one, as their high intelligence can often result in neurosis and other unwanted behaviour if their needs are not met.
They are designed to work and are easily trainable, but become bored quickly, so training must be fun, yet challenging, with lots of praise and positive reinforcement.
Their herding instincts can be turned on children, other pets, and vehicles, so giving them a job to do, and activities like agility, fly ball and herding are a great way to help re-direct this instinctual need.
When it comes to lifestyle considerations, the Border Collie is well suited to be indoors spending time with its family.
The breed is generally not ideal for apartment living and should be given regular access to the outdoors.
They require regular grooming to remove the dead hair and check them regularly for ticks, as they can be difficult to see in their coat.
Border Collies are generally very fit, active dogs but can be prone to hereditary health issues including osteochondritis dissecans – a painful joint disease, hip displaysia, and a range of eye issues and epilepsy.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog