If you're looking for a clever canine, Border Collies might be the cleverest of them all. These four-legged eggheads have been deemed the smartest dogs in the game. The “border” in their name reflects their heritage: these pups were originally bred to herd sheep in the region between Scotland and England.
Border Collies are no ordinary herders though: they intimidate their charges with a soul-piercing glare to show they're the boss. Built to maneuver close to the ground, these dogs are fast and can run all day.
This medium-sized and high-energy breed can grow to between 27-45 pounds and live an average of 10-17 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Herding group.
|Breed's original pastime||Herding|
|Average lifespan||10-17 years|
|Date of origin||1800s|
|Original function||Sheep herding|
|Today's function||Sheep herding, herding trials|
|Average size of male||Height: 20-23 Weight: 30-45|
|Average size of female||Height: 18-21 Weight: 30-45|
|Energy level||High energy|
|Affection level||Moderately affectionate|
|Friendliness toward other dogs||Friendly|
|Friendliness toward other pets||Shy|
|Friendliness toward strangers||Shy|
|Ease of training||Hard to train|
|Protection ability||Moderately protective|
|Grooming needs||Moderately maintenance|
|Cold tolerance||Medium tolerance|
|Heat tolerance||Medium tolerance|
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS A BORDER COLLIE'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
With enough mental and physical exercise, the Border Collie is a fantastic family dog. They will never get tired of playing with you or your children, and they can be cuddly. Like many larger breeds, the Border Collie does better with older or supervised children. They are sometimes suspicious of strangers, but are usually good with other dogs and family pets.
WHAT IS BORDER COLLIE BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Border Collies need jobs and space to stretch their legs — a daily walk around the block won't cut it. Border Collies are driven, focused dogs. They are vigilant and somewhat protective. They can be somewhat prone to barking. Plan for rigorous daily exercise, preferably in a safe, traffic-free area with tons of space for your busy-bodied canine companion to get her ya-yas out.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN A BORDER COLLIE?
Border Collies are very smart, very motivated, very biddable, and capable of laser-like focus. They were bred to perform complicated tasks, working both with human partners and on their own. But—as with many smart breeds—if you don't continue to challenge them, they can get bored and destructive.
Start early and be patient and consistent while training your furry friend. Be sure to curb herding instincts, especially nipping, while your Border Collie is young. Reward them with praise, food, and games.
This breed excels in dog sports, especially herding, agility, and obedience.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO BORDER COLLIES SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Border Collies are double coated. Their coats can be either short and smooth or medium-to-long and rough. Their hair may be slightly wavy or flat. Border Collies have several different types of coats that are fairly easy to maintain. Plan on brushings at least once a week to keep their hair healthy and free of mats and debris. They are seasonal shedders.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO BORDER COLLIES HAVE?
Most Border Collies are healthy dogs. They can experience eye ailments and hip dysplasia, but in general, they are a robust breed. Responsible Border Collie breeders are careful never to breed two merle-colored Border Collies together, as their offspring may be blind and/or deaf.