Border Collie – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Is Border Collie the breed for you? If you are thinking about getting this active breed, you should check this guide first. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Herding Dogs
18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder
30 to 45 pounds
Life Span:
12 to 15 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Do you desire to have an active and intelligent dog? If so, then you should think about welcoming the globally-popular Border Collie into your home.

This famous breed is a true magician when it comes to mastering commands and tricks. In fact, this breed will demand that you challenge them, or they will become destructive.

The Border Collie was carefully bred to gather and control sheep in distant hills between Scotland and England.

This breed isn’t for those who prefer staying in instead of exploring the wilderness. They can become easily bored, and a 20-minutes long walk a day, won’t be enough.

The Border Collie will demand long walks, exercise time, and well-structured training to remain happy and tired.

The best way to keep this dog physically and mentally happy is to keep him busy.

Quick Facts

Real name: Border Collie
Origin: Anglo-Scottish border
Breed type: Herding Dogs
Weight: 30 to 45 pounds
Height: 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Litter Size: 4 – 6 puppies
Color: Black and white
Coat: Double coat, rough and smooth

Border Collie History

Border Collie is a famous English/Scottish dog with a long history and high-energy level. These dogs are herders, which means that they love to run.

To keep them happy, you will have to provide enough attention and exercise, or you will learn how it is to have a destructive dog.

Border collies were bred to work, and from day one they are appreciated for their amazing physical attributes and skills.

Originally, these highly active dogs are from the border countries of England and Scotland.

Historians claim that this breed may date back to the 1700s. Did you know that the word ‘Collie’ is actually a Scottish word and translates as ‘sheepdogs’?

The Border Collie became a separate breed (a separate breed from Collie) in the mid-19th century. Interestingly, this famous breed wasn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1995. Before 1995 they were simply named and known as the ‘Scotch Sheep Dog.’

Quick fact: Dog experts assume that Border Collie is one of the few dogs used in the creation of miniature Collie, also known as Shetland Sheepdog

During the 19th century, this breed became popular among English nobles. As such, they were used for many everyday duties, including police work.

Even today they are often seen assisting different forces with various tasks. This is why, next to Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd, the black-and-white Border Collie is often seen among first police lines, searching for something forbidden, or dangerous.

You can expect to see them in more rural areas, as part of search and rescue missions. On top of that, they are great assisting partners for the blind.

Border Collie Physical Appearance

Border Collie was bred to work, and as such, this is an awell-built and strong dog.

They are always of medium size, with females being smaller in size than males, and of a more slim figure.

They commonly stand 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder and should weigh no more than 45 pounds.

As a general rule, the Border Collie should weigh between 30 to 45 pounds.

If you provide proper nutrition, adequate care, and a safe and nurturing environment you can expect your Border Collie to live between 12 to 15 years.

This is a breed with an agile body of white-and-black coat. They commonly have two types of coat:

  • Smooth (short and coarse)
  • Rough (medium-length and feathered)

Both types are double-coated, which means that this dog is always well-protected in harsh weather. They come in a variety of colors and patterns, but white and black are most present.

In appearance, they are very similar to Australian Shepherd, also known as Aussie.

These dogs are always alert and always ready to jump into their next adventure. Their bodies are built to follow that spirit.

The tail in this breed is long, which is something that is not so common for working breeds. Their tail should be bushy, making wagging more adorable.

The eyes of this breed are one of their most original features. Their eyes are oval in shape and either brown or light blue. They are also canine champions when it comes to staring.

Border Collie Personality

This dog is smart.

Not only that they are fast to learn new commands, but they will demand that you mentally challenge them. That being said, indoor games, regular walks, and constant learning of new commands are mandatory if you want to keep this breed’s mind sharp.

The Border Collie is a medium-size dog packed with energy, which is why this breed is never recommended for a first time dog owners.

Are you a first time dog owner, just thinking about welcoming a pooch into your home?

If yes, you might want to focus on breeds that are more suitable for first time dog owners – check them here.

They may be seen in busy city areas, but they will thrive in homes with more of open space. Therefore, a farm or a home in a more rural area should be the perfect ground for Border Collie’s happiness.

Running all day long is mandatory for this breed. Also, giving them a task cannot be harmful. They thrive on duties, and a task will keep them both busy and happy.

Exercise, exercise, and more exercise will keep this breed happy. Otherwise, you can expect your Border to show destructive behavior.

Destructive behavior in dogs occurs when dogs are bored, unhappy, or neglected.

Before you get a dog, any dog, make sure that you can provide enough care, time, and energy into keeping this canine happy.

Living With Border Collie

As mentioned earlier, Border Collies thrive in huge living spaces with enough space to run freely. These dogs are energetic and their exercise needs should be met.

Are you a morning jogger? If yes, this breed will love you extra, because they will be the ones to wake you up for long jogging.

Jogging with a dog is a great bonding experience that will keep your Border stimulated both mentally and physically.

Border Collie Training

Border Collie should be socialized from day one. Training and early socialization are important when it comes to shaping a good canine citizen.

Did you know that dogs can master basic commands as of eight weeks of age?

By the time the socialization window ends, your dog should know commands such as ‘sit’, ‘come’, and ‘no.’

The socialization period should be used to teach your dog how to follow house dog rules, how to behave around visitors, and how to react toward strangers.

When your veterinarian gives you a green light, you should take your Fido to a dog park and let him mingle with other dogs.

After all, dogs learn the best canine rules when they are surrounded by other dogs.

Training sessions should be fun, consistent, and interactive. Keep them short, because dogs usually get easily bored, especially when they are representatives of a highly intelligent breed, such as Border Collies is,

They will master the tricks fast and will demand more challenges. This is why toys are a great training tool, next to treats.

Use treats only as a motivation and a reward. Whenever your Border performs a trick well, give him a treat. However, be careful when it comes to treats.

You don’t want to serve too many treats, because it may lead to obesity. Weight gain is common in dogs if nutrition is poor, or if you don’t know how much or how often you should feed your dog.

Border Collie Nutrition

Border Collie should do fine on high-quality food. The pet market is rich in its offer from dog foods, and all you have to do is to do your research well.

Make sure that you know how to read a pet food label, how much your should feed your dog, and how often.

With highly active breeds, it’s crucial not to serve them food after exercise, or intensive run. Diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age, activity, overall activity, and weight level.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s diet talk with your veterinarian.

If you are thinking about raw food, talking with your veterinarian first is a must.

In the meantime, learn which human foods are dangerous for your Fido, and which table scraps are safe to share with your pooch.

For example, an onion is a big no, while a cucumber is fine. Provide clean and fresh water at all times.

Border Collie Grooming

Border Collies owners know how important grooming is.

Grooming is more than simply brushing your dog. It’s a procedure that keeps your dog’s health in the balance, and his coat clean and shiny.

First of all, brushing is mandatory with this breed. Since there are two different coat types in this breed, you should have the right grooming tools.

Both coats are dense and double, which means brushing once a week, for a period of 20-minutes is mandatory.

You can expect extra shedding during the shedding season in spring and autumn.

During the shedding season, daily brushing is what will keep your dog happy and your carpets clean. Having a vacuum cleaner on hand these days cannot harm.

The rest is basic care:

  • Trim or grind nails once a week
  • Clean ears when needed
  • Check gums and eyes weekly

Use brushing time to check the skin for any sign of fleas and skin infection. Brushing time, and overall grooming moments should be seen as a bonding experience.

Dogs love body language and when you brush them, for them it’s like an ultimate language of love. It will make them appreciate you and love you more.

Border Collie Health

When it comes to health you should only deal with responsible dog breeders. This is the only way to know for sure that your puppy is healthy.

Responsible breeders will always screen puppies for the most common health issues in the breed, and present you medical documentation on puppies.

They will also inform you of possible future health-related problems that you should be well aware of.

Still, no matter how much you trust your breeders, you should take your Border to the vet as soon as you take him.

This way he will learn to be around the vet without being nervous. Don’t forget to give him a treat whenever he is being handled.

Here are some of the most frequent health issues in this breed:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Progressive renal atrophy
  • Deafness
  • Epilepsy
  • Collie eye anomaly
  • Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis
  • Trapped neutrophil syndrome

Is Border Collie For You?

The Border Collies isn’t for you if you are a first time dog owner.

On the other hand, if you are active, have a large living space with an even bigger outdoor space, and you can invest your time, energy, and love into Border Collie, then this breed is for you.

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