Adopting its name from the area of Scotland and England where it used to work with
shepherds, it is thought the Border Collie breed can be traced back to as early as the 1700s.
It is a medium-sized working dog that is most commonly black and white but can also be
brown, red or tricolor. Their coats can be smooth or medium length and their bodies are
well proportioned. When they are working, Border Collies will often be crouched with their
eyes fixed on the animal or animals they are working with. Unlike other dogs, which nip or
bark to work sheep or cattle, Border Collies will use their intense stare to herd.
Like many other working dogs, their life expectancy is around the early teens, though some
have lived until about 18 years of age. They are a hardy breed with no real genetic problems,
though hip dysplasia can be a concern. Proper feeding when they are growing pups usually
averts the onset of any bone problems, though.
Border Collies are the classic farm dog, and in obedience trials it is hard to find a better
breed. But pet owners should think hard about getting a Border Collie as a pet. Like many
working dogs they are lively, alert and form a close bond with owners. But they are bred to
herd (and if they can’t herd animals they will herd children) and their determination means
they can find mischief if their brains and bodies are not occupied.
They are very intelligent and love to be trained, so if you have time to exercise this breed
every day and put them into agility or obedience training, they will love you for it. Their
coats also need attention – regular brushing should prevent tangles. And they do shed a bit
If you put in the time to exercise these dogs and keep their minds active, you will not find a
more devoted pet than the Border Collie.