12 - 15 years - although some have lived to be 18 years old.
4 - 8 puppies with the average being 6 puppies
Herding, AKC Herding, Working
CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR
Black/White, Chocolate/White, Red/White (Yellow/White), Blue/White (Slate), Lilac/White, Sable/White, TriColor, Saddle Pattern, Blue Merle, Red Merle, Sable Merle
19-22 inches (48-56 cm.)
30-45 pounds (14-20 kg.)
18-21 inches (46-53 cm.)
27-42 pounds (12-19 kg.)
Not recommended for apartment life, they are best on a farm or acreage where they have the room to run and exercise with their handlers. Will do fine in a kennel so long as they have lots of daily activity and exercise and see their owner a lot. This dog will not do well being chained up all day.
The Border Collie is a well balanced medium-sized athletic dog, bred for working and its intelligence, with either a smooth coat or is of medium length with a thick water resistant undercoat. It rather looks like an Australian Shepherd (without the bob-tail). The muzzle tapers elegantly to the all black nose and its ears are usually half perked.
Long and lean looking with a wide skull, it is extremely intelligent and works hard to please. The Border's body is slightly longer than the height at its withers. Their liquid dark brown eyes are oval, with the exception of Merles, and then one or more eyes may be blue. On a well proportioned dog, the teeth should meet in a neat scissors bite - no over bite or underbites. Its lovely flag of a tail is never carried over its back, but is raised when the dog is excited.
Training this dog requires patience due to their high level of energy, but they respond well to obedience work, agility, fly ball, rally-o and other games. The Border's main raison d'etre is herding sheep and their stamina and patience is highly renowned. Known for their hypnotic eye, the Border's herding skills are second to none - using eyes only to guide a herd - no nips or barks.
Borders are double coated, with a moderately long, dense, medium textured topcoat. The undercoat is short, soft and dense, offering good weather protection. The luxuriant coat forms the mane, brush and breeching. Usually the face, ear tips, forelegs (except for the feathering), and hind legs from hock to ground, features short and smooth hair. A smooth coat is acceptable. Just about any color of Border (see section below Colors) is acceptable except pure white.
The Border hails from the British Isles in the border country of England and Scotland. The derivation of the name Collie seems to be a hot topic, with some saying it comes from the Gaelic word meaning useful. Others insist it came from "coalie" meaning black, and still others say collie was the name of a breed of sheep.
Whatever the case may be, the Border is a very old breed and appears in literature as far back as 1570. It wasn't until 1915 that James Reid, the Secretary of the International Sheepdog Society in Great Britain first called the dog a Border Collie. Sheepdog trials were first held in 1873 in Wales and in 1880 in the USA.
Highly intelligent with a high instinctive drive to work intensely with a human handler. They are demanding, energetic, busy minded and busy outside and inside (even if they have just been exercised). They are rather like the Arabians of the horse world, high endurance and incredible stamina are the hallmarks of this working dog's heritage. In fact they have been bred to run many miles a day over some unimaginable terrain, but yet they get up and do it all over again the next day.
Border's are the Type A personalities of the canine world, always wanting to work no matter what the job is - dogs sports or herding. They must have plenty of exercise, no sitting around in a yard or the house for this breed. A workaholic to the core, the Border can become neurotic, destructive and obsessive if it gets bored. Bordeom may manifest itself in the form of heading just about any thing that moves, including bugs, children, cats and brooms.
Sponges for affection and hogs of the lime light, these dogs will watch you intently always winding up underfoot. People-oriented, the Border needs to receive very good socialization as a pup. Older Borders are rather stand offish with people they don't know, and can be aggressive with other dogs.
Despite being as intelligent as they are, they mature slowly and seem to be able to manifest "puppy brain" behaviour even into their senior years. So be prepared for the class clown of the herding world. Maturity and dignity don't become words used with a Border until they are about 3 - 4 years old.
Generally a quite hardy breed, the Border does have some special medical conditions to be aware of:
Issues with Anaesthetics: Since Borders have such low body fat they may be more sensitive to barbiturate-based Anesthetics.
The Border has a medium/long coat, and needs to be groomed (combed and brushed) at a minimum of once a week. Although, they are considered to be fairly low maintenance since their coats actually shed dirt fairly well.
A good brushing about 2 - 3 times per week will keep the coat looking nice and tidy. You might want to do this more often during shedding season, to keep it off your carpets. A coat like this can tangle easily and it needs to be brushed out on a regular basis. Use care brushing when the soft undercoat is shedding. As well his feathers on the front legs and tail need to be trimmed when necessary.
Bathe or dry shampoo when necessary. In other words, don't bathe them on a regular basis, just when they start feeling dirty to you or have rolled in something obnoxious or made friends with a skunk at close range. This breed is an average shedder. It your dog smells bad after a bath, head to the Vet and get the ears and skin checked - for instance your dog may have a hot spot - and they have an awful smell.
Make certain to check for ticks during tick season and pay attention to the length of the toenails. If they run on hard surfaces a lot, they will wear their own nails down. But if not, then you will either have to clip them yourself, or have a professional do it for you.
Borders have no end to their energy both indoors and out. If left to their own devices, you won't like what you find when you get home (chewed walls, books, carpet etc.) Outside they will entertain themselves by digging holes. The goal would be to stimulate both the mind and the body of your Border - engage his boundless curiosity and intelligence.
An ideal workout for your Border would be a rousing game of fetch with balls or a Frisbee, throw in some swimming, running along side you while you bike and hiking. Don't expect your dog to entertain itself, because this one will not. They will wait for you, and if you don't come to engage them, will chew things they should not or present you with some very large holes in your lawn. You need to be very careful about heat exhaustion with the Border. They are so intense, they will often continue on past their limits unless you stop them and slow them down
The best exercise regimen for your Border Collie would be at least two 45 minute walks a day, no matter what the weather may be. While you may not be too happy with the weather, your dog doesn't mind in the least. This may vary depending on your dog, as each one does have its own personality.
While on your walks try to have about 20 minutes full tilt running off leash and include a game of fetch or even a tug of war. You need to also include at least 15 to 30 minutes of obedience training, trick training or other activities that keep your dog's mind sharp. If he's mentally stimulated he's happy. If he's happy, he's well-behaved.
If you don't think what you are doing is enough for your dog, don't increase the physical part of your routine, increase the educational portion instead. That would mean more obedience training, tricks - things to keep his mind busy - to stretch his mental limits. Working his mind will make him more tired than working his body - remember, their stamina is phenomenal. And they ALWAYS have energy to spare, even when you don't!
Borders are one of the smartest breeds hands down and learn very quickly. Their intelligence isn't the issue the trainer is the issue. These dogs are very difficult for the average person to train.
These dogs are so intelligent that they can actually manipulate you to do what they want you to do. Some can be very willful and dominant - the Alpha dog - and the only way to work with that is to prove to them that you can make them do things.
They are very sensitive dogs and a harsh correction may make them freeze and shut down on you - for instance roll over on its back or pay close attention to something else besides you. Or, they may also get even more anxious and speed up, which will cause more miscues. You need to be firm and consistent with them because they will try and get away with as much as they can. Also be careful about sounds, as Borders are very sensitive to sounds.
The most frustrating part about training a Border is their hypersensitivity to the slightest sound or movement you make. They try to anticipate what you want them to do and guess at what comes next. Trying to get them to actually remain still and wait for the actual command is challenging to say the least. The best type of training for the Borders is motivational with lots of treats/play time.
And another love of Border Collies is tricks. They love learning new things and can be taught some great stunts like playing dead or rolling over - anything so they can show off. It appeals to the clown in them.