Breed Spotlight: Border Collie

The Border Collie has become an increasingly popular pet breed of choice in recent years.

Traditionally bred as a working dog, they can also make fantastic pets and are commonly described as loyal, and highly intelligent.

Research is key, though, for anyone considering a Border Collie as their energetic nature means they are definitely not suited to all people or families.

Four Border Collie puppies
The Border Collie puppy is incredibly cute (Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash)

Border Collie – the ultimate working dog

The Border Collie is an incredibly versatile and intelligent breed that has captured many hearts around the world.

They are well known for being one of the most intelligent, and easily trained, dog breeds.

Initially bred in the Scottish Borders region for herding sheep, they have been invaluable to farmers for generations.

Though, these days, Border Collie’s are equally at home in a family setting as a loyal and affectionate companion.

As a family pet

As family pets, Border Collies can be very loyal and loving to their owners.

Although they make wonderful pets, Border Collies are a breed that requires a lot of attention, exercise, and mental stimulation.

And while they can be great with children, they may need additional training to interact with them appropriately.

Border Collie adult running with ball
Border Collie’s are a very energetic breed, making them the perfect fit for active people

Is the Border Collie the right breed for you? Here’s what you need to consider:

Research the breed Research is key before welcoming a Border Collie into your family.

Border Collies are intelligent, high-energy dogs that require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation, and prospective owners need to learn all about their traits, needs, and temperament.

Evaluate your lifestyle It’s important to stress that Border Collies are not suitable for everyone.

A Border Collie may not be the best choice for you if you work long hours, travel frequently, or have limited space.

They can be destructive when bored and need a lot of attention, exercise, and training to help stop that happening.

Consider your home environment Border Collies are active dogs that need plenty of space to run and play.

They are not well-suited for apartment living or homes without a yard; as mentioned, they can become bored and destructive without constant stimulation.

Border Collie’s can also chase after small animals unless trained not to, which is something owners of other small pets should consider.

They also tend to herd people or other animals, including children, which can be a problem if not properly managed.

Border Collie head twist listening
They are a breed that requires commitment to training

Other factors to consider

Commitment to training Border Collies need daily exercise, mental challenges, and ongoing training.

The breed is also exceptional in activities such as obedience, agility, herding, and flyball – these activities can help expand some of that energy!

Border Collie’s have also been used in search and rescue and as therapy dogs because of their remarkable training ability and their beautiful nature.

While Border Collies are incredibly intelligent, they can also be independent and stubborn.

Potential owners will need to be patient and consistent and ensure they can commit to ongoing training.

Tip Many Border Collies love swimming just as much as running, and can be a great activity for them to burn off some energy.

Experts say one minute of swimming is equal to roughly four minutes of running (though make sure you always keen an eye on them in the pool).

Provide plenty of exercise Border Collies suit active individuals and families because of their energetic nature.

They aren’t a good choice for families or individuals with limited time and lack of interest in exercise.

Daily walks, runs, or playtime in a large yard are essential to their well-being.

They need mental challenges and stimulation, not just physical, to keep them from becoming bored.

Without adequate exercise and mental stimulation Border Collie’s can develop behavioural problems.

TIP If you are considering a Border Collie as a family pet, it’s important to ensure that you have the time, energy, and resources to give them the attention and exercise they need.

You may also want to consider enrolling them in obedience or agility training classes to help channel their energy and intelligence in a positive way.

Be patient and committed Border Collies are loyal and loving dogs, but they can also be high-maintenance.

Border Collies can make wonderful pets for people who are committed to providing the attention, exercise, and training they need.

Animal Friendly Life editor Michelle Minehan with her beloved Border Collie Banjo
Animal Friendly Life editor Michelle Minehan with her beloved Border Collie, Banjo




Border Collies were first bred in the 19th century in the Scottish Borders region and were used to gather and move sheep to market.

Border Collies were first recognized by the Kennel Club in the United Kingdom in 1976.

Now recognized by the American Kennel Club, they are considered one of the most intelligent and trainable dog breeds.


Border Collies are medium-sized dogs, typically weighing between 30 and 55 pounds.

They have a double coat, with a soft undercoat and a longer, coarser topcoat.

Their coat can be smooth or rough, and they come in a variety of colours, including black and white, red and white, and tri-colour.

Training and care

Border Collies also need regular grooming to maintain their coat and prevent matting.

Weekly brushing and occasional baths can help keep their coat in good condition.


Border Collies are generally a healthy breed but, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions.

These include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, eye problems, and hearing problems.

It’s vital you get your Border Collie from a reputable breeder who tests their dogs for these conditions and has a good track record of producing healthy puppies.

10 facts about the fantastic Border Collies

  1. Border Collies were originally bred to herd sheep and other livestock.
  2. They are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and they are known for their problem-solving abilities and trainability.
  3. Border Collies are highly energetic and require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy and happy.
  4. They are excellent at herding and can be trained to follow complex commands and directions.
  5. Border Collies are often used as working dogs for search and rescue, drug detection, and other tasks that require intelligence and focus.
  6. They come in a variety of colors, including black and white, red and white, and tri-colour.
  7. The Guinness World Record for the fastest time to complete 100 meters by a dog was set by a Border Collie named “Chaser” in 2014. She completed the course in just 8.27 seconds.
  8. Border Collies are sometimes called “the supreme sheepdog” because of their ability to work long hours in difficult terrain.
  9. They have a lifespan of around 12-15 years, which is longer than many other breeds of similar size.
  10. Border Collies are known for their loyalty and affectionate nature and have a strong desire to please their owners.