Border Collie

 Breed History

Border Collie Agility Course

Sheep herding, intelligence, and intense energy is a few words that can describe the Border Collie. Known as the greatest herders in the herding group by moving sheep from one location into another.

They come from the border of Scotland and England and were known as Sheepdogs for the majority of their history until recently being called Border Collies. Specializing in cattle, sheep, and goats you will find them herding a wide range of animals.

Collie is a Scottish word for sheepdog and because they have a rich history in this region. The term began receiving documentation in the 20th century.

Roman occupation of Britain was the beginning of different dogs being bred from different regions. Cross breeding between Roman Empire and Viking herding dogs along with the Britain dogs is the origins of the Border Collie in the days before Christ.

Spitz type dogs were the kind of dogs that were bred that would become a Border Collie. High energy and a strong instinct for working this dog is one of the best for herding.

After many decades they have been in use in sporting competitions, agility games, and herding animals. Their quick ability to pick up on training is well noted.

Kennel Clubs around the world have breeding them for either appearance standards or working dog ability and that is the only big difference in how they are bred.


Their first registration with the AKC was in 1995, which is very recent in comparison with some of the first breeds in the late 1800’s. Recognition is with all six of the major Kennel Clubs around the world. Here are some of their breed standards from different Kennel Clubs.

Some things are different but they’re almost identical in other areas. Popularity in different countries is something that have accomplished. Around the world people own or know about the Border Collie.

Border Collie Size

Male Weight: 30-45 pounds

Female Weight: 27-42 pounds

Male Height: 19-22 inches

Female Height: 18-21 inches

Males are a little bit bigger than females, but not by a noticeable margin.

Border Collie Colors

All colors are acceptable and no color is banned.

Here is a list of the colors you will find on a Border Collie.

  • Black
  • Blue
  • Gold
  • Red
  • Sable
  • Blue Merle
  • Red Merle
  • Sable Merle
  • White and black
  • White and blue
  • White and Gold
  • White and Red
  • White and Sable
  • And many more

Different Types of Border Collie

We don’t have different types of Border Collie what you have is different uses of the breed. One is for herding and working dog behavior. People who use or want to preserve the working ability of the dog.

The other side of the aisle we have the breeders who are breeding for appearance and looking to accomplish a different goal with the breed.

No way is wrong there are just different paths people are looking to take the breed at this time.


You are going to end up paying anywhere from $600 to $2,000 for a pure blood Border Collie with documentation of the bloodline, or papers. You want to make sure you can register the dog, but that can only happen when both dogs have papers.

When you buy dogs without papers you will not have the guarantee of the authenticity of the bloodline. You and the person you are buying the dog from will have to conduct an eye test that isn’t going to ensure you on the quality of the dog you are buying.

Border Collies without papers are $500 and below. You get what you pay for.


Border Collies have a weather resistant double coat that can be straight, wavy, or course in nature on the outer coat. The under coat is short and dense in comparison.

  1. Brushing
  2. Combing
  3. Bath
  4. Eyes
  5. Nails
  6. Ears
  7. Teeth
  8. Professional Help

Brushing the coat is an activity that you need to do every week multiple times. Get all the way to the skin to fully brush the outer and under coat effectively.

Combing is a similar activity you will need to do more often with a double coat. Although you shouldn’t do it daily it would be a great idea to comb the coat every week.

Bath when the dog is dirty or when it is time according to your schedule. Excessive washing isn’t a requirement and you should reserve baths for times when they’re in need of one.

Eyes should be kept free of debris and tears should be taken off daily.

Trimming nails is something you will need to do if you aren’t walking the dog every day like you should. Nails will grow a lot due to inactivity which is not natural. Either way cut the nails if you don’t get them out enough with exercise.

Ears should be clean at least once a week to keep them from getting ear infections. They cost money and causes discomfort so it is best to avoid altogether.

Teeth will be collecting plaque and become yellow and brown. Once again you want to scrub this from the teeth or have a professional do it.

Lastly, you should seek professional help if you doubt the ability to properly groom your Border Collie.

Life Span

Border Collies have a wide lifespan of 11-17 years old. That is a long time when a dog can possible approach just short of two decades. You want to make the commitment to having them from puppy, or adoption until they leave the earth.

Health Issues

There are a few health conditions you want to be aware of when owing a Border Collie. Some are passed down from older generations and others are health problems they develop from diet and other factors. Overall a healthy dog with minimum health problems

Elbow Dysplasia – is when the elbow doesn’t sit properly and causes discomfort to the dog. You will notice there is no desire to exercise and they will favor it more than the other. Get an x-ray and get the dog in front of a vet if you think they have this condition.

Epilepsy – is something that many dogs get from their parents. Any dog can have a seizure and display irregular behavior. Sudden running or barking in a strange manner are some of the symptoms you may experience. Take your dog to vet and get medical attention.

Eye Issues – are big in the dog world and the Border Collie will have their fair share of eye issues. Most eye issues you can see on your own and you can get some medicine to help with the condition. Some go away but most don’t and it is ongoing treatment.

Inflammation – will happen around the eyes or inside of the eye causing the dog to go partially or all the way blind. There is medicine that can assist with inflammation so you want to take the dog to the vet right away.

Deafness – Border Collie lose their ability to hear. You will call the dog and it won’t come. Dogs develop this handicap and both the dog and owner have to coexist by using more body language.

Breed Group

You guessed it! Border Collies are members of the Herding Group. Other Kennel Clubs may call it the working group as well. Due to the hyper focus on herding in their legacy they will be in the Herding group whenever one is present in a Kennel Club.

There are many dogs that fit into this group.

A group of dogs that have one thing in common. Herding! They’re medium to large size dogs that use their instinct to move different animals to different locations without harming them.

Some use different tactics like nipping the feet or giving a death stare but they stop short of hurting the animal. They do a good job of letting them know that they mean business.

Exercise Needs

Border Collies need a ton of exercise. If you’re active with exercising daily and need a dog to come with you this would be a great dog for you. Taking the dog and not being active could cause friction.

You will have an energetic dog without an outlet. We don’t sugar coat on this blog. That is a recipe for disaster and we recommend people stay away from those situations. It is best for the owner and the dog.

Herding is one job that helps them get their exercise needs, but running will be great for an owner without animals to herd.

Give them plenty of time to run and walk after the run every day. Playing around and letting the dog go weeks without exercise would be a tragedy. Daily exercise is a requirement not a suggestion with this dog breed.

This is what we recommend

Morning: Hour run, walk, or treadmill

Evening: Hour run walk or treadmill

If you follow that simple exercise program you will see that the dog will behave so much better than you would have ever imagined. Remember exercise alters behavior and helps your dog act like a normal dog.

The more jumping, nipping, in this case herding, and other behaviors done to humans will be because they don’t get out enough.

We will end this section with this one rule of thumb.

If the dog is misbehaving just increase the exercise. That lets you know without any argument if the dog is receiving enough exercise. Are they behaving? You know the answer to your own dog.

If they’re behaving, then you are giving them enough or you can decrease due to good behavior. Once you scale back continue to monitor their entire lives and keep adjusting as they age.


Training a Border Collie is no different than training any other dog, but you have to give them a job. That can be anything that burns excess energy. Look for activities like carry a dog backpack on walks or treadmill sessions.

Running shouldn’t include a backpack and if it does I would go really light. Consult with your vet to determine if your dog is healthy enough and how much weight to use.

Good rule of thumb is 10 percent of their bodyweight or lighter.

You can find places that will let your dog herd their animals. That would be an excellent job to do a few times a week or month to burn extra energy.

Bottom line is that you need a great exercise program and a job to do. Don’t be silly and say I throw the ball or the dog wakes me up every morning. That doesn’t do anything to when it comes to training and modifying behavior.

Commands would be a layup with this breed.  Make sure you are giving a lot of repetition and the practice you and the dog achieve will show when you request commands.

Different areas like in the room, kitchen, outside, and at the park for example are all different places you should do command work.

Follow our correction guide to get a good idea of the basic principles you need to learn in order to get your dog to effectively listen to your corrections.

2 thoughts on “Ultimate Border Collie Breed Information”

  1. Aly Chiman

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    1. Train You Own Dog

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