This medium sized breed is incredibly affectionate, smart, and popular! Border Collies are a part of the herding group, which combined with their intelligence and workaholic tendencies means they require plenty of attention, exercise/enrichment, and training! These dogs are usually great with other dogs and children, provided they’re given plenty of exercise, training, and firm leadership. Small non-canine pets, like cats and chickens, are a different story, as there’s a chance that a border collie might try to herd or bother them. If you’re looking for a working dog (specifically for herding) or a hiking/running buddy, a border collie would be a great addition to your family!
Border collies are medium in size and will usually stand 18-22 inches at the shoulder and weigh 30-55 pounds. Their medium length double coats have a coarse outer coat and soft undercoat. Because they have that double coat, they do need to be brushed regularly but only need a bath a couple times a year. Because of their size and history, they’re nimble and muscular dogs that are agile and balanced when moving, which helps when they are herding. Their expressive face and almond eyes are often very focused on a task but while they can be really focused and intense, they can also be very silly and fun!
Border collies come from the border area between Scotland and England. For farmers in that area, herding dogs have been an integral part of daily life for centuries, as they helped guard and herd livestock like sheep. The name for this breed reflects where they came from: border refers to the land between Scotland and England where the breed was developed over time and collie is derived from Scottish dialect. For awhile, they were actually called the ‘Scotch Sheep Dog’.
Because of their build, intelligence, and want/need to work, Border Collies would be happiest if given a job or something to focus on. They have, for example, dominated British competitive sheepdog trials for 100+ years and have topped many agility championship levels. And they’re often included in the top lists of the smartest dog breeds in the world! All of that is to say that caring for a Border Collie will mean training and daily enrichment activities, like walks/hikes, fetch, agility courses, and puzzle toys. 20-30 minutes of running or 40-60 minutes of walking for adult border collies is a great place to start and trips to the dog park (or even a dog bar!) to socialize are also great!
Given the right care, exercise, and training, border collies can be a great part of any family. While they are known to be affectionate and cuddly, these dogs are by no means couch potatoes and will need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Even with their intensity and energy, Border Collies are sweet and intelligent dogs!