Know Your Breed: Border Collie

The Border Collie was bred to control and heard sheep in the hill-filled border country between England and Scotland, and is still used on farms and ranches around the world today. Known for the intense stare they use to control a flock, this breed’s work drive, stamina and limitless energy make it a masterful herding dog. Border Collies are also highly trainable, which, combined with their intelligence, enables them to excel in various canine sports such as flyball, agility, obedience, tracking and flying disc competitions.


Border Collies are a medium-sized dog, reaching a height of between 48-56cm in males and 46-53cm in females. Males weigh an average of 14-20kg, which is only slightly heavier than females at 12-19kg. Other characteristics of the Border Collie include a relatively flat skull, oval eyes, medium-sized ears that are both set well apart, as well as a medium-sized tail.


Being very alert and protective by nature, Border Collies will generally loudly announce the presence of an intruder, which makes them adequate watch dogs. Their intelligence and tractable nature also make them easy to train, and according to those who know them well, they have the uncanny ability to know what you are going to ask of them even before you ask it.

At Home

Border Collies can adapt to almost any living situation if they are well trained and socialized from puppyhood. If not, they can be extremely reactive and sound sensitive, which will make them a poor choice for families with young children.

As mentioned, these dogs are extremely intelligent and won’t do well lying around the house all day. They need a lot of daily physical and mental exercise to be well adjusted. That being said, the breed lives for serving you day in and day out and as long as their needs are met, they will make a great pet and friend.


The average life expectancy of a Border Collie is 12 to 15 years. They are generally healthy, but as with all breeds, are prone to certain health conditions. These include hip dysplasia, epilepsy, eye anomalies and deafness. They are also prone to a flea allergy.

Additionally, many herding dogs carry a MDR1 gene, making them sensitive to certain drugs. If they test positive for this gene, some of these drugs can even be fatal. It is best to speak your veterinarian for more information regarding this to ensure you are able to provide the best care for your Border Collie.

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