Border collie facts, dog breed information and more

Border collie

About the Border Collie

Some people say that the Border Collie is the smartest dog. With his ability to impose his will on sheep he is the best sheepherding dog out there. You should also be careful as he may try to impose his will on you.

Athletic, medium-sized herders Border Collies stand at 18-22 inches at the shoulder.

They have a muscular but nimble worker look unspoiled by passing fads.

Border collies have both a smooth and rough coat. Both the smooth and the rough coat come in a wide range of patterns and colors.

With almond eyes that are the focus of an intelligent expression is the Collie’s hallmark. Borders are among the most agile, balanced and durable dogs when it comes to speed.

With all this intelligence, agility and athletism Border Collie is the perfect dog for agility training. Borders are happiest when they have an activity to perform. Being friendly they are also good with strangers.

When bored the Border Collie may cause havoc. Border Collies make for great companions but only if paired with a clever owner that can keep him busy with sports, games and other forms of agility works.

Beware it takes time and effort(a lot of it) to keep the dog satisfied.

Border Collies Posing
Two smart Border Collies posing for a photo

Types of Collies 

Apart from the Border Collie there also other types of recognized Collies.

1. The Collie

When you mention the Collie People tend to think about the classic Collie Lassie.

This dog posses a long rough coat while the smooth-coated type has a short hair. Both of them come in white and sable. Full-grown Collies are 22-23 inches at the shoulder with males being larger than females.

They have a brave, intelligent and loyal temperament. Well on Tv they are also able to save fallen kids.

2. Border Collie

Also known as “workaholic dog of the world” due to their hardworking nature.

They range from 18-22 inches at the shoulder with males being larger than females. If he is not herding he requires something else to keep him busy. He is one very smart dog, you may even find him smarter than some of your human colleagues.

He may be black and white, merle and white, sable and white, tricolored or solid in color.

3. Bearded Collie

Also known as the Highland Collie this dog gets his name from his appearance due to their appearance which is, of course, a beard. They range from 22-23 inches at the shoulder.

The color of a puppy’s coat may change as it grows. Adult beardies may range from dark gray, light gray or brown with white. These dogs have double coats so they need regular grooming. They also require a good amount of exercise.

4. Shetland Sheepdog

This dog is often called the miniature Collie. He resembles a rough-coated Collie.

This dog originates from Scotland Shetlands Islands where due to the harsh conditions the animals there became diminutive like the Shetland pony. They average 13-16 inches at the shoulder and is a very smart and loyal dog.

So, if you like a Collie and have a small space this dog may be ideal for you but still needs regular exercise. He is also shy to strangers.

Border Collie history

Border Collies originated from a place known as Northumberland which is at the border between England and Scotland.

They were bred for the sole purpose of herding livestock and would often herd the sheep all by themselves for miles. Borders could do this because they could think independently and could run for miles in the hilly area.

The name Border Collie came from the fact that they were bred in a place that was on the Anglo Scottish border.

Border Collies are believed to have originated from the Old Hemp a tri-color dog that was bred by Adam Telfer.

The Old  Hemp was often used by shepherds as he was well known as the best herding dog around. The term Border Collie was first used in 1915 Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society James Reid.

The dog was named in order to separate the dog from already existing Collies.

At the royal castle Balmoral, Queen Victoria fell in love with a Collie. This is the point that made a difference between Border Collies and the Collies that we know today.

They only became popular in the late 10th century when they were presented to the first official sheepdog trial placed in Bala, Wales.

People started adopting Border collies after they started becoming famous for their intelligence and drive to work with humans.

Since then this dog has been used in shows and working lines.

General Characteristics

Height: 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)

Weight: 30-55 pounds

Life Expectancy: 12-15 years

Length: Medium

Colors: Black with or without white, red and white, solid color, bi-color, tri-color, merle, sable

The tendency to Bark: High

Border Collie infographics
Border Collie infographics

Male Borders stand at up to 22 inches tall and weigh at an average of 45 pounds(20kgs). Females are up to 21 inches tall and have an average weight of  42 pounds(19kgs).

Border collies look like a lightweight version of the Aussie but have a feathered tail that reaches the hocks.

The head looks like that of a Collie and the dog is longer than it is tall.

They have a jaunty appearance with upright ears that drop over at the tips. Some Border Collies have a coarse coat that is about 3 inches long while some have a sleek coat that is about 1 inch long.

They have a variety of colors that range from black with or without white, red and white, solid color, bi-color, tri-color, merle to sable.


Due to their nature, Border Collies will herd anything from you to the kids, other pets and also any items that you may have dropped.

This why keeping him busy would be worthwhile.

A Border Collie will also tend to follow you everywhere you go even in the bathroom. They form tight bonds with family members and want to be with them at any given time.

Border Collies learn very quickly and you may have to come up with different ways to keep them involved.

He can master even the little clues from a snap to a whistle. You have to keep in mind that this dog was bred to keep on running and herd. He is not a dog to lie on the couch and wait for treats.

The good thing with this is that it makes him easy to train and excels in top dog competitions something that you can be proud of.

Border Collies like to stay focused and can do it like it is nobody’s business.

The ‘eye’ is actually a measure of how much a Border Collie can stare.

One trait of the Border is hypnotic stare that compels sheep to move and turn. That means that nothing can stop him from getting you to do what he wants apart from proper training.

Border Collie
A Collie Herding a sheep into its barn

Living with other animals

Being a herding dog Border Collies tend to get along with other animals. Well whether animals will enjoy living with this dog is another question.

Some cats can live with the Border Collie while some would not tolerate being watched and herd all the time.

So, if you have a cat it would be better if you adopted an adult Border Collie that can be cat tested.

BCS don’t like closed spaces and keeping them in an apartment would not be a very good idea.

They tend to be annoying when living in apartments as they are very destructive. You may ask how destructive they are. Well, you have to multiply the destructiveness of an average by 10.

So, start training you BC from the time you get him no matter how young. Even young Border Collies tend to absorb everything that they learn.

Note: You should not panic by the way BCs try to herd everything because they don’t plan on doing any harm to them anyway.

Feeding a Border Collie

Border Collies have high energy requirements something that should be considered while feeding them.

Keep reading to get tips on how you can best feed a Border Collie if you have one or planning to get one.

So after a lot of research, we were able to come up with the best diet for Borders. As we said earlier your Border Collie should grow to an average weight of 30-55 pounds.

This means that feeding a BC will be kind of expensive. You will have to feed it on high-quality food that has a good calorific value and is high on protein. Remember that protein is very important for your dogs’ growth no matter the breed.

So how much calories do they require?

  • For a senior dog that is less active, that might amount to 700 calories a day.
  • Active Collies that engage in active sports every day might need 900-1000 calories per day.
  • Herding Collies need about 1400 calories of food on a daily basis.

Most people feed their dogs on kibble and would understand this better if we broke down in terms of the same. To sum this up in terms of how much Kibble, you would need 1.5 to 2 cups of kibble as a starting point for your Colie.

The amount fed would also depend on the age, size, and weight of your dog.  If your feeding your dog on kibble that is very high on calories you would need less.

To maintain a Collie’s bone kibble that is high in chondroitin and glucosamine would be a great addition.

To get that shiny coat that you all love, get a formula that has Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-3 acids help control arthritis pain and inflammation in older Collies. Water will help to keep your dog hydrated.

Feeding Border Collie puppies

Pups have a small stomach and a half a cup to one cup of food may be enough for them per day. During their rapid growth phase(about 2 and a half to 8 months of age) feed your pup with a high-calorie meal to keep up with the fast growth.

Overfeeding or free feeding your Border Collie puppy would not be a great idea. Keep a meal schedule and we would recommend feeding the puppy twice a day.

This prevents your dog from becoming obese and developing bone issues.

Border Collie Puppies
Collie Puppies Feeding

The time will come when you will need to switch from puppy food to adult food and you Border Collies will tend to show less interest in the food that you are introducing.

This when the dog is about 80% of the adult size. It is usually about 12 months for Border Collies.

This can be done by making it a gradual process. Introduce your Collie to adult food by mixing both meals in an equal proportion. You will need to do this over the course of a week or so.

If you are feeding the dog on dry food make sure that there is a lot of water to help in digestion. All dog lovers know that water is very important for dogs health.

Caring and Grooming a Border Collie 

Border Collie has a double coat with the topcoat being longer than the undercoat.

They thus need to be groomed every 4-8 weeks. Frequent grooming should be done during the shedding season. Grooming helps to check if the dog may be having any issues.

Teeth, ears, eyes, toenails, tail, paw pads and skin need to be checked.

The process that you should follow:

  • Brush the whole coat before grooming.
  • Remove mats using a mat splitter. For thick mats use an electric hair-splitter.
  • Use scissors to remove extra hair on the feet. Collies are extremely sensitive to their feet being touched. So, care should be taken when you are doing this.
  • The hair around the ear should be trimmed. Ear cleaning should be done by a professional.
  • The hair on the dogs tail is the main culprit to matting. The hair around it should thus be trimmed more often as it tends to grow faster.

Take note: Never shave your Border Collie. I see many people asking about this and doing it is something that I would highly say no to. Shaving it may change the way the hair grows back but it grows back. It may also not be suited for your dog during the cold season.

For the eyes, you will need to remove any foreign matter and keep them moist.

You will also need paw balm to keep their paws pliable, soft and prevent them from drying. Brush the dogs’ coat to prevent it from tangling.

Give your dog treats while trimming or brushing his hair.

Training for a  Border Collie 

As we mentioned before you need to properly train your BC in order to live with him smoothly.

The good part of it is that Border Collies learn things very quickly. Don’t mistake this with being easy to train. Just as quickly as they learn good habits they can also pick up bad habits.

It is necessary if you train your dog proper habits from the start to prevent them from having some bad behavior. This means using positive reinforcement to effectively train him.

It would be best if you started training when the dog is still a puppy. The most reprimanding thing that you can do with a Border Collie is scolding him and ignoring for some time.

This breed thrives on attention and will learn very fast that bad habits will take away his social time.

The first thing is to ensure that the dog understands the house routine.

The next thing would be the basic sit and stay commands before which you will also have to toilet train your dog. We have an elaborate article on how to toilet train your dog or puppy that you may find helpful in this.

Some difficult tricks should wait until the dog is much older. You should also learn to stick to the routine.

Tips to follow during training

Some tips to help you do this.

Try to keep your dog attention on the training task that is at hand.

The best time to train your Collie is when the dogs’ mood is high. Be consistent in the process of training your dog.

Take time to teach the dog a specific trick or command to make sure that he has grasped it. Encourage and affirm the dog a lot. You don’t have to force them to learn things as they like it.

As mentioned earlier positive reinforcement is the best way to do it.

Quick tips:

Do the research and understand how dogs think.

This way you will be able to learn new techniques on how to deal with your dog even during training. Visit websites that are dedicated to this dog breed.

We all want a dog that can interact with other people and other dogs. Do this by socializing your dog and investing enough time into training the dog.

Exercise with the dog a lot. This will not only help your dog but also benefit you as far as your health is concerned. 20-30 minutes of running would be great and doable even with a busy schedule.

Keep the training as simple as it can be. Use simple terminologies like “sit” instead of “sit down.” Start with the simple tricks to the harder ones.

Have patience for all times sake as dogs are very sensitive to their owners’ moods. Use a calm voice other than shouting at your dog. Win your dogs’ trust and don’t let them sense your frustration.

Stick to one trainer. This makes training very easy as Border Collies are used to having one master. Choose someone in your family that will be in charge of training your dog.

Don’t forget that this is a herding dog. Train your Border Collie to control his herding instincts.

So how much do Border Collies shed?

First of all, do Border Collies shed? Yes, they do.

They shed throughout the year and blow their coat during the spring and fall season. Border Collie shedding can be a nuisance for those that don’t like it.

But you know what you are in luck if you were looking for tips on how to control it.

Border Collies shed a lot due to their long double coats that protect them from the harsh conditions during herding.

So the question is how do you reduce it? We cannot completely stop our dogs from shedding as it is a natural process that we have no control of.

However, the thing you can do in order to control shedding is regular brushing.

This may be one of the many ways to reduce this. Make sure you do at your backyard or at least in a place that not much hair can get stuck. You should most definitely avoid to do it in the house because of the furniture and the carpet.

For more on how to control shedding in dogs feel free to visit this link on shedding remedies. You may never know it may come in handy.

Do Border Collies bark a lot?

Think of it as a way of speaking and Collies like to talk about what they see.

This simply means that they tend to bark a lot. They will bark at anything that moves quickly. There is a simple hack to solve this. Reinforce your training by requesting someone to come by the door.

Do something that will initiate your dogs barking. After that try to distract the dog by asking him to sit.

If he obeys give him the treat to show him your appreciation. Simple right? You just calmly use the “quiet” command when they bark and give a treat if he obeys.

Facts about the Border collie

Collie is a Scottish word that is used to describe sheepdogs including the Border Collie.

The Border Collie was first classified as the Scotch Sheep Dog.

A Border Collie was featured in the movie “Babe.” This movie was about a pig learning to herd sheep from a Border that was named Fly.

Poet Laureate of Scotland, Robert Burns described the Border Collie as a faithful and honest dog.

Queen Victoria in the 19th century saw a Border Collie and became an active enthusiast. This was the point where the divergence of the Collie and the modern Border Collie began.

Border Collies are considered to be descendants of the Old Hemp.

The Old Hemp
The old Hemp

They are simply geniuses.

Border Collies learn quickly but they are easy to train.

A Collie named Striker holds the record for the fastest dog to open a car window.

There you go WOOOFFF!!

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