Santa Barbara, California
Fenelon Falls, Canada
Moses Lake, Washington
California, United States
Oregon, United States
Gwynedd, United Kingdom
Breed group: Herding Group dogs
Country / place of origin: British Isles
History: The Border Collie originated in Northumberland on the Scottish/English border, and is recognized as the premier sheepherding dog breed. Sheepdogs have herded their masters’ sheep flocks from the earliest times. When the Romans arrived in Britain, they brought along sheep, and sheepherding dogs. The earliest reference to the sheepdog, "shepherd's dogge,” in Britain is from De Canibus Britannicus (Treatise on Englishe Dogges) by John Caius, written in the 1500s. Sheepdogs continue to be used even today in Australia, New Zealand, and parts of the United States. Based on their special abilities, they have evolved into heelers, barkers, dogs capable of going over the backs of closely packed sheep, or driving them for long distances.The sheepdog was indispensable to Scotland’s sheep economy, as testified by James Hogg, a shepherd and poet from the Ettrick Valley in the Scottish Borders, when he wrote, "without [the sheep dog] the mountainous land of England and Scotland would not be worth sixpence. It would require more hands to manage a flock of sheep and drive them to market than the profits of the whole were capable of maintaining." In fact, historians claim that "colley" derives from a Gaelic word meaning something useful. Others however say it derives from "coalie," meaning black, while still others suggest that it is a breed of Scottish sheep.
Dogs like the Border Collie have existed since centuries; old paintings and lithographs have shepherds’ dogs that resemble the Border Collie. Sheila Grew, in Key Dogs from the Border Collie Family (1985), writes about the development of the Border Collie, "a century ago many of the [working] collies were hard, powerful...dogs, difficult to control and rough with...stock; but their keen...instinct,... concentration and great power over...sheep or cattle were such useful assets it seemed worth trying to find a milder natured type of working collie to cross with [them]." A Northumbrian farmer, Adam Telfer, she writes on, "succeeded in finding the right blend of the two types of dog" in 1894. The Border Collie, as we know it today, has descended from that dog.The Border Collie is a versatile breed that competes in obedience, agility, and Frisbee trials. They are used by search and rescue workers, and by the police to detect narcotics and bombs. Their usefulness as a guide dog for the blind is well proven. In the recent past, they have been used to provide general assistance to the handicapped in the Netherlands.
Details: The Border Collie resembles a lightly built Australian Shepherd without a bob-tail. The body is slightly longer than it is high. The skull is wide and has a distinct stop. The muzzle tapers down to a black nose. The ears are half-erect, and the oval eyes are generally dark brown, except in merles where one or more eyes may be blue. The teeth meet in a scissor bite. The tail reaches to the hock; it is sometimes raised, but is never carried over the back.
Average height and weight (mature size and weight): 18-22 inches, 27-45 pounds
Color / coat variations: There are two varieties of Border Collie: one with coarse hair and one with sleek hair. Coat colors come in black and white, tri-color, red and white, black and gray, and all black. White is never the main color. The longer-haired variety has a mane and tail brush. The hair on the face, ears, and front legs is always short and sleek.
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Litter size: 4-6 puppies
Grooming and shedding: Border Collies need regular combing and brushing to maintain their coat in good condition. They are bathed or dry shampooed only when necessary. The ears and coat may need to be checked regularly for ticks. Extra care may be needed when the soft, dense undercoat is shedding. Rough-coated dogs develop thick undercoats in winter, which require combing out in summer. Teeth need cleaning, and toenails clipping.
Food habits: The Border Collie, like all other dogs, requires a well-balanced diet. A good brand of commercial dog food or a combination of meat, dairy products, eggs, vegetables, and cereal, along with added supplements may be adequate. Food sources such as potatoes, wheat, corn, lamb, and fish are thought to be good for Border Collies. Soy, beet, avocado, and white rice may be avoided.
Climate and environment: Border Collies are not recommended for apartment life. They are active and prefer ample space in which to exercise. This breed adapts to kennel life provided they are given adequate exercise and opportunity to interact with the owner and family. Owners may need to guard against heat exhaustion.
Behavioral aspects: The Border Collie is an intelligent and responsive breed. They have energy and stamina, and require lots of attention, extensive daily exercises, and are ideal for those who wish to compete in dog sporting events. Their herding instincts may predispose this breed to snapping. The Border Collie has extraordinary instinct and reasoning abilities. They excel at working without commands and out of sight of the master.
With children: Border Collies are not ideal dogs to have around children as they can be sound sensitive and may react strongly to stimuli. They may also tend to snap.
With other dogs and animals: Border Collies get along quite happily with other dogs; however, they can be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex. They are not altogether reliable with smaller animals, though many do share their homes with cats.
Training and learning rate: This breed needs early socialization to prevent shyness. Border Collies respond to training methods that use praise.
Agility: Border Collies have the potential to excel in agility. They are often considered the ideal breed for this sport.
Affinity to water: Border Collies love water and are excellent swimmers. They do well as water-rescue dogs.
How noisy are they: They are mostly quiet dogs. Barking is not very common in Border Collies; they usually bark only when they are bored or feel neglected.
Exercise: Border Collies require a good amount of exercise. They require both mental and physical stimulation in order to be happy.
Health issues: Border Collies are generally hardy. However, individuals may suffer from hip dysplasia (deformation of hip joints leading to lameness), progressive retinal atrophy (degeneration of retina causing visual impairment), and an eye disease common to Collies known as collie eye anomaly. Border Collies are also allergic to fleas. Specimens may also be prone to epilepsy and deafness. Border Collies may also be prone to a disease known as neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, a type of lysosomal storage disorder that results in accumulation of lysosomal storage bodies in the cells of many tissues of the affected animal. This leads to progressive neurodegeneration (degeneration of brain and eye cells), resulting in severe neurological impairment and an early death.
|Barks a lot||2.8|
|With adult family members||4.7|
|With children below eight||3.8|
|With children above eight||4.4|
|With strange dogs||3.7|
|Watch dog ability||3.8|
|Guard dog ability||2.8|
|Low cost to own||2.8|
|Easy to groom||2.1|
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