A-z - Animals

border collie

Border collies as pets:

general health
energy level
chewing tendency
family and kid friendly

separation anxiety
preferred temperature
average climate
exercise needs
be friendly with other dogs
Thoroughbred Cost of Ownership
pack of dogs
male weight
30-45 lbs
female weight
27-42 lbs

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See all Border Collie pictures!

The border collie is considered the best herding dog and the most intelligent breed in the world.

In 2020, it was the 35th most popular dog breed in the US and the 12th most popular dog breed in the UK. The sporting dog needs to keep busy by having work and exercise to meet its high energy demands, so it needs an owner who is as active and engaged as the dog itself and who can work closely and intensely.

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Its high intelligence and obedience make it an excellent detection dog for police, customs, and other government agencies, but the breed is also well suited for competitive dog sports, bird hunting, guide dog work, and search and rescue. Learn more about the smartest dog breeds here.

It was originally developed in the Anglo-Scottish border counties of Northumberland as a hunting dog and as a farm working dog for herding sheep and other livestock. Affectionate, obedient, intelligent, with good health, long life and quick speed, the Border Collie makes an excellent family pet.

Border collie infographic

© AZ-Animals.com

3 Pros and Cons of Owning a Border Collie

advantage! shortcoming!
They are very smart. One of the most versatile breeds around, Border Collies can learn many different things in addition to herding sheep. They like to obey their masters. They need regular brushing and grooming. Although they shed on average, they shed more in winter. They need to be brushed at least three times a week.
They are hardy. This breed was bred for the cold climate of the UK and has a long lifespan, so it can be happy in colder countries. They need space and the outdoors. Border Collies are not a breed to be kept in captivity, they don't do well in apartments and need a backyard to run around in. They are also escape artists, so special enclosures are required to keep them from finding their way out. This means the fence is 8-10 inches high with 3 inches of metal underneath and has an additional closure in addition to the latch.
They cost less than other varieties. The average cost of a Border Collie puppy is $300-$1,000, with an average cost of $700 and occasional lows of $200. They can stare, bite, be destructive, or bark frequently. They'll stare at you to let you know they're ready for a new assignment. Due to their herding instincts, they also herd children, adults and other pets by biting their hind legs, chewing and barking profusely if they get bored.
Border collie playing dog run

© studio photo/Shutterstock.com

history and origin

At the height of the Roman Empire, countless rulers brainstormed ways to take over and rule Britain. However, for various reasons – rebellions in other parts of the empire or changes in the political situation – these plans were put on hold. It was not until AD 43 that Emperor Claudius completed his mission to conquer Britain.

Border Collie Health and Recreation

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The Roman occupation of Britain had a lasting impact on British culture, including dog keeping. Roman soldiers arrived with their own livestock, so large, strong shepherd dogs were also brought in. These canids stayed in Britain for more than three centuries.

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With the fall of the Roman Empire, Scandinavian invaders invaded Britain, bringing with them smaller, faster spitz-type shepherd dogs. These dogs were crossed with older Roman breeds to create agile herders who could keep livestock in the hills and rocky regions of Scotland and Wales. This is the beginning of the Border Collie breed.

Border Collies are widely regarded as the most skilled herders in the world. Their efficient running, low crawl and bursts of intense energy when needed make them ideal canine companions for shepherds. When imagining the perfect dog, it's definitely the Border Collie.

The Border Collie is a highly intelligent and agile breed that has been used in sheepdog trials in the British Isles for over a century. It was officially recognized in the Herding Group by the American Kennel Club in 1995. The breed played a famous role in the movie "Bebe" and is known for its competitiveness.

border collie
The Border Collie became a member of the AKC in 1995, but has been around since the Roman Empire.


size and weight

The Border Collie is a medium to large breed of dog with a long and rough coat or a short and smooth coat. The average height for men is 24-27 inches and the average height for women is 22-26 inches. Adult males weigh 30-45 lbs and adult females 27-42 lbs. Border Collie puppies weigh 4-8 pounds at 8 weeks, females at 24 months, and males at 36 months.

male female
high 24-27" tall 22-26" tall
weight 30-45 lbs fully grown 27-42 lbs fully grown
Border collie jumping high to catch frisbee
Border Collies weigh between 27-45 lbs.


common health problems

Purebred Border Collies have some common health problems, but most of the time, they are easy to treat or manage. The most common are musculoskeletal disorders, including hip dysplasia and osteochondritis degeneration (OCD), which result from accelerated growth in puppies due to age or too much activity. Idiopathic epilepsy, patent ductus arteriosus and hypothyroidism are hereditary conditions unique to the breed, while dental problems, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), collie eye anomaly (CEA) and deafness are common. In summary, the most common health concerns for Border Collies are:

  • dental problems
  • Sheepdog Eye Abnormalities
  • progressive retinal atrophy
  • deaf
Shepherd and sheep
Border Collies are prone to dental infections and cavities.


The Border Collie has a very lively personality. Their temperament is curious and easygoing, with mischievous, dominant, sensitive and hyperactive characteristics. Their clever behavior can be a lot of fun. As adults, they are wary of strangers.

However, that doesn't mean they're mistrustful like puppies. They socialize quickly, and they enjoy kindness and praise during training. A common characteristic of Border Collies is that they are easy to train and deliver consistent and clear messages, since they were bred to hunt geese and other birds. Because of this, they also have a "gentle" or "soft" mouth, which means they don't bite too hard when holding objects in their jaws.

dog with glasses
Border Collies are intelligent dogs with strong personalities.

© iStock.com/Iuliia Zavalishina

How to Care for a Border Collie

New pet owners figuring out how to care for a Border Collie, especially a puppy, have several unique factors to consider. Whether it's a genetic condition or the different care associated with its coat and medium size, Border Collies have breed-specific factors that their owners must be aware of.

best dog food

Every dog breed, especially puppies, has different health needs than other breeds, and Border Collies are no exception. Therefore, new owners should consider these needs when choosing food for their pets.

Border Collie Puppy Food: Because of their high energy, size, and genetic makeup, Border Collies can develop musculoskeletal, neurological, eye, and other problems. When considering wet or dry food for your puppy, consider premium brands that are not only higher in calcium and complex nutrients to support growth, but also contain fatty acids like DHA and ARA to support cognitive function and eye health. A dog food specially formulated for puppy growth or all life stages will provide enough protein for a Border Collie puppy, while adult dog food has too much protein and can often cause permanent damage.

Adult Border Collie Dog Food : As with puppy food considerations, pet owners should consider feeding their adult Border Collie a high-quality dog food that is rich in meat-based protein with meat as the main ingredient. Since Border Collies remain active into adulthood, we recommend an active dog food that contains at least 25% protein and 15% fat to provide all the nutrients they need, whether it's wet food, kibble, or patties. They can also eat raw food, which can be purchased as a commercial diet or prepared at home. Border collies with dental problems do best on a kibble-based diet. We've compiled a list of all the best foods for Border Collies right here.

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Here are our AZ Animals Recommendations – The best dog food for Border Collies is Hill's Science Diet Dry Dog Food, Adult Oral Care Dental Health Dog Food, Chicken Meal and Barley Recipe.

This veterinarian-approved formula is specially formulated for dental health. Crunchy kibble crumbs remove plaque and tartar and freshen breath with interlocking fiber technology. Plus, this recipe contains a powerful combination of vitamin A and taurine to nourish the eyes and vision of dogs like border collies and help prevent eye disease.

Hill's Science Diet Oral Care Dog Food is available on Amazon and Chewy. Click on the link below.

overall best

Maintenance and Grooming

The Border Collie is one breed, but has two main types of coat, the long or medium-length coarse coat and the short, smooth coat. Both are double-layered. While short-haired dogs are easier to maintain, both coats shed equally throughout the year, especially in winter. For this reason, they need to be brushed at least 3 times a week to keep shedding to a minimum. Long-haired Border Collies require special brushes to detangle tangles. Two other lesser-known coat types are the curly coat and the bearded coat. Beard colors are various shades of gray, although brown, red and white, red and blue merle, tri-color and tickle colors are common for other coat types.

Border Collies come in long, medium, curly and whiskered coats.

© iStock.com/Iuliia Zavalishina


Border Collies are persistent in their training, refusing to stop until they have learned the task. However, unlike other hunting dog breeds, their desire to please means that Border Collies are best trained with praise and clicker training rather than electronic collars. They were originally used for hunting birds and herding sheep and other livestock. They can work quickly, relying only on the gestures and voice of their owners, and can even work independently or with other dogs.

When they spot prey or livestock, they form a wide perimeter out of sight and drive the prey to the location designated by their owner. Their intelligent, hard-working, and persistent nature makes them a common choice for search and rescue work. Although they often bark when bored, they can learn to put their energy into commanding.

Victor Professional Dog Food
Border Collies are very intelligent and can be taught many fun tricks.


Due to their strong body and high energy, the Border Collie needs a spacious location like a farm or ranch, or at least a large house with a large yard. You can help your Border Collie burn off excess energy with chew toys and by hiding toys and treats around the house or yard. Puzzles or other games give them the mental stimulation they need, while obstacle course training, catching a ball, or joining a flyball dog team builds their athletic abilities. Ideally, a Border Collie should be running for at least 20-30 minutes a day.

A border collie with blue and one brown eye is lying next to an alarm clock
Border Collies are energetic dogs that require vigorous daily exercise, such as running.

©Dora Zett/Shutterstock.com


Border Collie puppies need a dog food specially formulated for puppies or all life stages. It has to be a premium brand that provides the highest quality nutrition. Training Border Collie puppies should begin as early as possible, using chew toys instead of chewing household items to discourage their tendency to live in groups and meet their exercise needs. Typical colors are black and white, but tri-colors, red merle, blue merle, blue, gray, sable, and tan also exist.

Amazing portrait of healthy and happy black and white border collie puppy
Border Collie puppies are black and white, but also come in tri-color, red merle, blue merle, blue, gray, sable, and tan.


with children

Border collies are loyal to their families and get along well with everyone. They are good with children, although they may express their herding instincts to them when they are not staying where the dog wants them to be. For best socialization, expose children to the Border Collie when it is a puppy. Border Collies are also hesitant to strangers and should also be socialized early on to learn specific behaviors around people they don't know. Rescue Border Collies may develop behavioral problems due to poor socialization, neglect or confinement.

dogs similar to border collie

Sheepdogs and working dogs similar to the Border Collie include the Australian Shepherd, Shetland Sheepdog, Icelandic Sheepdog, and Finnish Lapphund.

  • Shetland Sheepdog – The same high intelligence, high energy and great working ability as the Collie, but does well in the home and is smaller in size, better suited to first-time owners or those with smaller families.
  • Rough Collie – The Rough Collie (Lassie being a notable example) is of similar size and intelligence to the Border Collie and is less physically demanding than long walks. They are also easier to train by inexperienced owners.
  • Lurcher – A border collie crossed with a greyhound, this breed has moderate traits that make it more versatile and suitable for different types of families.
Training a Puppy to Fetch Toys
Border Collies are very fond of children and love to herd in the yard.

© iStock.com/K_Thalhofer

famous border collie

Border Collies are known for being affectionate, intelligent, and energetic. Show dogs, rather than working dogs, are common as family pets because they are bred for form rather than function, less behavioral variety, and a predatory instinct. Regardless, there are a number of Border Collies known for their herding abilities:

  • The Old Hemp, the common ancestor of the modern Border Collie, produced its first litter of more than 200 collie males and numerous female collies. He never lost a match, and first became famous in a sheep-herding duel, using nothing but a hypnotic stare.
  • TV Border Collies: Nana in Snow Dog, Fly in Babe, Raffles in Rover Dangerfield and Robber in Little House on the Prairie are just a few to appear in film and TV A small part of the border collie.
pet first aid kit
Border Collies are great actors and are often featured in movies and commercials due to their trainability.


Some of the most popular names for Border Collies are:

  • maverick
  • bandit
  • shadow
  • reconnaissance
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about the author

heather hall

I'm a freelance writer with 22 years of experience. I live in the Pacific Northwest surrounded by nature. When I do my daily runs, I often see herds of elk, deer, and bald eagles. I have two dogs that take me on hikes in the mountains where we see coyotes, black bears, and wild turkeys.

Border Collie FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How much does a border collie cost?

The average cost of a Border Collie is $300-$1,000, with an average cost of $700 and occasionally costs as low as $200. However, special breeding lines, such as show dogs, cost more.

Do border collies bark a lot?

Yes, they have a tendency to bark as they are an alert and territorial breed, but they can be trained to bark on command to reduce impulsiveness.

Are border collies aggressive?

Aggression is not a common trait of Border Collies, but they can bite and even bite strangers.

Are border collies good family dogs?

Generally yes, but it also depends on the family situation. Families must devote time to activities with the dog and to the breed.

Are border collies easy to train?

They are relatively easy to train, but are best suited to experienced, advanced trainers.

Are border collies good for kids?

If they're at home, they're great with kids, but if they don't know them, they treat them like any other stranger.

How Long Do Border Collies Live?

12-15 years, but some live to 17 or more.

Are border collies herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Border Collies are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and other animals.

To which kingdom does the Border Collie belong?

Border collies belong to the animal kingdom.

What category does the Border Collie belong to?

The border collie belongs to the mammalian class.

What is the border collie?

Border collies belong to the phylum Chordate.

What family does the Border Collie belong to?

The Border Collie belongs to the canine family.

What order do border collies belong to?

Border Collies belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus is the Border Collie?

The Border Collie belongs to the genus Canis.

What type of mulch do border collies have?

Border Collies are covered in fur.

How many puppies does a border collie have?

The average number of babies for a Border Collie is 6.

What are some fun facts about Border Collies?

Border Collies are a very intelligent and alert breed!

What is the scientific name of the Border Collie?

The scientific name of the Border Collie is Canis lupus.

What's the Difference Between a Border Collie and a Collie?

There are some key differences between Sheepdogs and Border Collies. Border collies need more exercise than rough collies, and collies also have longer coats than border collies.

What are the main differences between a Border Collie and an Australian Cattle Dog?

The main differences between the Border Collie and the Australian Cattle Dog are appearance, temperament, trainability, and health.

What's the Difference Between a Border Collie and a German Shepherd?

German Shepherds weigh more than Border Collies even though they are the same height. The border collie's coat is longer and silkier compared to the German shepherd's coarse coat.

What's the Difference Between a Border Collie and a Border Terrier?

Border collies are almost twice the size of border terriers, and their coats are quite different. Border Terriers are excellent hunting dogs, while Border Collies are intelligent herding dogs.

What are the main differences between the Catahoula Leopard and the Border Collie?

The main differences between Catahoula Leopard and Border Collie are appearance, coat, temperament, health issues, exercise, and training.

What are the main differences between a Shetland Sheepdog and a Border Collie?

The main differences between Shetland Sheepdog and Border Collie are size, appearance, temperament and longevity.

What are the main differences between the English Sheepdog and the Border Collie?

The main differences between the English Sheepdog and the Border Collie are their size, coat type, temperament and longevity etc.

Thanks for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the 10hunting.com editorial team.

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  2. Tom Jackson, Lorenz Books (2007) Encyclopedia of World Animals
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  10. Wikihow, available here: https://www.wikihow.com/Exercise-a-Border-Collie-Puppy
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