Border Collies

Border Collies

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Breed Notes

The Border Collie originated along the border between Scotland and England for the purpose of herding sheep and cattle. They are extremely intelligent and, in modern times, often compete in herding trials, obedience, agility, Flyball and Frisbee competitions.
They have an exceptional athletic ability with great endurance. They are very light on their feet. By instinct, they tend to be gatherers, not drovers. They are especially known for being able to stare sheep into submission. Extremely energetic dogs, they must be kept busy because they are happiest when working. If no sheep are available to herd, they will herd whatever they can, including their owners' children. They require patience, time and attention from their owners.
The main emphasis in breeding the Border Collie is to produce a dog for herding performance rather than showing. Typically the Border Collie is a medium-sized dog that will weigh between thirty and forty-five pounds and stand between eighteen and twenty inches tall. The coat will be about three inches long over most of the body. Coat colors may be black, blue, chocolate, red or merle, although the most common color is black with white markings on chest, neck, face, and the tip of the tail. Their ears are set along the side of the head and fold down along the head. Their eyes are large and set wide apart. The tail is well coated and generally carried low, although it might have an upward swirl at the tip. of New Zealand writes:

Great pets.
We have had a Border Collie for a year now. We purchased hin at age one and he was on a farm but was the household dog. They are great fun and highly intelligent. Ours is a red and white and everyone comments on his colouring. I would advise if you are thinking about getting a Border Collie to have a decent-sized yard and a little bit of time to put into them. They are great fun! of Canada writes:

Loyal, sweet, but needs to live outside.
Right now I have a beautiful female Border Collie. She is very smart and a great dog, but if you are thinking about getting a Border Collie then you should have a lot of property! Border Collies need to have a lot of backyard to run around in or they will become lazy and overweight. Also be prepared for the hair! Border Collies shed an incredible amount all year-round, there is no avoiding this so I would suggest that you either comb and walk the dog daily, or train it to live outdoors. Border Collies are very compatible to live outdoors, but train them to live outside right from the beginning, if not they will refuse to stay out and spend the night scratching on the door and howling! Overall Border Collies make a GREAT pet and they even herd sheep, ducks and other various animals. (Once my Border Collie even herded a pack of three horses.) However you must remember they are an outside dog, and if you decide to keep them in the house be prepared to walk them every day or you will find that your Border Collie will become overweight, lazy, and you will have hair everywhere!

Name withheld by request of Ohio writes:

Working dogs.
Don't get a Border Collie unless you intend to use the breed to work. They are loving and very intent on following their human's wishes &shyp; very anxious to please, but they have enormous amounts of energy. It is not fair to keep them as housepets. Before deciding to get a Border Collie, make sure that you will have the time to train the dog in herding, agility, or some other active sports. of Surrey, England writes:

Lovely, active breed.
I recently bought a Border Collie when she was ten weeks old; she is now seven months old. She is a lively pup who is very beautiful with a gorgeous long black and white coat. Anybody who is lucky enough to have one will have a lifelong pal. Border Collies are great housedogs but have to get about two walks a day of lead running and a couple of walks. Definitely do not get a Border Collie if you can't give it the exercise it needs. When they are between four to sixteen months they are in their adolescence stage and can bite and be vicious, but remember it doesn't last forever, and never hit them for it's not their fault, they are just full of trouble! Watch 'em! of West Virginia writes:

Not the type of dog for the average household.
Border Collies are hyper and want to do things their way. If you shove her off the couch because you want to sit in her spot she'll growl at you. She's untrainable, and won't hesitate to nip or show her teeth. Once, when my mom tried to pull her off the couch, she bit at her. When you take her for walks, you get walked by her, and we have a lot of Border Collies in our neighborhood, and anytime I walk by they all start growling. Border Collies aren't the type of dog for the average household. of Texas writes:

Best dog breed &shyp; family dog among herding dog.
My husband and I have only had our Border Collie for a little over a year, but we are so delighted with her. Before getting her, we had three cats and a Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie). I was nervous about the herding instinct that BCs have and was very worried that she would herd the cats around in an aggressive manner. I was wrong. As she grew up with the cats, and with our Sheltie, she considered them to be her family as well as us. She is a herding dog by nature and I'm not going to lie and say she doesn't round up the cats from time to time, especially with her sidekick Sheltie, but they do it in such a playful manner. The cats honestly don't care, they are so used to them.
My husband and I rescued two Maltese puppies, a brother and sister when they were just about eight weeks old. That's right, now our family had grown to four dogs and three cats. We were a little worried about how the Border Collie would react to them, since she was the big girl of the family and had been raised with the other pets. I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful she was and still is with them. She mothers them as if they were her own pups. She watches over and protects them, plays very gently with them, nudging them with her head and paw. They love her so much also and I do think they believe she is their mom!
Everyday is just such a joy with her. She is smart as a whip too! When we tell her something that she doesn't understand it's just amazing to see the expression on her face, she tries so hard to understand what you're saying and eager to learn new things. We bought her from some wonderful people who lived on a ranch here in Texas. Their Border Collies were used for working the livestock and herding. When I told the lady that we had a Sheltie who was a housedog, she laughed and said there was no way a Border Collie could be a housedog; she said she would have to be an outdoor dog. We didn't listen. She is an EXCELLENT housedog. She was housebroken in no time at all and she is so agile. We give them their play time in our big backyard and take her and the Sheltie for walks daily. She loves her walks and her runs that we give her. She LOVES to meet new people and new dogs! Such a smart girl. When we take her walking, if she encounters a dog smaller than her, she will literally crouch down on the ground as to not intimidate it and she will start kissing and licking her new found friends.
She is our pride and joy and she is a great housedog. If you are going to keep a BC inside, it is a necessity that they get out of the house a couple of times a day. I could not imagine her cramped up in an apartment or something like that. These dogs love their backyards and their neighborhood walks and runs.
Another thing about Border Collies, they get emotional when scolded. If she ever does something wrong, which she rarely does but more so when she was younger &shyp; if I scolded her, she would go off and pout, just lay down looking as sad as she possibly could. These dogs aim to please and if they've upset their family, there is no greater shame. So go easy on them if they are misbehaving. Correct all problems, but keep in mind that they are eager to please you and most of the time, never mean to do anything that is wrong. I love all of our pets and I hate to single one out, but she really is my pride and joy. I couldn't have a better friend and companion than her. She knows she's loved and she gives back 1,000 percent. of Germany writes on 11/25/00:

The best kind of dogs - in the right hands.
Border Collies are wounderful dogs, they are working dogs who also love people, they can do agility, hearding, be pets, service dogs - but they also can be real "problem dogs" if they are not in the
right hands. If you're not careful, you can have a walking disaster at the other end of your lead: a dog who barks the whole day, tends your children, eats the sofa, digs in the flower-pots, breaks out every time it cab, bite your fingers if you want to take the ball and so on. If a Border Collie does some of this bad habit, he wants to tell us - like a call for help - that there is something
going much wrong. A BorderCollie is also a "head-worker", if he has nothing to think of, he will not be really lucky. Understand me right, please: I really love this dogs, breed this dogs and train this really wounderful dogs, but I also ask every family who visit us and ask for a puppy: Do you really want a BorderCollie? Are you really able to give the dogs something to work and the love of you and your family? Please think about thiis before getting a Border Collie and maybe make the dog and also yourself unhappy! of Las Vegas, NV writes on 3/15/00:

They work on humans as well as sheep.
In the hierarchy of what I treasure most, my Border Collie is subsequent to my own two human children. His presence in my life, for personal reasons, has been incredibly meaningful. He's a blue-collar worker who has always given me through his work 100% of his body and soul. For over a year-and-a-half, he has taken his work ethic to the flyball box and returned to me (his marginal handler) with regal loyalty. I call him my "cow dog" not because he lacks canine intelligence or fancy pedigree - but because I know he'd risk his own life with a stampede of bulls if he thought I were in danger. He is not a cuddler, but he watches my every move. His eyes are always at attention. He seems to know my ups and downs by the way he approaches me. Playful when I'm happy and gentle when I'm sad. Every morning as I leave for work, he has never failed to sit by the window and watch me drive off. In my rear view mirror I watch his warm farewell as well as his welcome home when I return. My boy learns whatever I attempt to teach him with ease. He's obedient yet quite independent. I love rubbing his tummy, throwing him frisbees, watching him run at top speed and helping him learn expressive tricks. Border Collies are perfect for individuals or families who lead active lives. Given the right amount of work and activity, the Border Collie is the utmost companion among the canine world. They are not suited left to create something to do. Lack of stimulation makes Border Collies engage in what we humans would call destructive behaviors. Give them and education and they'll give your their incredibly loyal souls.

Name withheld by request of Canada writes on 12/15/99:

Observant, genius, spirited, and original.
I can't comment on the breed as a whole because my experiences have been with 4 or 5 of this type of dog. However, I have never seen a dog that is more observant than the Border Collie. Although it is known best for herding and it's athletic abilities, the most amazing trait is it's ability to anticipate what I am going to do next. My Border Collie alerts me to the fact that I am a creature of habit every day. Sometimes his staring can get kind of spooky. It is truly amazing to see such intelligence and agility, in a dog. of Bremerton, WA writes on 12/10/99:

The greatest friend I could ever have.
I have an 11 year old Border Collie. I purchased him when he was just a baby. He and I are the best of friends. He is so sweet and mellow mannered. He trained up very quick. He never really had a problem with chewing on things either. I have 3 cats as well and we just purchased a new Golden Retriever puppy and Duke has always adjusted to new animals in the household very well. He is just such a pleasure to have as a pet. I honestly don't think I could ever find another dog with a personality as sweet as his. He is really a huge part of my life and when the day comes that he passes away it will be like me loosing a child. of Maysville, NC writes on 10/10/99:

A pure joy for only the most dedicated dog owner who can excell in any dog sport
A truly beautiful and brilliant dog. The Border Collie will excell in any dog activity or sport when properly trained. However, this in NOT a dog for every dog lover. The Border Collie can be an extremely high energy dog and needs to focus that energy on an activity with his owner involved and supervising. The Border Collie is not a good dog to leave at home alone all day while you work. They are so intelligent and have a great need to focus their energy on a "job" that they tend to "find" something to do if left alone. They love to herd by their very nature and breeding. At times, they may find something to "herd" besides sheep or cows... such as your cats, ducks, or at times the kids. Movement is sure to catch their attention and they may even try to herd a passing car... so supervision, and a safe enviroment is extremely important when considering owning a Border Collie.
There is not a smarter breed in the world. If you choose to do obedience work, agility, or herding... and want to "win", then the Border Collie is your breed! To reach the top... it takes dedication, time, devotion, in conjunction with education to harness the fabulous potential of this most wonderful and loving breed. of Malaysia writes on 9/16/01:

A smart dog that needs keeping up with.
I have had Rough Collies before but never a Border, and I can tell you straight away they are really different. For a start, they are not the majestic collies that people normally associate with. These dogs are tough, tough and tough as they are bred for an entirely outdoor working life. Their coats, as full as they may be, really only require the barest of maintenance, normally a hosing down every few days to rid them of mud and dust and dead undercoat fur and a thorough brushing every 5-7 days or so. These are intelligent dogs and so you always have to be a step ahead of them, thoughts wise. You may be trying to teach your collie a new trick, but he will always be trying to do things his own way. These dogs are seem emotionally sensitive to corrections and really the only way to correct them is to get him to see things in his own logical way. He will chase just about anything that moves, including cats, so if you are planning to keep him in a yard, make sure that he will not find a way of getting out or he'll be chasing school buses, cars, etc. after that. This dog will survive well anywhere in the world, from the cold of the Scottish Highlands, the Australian desert or the humid tropics. Overall, a great dog to have if you can afford to spend at least 2 hours daily exercising them, and them giving them a 15 minute car ride each evening (it's simulates the ride back to the farmhouse from the fields at the back of a pickup truck). of Seattle, WA writes on 10/5/01:

Highly intelligent, athletic, enthusiastic and extremely versatile.
Border Collies are amazing dogs with incredible aptitude, ability enthusiasm and memory. The BC is probably the most versatile dog on the planet, capable of herding sheep (and children, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc.), competing in all dogs sports (agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, tricks), as well as working like a Pointer and/or Retriever. They will do everything with effervescent ferver - top speed and incredible enthusiasm.
Although it is a mis-statement that the Border Collie "never stops or stands still," this breed prefers to be active doing or learning something most of the time. If provided adequate exercise and mental activities, the Border Collie can lie peaceful and quiet at your feet for hours.
Surprisingly, the Border Collie is not BORN trained to be a movie star, a sheep herder, or top sports competitor... training is required. A Border Collie that is constantly learning something new is one happy Border. However, if left alone too much, bored and neglected, the Border Collie can definitely think up problem things to do to entertain himself, much to the chagrin of many owners. Although described as "easy to train," the Border Collie must be involved in ongoing training to avoid boredom resulting in excessive barking, household destruction and other negative behaviors.
In spite of the fact that the Border Collie is often recommended for families, they are not always the best breed for small children (under 12 years of age). This is mainly due to strong instinctual herding behaviors which can result in herding and nipping of family or neighborhood children running, yelling and playing. Border Collies can also become home and family protective, so ongoing socialization is extremely important.
A Border Collie IS NOT for you if: You donít want to spend a significant amount of time doing "dog" stuff daily. You donít like going outside (in all weather). You have several young children. You are a couch potato. You donít like getting dirty, cold and wet. You have a busy work and life schedule that a dog canít participate in. You can only think of SIT, DOWN, and STAY to teach your dog. You want a dog to stay in your house and backyard only. You care deeply about your landscaped yard and flowerbeds. You wish to preserve your expensive matching furniture and white carpeting. You prefer privacy in the bathroom.
A Border Collie IS for you if: You are serious about sheep herding or other dog sports. You want a dog to do everything with. You donít mind being outsmarted (embarassed) by a dog. Your dog IS a member of your family. You like to spend a significant amount of time outdoors EVERYDAY, no matter the weather. You want a "hoshot dog" athlete. You wake up thinking, "What can I do with my dog today?" You want a dog that can excel in EVERY dog sport. You want a dog you simply canít ignore. You want a dog that makes you think. You donít mind a tennis ball being poked through the shower curtain at you. You have experience living with and training a dog.

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