13 Jun 2011

Breed Profile – Border Collie

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Before buying or adopting a puppy or dog of any breed it is important to know what breed is right for you. Here is a checklist; if you answer yes to all these questions you are a step closer to finding out whether a Border Collie is right for you.

Do you have a house with a medium to large garden?

Do you have an hour or two to walk your dog?

Do you have time to train your dog?

Could you cope with ongoing vet bills from a health issue such as epilepsy?

Can you afford the vet and food bills?

Have you got ten minutes every other day to groom your dog?


It may come as a surprise to a few people that Border Collies don’t all come in black and white! Black and white is the most common, however, they can also be tricolour in black, tan and white or black, sable and white. Or they can be tan and white or sable and white. They are medium-sized dogs some with fully erect ears and some with semi-erect ears. Their eyes can be brown or sometimes with some blue in them. Some even have one eye brown and the other blue.


Male Border Collies can be around 13 – 20 kg in weight and 48 – 55 cm in height.

Female Border Collies can be around 12 – 19 kg in weight and 45 – 53 cm in height.


Border Collies are working dogs and as such will need a lot of exercise. This exercise should include a brisk walk or jog coupled with some ball play. Border Collies also need intellectual stimulation so ensure you have the time to train, play and walk your Collie.


Like all breeds, the Border Collie has some common health issues. These include hip and elbow dysplasia (common in all larger dogs), epilepsy and Collie eye anomaly. All these are genetic within the breed. Collie eye anomaly (CEA) is a congenital disease of the eye. The average life span of the Border Collie is between 10 and 17 years.


Border Collies are considered to be the most intelligent. They are also working dogs, however, many people have them as pets. Because of their working background, Border Collies have a lot of energy and if they are bored they will dig and bark. They are good companion dogs and are good as family pets if trained well.


As mentioned, Border Collies need a lot of training to keep their minds’ occupied. This training can come in the form of agility and flyball. Being a working breed, Border Collies can also have training in the form of sheep herding, although this is best left to professionals!


Border Collies should only have a bath when necessary. Their hair can either be coarser or sleek and longer. Longer hair will obviously need more brushing to ensure no tangling. However, both types of coats need brushing regularly, particularly when your dog is malting. Teeth, skin, ears and nails should be checked regularly while grooming to ensure they look good. Nails shouldn’t get too long, if you are unsure; consult your vet or a professional dog groomer.

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