Dog Breeds 101: Border Collie

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The Border Collie derives its name from the fact that it originated near the border of Scotland and England. It is a medium-sized breed of canine that is also known as an English, Welsh, or Scottish Sheep Dog. This dog was bred specifically for herding livestock and sheep. [1] Today, the breed excels in flyball, catching flying discs, obedience, and tracking competitions.

The Border Collies have become popular because of their obedience and intelligence. In fact, they are often cited as the most intelligent of all dogs. This dog is best known for its instinct, wit and intelligence which can be the perfect qualities for the right owner. [2] Generally, Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with thick coats that shed frequently. They have smooth to rough double coats which may come in a variety of colors such as black, white, red and a few other variations.

The Border Collie is known to be very loving to its family but can be reserved towards strangers. In addition to their intelligence, they are known to be highly trainable and sensitive. Indeed, it is possible to train your Collie how to run at different speeds according to the tone of a whistle. [3] They are also noted for their uncanny ability to understand what you want them to do before you even got the chance to tell them.

Although Collies are often found in urban settings today, they remain extremely instinctual. Border Collies still have the tendency to herd everything that moves – which can include children, cats, squirrels, cars, and more.

This breed is known to be energetic, playful and demanding which makes them a difficult pet for owners who cannot spare enough time to play with them. In the past, they were regarded as premier herding dogs because they possessed unlimited stamina, energy, and working drive. They are the type of dog that can do well in any type of home provided that they get an adequate amount of physical activity and mental stimulation.

The Collie is honest and loyal; however, it should be noted that they are not generally the type to cuddle. In fact, they resist being cuddled. Instead, they are workaholic dogs that thrive on performing with excellence. When this need is not addressed, the breed has the tendency to become destructive. For example, they may begin digging holes and chewing furniture.

Border Collies lives approximately 13.5 years. [4] The most common causes of death recorded on this breed is cancer, old age, and cerebral vascular afflictions.



[2] Alison Hornsby, The Ultimate Border Collie (Wiley, 1998).

[3] Derek Scrimgeour, Talking Sheepdogs: Training Your Working Border Collie (Good Life Press, 2008).

[4] Silvan R. Urfer, Kimberly Greer, and Norman S. Wolf, “Age-Related Cataract in Dogs: A Biomarker for Life Span and Its Relation to Body Size,” AGE 33, no. 3 (September 1, 2011): 451–60, doi:10.1007/s11357-010-9158-4.

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