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Breed of the Month: Border Collie

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Border Collie

Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: 18–22 inches
Weight: 27–45 pounds
Coat: Two varieties—moderately long double coat is close, dense, weather resistant, with coarse, straight or wavy, moderately long outer coat and soft, short, dense undercoat; smooth double coat, short and coarser than rough variety
Colors: All colors, combinations, markings
Registries (with Group): AKC (Herding); UKC (Herding)


The Border Collie is a sheep herding dog developed in the border country between Scotland, England, and Wales. Hundreds of years ago, most breeds of dogs were not clearly defined, and the Border Collie was simply known as a collie, sheepdog, or shepherd’s dog. The formation of the International Sheep Dog Society in 1906 helped stimulate interest in the shepherd and establish the Border Collie’s modern heritage. The breeding programs started to favor the quality of “eye” (a hypnotic stare that wills the sheep to move and turn) and a more trainable nature in order to win herding trials. The first notable dog of type was Old Hemp, born in 1894, who is considered the founder of the modern Border Collie breed. Today, besides working as exceptional farm dogs, Border Collies are renowned for their prowess in the fast-paced sport of agility, where accuracy and speed matter.


Border Collies are considered one of the most intelligent breeds of dog on the planet. They are energetic, sturdy, sensitive, and able to make snap decisions on their own. They are friendly with familiar people and standoffish with strangers. Most Border Collies are workaholics—driven to herd anything and everyone continuously, although occasionally a more laid-back temperament can be seen. All Border Collies are happiest when given a chore and need to have an outlet for their energy.


  • Exercise: The Border Collie needs lots of vigorous physical exercise to keep him content. He needs mental stimulation as well—chores, activities, attention, and tasks.
  • Grooming: Both the coarser-haired and sleek-coated Border Collies need regular brushing to keep their coats free of dead hair and looking their best.
  • Life Span: 12 to 15 years.
  • Training: The Border Collie’s intense drive, desire, and intelligence make him exceptionally trainable.

Excerpted from World Atlas of Dog Breeds, 6th Edition. © 2009 T.F.H. Publications, Inc. Used by Permission.

World Atlas of Dog Breeds

6 Responses to Breed of the Month: Border Collie

  1. Tricia October 23, 2011 @ 4:29 pm

    My Nelly is the sweetest dog – I agree that Border Collies are the most intelligent!

  2. Patti Cowgirl Holly October 23, 2011 @ 5:18 pm

    i raise, breed, rescue & train this ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL breed of furbaby and they are also the perfect family member! They LOVE children & play, work hard for and protect their family with a loyalty i could NEVER completely explain. Border Collies have been members of my family for over 45 years and will always be a part of our family…. Thanks so much for highlighting these GREAT pups! The only reminder/caution i would give to anyone considering BCs is that if YOUI do not give them a job, they WILL find one themselves, so be prepared as their own choice of job may not be a job YOU appreciate!

  3. Candace October 24, 2011 @ 2:53 am

    We own 3 Border Collies and they have proven to be extremely intelligent, loving and faithful companions. They need a lot of attention but are worth it.One of our Border Collies taught herslef how to open our steel exterior door(It has a lever handle). We had to teach her to close it, which she learned quickly.
    My recommendation is that people who are thinking about getting this breed realize the huge commitment they are. They are often reliquished to pet shelters when people find them too demanding. These dogs need stability,
    routine and tons of exercise. It breaks my heart to think of them having to go through the ordeal of a shelter as they’re a very sensitive breed.

  4. Susan October 27, 2011 @ 1:40 pm

    Thank you to the Wisconsin Border Collie Association for all their hard work in saving these dog!

  5. Rachel November 26, 2011 @ 4:32 pm

    Had a purebred Border Collie at a shelter I volunteered at, name was Bingo. Very hyper and playful dog, great breed. He got adopted thankfully!

  6. Jack April 26, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    My lil guy Max is my best friend. Only had him for 8 months but he has proven to be one of the smartest dogs I’ve every owned.

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