Everything you need to know about buying a border collie

 They’re one of the most intelligent breeds available, very loyal and hard-working and form very strong bonds with their humans. But do they always make an ideal family pet?


Border Collie

Origin of the breed:

Originally bred up in the Scottish borders to help herd sheep, they’re working dogs and to this day are often the dog of choice for working shepherds.


The Border Collie is a medium-size dog bred for practicality and when well cared for can live 12 – 16 years.

What sort of temperament does a border collie have?

Their intelligence, ability to learn quickly and high energy levels make them perfect working dogs but these traits don’t always make them the ideal family pet. When bored and not given enough stimulation, they can try to entertain themselves resulting in them becoming destructive. Their inherent need to herd can manifest in chasing and nipping other animals in the house and even children – it should be noted these nips are not from a place of aggression, but this can be of little consolation to a small child. Border Collies should only be introduced to family homes where constant time and attention can be given to them.

If you’re able to invest the time your Collie needs, you’ll be rewarded with a faithful companion who gets most of their pleasure in life from making their humans happy. When training, they’ll learn because they want to, and they’ll learn quickly. Whereas their Australian Shepherd cousins who, although very similar in appearance, temperament and breed designs, will often want to know what’s in it for them before they complete a command, the Collie will be more unquestioning.

As they’re bred to be working dogs and on the go all day, it’s next to impossible to exhaust a Border Collie. You can go for the longest hike and be ready for a nice sit-down and they’ll want to play. The best way to tire a Collie is mental, a ten-minute training session can be more productive than a half an hour run. Instead of throwing a toy for them to chase, they’ll get more from a game of hiding (the toy) and seek as they’re using their brains more.

Are Border Collie’s vocal?

Collies don’t bark just for the sake of barking. When they’re out in the field, they don’t need to shout at the sheep they’re herding and when they’re using their brains, they tend to focus on the job at hand. That’s not to say they’re a quiet dog if they’re a pet, as they’re a working dog they’ll take it upon themselves to own any jobs around the home. This could be protecting the territory from intruders like delivery people for which they’ll use their voice. If they’re excited or running about, they might also bark to help relieve some of their pent-up energy. The good news is because of their highly trainable nature, unwanted barking can usually be trained out of them.

Are Border Collie Coats Easy to Maintain?

Border Collies have double coats. A coarser undercoat would be designed to keep body heat up in the cold hills and give them some water resistance and their topcoats are usually finer and are designed to stop heat and sun rays overheating them. If you’re taking them to a groomer, make sure they have experience with double coated breeds as clipping too much fur can be very bad for them.

Rough and Smooth Collies can be equally popular, but their coats need to be well cared for. Daily brushing is advisable as this helps build the bond between you and your pet as well as meaning you’re more likely to notice any skin problems. The fur behind their ears and in their armpits can be especially prone to tangling and matting so keep a close eye on it.

Their undercoat can trap water which when warm can lead to skin irritations so it’s important you always dry your dog after bath time or if they’ve been for a swim.

What health conditions are Border Collies prone to?

Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) can occur in Collies and are thought to be hereditary. Both can range in significance from dog to dog but can ultimately result in blindness and there’s no cure. Where either disease is present, the dog should not be bred from, and any reputable breeder should be able to provide you with a family history of any known cases.


Joint dysplasia can be more common in any larger dog and the more active their lifestyle, the more prone they can be. Hip dysplasia is more common in herding breeds where the hip ball doesn’t sit in its socket as well as it should resulting in pain. The severity can range from mild discomfort but in more extreme cases, surgery can be needed for a total hip replacement. Whilst this cannot always be prevented, it’s recommended puppies and Collies still developing aren’t over-exercised as this can lead to problems later in their life

How Petcover can help your pet

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