Border collies are a breed of incredible intelligence, impressive athleticism, and unwavering loyalty. Caring for a border collie is a full-time job suitable only for certain owners, but the rewards of a thriving relationship with a border collie are second to none.
What is it?
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common conditions across canine breeds, and it’s especially prevalent in border collies.
The disease is hereditary, so reputable breeders must test pup parents for hip dysplasia.
If your border collie does have hip dysplasia, the joint at their hip will be malaligned and cause numerous issues.
% Dogs affected:
10.3% of border collies
Limping, swaying, hopping, reduced activity, lethargy, weakness, hesitation to exercise, lack of coordination, reduced muscle mass in the affected limb
Limited exercise, physical therapy, weight management, medications, supplements, surgery
Surgery may not be suitable for all dogs. Delayed treatment carries risk – seek prompt treatment.
90% = $1350
80% = $1200
70% = $1050
What is it?
Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is another condition affecting the hind limbs that is common in border collies.
Unlike hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is not confirmed to be hereditary, although genetics are suspected as a potential cause. Unfortunately, the causes are largely unknown at this time.
% Dogs affected:
15.4% of border collies
Limping (usually on one hind leg), total avoidance of affected leg, pain around the affected leg, loss of muscle mass in the affected leg
Medical therapy, medications, total hip replacement (THR) surgery
Long-term follow-up will be necessary. Affected dogs should not breed.
90% = $1350
80% = $1200
70% = $1050
Border collies are widely considered the most intelligent dog in the world. They require plenty of mental stimulation and constantly learn from their environment, which means you have the responsibility to guide their learning in positive directions.
High energy levels are core to everything the border collie does. These dogs require a lot of exercise every day, at least an hour a day, and mental stimulation to match.
Border collies are social creatures who want to be around others frequently. A border collie will not do well if left at home alone for long hours.
Strong bonds form between this breed and their owners.
It’s no surprise that such an intelligent, active dog breed also tends to have a very strong will. Border collie ancestors needed a certain amount of independence on the ranch, and that will can still come through, especially if your pup was not trained from a young age.
Border collies have a medium-length, wavy double coat that’s built to handle harsh weather.
Colors and patterns vary widely, from black and white to red, red merle, brindle, lilac, sable, bicolor, and tricolor varieties.
No, border collies are not hypoallergenic.
Thanks to the natural toughness of the breed’s coat, grooming needs are moderate. Brushing once a week is recommended, and more during shedding season. You should also regularly bathe your border collie, trim their nails, and clean their teeth and ears.
Border collies are often considered the most trainable dog in the world. A proper approach and some patience will be required, and starting from a young age is always ideal.
Apartment living is most likely a recipe for disaster with this breed since they need significant space for intense, regular exercise. Border collies do best with plenty of land to run on and jobs to do, if possible.
Lifetime Care Cost:
The quintessential example of the working dog is the border collie.
Renowned for their incredible intelligence, athleticism, and loyalty, these dogs are one of the most beloved breeds in the world. However, they are often one of the most misunderstood as well.
If you’re considering a border collie for your fur family, it is essential you understand the breed’s needs, which derive from its history, purpose, body, temperament, and instincts.
These special dogs are only the right fit for special owners that are highly active and ready to dedicate significant time and effort to their pooch. If you think that might be you, Spot Pet Insurance is here to help you dive into the details.
In today’s breed guide, we’re going over all the essential info to consider regarding the border collie dog breed.
A sturdy, curly double coat wraps up this agile, quick dog’s impressive physique, a clear sign of their origins in the cold, harsh highlands of Europe.
Don’t let their practical appearance fool you. These dogs also have a soft side that charms any owner that can rise to the challenge of the breed’s energy levels and intelligence.
These medium-sized dogs have a strong herding instinct and were often used by herders as sheep-herding dogs thanks to their hard-working nature. As a result, purebred border collies need to spend a lot of time on mentally and physically stimulating tasks. They make excellent family dogs for active families and love to catch a frisbee or even engage in dog sports.
Let’s talk about some of those qualities below.
As working dogs, the border collie’s purpose is at the heart of everything the breed is about.
The border collie’s herding heritage begins in the Scottish highlands. The breed’s ancestors were brought to Britain and Scotland by Vikings, who acquired them from the ancient Romans.
Border collies have to be sturdy to handle their herding jobs, so good health is a trademark for the breed. However, certain conditions are still a risk, as with any dog.
The most common conditions for border collies relate to the hip and hind legs. Hip dysplasia, a common condition in many large breeds or working dogs, affects roughly 10% of the breed. Similar diseases, such as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, affect slightly more.
Their breed club, The Border Collie Society of America, recommends specific health tests for the breed, including hip and eye evaluations, to help catch certain health conditions.
Other health issues include:
Border collies are affectionate family pets, though not necessarily in the same ways a lap dog might be. Your herding hero will likely be eager to curl up at your side once the day is done – provided they have plenty of exercise.
A border collie with lots of pent-up energy, however, will be thinking about how, when, and where they can exercise rather than how they can show some lovey-dovey affection.
In short: If you want to see the affectionate side of your border collie, be prepared to fully meet their activity needs first.
Intelligence is the crowning trait of the border collie breed, so early training is vital. If you do not guide what the border collie learns, it will learn what it wants instead of what you want, which can create problems.
With a loving, guiding hand, the border collie has a huge potential for all types of training. Behavior and socialization should be the foundation. Work and play can follow.
Herding is the breed’s specialty. Even if you don’t have a farm yourself, herding classes can provide a positive outlet for your border collie’s instincts and a fun bonding experience.
Sports such as rally, agility, tracking, flying disc, and flyball are popular options, as are obedience competitions. Put your border collie’s intelligence to work along with their physicality to let them truly thrive.
Border collies are friendly with family, so you won’t have to worry about aggression when it comes to border collies and children.
A much more prevalent concern, however, could be herding. This breed loves to herd, and they will often choose young children as their target and try to control where they go.
As always, you should supervise every interaction between young children and dogs, no matter how friendly the breed is.
Despite a generally friendly disposition in most border collies, early socialization is still crucial to ensure your dog develops the proper mannerisms in new encounters.
As social creatures, it is best to have friends for your border collie, but be wary once again of their herding tendencies. Letting your border collie grow up together with another border collie is an example of one great solution!
As you can see, giving a border collie a high quality of life comes with a lot of work, which starts with plenty of knowledge and understanding.
This process is a whole lot easier with some help. That’s why we’re here to bring you plenty of pet parent resources through our Spot Pet Insurance Blog. Check it out for tons of helpful guides and articles!
Adoption fee: $300-1000
First year: $2,500
Following years: $1,395
If possible, train your border collie in socialization and obedience from the time they are a pup, or buy from a breeder who has done so. With the right foundation, border collies are set up to be the most trainable dogs in the world.
They excel at even the most complex training routines and are eager to progress. You’ll need a fair amount of energy on your own, and knowing how to work with such an intelligent dog may take some practice on your part.
Consider training a bonding experience for you and your dog, and have fun with these brilliant creatures!
Border collies should never eat certain foods that are toxic to dogs in general. Here are some of the most common examples:
Keeping up with the border collie’s energy level is perhaps the biggest challenge for a potential owner. Giving your dog a job is the best way to exhaust their huge energy reserves and give them mental stimulation at the same time.
Even if you don’t have an actual job that needs doing, you can often find classes or competitions that will replicate the kind of work border collies love, such as herding.
In general, border collies need an hour a day of intense exercise at a minimum. Don’t be afraid to bring your border collie alongside you on a bike ride, run, or hike! Playing catch with a ball or disc is also a fun activity to do together, provided you have plenty of space so they can get up to speed.
Border collie Puppy: 0 – 1 year
Adult: 1 year – 9 years
Senior: 9 years – end of life