The Border Collie is a hard-working breed of dog which originated in the border country of England and Scotland. They are noted for being affectionate with friends and reserved with strangers. Border collies are highly intelligent dogs, although they have a tendency towards neurotic behavior if not given enough to do.
Known primarily as a sheep herding dog, the Border Collie is an outgoing, friendly and high-energy dog. These highly motivated dogs are trained to work in partnership with their master but their first love is their livestock. The Border Collie works silently, crouching, creeping and springing into action, moving the sheep from spot to spot with the control of a chess-master. It does it in cooperation with its shepherd who communicates with it using a set of learned signals. When the dog is near at hand, spoken signals can be used, but when it is further away, the shepherd switches to whistled commands.
The Border Collie controls its herd by maintaining vigorous eye contact and "clapping." When a Border Collie is "clapping", it stretches its front paws out and lowers its chest to the ground while maintaining a fixed stare at the sheep in what is similar to a predatory position. Each shepherd has his own variations of the commands and adds further ones for special instructions. To watch man and dog cooperate using this unique language is to witness one of the most intimate and subtle of all human-canine interactions.
If you are considering owning a Border Collie, make a genuine appraisal of your lifestyle and be sure the special skills of a Border Collie are right for you.
Other Names: Previously, it was known as Scottish Collie, Working Collie
Country of Origin: Great Britain
FCI Classification: Group 1 - Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs (except Swiss Cattle Dogs); Section 1 - Sheepdogs; AKC Classification: Herding Group
Size: Medium (20-22 inches at shoulders)
Colors: Many colors are acceptable. White should never predominate.
Litter Size: 6-8
Life Span: 9-15 years
Grooming Requirements: Weekly brushing
Personality: Keen, alert, responsive and intelligent. Neither nervous nor aggressive.
Social skills: Border Collies have a very strong herding instinct and will chase and "herd" cats and other small animals. They do best with dogs of the opposite sex.
Suitability for Children: Not the best choice for families with young children. They may try and "herd" small children by nipping at heir heels.
Exercise Needs: Two daily walks are a must. Border Collies are exceedingly high energy dogs who become bored and destructive when not being entertained or working.
Train Ability: One of the easiest dogs to train
Health & Behavioral Issues: Being one of the healthiest breeds, Border Collies have a few genetic and hereditary diseases: CPRA, corneal dystrophy, central progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), patent ductus arteriosus, osteochondritis dissecans, ceroid lipufucsinosis, cryptorchidism, and deafness. Recently, a new form of PRA, called X-linked PRA (XLPRA3) has been identified.