Let's talk Border Collies

“Born to Run.” That may well be the mantra of the Border Collie, a breed whose bright eyes and vivacious appearance are clues to the wellspring of energy underneath. An affectionate, loyal companion, the Border Collie is the perfect match for a runner or super athletic person—the more the better, given the breed’s constant need for activity.

Official name: Border Collie

Other names: Collie

Origins: Scotland

Black and white portrait of Border Collie about to jump
 Drooling tendencies

 Very low

 Warm weather? High
 Grooming needs  Medium  Cold weather? High
 Shedding level  Medium  Suited to apartment living?  Very low
 Barking tendencies  Medium  Can stay alone?* Very low
 Energy level (high, low, medium) *:  High   Family Pet?*  Very high
 Compatibility with other pets  Very high    

* We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed’s specifics should be taken as an indication.

For a happy, healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socialising your pet as well as covering their basic welfare, social and behavioural needs.

Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.

All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company. However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age. Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.

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Border Collie caught mid-air with red frisbee in mouth


Get to know the Border Collie

All you need to know about the breed

What do we do next? If the Border Collie could talk, this would surely be an oft-heard phrase. The breed is extremely energetic, with an almost constant need to move, so the perfect match is an owner who likes the same. No apartment life for this dog: Border Collie energy is almost off the charts. They would definitely thrive on a farm, ranch, or other setting giving them plenty of room to run and a job to do.

Slight in build, the Border Collie epitomises a herding breed and has the hallmark “herding eye”—a steely stare put on sheep, or perhaps you, when you least expect it! They are by far one of the most agile and nimble dogs.

The breed name comes from the Borders region between England and Scotland, rolling Highland territory that necessitated a dog that could roll with it. Herding sheep all day? No problem!

Loyal to the bone, Border Collies can also be quiet when around strangers, endearingly so. They warm up in a short amount of time, as long as tasks – and jobs – keep coming. Despite their intensity, Border Collie behaviour isn’t erratic, they are pretty predictable and dependable. The breed is tailor-made for agility and obedience competitions, both great outlets for their high athleticism.

One chocolate and one black Border Collie puppies sat side by side on grass


2 facts about Border Collies

1. They may be an escape artist.

The incessant energy and curiosity of the Border Collie character will cause them to follow their nose—and to wander as well. Keep them safe with a well-fenced enclosure and a watchful eye.

2. A Border found on the border 

Between Scotland and England, that is, as the Border Collie’s extreme athleticism and agility was well-suited for the hilly Highland terrain found there and the sheep herding activities so needed in the region.


History of the breed

Border Collies have a long history in their nation of origin, the United Kingdom, descending from multiple strains of herding and sheepdogs before them. Originating in the 17th century, oddly enough it wasn’t until the 20th that they were officially recognised. Their name stems from the breed’s use as herding dogs in the rolling Highlands found on the border between England and Scotland, the “Collie” part of the name refers to sheepdogs and comes from the Scottish dialect.

As the breed developed, they branched off into specific geographic regions—Welsh Sheepdogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies.

 In 1860, the second dog show in England was held and Scottish Sheepdogs were shown.

 Border Collies are still highly prized for their agility and ability to herd, whether in a commercial or domestic setting. The Border Collie’s remarkable intelligence and need for speed has made them the top winners of agility competitions worldwide.

Black and white portrait of Border Collie with paws in front


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Border Collies

1. Ears

Sensitive, mobile ears reflect the herding instinct, set well apart.

2. Head

Head held alert, riveted, exhibiting high intelligence. 

3. Body

Deep and broad chest with gently sloping back, strong muscular neck.

4. Tail

Tail curves upward at tip, bushy and full, hangs down in relaxed manner.

5. Coat

Dense, weather-resistant double coat of two varieties: rough, medium-length, feathered on haunches, chest, and underside, or smooth, short, coarse overall.

Four Border Collies sat in a row in a grassy field


Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Border Collie
Woman holding Border Collie in arms on a mountain at sunset


Caring for your Border Collie

Grooming, training and exercise tips

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Extreme athleticism is the hallmark of the breed. With its innate high drive, the more exercise the Border Collie gets, the better. Agility, obedience, tracking, and rally competitions suit this breed well, or really any constant movement! Daily vigorous activity is best.

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Grooming your Border Collie will inevitably require some work. As an active breed, they don’t always stay as clean as we might prefer. With fur that can vary from a rough coat to a smooth one, using a pin comb one to two times a week will take out tangles and keep them looking sharp and ready for anything.

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Fewer dogs are easier to train than the Border Collie. Very intelligent and with a high desire to please, obedience training can be practiced throughout your dog’s life. Make sure to socialise them from the start since the breed can be wary of newcomers. In need of a job always, agility training and competitions are the perfect outlet. A busy Border Collie is a content Border Collie.


All about Border Collies

Not much! The Border Collies’ biggest drawback is their need for constant activity. The breed’s origins lie in herding and they have at times been called a “fanatical workaholic” so it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. A Border Collie’s smarts make them a challenge at times too, and very much not suited for city living. If not a farm owner, keep yours occupied with multiple daily walks, or a well-fenced yard where they can run free. Agility courses and advanced obedience training match the Border Collie activity level well.

Having a Border Collie as a pet can be a great decision. Lively dogs with a great disposition, they are very child-friendly and super playful, a breed that adapts well to human companionship; its instinct to herd may even translate to humans at times! As with all dogs, early socialisation and training is essential. 


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/