Are you in need of a running partner? Want to compete in agility shows? Do you have the time to spend and work with this very intelligent breed? The Border Collie could be what you are looking for!
The Border Collie is considered the world's SMARTEST dog according to Stanley Coren, author of The Intelligence of Dogs. In fact, Rico, a Border Collie from Germany has a vocabulary of over 200 words and has easily demonstrated how to use them and how he learns new ones.
Herding was the original intent of this breed, which originates from Great Britain in the Border country, but they are a popular companion dog too. Over recent years, this breed is gaining extreme popularity in agility and conformation shows!
The Border Collie's height is 18-22 inches and they can weigh between 30-50 pounds. Border Collies are known mainly for their black and white coat, although it can be other colors, including merles except for all white. Their coat is a double-coat so if anyone suffers from allergies in your family, think twice before getting a Border Collie, as they are a heavy shedder. The Collie is a medium size and muscular. They have a broad skull and a strong muzzle. Their ears can be erect or semi-erect and their eyes are amber, brown, blue, or partially blue in merles.
The Border Collie is NOT for everyone. They are a very high energy, high intelligence and reactive dog. Even adopting a Border Collie Mix can be trouble if you are not prepared for their mental and physical needs. They are a loyal and loving dog, but can be reserved around strangers. They absolutely will have no regard in herding everything: children, cats, other small animals, vehicles, bikes, scooters, and much more. The Border Collie is a hardworking breed that needs a job and purpose. They do not do well in homes if left in a crate or by themselves for over 4 hours at a time, due to their high activity level. This breed will make an excellent agility partner, so consider Flyball as one sport to compete in with a Border Collie. They are known to out-smart their owners, so proper training and early socialization with other animals and children may help prevent many problems down the road. This is one breed that absolutely requires obedience training, unless you want an out-of-control highly intelligent breed running the show.
Their activity level is high. They will require three 45 minute walks a day or a daily running partner. When walking a Border Collie, make sure to put a back pack on them to help drain their energy. If the Border Collie is not properly mentally and physically stimulated, they can be extremely destructive and develop severe behavioral problems such as: chewing (furniture, walls, and carpeting), barking, aggression, digging, counter-surfing, nipping and much more. This breed requires every-day stimulation, they are not an apartment or condo type dog. A fenced in-yard is a must for this breed and do not assume they are happy to drain their own energy by being in the back yard by themselves. The Border Collie will quickly self-entertain in the wrong way if they are bored. If their energy level is not properly channeled they can become neurotic making it a very difficult situation to live in.
A typical life span for the Border Collie is 12-16 years. Health concerns are: Hip Dysplasia, Osteochondritis, Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), Epilepsy, Deafness, and Hypothyroidism.
As you begin looking for a Border Collie, please check with rescue organizations first. Every year there are millions of dogs being euthanized, not because they are bad dogs, but because there is no home for them and insufficient resources to care for them at rescues. By adopting a dog, you are truly saving a life!
At the very least, NEVER purchase any dog from a pet store. Unfortunately, those puppies almost always come from puppy mills. Instead, look for a reputable breeder to work with.
On a final note, it is important to spay and neuter your puppy by 6 months old to have a healthy and happy pet for many years to come!
Original Dog Bible, 2nd Edition by Kristin Mehus-Roe