The Border Collie is an energetic dog which can be a bit too amazing for owners who do not have the time and energy to keep it occupied. It was developed to gather and control sheep. This breed is known for its unlimited energy, stamina, and working drive which makes it a premier herding dog. Up until today, it’s being used to herd sheep on farms and ranches worldwide. It is also a dog breed that excels in different canine activities like agility, tracking, obedience, and flying disc competitions. Let us know more about the origins and characteristics of the Border Collie dog breed.
The Border Collie dog breed descended from landrace collies, which was a type found widely in the British Isles. The name of the breed probably came from its place of origin along the Anglo-Scottish border. It was in the 19th century when the mention of “Collie” or “Colley” first appeared. But the word “collie” is older and has its origin in the Scots language. Some also believed that the word “collie” came from the old Celtic word which means useful.
A lot of the best Border Collies today can be traced back to a dog known as Old Hemp. It was a tricolor dog born in September 1893 in Northumberland and died in May 1901. This dog was bred by Adam Telfer from Roy, a black and tan dog, and Meg, a black-coated and strong-eyed dog. The Old Hemp was a quiet and powerful dog to which sheep responded easily. A lot of shepherds used this dog for stud and its working style became the Border Collie style. All of the pure Border Collies that are alive today can trace an ancestral line back to Old Hemp. Over the span of its life, it was believed to have sired as many as 200 pups.
In 1915, the term Border Collie was first used by James Reid, Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society in the United Kingdom, to distinguish the dogs registered by the ISDS from the Kennel Club’s Collie which originally came from the same working stock but had developed a different and standardized appearance.
On October 1, 1995, the Border Collie was recognized by the American Kennel Club. In the present time, the Border Collie is recognized as the premier sheepherding dog.
Characteristics of a Border Collie
Average height: 1 foot and 6 inches – 1 foot and 10 inches tall
Average weight: 30 – 45 pounds
The Border Collie belongs to the herding dogs breed group and they can live from 12 to 15 years. Males can grow from 19 to 22 inches tall and can weigh from 35 to 45 pounds. Females on the other hand, can grow from 18 to 21 inches tall and can weigh from 30 to 40 pounds.
Border Collies have two varieties of coat which are rough and smooth. Both of these are double coats with a coarser outer coat and soft undercoat. The rough variety of coat is medium length with feathering on the legs, chest, and belly. The smooth variety on the other hand, is short all over and usually coarser in texture compared to the rough variety, and its feathering is minimal. They usually come in color black with a white blaze on the face, neck, feet, legs, and tail tip, with or without tan. But Border Collies can be any bicolor, tricolor, merle, or solid color except white.
Border Collies are characteristically alert, energetic, hardworking, and smart. They can be trained quickly and in fact, it’s difficult to keep them challenged. They like to be busy and if they get bored, it might lead to annoying behaviors such as digging, barking, or even chasing cars. Since they were bred to run and work all day herding sheep, they are not dogs that will lie quietly on the front porch while you rest. They thrive activity. They are also known to be sensitive to their owners’ every cue such as whistle, hand signals, and even a raised eyebrow. They are great family dogs and they can get along well with children and other pets if they are raised and trained properly.
Caring for a Border Collie
Border Collies are known to be adaptable dogs but they are best suited to an environment that gives them some elbow room. It can be a city home with a securely fenced yard, or a country farm or ranch. They are bred to herd and chase that’s why they should be protected from their instincts to chase cars. They also require a great deal of mental and physical stimulation daily. If you want a Border Collie as a pet, you should be able to provide it with a proper outlet for its natural energy and bright mind. Dog sports are a good alternative if you do not have a farm with sheep.
Border Collies have weather-resistant double coats that need weekly brushing to keep the coat oils well distributed and to prevent matting as well. During the shedding season, more frequent brushing is needed to minimize hair shed around the house. You can bathe them only when needed which is usually about every four months or when they are really dirty or smells terrible. Also, brush their teeth two to three times a week to prevent bad breath and gum disease. Trim their nails once a month and check their ears regularly or once a week for dirt or redness which may indicate infection.
When feeding Border Collies, the recommended amount of food is 1.5 to 2 cups daily, divided into two meals. The amount of high-quality food you should give will depend on your pet’s age, size, metabolism, build, and activity level.
If you’re an energetic individual, or if your whole family are into sports and adventures, then the Border Collie might be the perfect pet for you. You will surely enjoy playing around with this highly energetic dog every day.