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Border Collie
Characteristics, History, and Health

Border Collie

The history of the Border Collie can be traced back to the British Isles, specifically the border region between Scotland and England, from which the breed takes its name (hence, 'Border' Collie). This breed was developed over hundreds of years, beginning in the Roman era and continuing through the Viking invasions, to meet the demands of farmers for a robust, agile, and intelligent herding dog. The Border Collie as we know it today emerged in the late 19th century, and its remarkable abilities were showcased by a dog named "Old Hemp" (1893-1901), considered the progenitor of the modern breed.

Main Info
Scottish-English Border
Alternate Names
Border, Highland Collie, Scotch Collie, Northern Sheepdog, Prime Sheepdog
Life Expectancy
12-15 years
Average Male Height
19-22 inches
Average Female Height
18-21 inches
Average Male Weight
30-55 pounds
Average Female Weight
30-55 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Double, Wavy
Coat Colors
Black, Blue, Blue Merle, Brindle, Gold, Red, Sable, Sable Merle, White & Black, White & Gold, White & Red, Seal, Red Merle, Slate, White & Blue, White & Seal, White & Blue Merle, Lilac, Saddleback Sable, White & Red Merle, White Ticked
Coat Pattern
White Markings, Merle Markings, Tan points, White Markings with Tan Points, White Markings Ticked, White Markings with Tan Points and Ticked, White Markings with Brindle Points, White Markings with Brindle Points and Ticked

Genetic Predispositions and Health

The Border Collie can be affected by conditions such as trapped neutrophil syndrome, epilepsy, seizures, neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, hip dysplasia, Collie eye anomaly, progressive retinal atrophy, and deafness. They may also suffer from osteochondritis dissecans, patent ductus arteriosus, lens luxation, and hypothyroidism. Genetic testing for some of these and other conditions including dental hypomineralization, glaucoma, intestinal cobalamin malabsorption, multidrug resistance 1, sensory neuropathy, degenerative myelopathy, exercise-induced collapse, and myotonia congenita can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Border Collies are often described as extremely energetic, intelligent, and keen to work. They excel in tasks that involve agility, obedience, and problem-solving, and they're often used in competitive dog sports. These dogs can be intense and may not be the best fit for every home; they need ample physical exercise and mental stimulation to prevent behavioral issues from emerging.

Though they can be reserved with strangers, Border Collies are generally good-natured and can be very affectionate with their families. They are often sensitive and responsive to their owner's emotions and can make loyal companions. However, their high energy and intelligence mean they're not a great fit for everyone, particularly those who can't provide them with plenty of exercise and engagement.

Fun Facts

As the American Kennel Club's (AKC;s) 139th breed, the Border Collie joined the AKC's Herding Group in 1995.

According to the AKC, the word "Collie" is a Scottish dialect word used to describe sheepdogs.

The Border Collie is among the world's smartest dog breeds.