Think Border Collie, think ‘Lassie’? They’re more than just a Hollywood doggo. They’re intelligent, loving and hard-working pooches.
If you are a Border Collie owner, or you’re thinking about getting one of these beautiful pooches, here’s everything you need to know.
Border Collie facts
- The Border Collie get their name from their ancestors; dogs who were born and bred on the border land between England and Scotland. For centuries they’ve been used for their sheep-herding abilities.
- They have a broad life expectancy, between 10 – 17 years.
- Adult males can reach 14–20kg and 48–56cm tall, while females will reach 12–19kg and a height of 46–53cm.
- The come in a variety of colours; black, white, blue/lilac (grey), red, brindle, chocolate and gold, or a merle mix of any of these.
- Border Collies come in a variety of sizes and colours, as their history as a working dog meant they had to adapt to their surroundings.
- The most popular Border Collie stud was Wiston Cap, the dog who conveys the Border Collie’s characteristic pose on the International Sheepherder’s emblem.
- Border Collies are super intelligent. One study found a Border Collie who could recall more than 250 objects by name, while the record for the ‘fastest car window opened by a dog’ in the Guinness Book of World Records was set by Border Collie ‘Striker’; his record time is 11.34 seconds.
- Border Collies are now used for more than just sheep-herding; they also make great tracking, rescue and therapy dogs. They can also be used to hunt birds and animals on the airport runways and golf course greens.
- Progressive retinol atrophy is common in Border Collies. It is essentially the degeneration of the photoceptors in the retina over time. It can cause blindness, though it is painless for the doggo. It’s passed on through the genes of both parents, and generally won’t manifest until after 5 years of age. If your dog’s behaviour starts to change, such as avoiding activity as it starts to get darker, or bumping into things, or if their pupils dilate more than normal, they may be affected. There are no treatments for this, but do get it diagnosed by a vet and they can give you practical advice on how to make your home more habitable for your partially sighted companion.
- Border Collies get on well with other dogs, and in a work environment, they are very adept at living and working like a team. The Border Collie can also live happily with small domestic animals, like cats (though always introduce them when the dog is small!). That said, these pooches can have tendencies to ‘sheep herd’ or dominate the smaller animals that live with them.
- Border Collies are affectionate, loving and generally very patient with children of all ages. They can be excitable and naughty, and they can’t recognise the difference in age when they want someone to play with. So if you have small children, make sure you train your Collie.