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Border Collie Dog Breed Profile

Border Collie

Other Names
The Border, Farm Collies, Working Collies 
Dog Group Kennel Club
Breed Classification
The Border Collie belongs to the pastoral group and is the classic farm dog. They are excellent working dogs and are second to none when it comes to sheep-herding and obedience competitions. They are often used in mountain rescues, as sniffer dogs and for tracking. 
Cost of Ownership
Average Food Cost
< £4 per week
Feeding Requirements
It costs relatively little to keep Borders once they are fully-grown, but as puppies, they must be given the correct feeding, without oversupplementation, during the growing period of 4 to 8 months. 
Other Expenses
The Border is relatively cheap to feed and is not usually a fussy eater. In general they are a healthy breed, costing little in the way of veterinary fees. The average cost of a puppy is £350 -£450. 
9 - 15 years
The average life expectancy is 12 to 14 years old although some have lived until they were 18. 
Average Litter Size
The average size of litter is between 4 to 8 puppies. 
General Physical Description
The Border Collie is a truly well proportioned dog with agility and perfect balance. The coat can either be smooth or of medium length with a thick water resistant undercoat. When working, this breed will usually be seen in the crouched position, with their alert eyes fixed on the job in hand. The 'hypnotic' eye characteristic is probably more defined in the Border Collie than any other breed and it is this quality which makes them so superb in herding sheep, using their eyes to guide a herd without the need to nip or bark.

Height Min Max
Bitch 51cm (20") 53cm (21")
Dog 53cm (21") 55cm (22")
Weight Min Max
Bitch 14kg (31lbs) 17kg (37lbs)
Dog 17kg (37lbs) 20kg (44lbs)
Size Category
Weight Height Range
Bitches are normally between 51 to 53cms and weigh between 14 to 17kgs. Dogs between 53 to 55cms and weigh between 17 to 20kgs. 
The collie is considered to be one of the hardiest, healthiest breeds with hardly any genetic problems. The ones that are known to the breed, are rare and not serious concerns. Proper feeding during the rapid growth period, 4 to 8 months, will help to avert the onset of the bone problems. 
Common Ailments

Primary ciliary dyskinesia  
Susceptibility To Illness
The Border Collie is, like most sheepherding breeds, descended from the Persian Sheepdog. The breed dates back to the 1700's although it was not given its present name until 1915. Collies worked with shepherds in the border area between Scotland and England for hundreds of years, being bred purely for their working ability. Some Border breeders fear emphasis on looks and beauty could lead to the breed's ruination and, therefore, still concentrate primarily on their working qualities. 
It will be hard to find a breed that is more receptive to training than the Border Collie. Their intelligence is second to none and their minds are like sponges, absorbing all new tasks with an eagerness and the greatest desire to please. Because of this, these dogs are like a gift from heaven for those wanting to compete in obedience/agility/herding trials. They are born, and it is always in their natures, to herd sheep and if this is not what they are required to do, other activities must be given to keep them content and happy - and to stop them rounding up the children!< 
Show Characteristics
The skull should be fairly broad with an unpronounced occiput. The nose should be primarily black, except in the brown coloured dogs when it should be brown and in the blue coloured dogs when it should be slate. The eyes should be set well-apart, oval-shaped and of moderate size. They should be brown except for the merles where blue is permitted in part of one or both eyes. Their expression should be alert, intelligent and keen. Their ears are medium-sized, set well-apart and carried either erect or semi-erect. The jaws should be strong with a correct scissor bite. The neck should be of good length, strong and muscular, broadening to the shoulders which are well laid back. Their bodies should be slightly longer than their height at the withers. The front legs should have strong bone but not too heavy and the hindquarters deep and muscular with well turned stifles and let down hocks. Both front and hind feet should be oval with toes arched and close together. The tail should be low set, reaching at least to the hock with an upward swirl towards the end. It can be carried high in excitement but never carried over the back. While all colours are permissible, white should never predominate. 
Country Of Origin
Great Britain 
Famous Examples
Records Held
Overall Exercise
> 2 hours per day.
These dogs MUST have plenty of exercise to keep them well-muscled and to keep their brains occupied. Failure to do this can result in the Border becoming extremely badly behaved and aggressive. They should ideally be kept in the country in order that they have the freedom they so desperately need. 
Distress if Left Alone
Personal Protection
Guard Dog Suitability
Risk of Sheep Worrying
Tendency to Bark
Level of Aggression
Compatibility With Other Animals
Suitable For Children


General Character And Temperament
Border Collies are always ready to work, attentive, lively and alert. They will form a very close bond with their owner and family but, unless given plenty of time and exercise, are not ideal pets for a family with very young children as it is in their nature to herd anything that moves - your children included! They are totally devoted to their master and will follow him/her to the ends of the earth! They are determined and brave but if not kept occupied will get into mischief as their brains are always active. They will not suffer fools gladly and it is not beyond them to nip anyone who does not see the matter their way! 
Coat Length
Grooming Requirement
Once a week 
Requires Professional Groomer
The Border Collie's coat is easy to maintain providing he is brushed once a week and any tangles dealt with on a regular basis. The feathering down the front legs and tail should be trimmed when necessary. 
The most common colour of the Border is black and white but other colours with white are also seen e.g. brown, blue merle, red and tricolour. 
Suffers From Allergies

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