The Border Collie is a working and herding dog breed developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region for herding livestock, especially sheep. It was specifically bred for intelligence and obedience.
Considered highly intelligent, extremely energetic, acrobatic and athletic, they frequently compete with great success in sheepdog trials and dog sports.
They are often cited as the most intelligent of all domestic dogs. Border Collies continue to be employed in their traditional work of herding livestock throughout the world.
Border Collie Facts: History
The Border Collie is descended from landrace collies, a type found widely in the British Isles. The name for the breed came from its probable place of origin along the Anglo-Scottish border. Mention of the “Collie” or “Colley” type first appeared toward the end of the 19th century, although the word “collie” is older than this and has its origin in the Scots language. It is also thought that the word ‘collie’ comes from the old Celtic word for useful. Many of the best Border Collies today can be traced back to a dog known as Old Hemp.
In 1915, James Reid, Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society in the United Kingdom first used the term “Border Collie” to distinguish those dogs registered by the ISDS from the Kennel Club’s Collie which originally came from the same working stock but had developed a different, standardised appearance following introduction to the show ring in 1860 and mixture with different types breeds. On a trip to Balmoral a short time later, Queen Victoria saw one of the dogs and became an enthusiast of the breed.
Border Collie Facts: Temperament
Border Collies require considerably more daily physical exercise and mental stimulation than many other breeds. The Border Collie is an intelligent dog breed; in fact, it is widely considered to be the most intelligent dog breed. Although the primary role of the Border Collie is to herd livestock, this breed is becoming increasingly popular as a companion animal.
In this role, due to their working heritage, Border Collies are very demanding, playful, and energetic. They thrive best in households that can provide them with plenty of play and exercise, either with humans or other dogs.
Due to their demanding personalities and need for mental stimulation and exercise, many Border Collies develop problematic behaviors in households that are not able to provide for their needs.
They are infamous for chewing holes in walls, furniture such as chairs and table legs, destructive scraping and hole digging, due to boredom. Border Collies may exhibit a strong desire to herd, a trait they may show with small children, cats, and other dogs. The breed’s herding trait has been deliberately encouraged, as it was in the dogs from which the Border Collie was developed, by selective breeding for many generations. However, being eminently trainable, they can live amicably with other pets if given proper socialization training.
Before taking on the breed as a household pet, potential owners should be sure they can provide regular exercise commensurate with the collie’s high energy and prodigious stamina. A working collie may run many miles a day, using its experience, personality and intelligence to control challenging livestock, and these dogs will be distressed and frustrated if left in isolation, ignored or inactive.
Like many working breeds, Border Collies can be motion-sensitive and may chase moving vehicles and bicycles, but this behavior can be modified by training. Some of the more difficult behaviors require patience, as they are developmental and may disappear as the dog matures.
Border Collie Facts: Health Issues
Border Collies are generally healthy but there are possible problems with the breed and it is important to find a reputable breeder. Here is a list of possible health issues for Border Collies:
- Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don’t display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred — so if you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, as long as their surroundings remain the same.
- Epilepsy: This is a neurological condition that’s often, but not always, inherited. Epilepsy can cause mild or severe seizures that may show themselves as unusual behavior (such as running frantically as if being chased, staggering, or hiding) or even by falling down, limbs rigid, and losing consciousness. Seizures are frightening to watch, but the long-term prognosis for dogs with idiopathic epilepsy is generally very good. It’s important to take your dog to the vet for proper diagnosis (especially since seizures can have other causes) and treatment.
- Collie Eye Anomaly: This is an inherited condition that causes changes and abnormalities in the eye, which can sometimes lead to blindness. These changes can include choroidal hypoplasia (an abnormal development of the choroids), coloboma (a defect in the optic disc), staphyloma (a thinning of the sclera), and retinal detachment. Collie eye anomaly usually occurs by the time the dog is two years old. There is no treatment for the condition.
- Allergies: There are three main types of allergies in dogs: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet; contact allergies, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
- Osteochondrosis Dissecans (OCD): This orthopedic condition, caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints, usually occurs in the elbows, but it has been seen in the shoulders as well. It causes a painful stiffening of the joint, to the point that the dog is unable to bend his elbow. It can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age. Overfeeding of “growth formula” puppy foods or high-protein foods may contribute to its development.
Border Collie Facts: Online Resources
- Wikipedia – Border Collie
- Dogtime – Border Collie Dog Breed Information
- American Kennel Club – 10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Border Collie
- Essential Guide to Border Collies
- Smart Guide to Border Collies
- Training a Border Collie
- Glen Highland Farm – Border Collie Rescue
- Border Collie Advice – How to Find a Reputable Breeder
- All About Border Collies
- Tractor Supply Company – Training Border Collies
- Pet Finder – Adopt a Border Collie
- Zak George Youtube Channel
- Marina’s Guide to Dog Breeds