Border Collies, also known as Sheepdog, come from the border regions between Scotland and England. Here they thrived as working dogs that herded sheep in the fields. They have a distinct crouch and stalk stance that improves their agility and herding abilities. These dogs will also win any staring contest they enter into as their gaze is unbreakable. They have laser focus to complete the task at hand and satisfy their owner.
Border Collies are a medium-size dog that only weighs about 30-55 pounds. They grow to be around 20 inches tall which makes them a very convenient size for having around the home or traveling by car. They also come in a variety of coat colors over and above their most common black and white patterns. Their thick double coats can be long or short and make them very adaptable to many weather conditions.
The American Kennel Club has ranked them under the top 40 most popular dogs and there are many reasons for this. But before jumping in head first, have a read at some of the pros and cons of Border Collies.
Pros of Owning a Border Collie
1. Most Intelligent Dog in the World
Border Collies have outranked all dogs on the intelligence scale for years, a huge pro of Border Collies. They score highly on all the indicators and this makes them a trainer’s dream. The smartest collie recorded was even able to identify more than 1000 different toys!
They understand commands and signals and are able to perform tricks and partake in dog sports. This makes them great partners for dog shows or simply companions for outdoor activities.
2. Great for Families
These dogs truly are man’s best friend and will be by your side no matter what. An advantage of owning Border Collies is that they are fiercely loyal and enjoy all kinds of interaction. Energetic children get along well with them especially if they can play with them in an appropriate way.
These dogs have herding tendencies and will try and heard smaller children if they are not well trained. If they are socialized and trained from an early age this won’t be a problem.
3. Very Good Health
Border Collies are some of the healthiest dogs around. An advantage of Border Collies is that they have long life spans and can be around for about 15 years. There aren’t many health concerns and deafness is the biggest problem these dogs face later in life. Progressive retinal atrophy is another problem that can set in at later stages but both of these are common with all dog breeds.
Their genetic makeup has not been altered much over the centuries that they have been around. This ensures that they are healthy with not many hereditary ailments.
Unlike many highly sought-after pedigree dogs, border collies are not expensive to buy and are widely available. A puppy will cost around $500 and even as little as $200. Unfortunately, many of them get surrendered to shelters as owners don’t always comprehend the complex needs of this breed. It is always best to visit your local shelter to see if there is a collie in need of a home.
Their great health also ensures that vet bills are kept quite low. Grooming is also easy and can mostly be completed at home. They eat 1.5-2 cups of food per day which is relatively little. Just make sure to feed them high-quality food that is not too fatty as they are prone to obesity if their eating is not regulated.
Cons of Owning a Border Collie
1. Not for Novice Dog Owners
Border collies thrive on commands and tasks and are always hungry to learn. First time or novice dog owners might not be equipped to fully satisfy this need, a con of Border Collies. You need to understand dog training and be able to apply commands successfully.
As mentioned before, these dogs are bred to herd and they cannot avoid that instinct. They are prone to herding small children and this can result in unwanted nipping and intimidation. You will have to know how to handle your dog, give the right commands, and avoid these situations from happening altogether. Border collies demand every minute of your attention and this has to happen constructively. Inexperienced owners will have a hard time adapting to this demanding breed.
2. Prone to Destructive Behavior
Their intelligence is a blessing and a curse. If they are not constantly stimulated they will destroy everything in their path. They will dig, chew and claw at anything they can get their paws on. They can also become very vocal and have a loud, high-pitched bark. Border collies are prone to anxiety if left alone and this will only further add to the problem.
Their agility and athleticism make them cunning escape artists too. They can jump over fences, jolt out the front door or dig under boundaries to find an outlet for their curiosity and energy. All of this is mostly because of boredom. Your training needs to be firm and consistent and involve lots of routines and praising.
3. Need Lots of Stimulation
These dogs’ natural instinct is to herd. This needs to be addressed and you will have to provide them with tasks to complete. Be it sports to play or puzzles to complete, border collies must be mentally stimulated.
A potential disadvantage of getting a Border Collie is that they also need lots of exercise and can run for hours. You will need to provide them with ample room to run, jump and play around the house to tire them out. These dogs will need to be exercised multiple times and do best with very active owners. Your dog will love to go on long runs or hikes with you and they adore the beach. They are great at sports like Frisbee and can play for long periods of time.
I hope that this article on the pros and cons of Border Collies was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Dog Category!