Border Collie Information
Country of Origin: The Border Collie breed originated on the borders of England and Scotland. In 1873, the first sheepdog trials were held in Britain to test a variety of sheep herding breeds with different behavioral and physical characteristics. One entrant, Hemp, impressed everyone with his ability to manipulate sheep through his intense glare rather than with constant barking. Hemp went on to sire many pups becoming the father of the modern Border Collie. By 1906, the first standard for Border Collies was written which emphasized behavioral abilities over appearance. Border Collies were imported to America in the twentieth century where they became popular working dogs and pets. Their speed and stamina make them top competitors in dog sports like Agility, Flyball and Frisbee.
Size and Description: Border Collies generally are between 15" and 22" at the shoulder and weigh from 25 to 55 pounds. They are a fast, powerful, medium-sized breed with dark brown or blue eyes, erect ears, and an arched back. Border Collies have low set tails, oval feet, and a scissors bite. They have a wide skull and visible stop point where the forehead and muzzle meet.
Coat: Traditional border collies are black/white bicolor or tricolor black/white with brown points with the most common coat color being black with white markings. However, border collies may have any color of coat including solid or merle (lighter coat with speckled patches) and other colors such as blue (diluted black), chocolate, lilac (diluted chocolate), sable, shaded sable, etc.
Border collies have close-fitting, dense, weather-resistant double coats. The top coat may be either straight or wavy and is coarser in texture than the undercoat which is soft, short, and dense. Rough coat collies have coats that are medium in length without being excessively long. The coat may be straight or wavy or curly. It may also be thin, fine, and silky or coarse. The forelegs, haunches, chest, and underside are feathered; the coat on the face, ears, feet, and fronts of legs is short and smooth. (Bandit, pictured at left, and Spirit, upper right, are both rough coats with straight, fine, silky hair.) Smooth coat collies have hair that is short over the entire body and is usually coarser in texture than the rough coat variety, The longer-haired collies have a mane and a tail brush; the hair on the face, ears, and front legs is always short and sleek. Since border collies are bred for working ability and intelligence, physical beauty and conformation varies widely. Border Collies are average shedders.
Character: The Border Collie is extremely intelligent, determined, and brave and forms a close bond with its family. They are energetic, loving, likable and are eager to work or play. Border Collies are extremely loyal and like to please their owners. They are sensitive, loving dogs.
Temperment: The Border Collie gets along quite well with other pets and children provided it has plenty of activity to keep it occupied. It may get along more easily with dogs of the opposite sex. Border Collies should be socialized with small, non-canine pets when young to overcome the prey instinct.
Care: Border Collies can live outside in cool or warm climates, They can become destructive if ignored or insufficiently exercised, especially if left alone for long periods. They are like an active, inquisitive child -- if you don't provide something for them to do, they will create their own entertainment, and it may not be something you want them to do. Border Collies have a life span of 12-15 years.
Training: The Border Collie's tremendous intelligence and desire to please make training simple. They are very obedient and agile, and due to their high intelligence and desire to please can be taught almost anything. Border Collies are eager to learn and play sports and games.
Activity: Border Collies like to be busy. They are well-suited and make great pets for people with active lifestyles. Border Collies especially love sports such as Frisbee or playing ball, jogging, hiking, and other types of activity but are just as happy playing and doing things with their owners. Having originated as a sheepdog and cattle-herder, the Border Collie has a natural instinct to herd, is highly work-focused, and most happy when given specific tasks on a regular basis. With this and their high intelligence, they are especially suited for and learn jobs quickly and well. If not given something to do, the Border Collie can become badly behaved. They are not suited to a sedentary lifestyle.