Border Collie Breed Information Guide: Quirks, Pictures, Personality & Facts

Reviewed by Savannah Lyons

May 30, 2019

Welcome to the BarkPost guide to dog breeds where we belly flop straight into the depths of dog breed origin, evolution, and purpose. Follow along each week as we publish new guides that highlight the strangest, most interesting, and most surprising stuff about these creatures who have been our best buds the last 30,000 years.  


Border collie and tennis ball

Hardworking and overflowing with energy, Border Collies only slow down for treats and snuggles. They’re intelligent and obedient herding pups. Usually very food motivated and eager to please, these dogs are easy to train. They’re loyal and affectionate. If you’ve got the time and energy to keep up, a Border Collie may be a great fit for you!

Also Known As…

Scottish sheepdogs. Scotch Collies. Highland Collies. Northern Sheepdogs. Total herding-loving weirdos.


Border collie puppy

This hard working dog was bred from all of the best sheep herding dogs from Scotland, Wales, and England. Border Collies became a highly valuable asset, especially in Scotland, due to their speed, agility, the “herding eye” and their ability to handle the rough terrain.

Size & Weight

Border collie on road

There isn’t very much variation between male or female Border Collies – both are considered medium sized dogs, which makes them great for living in houses and apartments with appropriate outdoor space.

Males are 19 to 22 inches, while females are 18 to 21 inches tall. These pup can grow to be 30 to 55 pounds as full adults. 19-22 inches (male), 18-21 inches (female)


Border Collie Puppy

Border Collies typically known for being alert, playful, and demanding. They’re also energetic and smart – which can sometimes be a problem. This breed likes to be stimulated mentally and physically. In fact, they must be busy or become easily bored, which leads to unfavorable behavior. Keep your pal from barking, chewing on furniture, or digging with challenging toys and plenty of exercise.

Border Collies are renowned for being highly perceptive to their owner’s signals. Those alert and every-watching eyes constantly look to their handler for commands of any kind. Although strong-minded and independent, Collies can also become fearful, shy, or even anxious is social setting if not properly socialized from a young age.


Border collie tearing scraps up

Training your Border Collie at an early age never hurts. Keep your smart pup learning and thinking by teaching obedience commands and, throughout the years, new tricks. Keeping their sharp minds stimulated will benefit you and your fur friend.

Very food motivated, Border Collies are eager to learn and love tasty rewards! With an intense drive to please their owners, these dogs are easy to train and pick up on new tricks. One of the smartest breeds out there, these pups pick up commands and tricks without too much effort.

Border Collies are hyper active and have a deep rooted desire to round up livestock – even the city dwelling Collies. Since there’s no livestock in the city for them to herd, they may show their natural born skill by herding small children, cats, and other dogs. Although the natural herding trait is strong in this breed, they can live comfortably with children and other pets. With the right amount of socialization and training, Border Collies can learn that the kids and other pets are family and not livestock!

Best Training Tips For Border Collies

  • Start training with the basic commands (sit, stay, down) as early as possible. Getting the basics down first will make further training easier. For more difficult commands or tricks, wait until they’re 4 months old, and advanced commands for 7 or 8 month old pups.
  • Maintain all attention. When training your Border Collie you’ll have to make sure all eyes are on you. These pups have the ability to totally focus on their handler, but they can also be easily distracted by their surroundings. Make sure you’re training your pup in a space with little to distractions.
  • Consistency is key. Border Collies love routine and can easily create habits. Consistent training each day will be great for your pal, they love to learn and need to be continuously stimulated mentally and physically. Consistency is more than making sure you train each day, it also mean keeping your commands clear and simple. Pick one phrase for an action and stick to it.
  • Positive Affirmation is one of the highest rewards for Border Collies. Treats are great, but they live for your attention and praise. A simple pat on the head and a “good job” will satisfy your pooch.

Ideal Environment

Border collie in field of flowers

Originally bred for wide open terrain, Border Collies are now very popular as family dogs. With tons of energy, these pups need lots of exercise, attention.

These dogs are great for humans who love to be outside, can provide a lot of daily exercise, and keep their sharp minds working. Easily distressed and frustrated when left alone, ignored or bored, Collies need lots of activity and attention. A home with a large backyard or near a park would be best to help burn off their energy. Border Collies have sharp eyes and are very agile. Their desire to herd or chase may lead them to chase stray cats, runners, or bicycles. With training, this behavior can be tempered. The best way to keep your pup from running in the streets is to have a yard with a fence.

Good For Families & Kids?

Border Collie and child

Yes! Border Collies love kids and do well with families. Completely loyal to their owners and loving towards familiar humans, Collies would adore getting attention and belly rubs from every in the house. Forever a herding dog, your Collie may tap into their natural traits by herding your children. Don’t worry, the kids will think it’s a game!

It’s true Border Collies love kids and family, but they don’t always do well in homes with other dogs or pets. Wanting all of the attention from humans, Collies can either become possessive or insecure around other dogs. Making sure you allow your two dogs to properly meet before bringing home either is very important. Here are some tips on How To Introduce Your New Dog to Your Old Dog.

Average Life Span

Border Collies often live between 12 to 14 years. The average life span of the breed is 12 years.


Border Collie Funny Face

Border Collies are typically a healthy breed. Over time hard-working dogs tend to accumulate wear and tear. It’s very important to keep a keen eye on your pup’s health conditions to keep them in tip-top shape! These are some of the health issues displayed in the Border Collie Breed:

  • Hip Dysplaysia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Collie Eye Anomaly
  • Allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans


Border Collie Jumping

Border Collies are high energy, easily excitable, and need lots of daily exercise. Make sure you get your pup outside and running to burn off the pent up energy, so they won’t use their energy with destructive and frustrated behavior.

Coat & Grooming

Border collie arms out

Border Collies have a dense double coat. The outer coat is usually feathery and medium-length. The under coat is smooth, shorter and coarser. Both are dense, weather-resistant. Grooming is the a top priority for Collie owners. A sweep of the pin brush once or twice a week, more often if needed, will keep the coats free of clumped hair, tangles, and debris. Shedding season means your pup will shed hair excessively. Daily brushing is required during this time to keep hair balls to a minimum. Routine hair cuts and nail trimmings are required for Border Collies.

Toys Border Collies Would Like Best

So you’re looking for dog toys that Border Collies would love, huh?

The more Fetch Toys the better. You’ll always need the right toy to get them running to burn off all of that built-up energy. These bright dogs also need the right toys to simulate them mentally – like Puzzle Toys or Treat-Dispensing Toys – and to help get them moving, like Tug Toys.

We’ve got a detailed rundown of the Best Toys For Border Collies if you’re looking for more information!

Recommended Diet Or Supplements

The breed is well known for their history of Hip Dysplasia, which can cause arthritis. Supplements to help ease your pups energetic movements will make a game of fetch much better for your pal.

Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil

Full Spectrum Hemp Oil

BARK’s Full Spectrum Hemp Oil is made of organically grown whole plants, grown in Colorado, and is non-psychoactive. It comes in 100mg, 250mg, and 500mg varieties, and can help with pet anxiety and pain relief. ($17.99-22.99.)

Glucosamine Supplement For Hip & Joints

Dog Eating BarkBox Joint Supplement

This joint supplement is veterinarian-formulated, made with all natural ingredients (glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid), and comes in the form of 150 soft chews. Basically, it looks and tastes just like delicious treats, and it could really help your Border Collie with their hip and joint issues. ($32.99.)

Recommended Products

Another great recommendation to help your pup with Hip Dysplasia or other joint pain is a comfortable and supporting bed for your Border Collie to rest on when they aren’t running around.

Orthopedic Ultra Plush Memory Foam Bed

BarkBox Best Dog Bed English Springer Spaniel

This dog bed is great for supporting your pup’s tired body. A high quality combination of ergonomic memory foam and gel foam helps ease body aches, joint pain, hip dysplasia and arthritis. This bed offers the best therapeutic support for your hardworking pal. ($27.99-64.99.)

Notable Rescues To Find The Border Collie Of Your Dreams

Notable Instagram Border Collies

Want a daily dose of super cute Border Collies in your Instagram feed? Follow these photogenic Collies for an overload of adorable pics!






***Looking for a gift to blow your Border Collie’s mind? Spoil them with a BarkBox! Every month BarkBox delivers 2 original toys, designed in-house, 2 full bags of all-natural treats, and a chew. Sign up here and receive a free extra toy every month. <– This deal is worth up to $120 in value if you sign up for a 12-month subscription! 🙂

gifts for big dogs 2018

Featured image via BorderNerd/Instagram

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Reviewed by Savannah Lyons

May 30, 2019