Pet Profile: Border Collie

By Valdette Muller| August 31, 2017 | Blog


The Border Collie is one of the most intelligent of all dog breeds.

The Border Collie has been around since the 19th century. It was bred from the Landrace Collie which was used for herding, and was primarily found in the British Isles.

Humans in Britain first began using dogs to help guard and herd sheep way before the Border Collie was bred for that purpose.

The name “Border” is used to describe where the Collie breed originated from, between the “border” of Scotland and England. The word “Collie” is derived from the Old Celtic dialect which means “Useful”.

The Collie became one of the most valuable assets for raising livestock in Scotland and England. The types of Collie breeds would vary greatly based on different terrain and the work required of them. These different types of herding dogs became associated with their regions of land and country. Eventually they were known as Welsh Sheepdogs, Northern Sheepdogs, Highland Collies, and Scotch Collies.

In 1860, the Border Collie was show cased at the second dog show ever held in England. Queen Victoria saw one of the dogs and became an instant enthusiast.

The First Border Collie

Many Border Collies today can have their genetics traced back to the first of their kind, he was a Collie named Old Hemp.


Hemp is considered the “father” of the Border Collie breeds. The International Sheepdog society began its stud book (genetic work) in 1915. Old Hemp’s ability to herd sheep and his strong and independent nature, had attracted many dog handlers and sheep herders of that time. Estimates place his offspring at more than 200, due to his stud services being widely sought after.

Old Hemp was a powerful dog to which sheep responded easily. Many shepherds used him for his genetics and Hemp’s working style evolved into the Border Collie style.

His medium-sized stature, rough coat and hypnotic stare, are now commonly seen in the Border Collie breeds. Today many of his offspring continue to reflect his original traits.


Team Player: As the Border Collie was bred for working hard and collaborating with humans, the Collie’s keenness and desire to please is evident. However because of their intense desire to please and feel part of your life, they are prone to separation anxiety and prolonged isolation or neglect can lead to them becoming stressed or even depressed.

High Energy: Collies are extremely energetic, acrobatic and athletic animals. The Border Collie is a sharp-eyed, quick thinking, workaholic! Bred for endless miles of sprinting and stop-and-go action. They love daily walks and off-leash strolls or runs in a safe areas. They love a good game of fetch or Frisbee, even weekly advanced obedience or agility obstacle courses will help elevate the desire to herd and prevent the fall into boredom related habits.

Intelligent: As they are one of the most intelligent breeds of dog in the world, the Border Collie can also be one of the most challenging to live with. Border Collies need constant mental and physical stimulation everyday to beat boredom related behaviours such as barking, digging or chasing cars. The breed learns quickly, so it can sometimes become difficult to keep them from picking up bad habits.

Strong-minded and Independent: Socialisation is key for the Border Collie in their early years of development. Getting them used to family and visitors is important as they can become shy and weary of strangers. Bad habits can be very hard to break if allowed to form when they are pups. If you do not properly train your Border Collie they will become obsessive over certain behaviours/habits and will persist with them no matter how much you disapprove. The strong-minded trait is a result to the sheep herder instinct, this strong compulsion to herd can become misdirected. In the absence of sheep, or some kind of job, Border Collies can obsessively gather and chase children, cars, bikes or other pets.

They are easy to train: As much as a Border Collie needs constant discipline and attention, their large intellect allows them to understand you and respond easily to your commands. They are renowned for being sensitive to their trainer’s will, from a whistle to a hand signal or to a raised eyebrow. They were bred for obedience and team work.


Health, Safety & Wellbeing

The Border Collie’s life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years.

Like all larger dog breeds they are prone to a few health problems. Some of these include hip dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly (which can lead to blindness in their senior years) and several allergies.

Make sure that if you ever get a Border Collie that you have enough space for them to run and play, make sure your wall or fence is high enough so that they can not jump over or escape the property. Border Collies are known to be master escape artists and this can lead to serious repercussions if they discover how to get out the property.

Grooming is important for every dog. The Border Collie’s coat comes in a double layer coat with long and medium length fur, which can be either smooth or rough in texture. Their coats are extremely weather resistant and with all the activity they do, brushing their coat weekly will help alleviate tangles and prevent matting. More frequent brushing during the shedding season will be helpful. Bath them every 4 months or if they begin to smell or are full of dirt.



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