What is a Border Collie?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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A Border Collie is a dog named for the border area of Scotland and England. This breed is medium-sized and usually black with white markings. Border Collies were originally bred as sheep herding dogs, but became pets after the 1860s, when Queen Victoria made the breed popular.

The Border Collie controls sheep with a hypnotic stare known as eye. Border Collies are extremely intelligent, energetic, agile and easy to train. This breed is ideal for an active life on a farm and is definitely not an apartment dog! Border Collies need praise and human companionship. Some work as drug and bomb detection dogs.

Border Collies that don't have enough mental stimulation and physical exercise are prone to destructive and obsessive behaviors. For example, some of these dogs may stare obsessively into mirrors or bite tires. Violently shaking and tearing up clothing or spinning in circles are other possible behaviors. Border Collies love to work alongside their human companion and need to stay active by jogging, hiking, swimming and/or helping out with farm chores.

Although most Border Collies have white feet, tail tip, chest and collar area on a black main color, other color mixes such as black and gray and red and white are also possible. The Border Collie's coat texture can be either smooth or rough. Regular brushing for this breed is a good idea since their hair tends to be fairly long.


All dogs need to be well-socialized from puppy hood, but it is said that if a Border Collie isn't socialized properly, shyness is likely. This breed should be exposed to other dogs as well as people and household activity from puppy hood. Properly socialized Border Collies tend to get along well with other dogs although they may still tend to be more aggressive with dogs of the same sex. This breed is also known to snap at strangers and animals other than dogs. Border Collies typically get along well with children, yet they often try to herd them by nipping at their heels!


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