Breeds 101

Border Collie


The Border Collie is the consummate sheepdog.

The energetic breed’s origins can be traced back to the 1800s, in the border country between Scotland and England. Although shepherds in the hilly Scottish Borders used collies for many years, this breed was not given its present name until 1915.

Still the most popular working sheepdog in Great Britain and Ireland, the Border can make an affectionate but difficult pet, especially in cities. Border Collies from working lines have a strong predatory instinct, which is channeled through breeding and training into a superb herding ability. Without constant stimulation, this need to work will vent itself in destructive behavior, such as herding other dogs or people or snappiness.

Studies suggest that the Border Collie may be the most intelligent dog.

Size: Medium; 18 to 20 inches, 30 to 45 pounds.

Color: Black, blue, chocolate, and red, with or without white markings or merle pattern.

Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, and an intense worker who can be destructive if not sufficiently challenged. Loves to chase (not the best choice for families with children).

Energy level: High.

Best Owner: Active owners with time for exercise or someone who lives on a farm.

Needs: Daily exercise, a job, obedience training, fenced yard, regular brushing.

Life expectancy: 12 to 14 years.