The Border Collie is highly active, alert and eager to have a purpose. They have above average intelligence and are very trainable. The Border Collie was bred for sheep herding, so they have a strong herding instinct. Unfortunately, the herding instinct can cause them to chase animals, bikes and cars. The breed needs exercise and daily activities. Border Collies enjoy and do well in agility training. Without physical and mental stimulation, the Border Collie can be destructive in the household, chewing on furniture, scratching at doors, barking, and howling. They can also be prone to separation anxiety. Due to their dense undercoat, daily brushing and combing are necessary. Border Collies can be sound sensitive, which means they become stressed during thunderstorms or with fireworks.
The breed was known as the Sheepdog until 1915 when they started being called Border Collie. The origin of the name comes from the place of origin of the breed, the border of Scotland and England. The Border Collie’s history is thought to go back to the first century B.C. When the Romans invaded England, they brought with them their herding dogs. Eventually the Roman empire collapsed, which gave way to Viking raiders entering the area. These Vikings brought with them a small Spitz-like herding dog, which then cross-bred with the larger Roman herding dogs. The cross-breeding produced a highly intelligent, hard-working and agile herding dog. The Border Collie breed originated in Northumberland, which borders England and Scotland. The breed was developed for herding livestock. All Border Collies today are believed to be descendants of a dog named Hemp. Hemp was an intelligent, agile canine known by local shepherds as “the best herding dog”. The Border Collie breed gained popularity when Hemp won the first official sheep dog trial in 1884. Hemp herded the sheep by staring them down instead of nipping or barking at them. The Border Collie was officially recognized by the AKC in 1995.
The Border Collie is a well-balanced, medium-sized dog with an athletic and muscular appearance. It is an extremely intelligent breed, with a keen and alert expression. The breed comes in two coat types, rough or smooth coat. Smooth coats are shorter than the rough coat. Both rough and smooth coated dogs have soft, double coats. Border Collies comes in many colors and patterns. They can be solid, bicolor, tricolor or merle. The most common color pattern found in Border Collies is a combination of black and white. The Border Collie’s nose color usually matches the main color of his coat. The breed has a wide, flat skull and its muzzle is the same length as that of the skull. Dogs with the merle pattern sometimes have two different color eyes. Their oval eyes are set well apart. The teeth of a Border Collie should meet in a neat scissors bite, they should have no over or under bites. The Border Collie’s ears are medium in size, set well apart and may be carried erect or semi-erect. When the ears are held semi-erect, the tips may fold forward. Their muzzle is strong, tapering slightly to the nose. The Border Collie has a moderately long tail. When the Border Collie is working the tail is set low with a slight upward swirl. Their paws are oval in shape with deep and strong pads, and the toes are somewhat arched and close together.
The Border Collie has a coat that needs regular grooming. During the heavier shedding seasons, he will need to be brushed more frequently. Brushing your dog does not only prevent the hair from getting matted, it also helps spread the oils across the coat. These oils can keep the coat healthy and shiny. Bathing your Border Collie does not have to be done frequently (every few months). Along with brushing your dog’s fur, it is important to brush his teeth. Regular brushing can help prevent tartar, which can cause gingivitis. The Border Collie’s ears should be checked frequently for ear wax, ear mites, and dirt. The breed needs regular daily physical and mental stimulation. He enjoys having a job to do and loves sports, including jumping for a frisbee, playing fetch or agility training. Since the Border Collie is an active breed he will need a higher caloric diet. It is a good idea to read the ingredient label on all foods before purchase. The first and primary ingredient should be a protein (chicken, duck, beef or fish), instead of grains or byproducts.