Canine Breed Spotlight: Border Collie

Here’s a look at the Border Collie!

Dog Breed Group: Herding/Working Dogs

Average Life Span: 10-14 years



The Border Collie is descended from the various Collies found across the British Isles. Collies became associated with their particular region of where they worked. The Border Collie was developed and  worked in a border country between Scotland and England. The Border Collie was developed to gather and control sheep. They are known for their intense stare, or “eye” that they use to control the flock. This breed is a premier herding dog, still used today to herd sheep around the world. The name Collie may come from the old Celtic word for useful.



These dogs have what seems like unlimited energy. Combined with their intelligence, obedience and stamina, these dogs are born to work and play hard. They need to be properly socialized as a puppy, as they can become shy and aggressive if not trained. They need a lot of daily exercise and mental stimulation. If their physical and mental stimulation needs are not met,  they can become a destructive pet.

Is this breed right for you?

  • Border Collies do not make the best apartment dogs, they do best in a house with a yard, acreage or farm.
  • If they are not working on a farm, they require owners that can provide them with an outlet: daily off leash park outings, long walks or runs, fly ball or agility are all good options for Border
  • They can be great family dogs if trained and socialized properly. The entire family needs to be on board with the training. If not they will tend to “herd” the younger members of the family and may nip and bark at them.
  • Grooming requirements are minor. They are an average shedder and need occasional brushing. Extra grooming sessions may be required when they shed their undercoat.

Health concerns

Epilepsy is a common hereditary disease of Border Collies. Affected dogs typically first start having seizures between 1 to 4 years of age. The frequency and severity of the seizures varies from dog to dog. Epilepsy can usually be controlled by long-term medication and veterinary monitoring.

Collie Eye Abnormality is an inherited congenital condition. This occurs when the eyes do not develop normally, leading to the underdevelopment of the choroid. This disease can affect Border Collies, but the frequency of occurrence is much lower compared to that of rough and smooth coated Collies.

Osteochondritis Dissecans is a orthopedic condition that can occur in Border Collies (and other dog breeds). While growing, the process of cartilage being replaced by bone does not occur normally resulting in excessive cartilage growth in the joint.  This problem usually occurs in the shoulder, but can also be found in the knee, elbow and hock.