The ancestors of today’s Border Collie probably developed in Scotland, as the word collies is a Scottish dialect word meaning sheep-dog. The Border Collie is recognized worldwide today as one of the best sheep-herding breeds in existence.
Although the primary role of the Border Collie is that of the herding dog, dogs of this breed are becoming increasingly popular as pets.
The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog. The breed has two varieties of coat. The rough coat is medium to long, with a flat to slightly wavy outer coat. The hair on the face is short and smooth. The short coat variety has a short, smooth coat over the entire body, although dogs may have feathering on the back of the forelegs. The breed has many acceptable colors, including black with or without white markings and the classic tricolor with white and copper markings on black.
Grooming a Border Collie is easy. He should be brushed and combed twice weekly. Border Collies are workaholics. If there are no sheep to herd, then there should be an challenging course to run, a newspaper to be retrieved from somewhere, and tricks to learn. A Border Collie can be tough to live with because he won’t get comfy on the sofa and stay there until you’re ready to do something.
Training a Border Collie can also be a challenge; not because training is difficult—it’s not—but because Border Collies are very intelligent. Instead, the challenge is staying one step ahead! All Border Collies should attend puppy and basic training and then go on to more advanced training. Keep his mind busy and active and make training fun. The Border Collie can be a wonderful family pet in a busy, active household that can meet his needs. It is patient with children and loves to play games with them, but may frustrate some kids when he tries to herd them. Border Collies are also fine with other dogs when well-socialized as a puppy, but other dogs may not understand the breed’s stare. Interactions with small pets should be supervised. Health concerns include hip dysplasia and eye defects.
In general, Border Collies are dogs without extreme physical characteristics and with a moderate amount of coat, which means not much hair will be shed. Their double coats vary from slick to lush, and come in many colours, although black and white is the most common. Black tricolour (black/tan/white or sable and white), red (chocolate) and white, and red tricolour (red/tan/white) also occur regularly, with other colours such as blue, lilac, red merle, blue merle, brindle gold seen less frequently. Border Collies may also have single-colour coats. Eye colour varies from deep brown to amber or blue, and occasionally eyes of differing colour occur. The ears of the Border Collie are also variable — some have fully erect ears, some fully dropped ears, and others semi-erect ears.
It is considered much more useful to identify a working Border Collie by its attitude and ability than by its looks. Dogs bred for showing are more homogeneous in appearance than working Border Collies, since to win in dog show they must conform closely to breed club standards that are specific on many points of the structure, coat and colour.
Border Collies are capable of incredible feats of athleticism, endurance, intense focus, and high levels of trainability.
Border Collies require considerable daily physical exercise and mental stimulation. Border Collies are an intelligent dog breed. The breed has an instinctive desire to work closely and intensely with a human handler. True to their working heritage, Border Collies make very demanding, energetic pets that are better off in households that can provide them with plenty of play and exercise with humans or other dogs. As long as the Border Collie is in the herding position it considers it work.
A Border Collie’s tail, based on position, shows the mindset the dog is in. A raised, wagging tail is called a “gay tail” by shepherds because it usually indicates the dog is excited and not concentrated on work. The tail lowered or tucked between the legs indicates the dog is focused and ready to listen. Border Collies are now also being used in showing, especially agility, where their speed and agility comes to good use.. Though they are common choice for household pets, Border Collies have attributes that makes them less suited for certain people who have small children and cannot give them the exercise they need. As with many working breeds, Border Collies can be motion-sensitive and they may chase vehicles occasionally or a small child in the garden running around as these are both very similar to herding sheep.
As is the case with many breeds of dogs that are still used for their original purposes, breed standards vary depending on whether the registry is more interested in a dog that performs its job superbly or a dog whose appearance meets an ideal standard. Border Collie breed standards state that in a show its tail must be slightly curved and must stop at the hock. The fur must be lush. It should show good expression in its eyes, and must be intelligent.