About Border Collies
The Border Collie originated in the border regions of Scotland and England. First imported to Australia in 1901, they have been primarily bred to herd livestock, specifically sheep, and are known for their incredible work ethic and intelligence. This breed is now highly popular as both a working and companion dog.
Border Collies are often regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds and are commonly used in search and rescue, agility, obedience, and flyball competitions.
They are very energetic and require lots of mental and physical stimulation.
This breed can be prone to herding people or other animals, which can be a problem if not properly trained and managed.
Border Collies come in a range of colours including black and white, red and white, blue merle, and sable.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with many Border Collies over the years. They’re certainly highly intelligent and energetic dogs that excel in activities such as obedience, agility, and herding. However, their high energy levels can also make them prone to certain health issues such as anxiety if not properly exercised and trained. Obesity is a potential issue when not fed an appropriate volume of a balanced diet."
- Dr Jane Miller BSc, BVSc (hons)
Appearance: The Border Collie is a medium-sized breed, standing between 45 to 55 cm tall at the shoulder and weighing between 14 to 25 kilograms. They have a double coat, with a dense undercoat and a longer, coarser outer coat. The coat is typically either smooth or rough and can come in a variety of colours.
Temperament: Border Collies are highly intelligent, alert, and responsive dogs. They are very loyal to their owners but can be reserved around strangers. This breed is known for its incredible work ethic and will thrive in environments where it is given plenty of mental and physical stimulation.
Activity level: Border Collies are a very active breed and require lots of exercise and stimulation to stay happy and healthy. They are great running or hiking companions and excel in sports such as agility, obedience, and flyball.
Health: Overall, Border Collies are a relatively healthy breed, but they can be prone to certain health issues such as epilepsy and hip dysplasia. Eye problems including cataracts, collie eye anomaly and progressive retinal atrophy are also potential border collie diseases.
Lifespan: The average lifespan of a Border Collie is between 12 to 15 years.
Grooming a Border Collie
Border Collies have a double coat, which means they have an outer coat and an undercoat. The undercoat is dense and soft, while the outer coat is longer and coarser. This type of coat helps protect them from harsh weather conditions.
Brushing: Frequent brushing of your Border Collie's coat once a fortnight helps remove dead fur, prevent matting, and distribute natural oils throughout the coat to keep it healthy and shiny. A slicker brush is a good choice for Border Collies as it can reach through the thick coat and remove any tangles or knots. During shedding season, which occurs twice a year, you may need to brush once a week to prevent fur from spreading throughout your home.
Deshedding: During the shedding season, which typically occurs in the spring and autumn, Border Collies will shed a lot of furs. Daily brushing with a de-shedding tool can help reduce the amount of fur that ends up on your furniture and clothing.
Nail trimming: Nail trimming should also be a part of your grooming routine. Long nails can cause discomfort and even pain for your dog. Trimming their nails once a month or as needed can help prevent any issues. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, take your dog to a professional groomer or veterinarian for help.
Browse our Border Collie grooming essentials:
Gripsoft Nail Trimmer
Gripsoft Nail Trimmers can be used to trim the nails of any breed to maintain comfortable nail length. Deluxe Nail Trimmers include a cutting guard for additional safety and ease of use.
Gripsoft Undercoat Rake Regular Teeth Brush
The Grip Soft Undercoat Rake is used to loosen lightly matted parts of the coat and to lift out dead and shedding hair from the undercoat. This rake has a row of round tipped teeth that are designed to tend to your pets under layer of hair. The JW non slip ergonomically correct handle is designed to be more comfortable on the hand making grooming a more pleasurable experience for you.
- Lifts out dead and shedding hair from the undercoat
- Non-slip handle and ergonomic design
- Finger fitting handle contours increase your comfort and control
- Features a row of round tipped teeth
- Loosens lightly matted parts of the coat
- For undercoat care
- Can be used on all hair types including curly, flat, wiry, and all lengths.
Gripsoft Shedding Comb
Gripsoft grooming combs for dogs are easy to use and designed to give a professional finish. The soft, rubber-sheathed, non-slip ergonomic handles provide maximum comfort, grip and control.
Fine Comb: Designed to keep fine-textured coats and the "feathers" on legs and tail of long haired dogs tangle-free.
Medium Comb: Use on medium and long-haired dog breeds to prevent matting.
Coarse Comb: Use to keep the coat of medium and long-haired dog breeds tangle-free.
Double-sided Comb: Use on medium to long-haired pets. Use the coarse side of the comb for loosening dense or matted portions of the coat, then comb out dead hair and finish with the other side.
Flea Comb: Removes fleas and their eggs from the coats of dogs and cats. The small Flea Comb fits into the palm of your hand and has finger-fitting contours for extra control and comfort.
Shedding Comb: Loosens and removes mat from the undercoat of double-coated breeds.
Rotating Comfort Comb: For all breeds and coat types. The stainless steel pins rotate 360 degrees to gently de-tangle the coat.
Cleaning ears: Regular ear cleaning is only recommended if instructed to do so by your veterinarian. Some animals benefit from a regular ear clean with a dog-specific gentle ear cleaner. Avoid using cotton swabs, as these can damage the ear canal. Make sure to speak with your vet about the specifics of ear cleaning.
Bathing: Bathing your Border Collie should be done as needed, usually every three to four months, or if they get particularly dirty. Overbathing can strip the coat of natural oils and dry out the skin, so it's important not to do it too often. Use a mild dog shampoo that won't irritate their skin or eyes.
Dental health: Lastly, make sure to check your Border Collie's teeth and gums regularly. Brush their teeth daily with dog-specific toothpaste to prevent tartar buildup and gum disease. Providing your Border Collie with dental chews or toys can also help keep their teeth clean and healthy.
Barking Behaviours In Border Collies
Border Collies are known to be vocal dogs and may bark excessively if not trained properly. This breed may bark to alert their owners or to express their need for exercise and attention. However, excessive barking can be reduced by providing enough mental and physical stimulation through regular exercise and training. It is important to teach the dog the “quiet” command and to praise them when they stop barking.
Attention: One common reason for Border Collies barking is to seek attention, which can become problematic if not addressed. The frequency and intensity of barking will depend on their personality and individual barking triggers.
Anxiety or fear: Your Border Collie may also bark due to levels of anxiety or fear, such as during a thunderstorm due to hearing sensitivity, loud motorcycles nearby, or separation anxiety due to being unsure where their human is. Identifying the root cause of these emotions can help reduce barking in the home.
Boredom or frustration: Border Collies are highly active and require plenty of physical and mental stimulation. If they are bored or frustrated due to a lack of exercise or interaction, this may lead to excessive barking.
Territorial barking: Border Collies may bark to protect their territory, especially if they perceive other animals or people as a threat.
Training tips: Consistency is key when it comes to reducing barking behaviour in Border Collies. Using a simple command such as ‘quiet’, can help your Border Collie learn it's unnecessary to bark. Rewarding positive behaviour, such as looking at you or staying quiet, can be effective.
Browse our anxiety management products
PAW Complete Calm Chews for Dogs 60 Chews
Unwanted feelings of nervousness, anxiety, stress and fear can all impact your dogs mental wellbeing. Help your dog adapt to changing situations and bring them back to a place of calm with PAW Complete Calm for Medium and Large Dogs.
These tasty chews contain tryptophan to help reduce stress-related behaviour and anxiety-induced aggression, as well as B group vitamins to support the general health and nervous system function in your dog. These nutritious chews contain a rich source of vitamins and minerals which are essential for maintaining a healthy immune system.
Highly palatable chew formulated with tasty fish and chickpea protein that is easy to give to your pet on a daily basis.
Tryptophan has been demonstrated to benefit dogs displaying signs of:
- Stress related behaviours such as vocalisation, marking and changes in appetite.
- Anxiety induced aggression.
- General anxiety driving changes in serotonin levels (eg. separation anxiety, travel anxiety).
For animal consumption only. Read the label carefully before use.
Zylkene 225mg 30 Capsules
Zylkene help restore balance and harmony in your pets' lives, naturally. Zylkene® is an innovative, nutritional supplement you can trust to help reduce chronic and situational stress in dogs and cats, and increase their ability to cope with change. Promotes and enhances relax behavior in pets.
- All-natural, non-sedating nutritional supplement.
- Zylkene® reduces the signs of stress, without any known side effects.
- Easy once-a-day administration.
The capsules can be administered orally as a single dose, or opened and sprinkle onto your pet's food. Most animals find it palatable and owners find it easy to administer.
It is advisable to begin administration at least 8 days before expected stressor, when possible. The medicine should be given once every day and can be doubled if the situation is exceedingly stressful.
It is suitable for both a short-term treatment, which could be for a few days, or for longer periods if needed. Usually a course is given from between 2-4 weeks. Then the situation is re-assessed. If in doubt contact your vet for more information.
Store in a cool and dry place. Close well after each use. Keep out of reach of children.
Adaptil Dog Stress Relief Spray
Adaptil Dog Stress Relief Spray 60ml provides targeted, comforting support for your dog either at home or on the go. It is ideal for any time you would like to give your dog some extra reassurance when you have visitors, are travelling long distances, adjusting to a new environment, visiting the vet or hospitalisation.
Adaptil is a synthetic copy of the natural canine appeasing pheromone that puppies are exposed to after birth when feeding from their mother and helps treat and prevent fear and stress related behaviours that result in destruction, house soiling, vocalisation such as whimpering or whining as well as anxiety. Adaptil is designed especially for dogs, is odourless, non-sedative and can be used alongside all types of medication. It can be sprayed directly on bedding, inside crates, indoor kennels or in the car.
Directions of Use:
- Spray 8-10 pumps 15 minutes before the dog is introduced into the environment.
- Effects should last approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.
- Renew application after this time or if you notice a reduced effect.
- Always spray directly on an object or surface. Do not spray in the air or on your dog.
- Each 60 mL bottle of Adaptil Spray contains +/- 50 applications.
- Use alone or in combination with an Adaptil Diffuser & Refill for added support.
Training a Border Collie
Border Collies are highly intelligent and trainable dogs, which means they can quickly learn and perform a wide range of tasks. They thrive when given tasks to do and enjoy learning new things.
Positive reinforcement training: Positive reinforcement training, such as clicker training, work well with this breed as they respond well to praise and rewards. Consistency and patience are key, and it is important to provide plenty of socialisation early on to prevent shyness and to teach basic obedience commands.
Attention span: When it comes to training, it is important to keep in mind that Border Collies can become easily bored if they are not given enough mental stimulation. Training sessions should be kept short, frequent, and varied to prevent boredom and maintain their interest.
Variety of activities: Giving them plenty of different tasks to work on, such as obedience training, agility, or flyball, will help keep them mentally engaged and stimulated.
Exercise Needs For a Border Collie
High level of physical activity: Border Collies are a very active breed and require at least 1-2 hours of exercise daily to keep them happy and healthy. These dogs have a lot of energy and need plenty of physical exercise to burn it off.
High level of mental stimulation: In addition to physical exercise, it is important to provide plenty of mental stimulation for Border Collies. Puzzle toys, interactive feeding toys, and training exercises are all great ways to keep their minds engaged and prevent boredom. It is also important to provide them with plenty of opportunities to socialise with other dogs and people to prevent shyness or aggressive behaviour.
Types of activity: Activities such as running, hiking, and playing fetch are great for this breed because they allow them to use their natural herding and chasing instincts. Border Collies also excel in dog sports such as agility, flyball, and obedience trials.
A blend of training and exercise: Overall, training and exercise are critical for the well-being of Border Collies. With proper training and socialisation, they can become well-behaved and obedient companions. However, if they are not given enough exercise and mental stimulation, they can become destructive and develop behaviour problems.
Shop toys popular with Border Collie owners
KONG Dental Red with Rope Medium
KONG Dental has special grooves that clean teeth and gums as dogs chew. KONG treats can be used inside the grooves to get your dog chewing. Fill the inside of the Dental with KONG Snacks to satisfy your dogs curiosity.
- Made from durable KONG Classic rubber
- Perfect for KONG Stuff'N Easy Treat Fresh Breath Recipe
- Patented Denta-Ridges™ clean teeth and soothe gums
- Available in four sizes: Small(w/ Rope), Medium(w/Rope), Large, X-Large
- Small (dogs up to 9kg), Medium (7-16kg), Large (13-30kg), X-Large (27-41kg).
KONG Dental Stick has a fun design that is great for chew sessions and games of fetch alike. The patented Denta-Ridges™ reduce plaque and food debris while providing a gentle abrasive cleaning and conditioning of teeth and gums.
- Great for use with Stuff'N Easy Treat Breath paste
- Use as a fetch stick that is both safe and reliable
- Helps to clean teeth and soothe gums
- Available in three sizes: Small, Medium, Large
KONG Sports Balls Assorted Medium (3 pack)
Kong Sports Balls are better than a tennis ball. Made with extra-thick rubber walls, these toys are tough enough for serious games of fetch. Give them a throw and watch your dog go crazy for these rugged, bouncy balls.
- Tougher and safer than a tennis ball
- Extra bouncy for hardy games of fetch
- No squeaker
- Available in 3 sizes: S (3 pack), M (3 pack) and L (2 pack) - assorted styles
Buster Colour Dental Rope Dog Toy 3-Knot Red/Orange/Yellow
Buster Dental Rope Toys are designed to support your dog's need to chew, while the braided material assists with gentle cleaning of your dog's teeth and mouth.
The toy is strong and durable, making it ideal for throwing and fetching games with your dog.
A durable rope toy for interactive fun while cleaning your dog's teeth.
Border Collies Behaviour Issues
Border Collies can be prone to certain behaviour issues, such as herding people or other animals, separation anxiety, and destructive chewing. These issues can be prevented or managed through proper training, socialisation, and mental and physical stimulation. Crate training can also be helpful for preventing destructive chewing and separation anxiety. The following behaviours are common with Border Collies:
- Herding behaviour: Border Collies are bred for their herding instincts, which means they may try to herd people or other animals. This behaviour can become problematic if the dog is constantly nipping or chasing after children or other pets. To prevent this behaviour, it's important to provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, as well as teach the dog to redirect its herding instincts to appropriate activities such as fetching or obedience training.
- Separation anxiety: Border Collies are known for being loyal and affectionate, which can sometimes lead to separation anxiety. This is a condition where the dog becomes extremely anxious or distressed when left alone and may exhibit destructive behaviours such as chewing, barking or digging. To prevent separation anxiety, it's important to gradually train the dog to tolerate being alone for short periods of time and to provide plenty of mental stimulation and exercise before leaving the dog alone.
- Destructive chewing: Border Collies are active and intelligent dogs, and they may become bored or frustrated if they don't have enough mental and physical stimulation. This can lead to destructive chewing behaviour, where the dog chews on inappropriate items such as furniture or shoes. To prevent destructive chewing, provide appropriate chew toys for the dog to play with. Crate training can also be helpful, as it provides a safe and secure place for the dog to rest and play.
As with all breeds, if your dog's behavioural issues are unmanageable or progressing, organise a behavioural consultation with your veterinarian for help.
Border Collie Nutritional Guidance
Border Collies have high energy levels and require a diet that provides adequate nutrition to support their activity levels. It is important to choose a high-quality dog food that is appropriate for their age, size, and activity level.
Protein-rich diet: Look for dog foods that contain high-quality sources of protein, such as chicken, turkey, beef, or fish. The food should also contain a balanced blend of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals to support their overall health.
Frequency: When it comes to feeding, it is recommended to divide their daily food intake into two equal meals. This can help prevent overeating and can help maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day. Treats should be given in moderation and should not exceed 10% of their daily caloric intake. Healthy treat options include small pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and specially formulated dog treats.
Weight monitoring: It is important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly. Obesity is a common problem in dogs and can lead to a variety of health issues. If you notice your Border Collie gaining weight, consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate diet and exercise plan.
Hydration: Lastly, it is crucial to provide your Border Collie with access to fresh, clean water at all times. Be sure to clean and refill their water bowl daily to prevent bacterial growth and ensure that they are adequately hydrated.
Browse our Vet Recommended Dog Food & Nutritional Products
Vet Recommended Dog Food - Prescription Dry & Wet Food
Shop our wide rage of vet recommended Dog food. We stock leading brands such as Royal Canin, Advance, Hill's and more, all of which offer prescription diets that can be beneficial to your dog's health. Enrich your Dogs lives by providing them with a vet endorsed diet, with our many different products and treats made for your dog.
Dog Health Products - Probiotics, Supplements & More
Dog Treats - Premium Vet Recommended Treats
Check out our large range of Dog treats to help keep your energetic Dog busy and happy. We stock a large range of Greenies Dog Chews, and Veggiedent Fr3sh Dog Treats, which are perfect for keeping your dogs teeth clean and healthy. We also stock delicious treats perfect for training your dog, including Vet Best Rewards Treats, Prime100 Treats, and Savourlife Training Treats. We have a wide range of chews your Dog is guaranteed to love, shop online today.
Whether you have a Border Collie or you're thinking about getting one, we hope you learnt something by reading our article. Whilst this guide is great start to learning about Border Collie ownership, never stop seeking out new information from reputable sources. Share your experiences with other Border Collie owners, and always continue to learn more about your dogs breed, temperament and how best to care for and love them.
This article was written by Dr. Jane Miller