A Border Collie lays down among buttercups in the grass.

The Oh-So-Bright Border Collie: A Profile


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Border Collies are smart. Like, really smart. In fact, the Border Collie is ranked the most intelligent dog in the world. A quick Google search will show that heaps of experts agree. Known for their fun nature and intelligence, these medium-sized dogs are the third most popular dog breed in New Zealand.

So, it’s safe to say Kiwis love Border Collies. If you have one or are considering adding one to your family, find out a few top reasons why we love them….

Why are they called Border Collies?

Originally, Border Collies came from the area between Scotland and England. Literally on the border of the two countries, hence where the first part of their name came from. And in Scotland, herding dogs are called Collies. So, the herding dogs (Collies) of the border…or Border Collie.

Border Collies were brought to New Zealand and Australia back in the 1800s. Hindhope Jed was one of the most famous of these dogs. She won three sheepdog trials in Scotland before travelling to Australasia, where she went on to become a champion sheepdog in New Zealand and Australia.

Aside from being smart, BCs are also super playful and quite cuddly, like this one.

Are Border Collies good family dogs?

Yes! Border Collies are wonderful family dogs provided they get ample mental and physical stimulation. Like we said these guys are smart, and they’re also energetic. When they don’t get to burn up that energy they can get rather nervy. The Dalmatian dog is the same way (as are other breeds, obviously).

Are Border Collies good with kids?

Aside from being smart, they’re also super playful, engaging, and quite cuddly. All of this makes them firm favourites with the kids. This is great, because Border Collies looooove children. Given the chance, they’ll play all day. Tired kids and tired dogs? Sounds like a win-win to us.

Are Border Collies good for singles?

If you’re single, you might not even want a partner after getting a Border Collie. They can become famously attached to their special humans and love being the object of your undivided attention.

Psst … Is reading about all the Border Collie making you wonder which dog (or cat) YOU may be at heart? Find out what pet you are and share it with your friends – click below:

Are Border Collies protective?

Besides being a loyal friend, the beautiful medium-sized BC can also be a great guard dog. It might sound surprising, but their intelligence means that with some training they can become solid protectors of their humans.

Are Border Collies indoor dogs?

One thing to keep in mind is that Border Collies aren’t great indoor dogs. If you live in a small space and/or don’t have the means to give them regular walks, playtime, and exercise then a Border Collie might not be the best match for you. Unless you could make one or more of these ideas for exercising dogs without walking work for you.

Border Collies can be brown and white, like this one.

How much exercise do Border Collies need?

A lot! Border Collies were originally bred to help farmers herd their cattle. In fact, many of them still fulfil this role. They’re quite remarkable to watch. If you haven’t seen a Border Collie doing what they’re born to do before, check out this video:

Exercise is key to a happy BC

But because of this, these medium-sized dogs need a lot of exercise and stimulation. They’ve got a lot of endurance and can become highly strung if they don’t have an outlet for their energy. They may start barking, nipping, or destroying things. In fact, they’ve been known to start herding children if they’re not exercised enough.

If you love going running, hiking, swimming, and on day trips with your dog then a Border Collie would be a great match for you. As long as you can keep up with them, that is….

Exercise is important for all dogs, but some breeds need more than others. Find out why dogs need exercise in our article for Active Dog Month. If you’re planning to get a Border Collie, you should plan for around 90-120 minutes of daily exercise.

And their stamina might surprise you – they often need to run about 15-25 kilometres per day and are capable of doing around 80 kilometres per day. That’s two marathons!

Agility training is a favorite pastime for this medium-sized BC dog.

Border Collie puppies and exercise

If you’ve a new Border Collie puppy, be wary about exercising them too much. Save it for when they’re a bit older. Puppies should only have short bursts of exercise up until they’re eight months old or so. This is to avoid damage to their still-developing bones and soft tissues.

Puppies should still play and exercise, but more gently than adult dogs, and not for longer than a few minutes at a time. For owners, this provides a good window to start obedience training. The mental stimulation of learning to sit, stay, and walk properly will help to burn off some of that excess puppy energy too.

Once your medium-sized BC dog is grown up, their obedience training will pay. They’ll be equipped to behave well in public spaces and new situations. Border Collies love to do long runs off-leash, so working on recall and obedience when they’re young will make this easier once they’re adults.

Try out these puppy games, learn about positive reinforcement dog training and find out how to score the perfect puppy school in New Zealand.

Interesting Border Collie facts

Border Collies seem to have a never-ending list of talents. Here are some fun facts about these cute pooches:

  • Border Collies can run up to 48 km p/h
  • While running they can make quick turns without losing balance or speed
  • They make highly skilled search and rescue dogs (like the Saint Bernard)
  • All purebred Border Collies have a single ancestor (named Old Hemp)
  • Their coats can be one, two or three colours and are double layered
These two BC puppies will grow up to become medium-sized dogs.

Are Border Collies healthy dogs?

One health problem Border Collies are prone to is degenerative eye conditions. Epilepsy can also affect this breed (read about epilepsy in Beagles and other dogs). If you’re looking for a purebred dog, look for reputable and ethical dog breeders as this can go a long way towards helping you acquire the healthiest dog possible.

Behavioural problems for Border Collies are often related to their high energy levels, with bad habits including compulsive behaviour such as chewing, digging, and barking. Read about obsessive compulsive disorder in dogs to find out more.

Like many herding dogs they’re motion sensitive. What does that mean? Well, for example, a Border Collie that doesn’t get adequate training could end up chasing cars. And unfortunately this opens up the possibility of car accidents. At PD Insurance we see a high number of claims each year for pets injured by cars.

The correct obedience training and enough stimulation and exercise is important to help prevent these types of accidents.

Do you want to learn more about dog and cat breeds? Here are some articles you might be interested in:

  1. Maine Coon Cat Personality and Facts
  2. Labrador Personality and Profile
  3. Devon Rex: Breed Profile, Health, and History
  4. Cavort with the Cavoodle – Breed Profile and Traits

Dog insurance for your best friend

Give your Border Collie (or other dog!) a soft landing with dog insurance. This way, medical treatment will cost you less and be easily achievable in your BC’s hours of need.

With PD Insurance we can cover tests and treatment for accidents and illness as well as damage to other people’s property, dental issues and more. Sign up online and score one or more months of free insurance!

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