front shot of border collie face

Border Collie: A Profile

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.

Their intelligence and their fun nature might very well be the main reasons they’re the second top 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, here are just a few more reasons why we love them.

Is the Border Collie good for families?

Border Collies are wonderful dogs for families, as long as you can give them the stimulation they need. Aside from being smart, they’re also super playful, engaging, and quite cuddly.

All of this makes them firm favourites with the kids. Which is great, because Border Collies looooove children and will play all day if the opportunity presents itself. Tired kids and tired dogs? Sounds like a win-win to us.

And 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.

Besides being loyal friends, they can also be guard dogs. It might sound surprising, but their intelligence means that with some training, they can become good protectors of their humans.

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.

How much exercise do Border Collies need?

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 – check out this video for a demonstration if you haven’t seen a Border Collie doing what they’re born to do before.

But because of this, Border Collies 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 Rover, 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!

border collie puppy on grey background

Border Collie puppies and exercise

If you’ve got a new pup, be wary about exercising too much. Save it for when they’re a bit older. Up until puppies are about eight months old, exercise should be kept to short bursts. 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 they’re grown up, your obedience training will pay off by helping them to behave 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.

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.

These dogs were brought to New Zealand and Australia 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.

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’re used as search and rescue dogs too
  • All purebred Border Collies can be traced back to a single ancestor called Old Hemp
  • Their coats can be one, two or three colours and are double layered
border collies can be brown and white like this one

Are Border Collies healthy dogs?

One health problem Border Collies are prone to is degenerative eye conditions. Epilepsy can also affect this breed. If you’re looking for a purebred one, finding a reputable breeder 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.

Like many herding dogs they’re motion sensitive. If they’re not trained correctly, Border Collies may chase cars. Sadly, this can result in pets getting knocked over and injured or killed. Correct obedience training and enough stimulation and exercise is important to help prevent these types of accidents.

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.

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