Is the Border Collie the right breed of dog for you?The Border Collies' origins probably dates back to Roman times when the Romans first introduced domestic dogs in to the UK to herd stock. These early herding dogs under went many developments including the Highland Collie, Welsh and Cumberland Sheepdog, Scotch Collie, and several other strains, but what they had in common was the area that the shepherds and drovers worked these dogs: the Scottish-English, and Welsh-English borders of the UK. And from this region, within the past 100 years, has evolved the dog that nowadays is called the Border Collie.
This is a truly intelligent breed of dog, with an innate desire to work. They were first recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1995 and classified in to the Herding Group. They stand around 18-23 inches at the shoulder, and weigh in at around 28-44lbs. Strict confirmation in this breed is not as important as in others- these dogs aren't bred for the show ring but for the work that they still do to this day.
Their double coat comes in two varieties, moderately long and smooth, and varies greatly in colour. Although black and white is the most common, tri-coloured and brindled dogs sporting tan, sable, yellow, chocolate, grey, blue and red patches are also to be seen. Their eye colour ranges from a rich chocolate to amber or a light shade of blue. In Merle Collies' one eye can be of each colour.
The Border collie is not a first time owner's dog or an everyman dog. They need a yard or garden and it needs to be well secured, as they are very interested in the 'outside world'.
This breed is extremely active- they need something to do. A quick walk around the block is nowhere near enough for these dogs. They need a long off the lead walk, plus the extra dimension of an activity whilst you are walking them, such as a ball, a Frisbee; something that they can chase and exert control over. Collies can be very demanding over this type of exercise, and any prospective owner needs to be fully aware of this.
Training a Border Collie is an absolute must; if you don't then the dog will eventually assume command. They are easily bored and can get in to all sorts of trouble in the hands of the wrong type of owner. You will also need to start a Collie off at puppy socialisation classes to prevent shyness with dogs and people.
They thrive in any sort of activity that involves working alongside their owner. Obedience, agility, flyball, trialling are just a couple of the events that these dogs excel at. They should not be left on their own at home for long periods as they're very much inclined to suffer from canine separation anxiety.
To keep the coat in first class condition requires regular grooming with brush and comb. Feeding shouldn't present any problems, just a regular nutritious diet.
This is a relatively healthy breed. Some individuals have been reported to suffer from hip dysplasia, also a disease of the eye known as Collie Eye is fairly common.
Amongst all of the breeds available to owners, the Border Collie is one of the most challenging. Consequently, only experienced and knowledgeable prospective owners should take on one of these dogs. The rewards are immense for anyone willing to spend time and energy with one. They're utterly loyal, friendly, graceful, a true companion, dignified, but above all intelligent.