Belonging in the herding group, the Border Collie originated in the border country between Scotland and England. Formerly called the “Scotch Sheep Dog”, the Border Collie helped sheep herders organise and lead a large herd of sheep. Like most herding breeds the Border Collie descended from the Persian Sheepdog.
In the second half of the 19th century, Queen Victoria became a loyal enthusiast of the Border Collie and the breed started to gain more recognition. Today, the highly intelligent Border Collies make themselves extremely useful in law enforcement as narcotics and bomb detection dogs. Border Collies can be well trained in specific tasks and due to this ability they are used in the Netherlands as assistance dogs for the physically handicapped.
Border Collies are a working breed. They are highly energetic, athletic dogs and happiest when allowed to work. They require vigorous exercise and love agility training. Lack of exercise will make a Border Collie stressed, bored and at worst, aggressive and destructive. Border Collies are highly intelligent and very responsive to training but they do require an experienced owner to be their pack leader.
They are good-natured and make great family pets. They are normally well-behaved with children and other family pets but do need thorough socialization from a very early age. They may not be suitable for those families with very small children due to their high energy and need for extensive exercise. If they are not given sufficient stimulation they will find their own ‘work’ to do, this can include herding children and other family members. They can become highly strung and anxious if left unattended for long periods. They are also very responsive to motion and are well known for chasing fast moving objects if they feel the need to ‘herd’ them.
Border Collies have a medium-length or smooth coats which shed periodically and need grooming at least twice a week. The undercoat is thick and water resistant. They have well proportioned, athletic bodies, a tapered muzzle with a black nose (except for when colouring is brown, brown noses are then an acceptable breed standard). All colours are allowed but white should never be the dominant colour.
They are generally considered to be hardy and healthy but Border Collies can suffer from some genetic conditions such as epilepsy, hip dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly and deafness. They can also be allergic to fleas. The average lifespan of a Border Collie is around 12 years but some have been known to live to 17 years old.