Know Your Dog: Border Collie

So far, we’ve learned about the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and the Labrador Retriever. Now it’s time to learn about another awesome dog; the Border Collie!

The Border Collie, perhaps better known as the Sheep Dog, was developed in the hills of Britain to herd and control sheep. Various Celtic clans bred their own varieties of Sheep Dogs associated with their regions. They became known as Welsh Sheep Dogs, Northern Sheep Dogs, Highland Collies, Scotch Collies, and so on. Though different clans throughout the British Isles bred these dogs, they are originally of Scottish decent.

Known for their obedience, trainability, and intelligence, the Border Collie is a member of the Herding group. Border Collies are energetic, adventurous, and are among the canine world’s most agile, balanced, and tireless dogs. These dogs thrive most when they have room to run around and a job to do. They love their families and can be very protective when it comes to strangers. By now you may have gathered that they are very smart dogs. They are affectionate, too, but do tend to enjoy a healthy balance of alone time as well as being around people.

Highlights:
Border Collies come in 17 different colors and 7 different markings. Such variety!
They grow to be 18-22 inches at the shoulder.
The lifespan of a Border Collie is 12-14 years.
The Collie’s “herding eye” is a hallmark of the breed.
Originally known as the Scotch Sheep Dog, the word ‘Collie’ is a Scottish dialect word used to describe Sheep Dogs.
This, paired with their task of protecting sheep on the England/Scotland border, is how the Border Collie got its name!

Care:
Due to their active nature and love of being outdoors, your Collie’s coat should be brushed regularly to keep it free of debris and tangles. Weekly grooming is recommended. Ears should also be checked for wax build up and debris which can lead to infection. Collies are very active and energetic, so having an outlet and job to do (such as herding or agility training) is crucial for their happiness. Border Collies will require a lot of their owner’s time and energy, so make sure you are prepared to invest appropriately. Lack of activity and challenging tasks may lead to boredom and frustration.

Health:
Generally speaking, the majority of Border Collies are healthy dogs. There are, however, a few health issues that Border Collies can be prone to. Such issues include seizures, progressive retinal atrophy, and Collie eye anomaly (CEA). Progressive retinal atrophy is an inherited disease of the retina. It occurs in both eyes simultaneously but is not painful. Because this disease essentially kills the rod cells in the retina, some signs to look out for are poor night-vision, dilated pupils, and a “shine” around the eye.
Collie eye anomaly is an inherited congenital condition. This condition occurs when the chromosomes that determine the development of the eye are mutated. This condition can lead to other defects in the eye, such as retinal detachment. Collie eye anomaly always occurs in both eyes, but one eye may be worse than the other.

To sum up; Border Collies are very active dogs who need something to do. They love their owners and are very protective around them, especially when it comes to strangers. While they love being outdoors herding or training, they also enjoy spending time indoors with family. Border Collies are among the most agile and tireless dogs. Collies make great pets as long as you are up to the task of keeping them physically and mentally stimulated!

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Resources: AKC.org, PetMD

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