Border Collie

The Border Collie is considered to be the most intelligent breed of dog in the world, coupled with its huge appetite for work, makes it one of most popular working dogs today, as well as being a loyal and dedicated companion around the home.

Border Collie breed group


Size of the Border Collie


Country of origin

Great Britain

Border Collie breed introduction and overview

For most people, the highly intelligent and hard working Border Collie needs no introduction! This industrious breed has been helping shepherds for years, herding sheep on all kinds of terrain, often in challenging conditions. It’s a dog, with it seems an unlimited amount of stamina, agility, speed and enthusiasm for its work. Although the Border Collie is happiest working with its master, the breed can be suitable in the family home, with an active owner with plenty of time to devote to his needs.

Border Collie temperament

The Border Collie is truly a ‘one person’ dog and tends to form a very close bond with its master. It’s not an ideal family dog, as it will attempt to herd children and may snap if it feels threatened. It can be aloof and unwilling to play with other unfamiliar dogs, and again may be snappy if a dog attempts to be too friendly. They can be prone to chasing cyclists, cats, joggers and cars too. This is a dog that needs good socialisation skills and ongoing training from an early age.

This is not a dog suitable for inactive owners, or people who work during the day. It requires an owner with plenty of time, living space and good understanding of the breed.

Colour varieties of the Border Collie

The Border Collie comes in a wide variety of colours and markings including:

  • Black & White
  • Black Tricolour
  • Black White & Tan
  • Blue & White
  • Blue Merle
  • Blue Merle & Tan
  • Blue Merle & White
  • Blue Sable
  • Blue Sable & White
  • Blue Tricolour
  • Blue Tricolour Merle
  • Blue White & Tan
  • Brown & White
  • Brown Merle
  • Brown Merle & White
  • Brown Sable
  • Brown Sable & White
  • Brown Tricolour
  • Brown Tricolour Merle
  • Brown White & Tan
  • Chocolate & White
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • Gold & White
  • Gold Merle & White
  • Gold Sable
  • Gold Sable & White
  • Lilac
  • Lilac & White
  • Lilac Merle
  • Lilac Merle & White
  • Lilac Tricolour
  • Lilac Tricolour Merle
  • Red & White
  • Red Merle & White
  • Red Tricolour
  • Red Tricolour Merle
  • Red White & Tan
  • Sable
  • Sable & White
  • Sable Blue Merle
  • Sable Merle
  • Sable Merle & White
  • Seal
  • Seal & White
  • Slate
  • Slate & White
  • Slate Merle
  • Slate Merle & White
  • Slate Tricolour Merle

Size and weight of the Border Collie

Height bitch 45-53 cms

Height dog 48-55 cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 12-19kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 14-20kgs

Exercise requirements of the Border Collie

The Border Collie needs at LEAST 2 hours of good, vigorous exercise every day, off the lead. This is a breed that can happily run for several hours, then be ready for more exercise a few hours later. The Border Collie is a highly intelligent dog, and will need constant mental stimulation. Many Border Collies will want to chase after balls or toys and constantly retrieve them for you, to be thrown again, and again. Throwing balls or toys such as frisbees is a good way of increasing exercise levels for this breed on the dog walk.

Border Collies will also enjoy and thrive on dog activities such as flyball, agility and obedience. Jogging or cycling with your Border Collie is also a good way to provide exercise too, but remember the breed naturally starts and stops in its true working role, so allow rest periods during these workouts.

The Border Collie will not appreciate long periods home alone, or periods without exercise and may display unwanted behaviour such as separation anxiety or snappiness. Digging, chewing furniture and pacing are often signs of an under exercised and unhappy Border Collie.

Border Collie coat length

The coat is medium in length, with longer featherings on the chest, abdomen, tail, back of legs and paws.

Grooming requirements of the Border Collie

Medium. The thick protective coat requires twice weekly brushing with a soft slicker brush to remove dead fur, tangles and debris such as twigs and sticks. Ears should be checked and cleaned regularly for any sign of infections and foreign bodies such as ticks.


No. The Border Collie is a prolific shedder making it an unsuitable dog for owners who suffer from allergies.

Health Issues in the Border Collie

The Border Collie is generally a hardy and healthy dog, but new owners should consult their breeder about the following health issues that have been found in the breed:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Skin allergies - such as flea allergy dermatitis
  • Collie eye anomaly - (CEA)

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Border Collie

A healthy Border Collie should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of around 10-17 years.

Estimating how much an Border Collie would need to be fed each day

A bitch weighing 15kgs will require around 237gms of complete dry food daily. A dog weighing 20kgs will require around 283gms of complete dry food daily. A bitch weighing 15kgs will cost around £6 per week to feed, and a 20kgs dog will cost around £7 per week. If your Border Collie is a working dog, a specialist working breed mix should be fed to ensure a balanced and nutrious diet. Our figures are based on feeding an ‘above average quality’ and popular complete dry food bought from a leading supermarket.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment