The Border Collie, sometimes called BC or Border for short, has become a popular choice for pet lovers who are looking to get their first canine friend.
Probably the motherly Border, Fly, and her adorable family from the movie “Babe” have contributed to this new found love for this sheepdog. However, Let’s explore, are they good for your family or not?
According to reputed kennel club classifications, the Border Collie belongs to the herding or pastoral category. Border Collies make good house pets if the family members, of which they become a part, lead an active lifestyle.
Due to the primary function of which it was originally bred – herding livestock – the Border is happier corralling sheep and lamb on ranches.
Being an extremely active and intelligent species, pets like Collies need constant physical exercise, as well as mental stimulation. Equally, they crave for human companionship too.
The Border Collie should not be on top of the list for families who have little time for a pet or who prefer being laid back.
Are Border Collies good with kids?
Border Collies are affectionate with kids, who treat them with love and care. Thus, small children may have difficulty with these pets. Border Collies have a strong prey instinct and chase anything that is in motion.
This could be quite challenging, especially when frightened kids try to crawl or run away. The Border would cut-off the child’s movement and, in some cases, may even nip it if the child doesn’t stop.
The Collie doesn’t nip out of aggression, instead due to its strong work ethic that is genetically ingrained. Young adults, however, would be much more comfortable with a Border Collie. These kids can engage with the pet lot more meaningfully if both have been trained to show respect to each other.
Young adults also have a lot of energy and playfulness to stimulate the Border in ways it enjoys the most.
Are Collies good guard dogs?
Borders are vigilant; that makes them a good choice for watchdogs. However, guard dogs are also required to restrict intruders, which the Border isn’t quite well suited for.
In ranches, where Borders are engaged for herding, Borders exert their dominance from a distance, never getting physically too close to the livestock.
So, while their alert and attentive eyes can quickly spot an issue, their well-mannered nature will simply make them inform the owner. That’s it. They will not attack or restrict any intruder. This makes them good watchdogs, but not great guard dogs.
Are Border Collies good apartment dogs?
A Border Collie is far more comfortable at home on the ranch than in an apartment. That being said, it is not entirely hopeless to think it can stay in apartment dwellings.
The Collie’s exercise needs need to be met constantly. A large yard makes this a lot easier.
However, if the apartment has some room for working out the pet and avenues for mental stimulation, the Collie can be at ease inside apartments. Access to nearby dog parks helps quite a lot.
So, how does it look for your situation?
Are you daunted by the prospect of making time for your pet, or are you the pet-loving types who would go to great lengths for their canine children?
The Border Collie is a high maintenance dog for city dwellers. But, if you are out there by the countryside or have your own farmland, the Border can be let loose without having to worry much about meeting its needs.
BC’s need not be constantly supervised; they can keep running around for hours without getting tired. It helps to have enclosed spaces as the Collies chase pretty much everything and can get hurt by fast-moving cars or other vehicles.
The Border Collie at a glance:
|Size:||MEDIUM Male: 19 to 22 inches (48 to 56 cm.) Female: 18 to 21 inches (45 to 54 cm.)|
|Weight:||30 to 55 pounds (13 to 24 kg.)|
|LifeSpan:||12 to 15 years|
|Coat:||MEDIUM (Sheds quite a lot)|
The Collie is a mid-sized dog, over 20 inches tall and 50 pounds in weight, athletic and agile. It is affectionate, as well, and craves a constant human touch.
Border Collies are loyal toward their families and good with children who treat them well. They are wary of strangers, but unlike other guard types, they won’t attack by default.
They have an average life span of about a decade and a half and are usually healthy for a long time if well taken care of.
While getting your pet, it is wise to check health records, preferably from registered breeders, to ensure they have been bred well. Otherwise, there could be a few health issues that Borders are genetically prone to that could end up in too many vet visits.
Some of the health issues for Border Collies are:
Hip Dysplasia and Osteoarthritis – Hip Dysplasia is common among many breeds, and the Border Collie is equally vulnerable. It can also suffer from Elbow dysplasia though that is less common. Osteoarthritis is also a common pain observed in BCs.
Blindness – Borders are prone to multiple eye conditions that can cause blindness. They should be tested for Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA). Though these intelligent little beings adapt quite well even with poor vision, it is always a good idea to get a pet without defective vision from childhood.
Epilepsy – Another very common ailment that Border Collies are genetically predisposed to be Epilepsy. Usually, this condition occurs within the first six months in the form of seizures. Medication and knowledge about managing the seizures of your pup are necessary.
Grooming needs for collies
The Border sheds a lot, and twice a year, it can be somewhat difficult for you to keep up with cleaning pet hair all over the place. It has a medium coat that can do well with weekly brushing and monthly bathing unless too dirty.
Training your BC
Border Collies are intelligent, as mentioned earlier. They are too quick to pick up tricks and hence need constant mental stimulation.
You can train them with a handful of calls, words, and signals, and they would do the bidding too well. Early training is required to get them to behave around smaller children.
Being herders, it is instinctive for them to corral and cut-off and nip in the worst case. Training the pet to be around children and training the children to handle the pet without hurting or being offensive is very important.
Once trained well, Borders work best to do your bidding. They are quite happy to work unsupervised.
However, if not trained properly, some of their genetic behaviors can evolve dangerously. Their prey drive makes them chase moving things without discretion. This can hurt them at times.
Without socialization from a young age, they can become agitated. They may take up weird activities like chewing stuff, damaging furniture, or digging up large holes if let out into the yard.
Exercise needs for collies
Get ready for a fit and healthy lifestyle if you are planning to get yourself a Border Collie. If you are not willing to run for fun, get another dog.
The Border Collie is a high energy, athletic dog that needs more than 2 to 3 hours of exercise daily. In addition, it needs to play games to keep itself intellectually stimulated.
You may let it out and play fetch or tie it to your bicycle and let it run alongside while you are happily pedaling it away, but you must take the Border outdoors and be prepared to spend the time with your pup.
Happy to get one?
So, there we go with things that would help you decide. Every pet needs affection and care. While some breeds can manage without making too many demands, the Border is a companion who wants to be by your side all through the day.
If you are a rancher and need someone to lend you more than a helping hand in herding your livestock, you need to look no further. The Border is the best choice for the job.
Other herder dogs might physically intimidate your gentle lambs or bark loudly at your geese, but the Border would simply “eye” them into submission.
Breeds from healthy lines will not have too many problems mentioned above and stay vigorous and vigilant even till their advanced ages.
If these almond eyes and multi-colored-coat canines appeal to you with all their affection, attention, and loyalty, by all means, go ahead and get one. It could be the beginning of a decade long companionship with wonderful memories to cherish forever.