Border Collie Information


Considered the workaholic in the dog world, the Border Collie is a premier sheep herder that is prized around the globe for its extraordinary intelligence, natural instincts, and strong working abilities. Ranked as the number one most intelligent dog breed within Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs,” Border Collies make for extremely energetic, athletic, energetic, and loyal companions. Read on for a full breed description to determine whether the high-drive Border Collie is the right match for your lively lifestyle.

Border Collie
Basic Info
NameBorder Collie
Other NameSheepdog, Scotch Sheep Dog
OriginGreat Britain, Scotland, United Kingdom, Wales, Ireland, England
Size Type Medium Dog Breeds
Breed Group Herding Dog Breeds
Life Span13 - 16 years
TemperamentTenacious, Responsive, Intelligent, Alert, Energetic
HeightMale: 19–22 inches; Female: 18–21 inches
Weight30 to 45 pounds
ColorsRed, Gold, Blue Merle, Brindle, Black
Puppy PriceAverage $350 - $700 USD

Border Collie

Physical description

Body Type

As a medium-sized working dog booming with energy, the Border Collie has a long body with a relatively flat skull and a muzzle with a moderately defined stop. The dogs have strong teeth that meet with a scissors bite as well as medium-sized ears that are set well apart and may be erect or semi-erect. While the oval-shaped eyes set wide apart on the head are normally brown in coloring, merles may have one or two eyes that are blue. The medium-sized tail is set low on the hindquarters and reaches at least to the hock, yet it may rise somewhat when the dog is excited. Male Border Collies are typically between 19 to 22 inches at shoulder height with a weight ranging between 30 to 45 pounds, but females are slightly smaller at 18 to 21 inches and weighing from 27 to 42 pounds.


Although black and white is by far the most common, the coat comes in a wide range of color variations. Border Collies may be black tricolor, sable and white, red and white, red tri-color, chocolate, blue, lilac, red merle, blue merle, red with gold, and brindle. Some of the dogs may also be single-colored.


There are two distinct coat varieties that Border Collies may possess, which are a short, sleek coat or a coarse, rough coat with longer hair. While the long-haired variety normally has a mane and tail brush, the fur on the face, front legs, and ears is always kept short and sleek. For both varieties, the double coat is designed to be dense enough to be weather resistant while working.

Good with Kids
Cat Friendly
Dog Friendly
Hypoallergenic  No


Whether a Border Collie has a sleek or rough coat, these dogs require regular combing and brushing to keep the coat gleaming at least once a week. It is suggested that owners use a brush to penetrate the coat all the way to the skin and then double-check the work with a wide-toothed comb. As an average shedder, it is important to note that extra grooming care is necessary when the soft, dense undercoat begins shedding twice each year. Although purely for cosmetic reasons, some owners decide to also use clippers to neaten the hair around the ears, pads, feet, hocks, and pasterns following the natural contours. While bathing the dog whenever necessary, it is essential that owners remove dirt and grime with shampoo before ending the bath with a conditioner that will keep the coat well-hydrated.


Originally referred to as the “Scotch Sheep Dog” with its roots in Northumberland along the border between Scotland and England, Border Collies are believed to be descendants from the dogs used by the Vikings in ancient times to herd reindeers. With its name coming from the old Celtic word for “useful,” Border Collies were bred from the mix of old British droving breeds with spaniels. Prized for its sheer drive and passion for working hard, the breed gained intense popularity in the Anglo-Saxon region for being able to master any type of herd by crouching down and mesmerizing the animals with its intense hypnotizing stare. By 1906, the first breed standard was devised; however, unlike most other breeds, the description only included working ability with no regard to its physical appearance. Still referred simply as sheepdogs until this point in history, the name Border Collie was first recorded in 1915 by James Reid, the Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) in the United Kingdom. After making the trip to America, the New World was instantly dazzled by the breed’s quick herding abilities and Border Collies rapidly became one of the top competitive breeds in obedience trials. Although many breed fanciers actively fought against show dog recognition for a lack of cosmetic emphasis, the American Kennel Club officially recognized Border Collies within the herding group in 1995.


Known as one of the hardest working and most intelligent dogs, Border Collies are highly energetic, obedient, trainable, strong, confident, and courageous with an impressive stamina for great endurance. Often described as a “perfectionist with a permanent will to please,” the breed lives for serving their owners day in and day out. Since the breed is prone to shyness, it is important that the dogs are given consistent leadership from a firm pack leader. Although Border Collies may be aggressive towards other canines of the same sex or small non-canine pets, the dogs will usually get along happily with other dogs or children with plenty of exercise. Not the ideal breed match for couch potatoes, Border Collies make very demanding and energetic pets that must receive considerable amounts of daily physical exercise and mental stimulation to be happy. When these needs are not satisfied, many of the dogs will develop neurotic behaviors, including chewing holes in walls, snacking on furniture, and digging holes out of boredom. However, these negative behaviors can easily be avoided with providing them with ample opportunities to use both their body and mind. The fast and agile Border Collies must be taken on a long, brisk daily walk to work off the boundless energy they thrive on.

Interesting Border Collie Facts

  • Considered the father of the breed, all purebred Border Collies alive today can be traced back to a single ancestral line of one dog named “Old Hemp” who lived from 1893 to 1901.
  • The current Guinness World Record holder for the “Fastest Car Window Opened by a Dog” is a Border Collie named Striker, who was able to successfully open a car window without any assistance within just 11.34 seconds.
  • Often cited as the most intelligent of all dog breeds from many sources, it was documented in January 2011 that a Border Collie was able to learn 1,022 words and consequently react properly to those words.