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The Border Collie: Is it the Right Breed for You?

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By Edited Sep 8, 2016 1 0

Appearance of the Border Collie

The Border Collie is medium and size and has an athletic appearance. Their hard, muscular body comes in handy when they are working. They usually always have an alert expression on their face. The height of the males will vary between 19 inches to 22 inches, while the height of the females are between 18 inches to 21 inches.

Their eyes are oval in shape, set far apart and are of moderate size. Dogs that are not black may have lighter colored eyes.

The muzzle and skull look equal in length. When you look at the dog, the top of the skull will be parallel with the top of his/her muzzle. The under-jaw has a well-developed and strong look. The nose color will match the primary color of the dog.

The Border Collie is available in all colors or a combination of colors. They have bi-color, solid color, sable and merle dogs. 

History of the Border Collie

Border Collies are certainly not a “new” breed as farmers in the 1700’s were using them to help manage huge flocks of sheep. The breed originated in the border country nesting between England and Scotland. During this time, they were known as being one of the smartest dog breeds. Today, they are often used on farms, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have one as a family pet. 

Temperament

The Border Collie may be shy around strangers, but will be friendly to the people they know. When the dog is approached, they should not budge. They should look interested and should never show fear, resentment or dullness. They are very energetic and make good Frisbee and agility champions. These dogs make good ranchers and farmers as they do not mind taking on new tasks.

Mind you, in the dog world, these dogs are also labeled “Houdinis.” This is because many farmers are not able to prevent them from escaping. For this reason, you need to keep an eye on the dog at all times or he/she could end up straying off into the outside world. They are well known for digging and jumping. They can even open the gates on fences in order to get out and go on their own adventure. They may be aggressive towards cats and other animals if the owner does not introduce them at an early age. 

In this breed, separation anxiety is common. They need a great deal of activity, so when their owner leaves them alone, they may get bored and anxiety could set in quickly. If you leave a Border Collie alone for a long amount of time and you did not properly exercise him/her before hand, they will bark, chew, dig and howl. 

Care

Border Collies will require a great deal of care. They have long hair and are extremely energetic.  In order to make sure they stay healthy, they need to be put on a diet that is well balanced.

A diet that is well balanced will include:

  • Vegetables
  • Vitamins
  • Moisture
  • Proteins from Meats
  • Essential Oils

Just as there are certain things the dog needs, there are also things you will need to avoid giving him/her.

Make sure you avoid the following:

  • Unnecessary Fillers (found in many low-quality dog foods)
  • Harmful Preservatives
  • Byproducts
  • Chemicals
  • Toxins

If you want your dog to live a long, healthy life, you should not grab the first bag of dog food you see on the shelf. You need to take time to do research in order to find the best brand. Many owners tend to feed their dog organic food that they prepare in their own kitchen, but there is nothing wrong with feeding them store bought food, as long as it is good for them.

It is important that the dog gets the right amount of exercise because they are built for an active lifestyle. They are certainly not lazy dogs that like to lay around inside, so be prepared. They will need to run and play every day in order to stay healthy. They will have fun with any outside activity you would like to do with them. Border Collies enjoy playing fetch with a ball or Frisbee. 

As for grooming, it is mandatory for this type of dog to be groomed in order to maintain their shiny coat. Border Collies are average shedders and since they are a two coated dog, they will need additional care. You should only bathe them when necessary. Also, you need to regularly check the dogs ears and coat for ticks. 

Life Span of a Border Collie

The life span of a Border Collie will range anywhere from 9 to 17 years. In order to make sure they live for a long time, they should frequently visit the vet. Some owners make the mistake of only taking their dog to the vet when they are sick.

Common Health Issues

Some dogs are more prone to certain health issues than others.  In this section, we are going to describe the common health issues Border Collies face.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is common in Border Collies. A dog who is suffering from hip dysplasia will be in a great deal of pain when running or walking. The signs are similar to mild arthritis. You may notice them limping and they may experience problems when trying to stand up. You may be able to help them with this condition by giving them vitamins and plenty of additional care. The treatment can include medication and surgery.

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is another common problem amongst Border Collies. A dog who is suffering from epilepsy may have seizures on a regular basis. The dog may have either primary or secondary epilepsy. Primary epilepsy is genetic. They will have their first seizure between the ages of 6 months to 5 years.  There are various health issues that can cause the dog to develop secondary health issues.  Those health issues include developmental diseases, toxicity, nutritional issues, traumatic issues, metabolic issues, infections and degenerative.

Some other common health problems this breed could get include Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome and Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis.

The main cause of death in this breed include cerebral vascular afflictions, cancer and old age. If your dog is suffering from any health problems, it is important that you take them to a certified vet.

Are Border Collies Easy to Train?

Border Collies are intelligent dogs and are pick up on things rather quickly. However, they can also pick up on bad habits if you do not stay on top of them. As soon as you bring the dog into your house, it is important that you start training them right away in order to make sure they do not pick up on any bad habits.  Yes, Border Collies learn quickly, but it is not easy to train them not to do things that they already do.

Is This the Right Breed for You?

Before you go out and get a dog, you need to make sure you are 100% sure that you can handle the dog. Too many dogs end up in a shelter where they are killed simply because the owner did not learn all about them first, so thank you for taking the time to read this guide, but the responsibility does not end here. If you are having second chances about this breed, then it is not right for you. The breed will require a great deal of attention and exercise. If you are not able to give them attention, then you need to consider a different pet. Dogs require a great deal of attention and this one requires a lot of exercise, so you should have a place outside for him/her to run and play. They love their families and are great with kids. They will require regular brushing and seasonal shedders. 

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