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Border Collie

Our guide to the breed

Border Collie

My ideal owner | Exercise | Temperament | Health | Appearance | Cost | History

Key facts

Height: 46cm – 54cm

Weight: 14 – 22kg

Life Expectancy: 12 – 14 years

Exercise Needs: Very high

About Border Collies

Hey there! I’m a Border Collie. You might recognise me by my distinctive markings, or my famous stare and crouch. I’m a very popular dog breed and with the right direction I’ll slot into your family easily. I’m pretty intelligent and love to learn – you see, my kind were bred to herd sheep and that’s no easy task, believe me! We needed to have lots of energy to work all day out on the hills, so you’ll need to make sure I get plenty of exercise to keep me happy and healthy.

My ideal owner

I’m a pretty adaptable dog, but there are a few things I’m looking for in my ideal owner that would make us the pawfect partnership. First of all, you’re going to need to be pretty active to keep up with my needs and a garden where you can throw a ball for me is going to be a must. My ideal owner would spend lots of time with me, teaching me new tricks or finding outlets for my boundless energy.

Tennis ball icon

Active lifestyle

Experienced dog owner icon

Experienced dog owners

A home with a garden icon

A home with a garden

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Committed to training


There’s all sorts of personalities amongst Border Collies – some of us are friendly, whilst others are more shy, some of us are independent whilst others are reliant. It all comes down to our experiences, especially in our early years.

On the whole though, it’s fair to say we’re a sensitive sort. We thrive on positive reinforcement and don’t take punishment all that well. When we get lots of attention, exercise and mental stimulation, we’ll be your best friend. But if you let us get bored or don’t socialise us well early on, you’ll have to work harder to gain our respect later down the line.

Exercise needs

Very high

I’ve got loads of energy to burn so my exercise needs are pretty high! I’m going to need more than a plod around the block on the lead twice a day. I’m at my best when my exercise is varied and gets me working hard – try combining my daily walks with another form of exercise like agility, flyball, swimming or good old fashioned play.

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We’re a hardy bunch us Border Collies – most of us are healthy from birth and stay that way for our entire lives. Even so, there’s a few conditions that we might be more likely to inherit, like hip dysplasia or collie eye anomaly. Luckily, many of them can be tested for at birth and a good breeder will only breed from healthy dogs in the first place. If you’d like to know more, you can check out the info below.

What is hip dysplasia?

Hip dysplasia is an inherited condition affecting many different dog breeds, including Border Collies. It’s described as a genetic malformation and occurs when a dog’s thigh bone doesn’t fit into a hip socket.

In mild cases hip dysplasia can cause inflammation, eventually leading to arthritis. In the most severe cases, a dog could lose all use of their rear legs.

How is it diagnosed?

Hip dysplasia cannot be evaluated by a vet until a dog is two years of age. Even then, the dog will need x rays to determine whether they have inherited the condition. If you buy a Border Collie puppy, check that the breeder has had both parents tested, which should reduce the risk of the condition.

What are the treatments for hip dysplasia?

The only absolute treatment for hip dysplasia is a total hip replacement. This would usually only be used in the most serious of cases. Otherwise, vets may recommend a range of treatments to give relief, including physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, weight management, painkillers, supplements and brace supports.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is collie eye anomaly?

Collie eye anomaly (CEA) affects 2-3% of Border Collies. It is an inherited defect which ranges of severity between dogs, with some experiencing very few symptoms and others eventually suffering from complete blindness.

How is collie eye anomaly diagnosed?

Diagnosis for collie eye anomaly is usually carried out with genetic testing. Most breeders will have had their breeding dogs tested before birth and/or their litters tested shortly after birth and should be able to provide confirmation of this.

What are the treatments for collie eye anomaly?

Generally, the condition cannot be reversed, but vets can help prevent the degradation of a dog’s vision if issues associated with collie eye anomaly are identified early enough. They can use methods such as laser surgery, cryosurgery or general surgery to reattach the retina.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a condition that causes regular seizures. These seizures may be triggered by the environment – for example, loud noises, flashing lights or high stress or excitement.

How is epilepsy diagnosed?

Dogs will usually start to display symptoms of epilepsy around 2 or 3 years old, but it can occur in dogs of any age.

Make sure you can recognise a fit and apply appropriate first aid. Seek advice from your vet immediately if your dog suffers from one.

What are the treatments for epilepsy?

There is no cure for epilepsy. However, your vet can prescribe medication to help manage epilepsy and allow your dog to live an otherwise healthy and happy life.

*This information should not be considered to be veterinary advice. Please always consult your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s health.


One off costs


This includes the average cost of a puppy, and all the gear they will need, like their collar, bed and grooming tools.

Ongoing costs

£22 per week | £96 per month | £1152 per year

This includes your ongoing costs such as insurance, food, toys, and standard veterinary care, but not dog sitting, training or veterinary costs not covered by insurance.


Most people know me for my distinctive black and white markings – but did you know I come in a huge range of colours including tri-colour, red and white and blue merle?

My double coat comes in a variety of lengths – it’s great for keeping me warm and dry when it’s raining outside. It does mean that I have a tendency to shed year-round though, with two major sheds at the beginning of summer and autumn.

My coat is fairly low maintenance. All I’ll need is a daily brush and occasional bath when I have a particularly muddy walk and I’ll stay in tip top condition. You can take me to a professional groomer if you want me to look especially good, but you should never shave my coat.


Black and White

Red and White


Blue Merle

Red Merle

Slate and White

Lilac and White

Grooming needs

Daily brushing required

Bath when needed


No. We shed our coats year-round.


Us Border Collies originally came from the Anglo-Scottish borders in the late 1800s. We were bred by farmers to work sheep – they prized us for our powerful herding instinct and intelligence. In 1893, a tricolour collie named Old Hemp was born – he went on to become the ‘father’ of the breed, siring as many as 200 pups. In fact, every one of us can trace our ancestral line back to Old Hemp.

We were first recognised as a breed by the International Sheep Dog Society in 1915, but it wasn’t until 1976 that the Kennel Club in the UK followed suit.

In the past century we’ve soared in popularity. We remain the go-to option for many shepherds, but we’ve also excelled in many different walks of life. We’re a common sight in canine sports including agility, flyball, disc dog, obedience, showmanship and, of course, sheepdog trials.

Border Collie

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