Is a Border Collie right for your family?

Every breed of dog is SO different, from temperament to maintenance, so if you’re considering a Border Collie as a new member of your family, we’d love to help you make an informed decision as to whether this particular dog would be a great fit for your family.

‘Aussie’ working dog?

We often think of a Border Collie as the quintessential Australian working dog, rounding up sheep on the farm. But the breed actually originated on the border of Scotland and England (thus the name – who knew!). Border Collies were introduced into Northern England during the droving days of the 18th century and didn’t even find their way to Australia until 1901! It wasn’t until the 1950s it became known as the Australian working dog. The Border Collie has contributed to the Australian sheep industry as a farmer’s friend for many years.

Energetic and loyal

Border Collies have all the characteristics of a working dog – intelligent, agile, active and faithful with an inherent desire to please. They can also show great patience and control. With all that energy, they will need daily exercise and will relish partaking in games such as catch, frisbee and perhaps an ocean swim. The benefit of an energetic dog – great exercise for all the family!

Appearance

Border Collies are a moderately-sized breed (standing up to 50cm on average at the shoulders), and are also athletic and muscular, hence why they make such great workers! Their almond eyes and intense gaze will show how intelligent they are, but be careful! They may use it to guilt you into giving them extra treats. Although many of us think of Border Collies as Black/White, they actually come in many colours and coat patterns: Black/White, Blue/White, Chocolate/White, Red/White, Tri-Colour Black/Tan/White and Blue Merle to name a few!

Suitability

Suitability

It’s not just about getting a breed that’s right for you and your family, you need to be right for them too. If you’re active, with lots of space at your place (like a big backyard or farm), and can give your pet lots of love and attention, then a Border Collie could be right for you. Their mental health is in constant need of stimulation, so they can channel that energy and intelligence into active pursuits. They’re certainly not apartment dogs, as they need to run, hunt, smell, dig and jump. All that said, Border Collies are easily trained. If you’re committed to creating a disciplined environment, they could be a perfect match for your family!

Health & Wellbeing

The average lifespan of a Border Collie is 12-15 years and they’re generally very fit, active dogs. As a breed, there may be some hereditary health issues including eye problems and hip dysplasia, although breeders have developed some DNA testing for these conditions. There may also be the potential for epilepsy and allergies, which may result in skin issues. There are some other hereditary diseases to be aware of, including Ceroid Lipofuscinosis (CL), Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS) and Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) however breeders are investigating screening tests to reduce incidences. Of course, we recommend you always buy your Border Collie puppy from a reputable breeder, one that offers a health guarantee.

Grooming

Their natural, medium-textured topcoat and short dense undercoat provides good insulation and weather protection. They don’t tend to get too matted or tangled; just give them a brush once in a while to remove the dead hair. (Fun fact: The American Kennel Club actually penalises overly-groomed Border Collies in the show ring!)

At Greencross Vets, nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of your four-legged friend. If you have any more questions, please reach out to your local Greencross Vets. You can find your local Greencross Vets here. We’re more than happy to help!