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Intelligent and Energetic - Border Collies

border collie dog

If you are energetic and looking for a fantastic family dog, look no further than Border Collies. These athletic, agile, and intelligent dogs are great companions, especially for active dog pawrents. Curious about the breed? Here is what you need to know.

Border Collie Basics

Border Collies are one of the most intelligent breeds. They were bred along the border between Scotland and England to herd sheep. They need plenty of outdoor time and space–2+ hours if possible, and they do quite a bit of barking, but they will form a strong bond with their people and give you plenty of love in return.

Do you live in an apartment? They can adapt, but make sure that you give them plenty of time walking, running and playing to burn up their excess energy. But they will do better if you have a large, fenced in backyard.

Your Border Collie Puppy

When looking for a puppy, make sure that you use a responsible breeder because they will be aware of the genetic problems in the breed. You might want to have a prospective pup’s hips, ears and eyes checked–those are the most common problems.

Once you bring your pawfect pup home, start to socialize them with kids, other people, dogs and other family pets like cats during the first 7 or 8 months. This is important because they need to become accustomed to others so they will be friendly with them later in life.

Border Collie puppies are intelligent, so they quickly learn how to behave properly: potty training, leash training, various tricks, etc. Give them a lot of praise and low cal treats, and you will be surprised how quickly they can catch on.

Make sure that you don’t overfeed your new pup because it can cause obesity, along with bone and joint damage, and that isn’t a good way for them to start life.

Size and Appearance

Border Collies are generally 18 to 22 inches tall and weigh between 28 and 48 pounds, with males being taller and heavier than females.

They are generally a combination of white, black and occasionally tan, with most being bicolor, and a few tricolor. They have a medium length double coat, with longer coarser hair along with a softer inner.


Border Collies are definitely not couch potatoes. They love to be on the move, and the more time they have with their humans, the better. If they don’t get enough exercise, they can begin to misbehave, like chewing things when they get bored. They form strong bonds with their people and crave approval from their two-legged parents.

Child and Pet Friendly

They are good around kids, and they might even try to “herd” kids and other humans around the house by nudging them or an occasional nip. Because of this, it is best to monitor them around toddlers. If there are wee ones around the house, make sure that you introduce them to your Border Collie puppy so that they get used to having the little ones around. And the little ones need to know not to poke or prod their four-legged friend.


Border Collies do love to bark, and there really isn’t a lot you can do to stop them. They love their people and love to interact with them, and barking is one way that they do that.

Limitless Energy Level

One thing that you can count on is that your Border Collie will come with a fully charged battery that rarely runs low on energy. They simply love to go, and if you are an avid runner or hiker, with a little training, your Border Collie can become a great partner as you explore the great outdoors.

border collie with limitless energy

Another way to burn their energy is playing fetch. They are great at retrieving a ball, and they are quick and agile enough to snatch a Frisbee out of the air as well. You will run low on energy long before they will.

High Intelligence

Your Border Collie is very bright, and it will learn things quickly. Remember to be firm and consistent with them. They react well to praise and treats. They are very alert, and sometimes know what you want them to do before you do.

These doggos need to be challenged to keep from getting bored, so keep them busy with tug of war, find the kibble, and other games, both inside and out.


Border Collies are very attractive dogs, most have a black and white pattern, though some are specked or merle. Because they have a double coat they tend to be heavy shedders, especially in the spring and fall. And their outer coat picks up debris if they are running through thickets and long grass. They need regular brushing, once or twice a week, to keep their coat clean and prevent mats of hair from forming, as well as a bath every month or two.

Because they are so active, they will rarely, if ever, need to have their nails trimmed, but keep an eye on them just in case.

Overall Health

In general, Border Collies have very good health. Here are the major health issues that you will want to be aware of:

As you pick your pup, remember that merles tend to have more vision and hearing problems, so have them checked before you adopt

Your Border Collie’s Diet

Diet varies a lot from dog to dog. It depends on the size, sex, age, activity level, etc. However, you will probably want to start with a diet that provides about 1000 calories per day for an adult dog. Older dogs require about 700 calories, and a working dog can easily burn 1400 calories per day.

Avoid free feeding because Border Collies, as a breed, aren’t very good at self control when it comes to food.

You will want to give them a high quality food that provides all the necessary nutrients they need to maintain a strong and healthy body with at least 22% protein and 12% fat. As they age, you will probably want to switch to a food that is formulated for older dogs.

Adults do best on 2 meals per day which will help them maintain their energy level, and you might want to consider 3-4 meals per day for pups.

Limit their table scraps and try to give them treats that are low in calories and do not contain artificial ingredients and preservatives.

Check Your Check Local Shelters First

If you are interested in an adult dog, look around at local shelters. Because Border Collies are high energy, families sometimes find that they are a little too much, and they surrender them to shelters. If you bring home a shelter dog, not only are you giving a Border Collie a forever home, but you will be avoiding potential issues, like chewed table legs and potty training, that come with a pup.

Before You Bring One Home

Be sure that you can meet their physical and mental needs. They are great dogs, but they come with a huge supply of energy, and they do not do well when left alone all day long. They usually live from 12-15 years, and sometimes as long as 17. So your new forever friend will be around for a long time to come.

While not for everyone, a Border Collie can be a great companion for someone that has the time and energy for them!