Description: The Border Collie is a medium sized dog that is agile and quick. The dog will be 19 to 22 inches at the withers, and the bitch 18 to 21 inches. The weight will vary between 27 and 45 pounds, depending on sex. The Border Collie has two coat forms, rough and smooth. The rough has medium length hair. Both types have a hard, exterior coat over a dense undercoat. The coat of this dog is usually black and white, but red and white, black, and yellow and white are all acceptable. The Border Collie will live for 12 to 15 years.
History: The Border Collie is considered to be descended from dogs brought to Scotland by the Vikings. These dogs were used in their homeland as reindeer herders. These dogs were crossed with the local sheepdogs and eventually, the Border Collie was the result. This breed split off from the Collie in the 19th century. As the Collie is highly trainable, it has excelled at herding sheep.
Temperament: While the Border Collie will bond very closely with its trainer, it is not the best dog for a family with small children. The Collie loves to work at something, whether herding sheep or performing at agility and needs to have something to do to maintain its mental equilibrium. It should be remembered that the Border Collie developed as a working dog, not as a companion. It was used to working independently, unlike hunting dogs which cooperate with the human hunters, and has a more independent way of thinking. The Collie can easily be kept in a kennel (as long as its owner spends some time with it) and is not recommended as a companion dog.
Health Issues: The Border Collie is subject to hip and elbow dysplasia. This breed cab also suffer from epilepsy and cataracts. The show dogs are especially prone to various genetic problems. It is important that you purchase your Collie from a reputable breeder, who will have tested for hereditary defects. Progressive retinal atrophy is also found in the Collie.
Grooming: The Border Collie needs to be groomed regularly, especially the rough coated variety. Make sure to keep the coat free of tangles and mats. The Collie will blow its coat twice a year and at this time, the grooming must become more intensive. As most of this dog spends a good deal of time outside, it should be checked regularly for ticks, especially around the ears. A dry shampooing can be given when necessary.
Living Conditions: The Border dog is not adapted to living in an apartment. This dog is highly active and even a long walk every day will not satisfy its energy needs. A large yard, at the minimum, is needed to keep the Collie happy. As this dog developed as a sheep herding dog, it does not require the intensive human interaction that so many dog breeds require. The Collie will be fine if kept in a kennel, and working out with its owner at agility or some other active sport will satisfy its mental and physical needs.
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