The Border Collie can fairly be described as the ultimate working dog, and while they are also incredibly popular as pets today, they can still be seen in rural areas working alongside of farmers, aiding with livestock herding and management.
History of the Border Collie
The Border Collie is a descendent of the original British Landrace collies, and has a long and distinguished history as man’s best friend. They are ranked as the most intelligent breed of dog in the world, and while this of course means that they can be trained to undertake a wide range of tasks and retain complex high-level commands, they are also easily bored. The tenacious Border Collie will soon take to finding their own entertainment if you are not able to spend enough time keeping them occupied!
Appearance of the Border Collie
The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog, with a relatively thick, medium-length coat that sheds frequently, so make sure you invest in a good vacuum cleaner if you are planning on giving a Collie a home. The breed has a wide range of colours, including tricolour, merle, and black and white, and it is not uncommon for Border Collies to have two different coloured eyes, too.
Perhaps the most distinctive trait of the moving Border Collie is their running gait, which is smooth, low to the ground and very efficient, and often makes these dogs look as if they are coasting along on wheels when in long grass, rather than running!
Temperament of the Border Collie
“Is that a ball? Do you have a ball? I heard you have a ball. Can we play with the ball?” It is fair to say that the Border Collie is totally obsessive about exercise, and will happily run around and play with you for hours. Prepare to get fit if you are considering taking on a Border Collie, because these dogs can run and run and run, and after they have done that, they will be ready to run a whole lot more! They are tenacious, highly intelligent and thrive within a working role that allows them to exercise both their mind and body at the same time. Because of this, they are excellent at canine sports such as agility and heelwork to music, and thrive on the variety that this provides for them.
Health Considerations for the Border Collie
The average lifespan of the Border Collie is 12 years, but it is not unusual for them to live much longer than this. They are a healthy and robust breed over all, making the perfect outdoor dog. However, they are prone to a few genetically inherited health problems, including epilepsy, hip dysplasia, eye conditions and vision problems. One specific eye condition is referred to as a Collie eye anomaly, which can now be tested for in breeding stock before the decision to breed is made.
How to Best Care for a Border Collie
Do you have plenty of time to spend with your dog every day? Do you enjoy spending hours outdoors? Do you like to keep fit, run, exercise and play, whatever the weather? If not, then a Border Collie is definitely not for you! First-time dog owners should consider very carefully whether or not they fully understand what is involved in taking care of a Border Collie, and do plenty of research on the breed before making a purchase.
They are highly intelligent and very lively, and need clear, unambiguous training and more exercise each day than pretty much any other breed of dog. If you are looking for a canine couch potato, the Border Collie would be a terrible choice! However, if you spend lots of time out of doors, thrive on the challenge of training an intelligent dog with lots of potential, and want to make a loyal, loving and big-hearted friend for life, look no further than the Border Collie.
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