The Border Collie is one very smart dog. They rank as one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. They are smart enough to outwit their owners unless they keep on the top of their game. My neighbor’s Border Collie (named Plato, of course since Aristotle has too many syllables) routinely beat me at soccer. And, it had so much more stamina than I did.
The Romans brought dogs with them during their invasions of Britain which were finally accomplished in the year 43. As the Roman empire crumbled, the pesky Vikings saw their own chances to invade and plunder. They also brought along their dogs. They were interbred (the dogs, not the Romans and Vikings although that may have also happened). Then some local Scottish sheepdogs got in on the fun and thus the Border Collie.
Border Collies have been bred over the centuries for their intelligence and herding abilities. This was so successful that the Border Collie is one very smart dog, probably the smartest dog the world. They are also one of the best herders. However, they were once beaten in a herding competition, or so I am told, by a pig named Babe.
Border collies were bred to respond to a combination of vocal commands and whistles which makes them excellent sheep dogs. Border Collies also excel in sport agility contests. In colder climates, they work on sled dog teams that are very competitive in middle distance races.
Size of Border Collies
Border Collies are medium sized dogs weighing about 20 lbs to 25 lbs. They stand in height ranging from 18 to 22 inches depending on gender. They have a coat that is usually black and white. Some other color variations include black, red, and chocolate tricolors. There is also a very rare Australian red. Their ears are partly erect similar as other collies. However, the border collie’s snout is not as long which makes their face look similar to the Australian Shepherd.
The fact that these dogs are more popular as working dogs rather than show dogs has left some leeway in the rules of coloring. Border Collies are most commonly black and white. Some have multiple colors and their coat is of two distinct lengths, short and long. Both lengths require some grooming, although these dogs are fairly capable of keeping themselves well groomed.
Make sure to keep their coat free of tangles and mats. The Border Collie will shed its coat twice a year. As most of these dog spend a good deal of time outside, it should be checked regularly for ticks, especially around the ears.
The Border Collie is subject to health issues as are other pure bred dogs. This breed can, for example, suffer from epilepsy and cataracts. The dogs bred as show dogs are especially prone to various genetic problems. Be sure you get your Border Collie from a reputable breeder. They are more likely to take care of reducing hereditary defects.