The Border Collie is a genius dog.  It ranks as the smartest dog breed 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 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 brilliant dog, the smartest dog in the world.  They are also one of the best herding dogs.  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 sheepdogs. 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 to other collies.  However, the border collie’s snout is not as long, which makes their face look similar to the Australian Shepherd.

These dogs are more popular as working dogs than show dogs have 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 dogs spend a good deal of time outside, it should be checked regularly for ticks, especially around the ears.

Health Issues

The Border Collie is subject to health issues, as are other purebred 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.

For more information on the Border Collie, visit their page on the AKC or the Borer Collie Society of America.