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The Border Collie: thinking of getting a Border Collie?

Border Collies are widely regarded as the most intelligent domestic dogs of them all. They may not be for the faint hearted but for those who choose them, Border Collies will make fun and rewarding pets.

Place of origin: the Anglo-Scottish border (hence the name!)

How big do Border Collies get? 46 – 56cm

How heavy are Border Collies? 12 – 20kg

Border Collie life Expectancy: 10 – 17 years

Colour: Black, White, Blue, Blue Merle, Red Merle, Brindle, Lilac, Chocolate, Liver, Sable Merle, Sable, Red, Gold

puppy growth chart

Please note: A dog’s exercise, training/stimulation and grooming requirements can depend on several factors such as age and health. The same goes for ongoing costs of ownership. For advice on one specific dog, we always advise chatting with a vet.

How much exercise do Border Collies need?

As natural herders, Border Collies thrive in vast open spaces – and being able to run around in them. They enjoy long walks and are best suited to rural areas. Their strong propensity to herd and chase will make them herd just about anything that moves, which is why they need to be protected from chasing cars.

If you live in an urban area and think a Border Collie may be the right breed for you, locate your nearest field and be prepared for lots and lots of fetch. Border Collies have very high energy levels and will require a minimum of 2 sizeable walks a day.

Training: how to train a Border Collie

If you’re looking to teach your new pet tricks and relish the idea of spending lots of quality time training them, a Border Collie will be a good fit. Border Collies require a great deal of mental stimulation and can get bored quickly without it. Boredom can lead to negative behaviour like excessive barking and chewing, so if you lead a busy lifestyle that doesn’t allot much one-on-one time with your furry friend, a Border Collie might not be the breed for you.

Grooming: do Border Collies shed?

Border Collies have either rough or smooth coats and although usually (and famously) black and white, they can come in all sorts of colours.

They don’t require any excessive grooming but we recommend brushing them once a week to keep their fur in good condition. You’ll only need to bathe a Border Collie when necessary – if they’ve rolled through wet mud, for example.

Complete your Border Collie's grooming routine with regular tooth brushingnail clips and ear checks.

Border Collie temperament, socialising and ideal home environment

A properly trained Border Collie will make a great family pet. They’re loyal and inquisitive dogs with enough attention to give everyone! If you regularly play games as a family and like to spend your weekend taking day trips to country/rural areas, your Border Collie will fit right in!

If you live in an urban area or already have pets, take note of a Border Collie’s natural instincts to chase and to herd. Use positive reinforcement from a young age to minimise this.

A Border Collie will feel most at home in a vast space, preferably with a large and secure garden/outdoor area.

Cost of owning a Border Collie

When you’re considering the lifetime cost of owning a Border Collie, remember to take into account:

As a rough guide, allow between £100 and £150 a month to cover the ongoing costs of owning a Border Collie. Our vets have drawn up this handy guide to save dog owners money.

Need more info?

For more info on finding the best dog breed for you and your lifestyle, have a chat with your vet. 

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.

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