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Breed Series

Border Collie

border collie in the middle of play

Border Collies are a peculiar category of herding dogs and are particularly found in the highland regions of Scotland. The exact origin of the world ‘Collie’ is still uncertain as some belief it to be a Scottish term for coal or the world colly that refers to black dogs in Scotland. 

Although, they can also be found in several lowlands of Scotland and parts of Northern England. The word ‘Border Collies’ is often not used to describe this dog breed and has several derivatives in different countries. In the United States, Border Collies are called Rough Border Collies, the UK regards it as Border Border Collies, while the Welsh calls it the Welsh sheepdog.

In appearance, Border Collies are moderate-sized dog breeds with highly pointed snouts designed for countless boops. Many Collies breeds are known to have a distinctive white patch directly above their shoulders as this creates a unique effect in their appearance.

 Border Collies are very active, with high vigor, stamina, and agility; a trait derived from their herding instincts. These features make them the desired dog breed for working and herding. They are popular in dog shows and dog sports where they can showcase these features and also get awarded. 

Although as opposed to the documentation of the American Kennel Club (AKC), Border Collies are more than one dog breed. Rather, they are a coalition of different breeds designed to perform a wide range of activities. 

Landraces and formal Collies breeds have several categories and distinctions they participate in; some show expertise in sports, others are to be herders while some only perform well in dog shows. However, the variation in Collie's species allows for more love to be spread across. 

Generally, Border Collies have two distinct appearances: the rough species with a long guard coat and the smooth species with a shorter guard coat. The rough Border Collies need more grooming as compared to the shorter Collies as they are prone to matting and future skin conditions.

Although Border Collies were primarily bred to be herding dogs, they are perfect for companionship and are also great dogs for families and kids. They are sensitive, intelligent, and can sense their owner’s mood which also simultaneously affects them. 

Border Collies have an undying loyalty to their chosen families and are also highly affectionate; hence, they need constant affections and positive emotions to stimulate them mentally. This means if you give them loads of love and affection, they will return them in a million folds.

Border Collies are also great guard dogs and will bark at any strange movements or actions; however, these barks are often not aggressive and only serves as a warning to the owner. They are also great assistant guards as they are one of the few breeds to understand and even interpret human emotions. Several news headlines have shown Border Collies coming to the rescue of people and also helping in searching for missing individuals.

History

The present Border Collies descended from a native Collies species, Landrace Border Collies known to be popular in Great Britain. The name of Border Collies is said to be derived from an Anglo-Scottish region with several derivations pointing at the word COLLY. 

In 1867, Old Cockie was a dog credited with the exact features of today's rough-coated Border Collie and was believed to be responsible for the sable color in most Border Collies. 

Popular sayings point at Old Hemp, and is known to be the pioneer of Border Collies. Old Hemp was a tricolored dog in England born in 1893. He was a descent of two dogs with powerful features. Old Hemp became a strong and sturdy dog and was known for his intelligence and quick responsiveness. His popularity spread far and several farmers sought Old Hemp to be the stud for their bitch. He died in 1901 and successfully sired 200 pups. 

However, in 1915, the secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) in the United States, James Reid is said to be the first to coin the word BORDER COLLIES as a reference to all Collies in the American Kennel Club. In 1963, Wiston Cap was a dog that had the exact characteristics of today’s Border collies and was also a POPULAR STUD, desired by a lot of herders.

Personality

The Border Collie is known to be incredibly intelligent, energetic, and athletic. They are considered outdoor dogs and are often used in dog sports and dog shows. Their features require them to engage in daily exercises and mental stimulations than most herding breeds, else, they may turn destructive due to the buildup of their energy. They are demanding and require lots of play; hence, they need a spacious environment that will allow for a wide range of movement. 

They also need regular socialization with other family members, friends, children, animals, and other dogs. If they are lacking in such, they tend to be destructive and pick on ankles. Border Collies are also infamous for biting furniture, footwear, digging, clawing, and scrapping on people or objects. 

Due to their history of herding, they may exhibit herding behaviors around your home and often do this to kids and small animals. However, this can be stopped once noticed by training and proper socialization skills.

It is not uncommon to see your Border Collie go after bikes or cars on the road; this can also be corrected by proper training. Despite being good boys, they can be draining to their owners; hence, questions are being asked repetitively to owners who want to adopt Border Collies by the AKC.  

Exercise requirement

Since Border Collies have a high drive and lots of energy, a simple walk to the park or a jog around the neighborhood will not suffice. A Border Collie that doesn’t herd must be provided with a rigorous exercise to wear out its energy buildup. Border Collies are not breeds for 9 to 5ers or active work class owners, they require people who can dedicate a chunk of their time to them.

Early socialization is advised and sports like tracking, fetch, tug of war, and flyball will play an important role. They also need aerobic exercise and need to run and play consistently. Games that intrigue them or promote mental stimulation should also be encouraged. Hiking, Biking, constant going to the park, and a dog school will help calm their overly excited nerves. 

Appearance 

Coat

Border Collies are double coat dogs that shed regularly. They have a variety of coat colors that range from the usual basic color of being black or black and white. However, there other color types like black and tan, red, sable, blue merle, and red and tan. They normally have a white distinction that flows from their belly to the chest, sprawling right above their shoulders and sometimes to their fore and hind limbs. There are also rare tricolored coat colors like black, white, and tan. 

Tail

Their waging tails come in different styles, although docked tails are kind of more popular. Docking is encouraged in Border Collies because it helps maintain the appearance and also helps reduce the chances of having a tail injury. Depending on their owner, Border Collie's tail can either be low, high, or curled and are occasionally bobbed.

Size

Male Border Collies can be as tall as 25 inches and females can be as tall as 23 inches. However, the average eight of a Border Collie is 65 pounds.  

Limbs and Feet

The front leg is proportionate to the body and also parallel in view. The legs are sturdy to allow for movement; the upper joint should is slightly lower than the lower joint. The shoulder blades is well spaced and of equal length to the upper joint. The hind limbs are bigger and more muscular to withhold pressure and accelerate speed. 

Border Collie’s feet are oval-shaped and closely packed, fairly arched toes, strong nails pointing outwards with adorable pads. Although, the hind and forefeet are different in size. 

Head

Their skull is broad and flat and filled with neurons that help increase their alertness and sensitivity. The neck length is equal to the body, slightly curved, muscular, strong, flexible, and blends into the body. 

The eye sockets on Border Collies head (skull) are well spaced apart with a considerable distance between them. They are moderately-sized and oval-shaped with a brown iris (the iris color differs from breeds). Most Border Collie's eyes match with their coat and are heavily pigmented. Their nose is also pointed, visible, and pigmented to match the rest of their body.

Like the eyes, their ears are also spaced, although further apart than the eyes. The eye lobes are erect or partially erect and fall towards the opposite side of the head during relaxation. It should be sensitive and flexible for movement. 

Body

The body is longer and provides balance and coordination to the Border Collie. It is filled with strong bodies, muscles, forming an athletic build. Their top line, when viewed from the shoulders is equal to the loin and also aches away before meeting the rump; they also have a wide, deep, and muscled chest.

Teeth

The jaw is well developed. The teeth are filled with incisors, canines, and molars pointing outwardly from the gum they are carefully arranged to allow for biting, tearing, and chewing of meat. 

Grooming

Like most dog breeds, Border Collies need to be groomed. They have a coat type that ranges from smooth and short to rough and long; although these are two major coat distinctions, there are still other coat variations within this distinction. Some Border Collies can have short and rough coats while others can be a mixture of straight and wavy.

Like most herding dogs, Border Collies are double-coated with one inner coat that serves as a source of warmth and one guard coat that serves as resistance. This makes them shed a lot, making grooming a paramount activity. Also, their constant outdoor activities increase their chance of being matted or soiled up and grooming needs to be constantly performed to preserve their hygiene. 

The three major grooming techniques are bathing, brushing, and trimming. Brushing requires using a brush (which can either be a slicker or detangling brush) to go through mats, tangles, and also yank off the dirt. Asides from maintaining their hygiene, brushing is an excellent way to promote the bond between you and your paw baby and also perform a thorough check for injuries.

Concerning shedding, Border Collies are all-year shedders as opposed to most borders that are seasonal shedders. The amount of fur to be she’d depend on your Border Collie and your Collie’s fur type. The short and smooth Collies are known to shed a little and are also lower maintenance while the long and rough breeds are expensive to maintain.

Although shedding is a natural process that helps Border Collies renew their fur or coat by getting rid of dead hair, excessive shedding should be reported to a veterinarian as it may be a symptom of a terminal disease.

Regular grooming like brushing off mat should be done every 3 to 5 days or weekly while full grooming should be some every 2 to 8 weeks or depending on the level of your Border Collies outdoor activity.

To maintain their hygiene, Border Collies need a bath once or twice every month. Investing in grooming products that help relieve the stress of grooming. Products like detangling spray that helps soften tangles before brushing and an undercoat take that helps remove dead fur and skin in their inner coat. Also, a pin and a bristle brush to provide shine after detangling and a dog-friendly perfume are must-haves to complete a full grooming process.

Care

Since you have decided to own a Border Collie and share your personal space with a new best friend for the next 12 to 15 years of your life, then you need to know how to care for them.

Caring for a Border Collie is easy; however, it requires more than purchasing necessities and more of spending a lot of time with it. Concerning necessities, dog products like a leash or harness should be provided. 

A leash or harness helps you maintain control of your dog during walking or hiking. Ensure you choose a comfortable size and style and test them out before on your Border Collie before buying. Avoid retractable leashes as they cause injuries to your Border Collie and teach your dog to pull rather than be still.

A collar that provides necessary information like your Border Collie's name and your phone number (in case it goes missing). Also, feeding equipment like plates and bottles is designed to allow dogs to eat and drink properly.

Toys are also a necessity that helps keep your dog company and training them is required. It’s best to purchase indestructible toys that withstand biting and tugging. Also, these toys prevent choking hazards from happening.

If you intend on crate training, ensure you get a crate that can perfectly suit your Border Collie. The crate should allow for a free range of movement and should not be too cramped or stuffed. A dog bed should also be provided for, although they are not mandatory.

Constant visits to the veterinarian should be incorporated as it helps treat preexisting ailments and also discover underlying ones. Your Border Collie should be up-to-date with the necessary shots, vaccinations, or medications. 

Buy high-quality foods that provide enough nutrients to your Border Collie. Avoid cheap meals that can lead to obesity, heart issues, or cause kidney and dental problems. Invest in supplements and vitamins that provide extra nutrients to their bones and organs.

Health

Although regular kisses, hugs, and visits to a veterinarian can help your Border Collie, they are still liable to getting I’ll like every other dog breed.

Diseases like hip dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans can affect the limbs of your Collie. They are often age-related ailments that catch up with Collie as they grow. It is a painful musculoskeletal condition that causes the limbs, joints, or tendons to wear out, crack, or displace from their natural position.

One of the many ways to manage this is to limit the range of movement of your Border Collie as they age. Also incorporating calcium and other bine-building supplements in their meals can help.

Like humans, Border Collies have two categories of teeth in their lifetime: puppy teeth and adult teeth. They outgrow the puppy teeth into adult ones that they use in tearing meat and breaking bones. Since Border Collies love to chew and rug at things, they are susceptible to dental problems like a buildup of tartar Sue to poor hygiene, plague, and constant gum bleeding. Regular visits to the vet care can help prevent plague and breaking to prevent pain and discomfort. 

Neurological diseases like epilepsy and seizures can also happen as their neurological system can sometimes cease from working properly. Loss of hair, excessive weight loss, weight gain, eating disorders, and lumps caused by hormonal and heart disorders can also arise in some Border Collie breeds. Deafness, cataracts, impaired vision are also some ear and eye impairment issues that are likely to occur. 

However, not all Border Collies will get these ailments as some night be lucky to live a life free from diseases. The above are just likely sicknesses that can happen to Border Collies due to wrong medications, wrong food, or age.