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Border Collie breed guide

a border collie enjoying the outdoors


Up to 21.84 inches (to shoulder)


Males and females up to 48.4 lbs


10 – 14 years


The Border Collie breed can trace its origins back to Great Britain during the time of the Roman Empire. Their name is often thought to come from their prominence across the Anglo-Scottish border, where shepherds would make use of their cunning intelligence and energy to guard and herd livestock. Collie was first used to refer to this breed during the 19th century, likely because of the word’s Celtic roots, meaning “useful”.

The United Kingdom was the first country to coin the term “Border Collie” in 1915, as the International Sheep Dog Society (ISDS) wanted to distinguish them from the Kennel Club’s Collie. While these two breeds share common ancestry, the Kennel Club Collie was bred with a mixture of various breeds following their show ring debut in 1860.

Border Collies are prominently found in their country of origin, the United Kingdom. They are also popular in other nations such as the United States, New Zealand and Australia where they were historically imported as working dogs from Great Britain.


The Border Collie is a slender yet muscular medium-sized dog, being longer than they are tall. They have a tail of medium length, and have a double coat, with long and soft outer layers.

These beautiful dogs have a pointy nose, and their ears can be either raised, semi-raised or even worn low. Their eye colour can range from brown to blue, with their eyes typically being an oval shape.

The fur of a Border Collie can be various shades and colours. The most common coats however are black and white, with black being the dominant colour.


Considered to be one of the most intelligent sheep dogs, the Border Collie is a fast learner and responds excellently to training. They are known to be hardworking and have bundles of energy, so this breed is best advised for owners who can spare plenty of time for long walks and plenty of play.

While they are great with children and are a loving member of the family, they aren’t the biggest fans of strangers. Border Collies are also not the best at forming friendships with other dogs, so families without a dog already would be an ideal fit for this breed.

Things to watch out for

While they respond exceptionally well to training, Border collies are known to be quite impulsive if left to their own devices. They also love to be kept busy and are known to herd children if left unoccupied.

This breed is prone to a hereditary illness known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), with symptoms of this illness showing between the ages of 3 – 5 years old. When you have a Border Collie, be on the lookout for any signs of blindness.

Did you know?

With dedicated training and daily exercise, Border Collies are exceptional competitors in sports such as flyball and sheep herding contests.


Why not protect your Border Collie with one of our pet insurance policies for dogs? We have several policies for you to choose from.


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