This is the Border Collie, one of Australia's favourite dogs right now.

All About the Border Collie: Australia’s #4 Favourite Dog


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It’s official! The Border Collie is ranked #1 most intelligent dog and puppy in the world. A quick Google search and you’ll find many canine psychologists, dog experts and vets agree. Perhaps this is one reason why the Border Collie is Australia’s fourth most popular dog breed.

Because the BC is such a firm favourite let’s look at more reasons why we love them.

Is the Border Collie a good family dog?

Border Collies are wonderful dogs for families. They’re affectionate, playful and very engaging. They love children and can (read: ‘will’) play all day long if given the chance. They’re also a suitable pet for singles because they love the one-on-one quality time and can become very connected to their special person.  

Besides being the perfect buddy, their natural loyalty to loved ones and caution toward strangers makes them good guard dogs. They love training and pick up new commands easily so with a bit of direction you can count on them to guard you well.

Because they need to run and flex their agility skills as much as possible, they’re not good indoor dogs. If you live in an apartment or prefer to spend time with a more chilled canine buddy, read about small dog breeds that make some of the best pets for apartments.

This is the Border Collie, Australia's fourth favourite dog right now.

Do Border Collies need much exercise?

Yes, Border Collies love and need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. Without the right amount of physical activity, they tend to become anxious and hyperactive. If you’re a fitness fanatic or love going hiking with your canine best bud then this intelligent dog could be your match.

The BC breed was bred to herd cattle all day long and as a result have built-in stamina and endurance. In fact, they don’t just like exercise, they need it on a regular basis to stay healthy and happy.

When Border Collies don’t get adequate amounts of exercise they tend to become jittery and can develop behavioural problems, including chewing household belongings, excessive barking, or even nipping. Exercise is important for all dogs, but different breeds have varied needs – find out how much exercise does a dog need.

Daily doses for your Border Collie to live happily

If you’re planning to get the intelligent Border Collie dog for your household, here’s what time you should budget into your daily schedule:

  • Approximately 90 minutes of daily exercise, or
  • 16-24 km distance runs (preferably off leash)
  • Playing energy-busting games that help your Border Collie and learn new skills

There’s no need to stick to these guidelines – if you can go for longer, more strenuous bouts of activity, even better. If they’re in prime health, your Collie should be able to literally run all day… just to wake up and do it all over.

If your Border Collie puppy likes to swim (read about dog pool training) that’s also a great way to burn off excess energy.

A sheepdog runs fast, showing skill and agility

Border Collie puppies – what do they need?

Although this intelligent dog breed needs plenty of exercise, it’s less the case when they’re puppies. Up until about eight months old their fragile ligaments and bones shouldn’t be stressed or this can result in health issues down the line.

Border Collie puppies should still play and exercise but in short spurts. Our list of puppy games to play includes activities that are easy going and age appropriate.

This is the ideal window in a Border Collie puppy’s life to start obedience training, which also helps them burn up energy through mental stimulation. Even though they may be learning to sit, stay or heel this activity still helps use up energy and keeps them happy and focused.

Once your Border Collie puppy is big enough to train properly, basic training will help them to behave in public spaces like parks or on the beach. They love to run off-leash, so teaching them commands from early on will make this easier once they’re grown.

Read some simple puppy training tips to get you started.

How long do Border Collies live for?

Border Collie dogs tend to live for an impressive 12 to 14 years on average. This means you’ll have many joyful and memorable years to spend with your loyal and active fur-end.

Just remember, providing your Border Collie dog with proper care, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and lots of love will contribute to their long and happy life by your side.

A Border Collie puppy sits cutely in a grass basket

How did Border Collies get their name?

These smart canines originally come from the border region between Scotland and England. That’s where they get the ‘Border’ part of their name. The word for herding dogs in Scotland is Collie. Hence, they became the Collie of the English-Scottish border, or – the Border Collie.

From there they were brought to New Zealand and Australia in the 1800s. A sheepdog named Hindhope Jed is one of the most well-known of these dogs. More about her and other famous BCs in the next section.

But first, here are some other interesting Border Collie facts:

  • Border Collies can run up to 48 km p/h
  • They have great agility, and can make fast turns while keeping their speed
  • Border Collies are used in search and rescue operations
  • All purebred Border Collies can be traced to a single ancestor called Old Hemp
  • Their coats can be one, two or three colours and are double layered

Famous Border Collies

Besides being perfect pets and excellent herders, these intelligent dogs are capable of many more amazing feats. Here are some famous Border Collies and a title to be proud of:

  • Great feats. A pooch named Geronimo, a Border Collie and Kelpie cross, serves as one such example. Geronimo holds two Guinness World Records:  Most skips by a dog in one minute (91) and most double dutch style skips by a dog in one minute (128). Not only is she an ace jumper, she’s also a rescue dog. Watch the video to see Geronimo in action.
  • Most intelligent breed. Research by award winning Professor of Psychology Stanley Coren (University of British Columbia) names the Border Collie the ‘Most intelligent breed of dog’. In fact, the breed officially holds this title in the Guinness World Records.
The BC can change direction and continue running at great speeds.

Do Border Collies have a lot of health issues?

One common health problem that can affect your Border Collie is degenerative eye conditions, which can lead to blindness. Epilepsy can also affect this breed, causing them to have seizures. Read about Beagle epilepsy for more on how this condition affects dogs.

Behavioural problems for a Border Collie include compulsive behaviour such as digging, chewing and barking. Without the proper interventions, behaviours like these can progress into obsessive compulsive disorder in dogs. Training, socialisation, exercise and mental stimulation should all help, or a pet behaviourist can speed up the process.

Like many herding dogs Border Collies motion sensitive, which can lead to chasing cars when they don’t get the necessary training. Regrettably, cars moving at great speeds can knock or even kill pets.

How bad do Border Collies shed?

The Border Collie has a soft luxurious fur that tends to shed all year round. They’ve a soft downy undercoat and a hardier outercoat making a waterproof and wind resistant double coat. Now that’s what you call designer outfitting.

In springtime shedding can get worse and you may notice more fur on your sofa or even floating through the air like dandelion petals. Grooming your Border Collie will help you keep the fur under control.

Here’s how:

  • Brushing: brush for up to 10 minutes at a time two/three times a week and daily in spring. Use a de-shedding brush (like the one on this list of Christmas gifts for pet lovers) to get the best results.
  • Diet: speak to your vet about the best diet for your pooch as a healthy diet will result in a healthy coat and reduce the overall quantity of shedding.
  • Parasite treatments: regular flea and tick treatment for dogs is important as fleas and ticks will exacerbate shedding.

Want some more grooming tips? Read these routine pet care focuses for your new puppy. You could also pamper your pet at one of the great Australian spas or dog groomers.

PD Insurance member celebrate National Purebred Dog Day with her Border Collie

More amazing dog breeds

If you’re excited to explore and learn about the amazing dog breeds out there, check out our blog posts below. There’s so much fascinating info waiting for you:

  1. Everything You Need to Know About the Schnauzer
  2. Australian Cattle Dog – The Aussie Great
  3. A Staffy’s Heart is Bigger Than Its Bite: Here’s Why
  4. All About the Cute, Designer Cavoodle
  5. Pug: Breed Profile, Health, and History
  6. 10 Australian Dog Breeds and Their Portraits

Pet insurance for your loyal Border Collie

Whether a BC or not, your pup deserves a soft landing with PD dog insurance. This way non-routine tests, treatment, medications and more will cost you less and always be available when they need it most.

Having pet insurance means not having to make a head-over-heart decision on pet medical care because, from X-rays and surgery to hospitalisation and medicine, your pet’s plan can help pay a host of vet expenses.

Don’t wait a moment longer – when you buy online, PD Insurance currently gives you one or more months of FREE pet insurance. Click below to get a quote today.

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