Border Collie: Australia’s #5 Favourite Dog

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

It’s official! The Border Collie is ranked #1 most intelligent dog 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 fifth favourite dog right now.

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 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 fairly easily, so with a bit of direction you can count on them to guard you well.

They need to run and flex their agility skills as much as possible, which means they’re not good indoor dogs. If you live in an apartment or prefer to spend time with a more chilled canine buddy, find out about more of Australia’s favourite dog breeds for an ideal match.

Do Border Collies need much exercise?

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

Collies were 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.

Collies who are under-exercised tend to become jittery and can rack up behavioural problems, from chewing your household belongings to 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.

If you’re planning to get a Border Collie, 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 puppy play 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 pup likes to swim that’s also a great way to burn off excess energy.

Border Collies need lots of exercise as they've been bred for stamina and endurance.

Border Collie puppies

Although this 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.

Puppies should still play and exercise, but in short spurts and the activity should be easy going. This is the ideal window in a Border Collie’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 they’re 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.

Here are some easy puppy training tips to get you started.

Border Collie puppies can start out with obedience training rather than strenuous exercise given their bones and ligaments are still growing.

How did Border Collies get their name?

These smart canines originally come from the border region between Scotland and England. So 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. One of the best-known of these dogs is a sheep dog named Hindhope Jed.

Hindhope Jed won three sheepdog trials in Scotland before travelling to Australasia where she became the champion sheepdog in New Zealand and Australia.

Border Collie facts

Besides being perfect pets and excellent herders, these cute canines are capable of many more amazing feats. One such example is a pooch named Geronimo who is a Border Collie and Kelpie cross. 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.

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 also used in search and rescue
  • All purebred Border Collies can be traced to a single ancestor called Old Hemp
  • Collies’ coats can be one, two or three colours and are double layered
The Border Collie can change direction and continue running at great speeds.

How bad do Collies shed?

Border Collies have soft luxurious fur which tends to shed all year round. They have a soft downy undercoat and a hardier outercoat making a waterproof and wind resistant double coat.

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 pooch 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 deshedding brush 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 is important as fleas and ticks will exacerbate shedding

Want some more grooming tips? Read these routine pet care focuses for your new puppy.

Do Border Collies have a lot of health issues?

Some common health problems that can affect Border Collies are degenerative eye conditions, which can lead to blindness. Epilepsy can also affect this breed, causing them to have seizures.

Behavioural problems for Collies include compulsive behaviour such as digging, chewing, and barking. Like many herding dogs they’re motion sensitive, which can lead to chasing cars when they don’t get the necessary training. Sadly, this can result in pets getting knocked or even killed by cars moving at great speeds.

Give your pup a soft landing with dog insurance. This way routine check-ups and medical treatment will cost you less and always be available when pup needs it most.

Border Collie – over to you

Do you have a special relationship with a border Collie? Send us a pic on Facebook and share your tips for keeping them healthy and happy in the comments.

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