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Border Collies: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Highly intelligent, affectionate, and active, these pups are great protectors and family dogs. If you're considering getting a Border Collie, here's what you need to know about the popular breed.

Border collie playing frisbee with owner


Border Collies are a herding breed that originated in the border region between Scotland and England. They were bred for their intelligence and stamina to help farmers manage their livestock. “Collie” is a Scottish word used to describe sheepdogs, hence their name.

Border Collies are popular family companions due to their protective nature and eagerness to serve a purpose in their families. They’re easy to train, too!

Similar breeds

If you're looking for other dogs with similar traits to a Border Collie, consider the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, or Bearded Collie.

Are Border Collies hypoallergenic?

Border Collies are not hypoallergenic. They have a thick double coat that sheds frequently, which can cause allergies in some people.

However, regular grooming and bathing can help reduce the amount of dander and hair in their environment, which may help people with mild allergies tolerate being around them.

Looking for an allergy-friendly dog? We've got you covered with our guide to hypoallergenic breeds.


Border Collies are known for their loyal, intelligent, and energetic nature. They are affectionate dogs that make great family pets. However, their herding instincts can get in the way of socializing with strangers and young children, and they can be big barkers when on alert at home.

Border Collies are worker dogs that love exercising and being active, which makes them great companions for those who enjoy outdoor activities.

Border Collies need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Many Border Collies enjoy playing fetch, frisbee, and other games with their owners. They're also great runners, so taking them for a jog or dog-friendly hike can be a great way to bond while keeping you and your pup active.

Illness/health concerns

Border Collies are generally healthy dogs but can be prone to certain health issues. Some common concerns include hip dysplasia, eye problems (such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and collie eye anomaly), epilepsy, allergies, and cancer.

Regular veterinary checkups can also help catch these concerns early, making it easier to ensure that your Border Collie stays healthy.

How big do Border Collies get?

The average Border Collie can be as tall as 21 inches, weighing between 30 and 42 pounds.

The size of a dog in adulthood can be affected by factors such as age, gender, and activity levels, and it can be more difficult to estimate if the dog is a mixed breed.

Life expectancy

The average life expectancy of a Border Collie is about 12 to 15 years.

Regular veterinary visits and preventative care can help manage common health concerns and ensure that your Border Collie lives a long and healthy life.

Expected lifetime cost

The lifetime cost of a Border Collie can vary, but you can expect to spend around $20,000 throughout your dog's life. On average, that’s about $1,500 per year.

This cost can vary depending on food, routine vet visits, preventative medications, grooming, and other essential pet care items.

Estimated cost to insure

Pet insurance can help you manage unexpected medical expenses. The cost of insuring a Border Collie can vary based on age, health, and location. You can expect to pay around $30-$50 per month for coverage.

The good, the bad, the ugly

Are you considering getting a Border Collie? These dogs are known for their loyal, intelligent, and energetic personalities but can be a handful. Here are some traits and health factors to keep in mind:

  1. Shedding: Border Collies have a medium-length double coat that sheds year-round. They’re beautiful dogs but require regular brushing to keep their coats healthy and shiny. During shedding season, you may need to brush them more frequently to help manage the hair they leave around your home.

  2. Need for Attention: Border Collies are a social breed and require a lot of attention from their owners. They can be destructive or develop behavioral issues when left alone without mental and physical stimulation. Spending time with your Border Collie and keeping them busy is key to their happiness.

  3. Health issues: Border Collies are prone to certain health conditions, including hip dysplasia, eye issues, and epilepsy. A balanced diet and exercise can help mitigate some of these issues. Still, they should be considered before getting a Border Collie.

  4. Always on Alert: Border Collies are vigilant, making them great protectors quick to detect unusual activity. While this makes them effective watchdogs, it also means that they can be prone to excessive barking. Border Collies are smart, though, so they can be trained to know when it's appropriate to bark and when to be quiet. It’s also worth noting that they’re particularly reactive to noises like fireworks, which can result in destructive, panicking behavior.

  5. Concerns with Children: While Border Collies can make great family pets, they should not be left alone with young kids. Their herding instincts can cause them to chase and nip at children. Displays of affection like jumping and roughhousing can be more intense than intended. Supervising interactions between Collies and children is important until they both know how to play together safely and respectfully.

Border Collies make great companions, but like all breeds, each dog has its own traits and temperament to be aware of. A Border Collie can make a great pet with the right training and care.

So you want a Border Collie...

Before bringing one of these energetic working dogs home, consider their unique behaviors and other challenges that may present themselves when raising and training a Border Collie.

If you're looking for a loyal, intelligent, and active dog, a Border Collie might be the right breed to be your family’s affectionate companion.

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