Border Collie – the most intelligent dog
People fall in love with it right away. Its energy, charm, and impressive intelligence make Border Collie an exceptional, but at the same time – despite appearances – very demanding dog. If you want to become the owner of this magnificent dog, think out whether you are able to accept its personality and natural spontaneity.
- Group 1: Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs
- Section 1: Sheepdogs
- With working trial
The history of the breed
The Collie dogs from the British Isles are Border Collie’s descendants. The name probably originated from the Anglo-Scottish border region. When it comes to the breed’s name, the word ”collie” or ”colley” first appeared at the end of the 19th-century. The word collie, in general, is older than this one and comes from the Scots language. A majority of today’s breed’s purebred representatives were developed from the dog called Old Hemp.
In 1915 James Reid, the secretary of British International Sheep Dog Society first used the name Border Collie in order to distinguish the dogs registered by ISDS from those registered by the Kennel Club (Rough Collie and Smooth Collie). Although all of those were the working dogs, Border Collie looked differently, which is why since 1860, it has taken part in the dog shows.
It is medium-sized and has a moderately long, dense fur, which shed quite often. The fur has mixed texture – it may be soft or coarse.
The breed’s coloration varies significantly. However, black and white varieties are the most often. Apart from that there may be as well a black tricolor (tanned black and white), red, red and white, red tricolor (tanned red and white), blue, lilac, merle, blue merle, brindle and Australian red-gold which is the rarest variety. Sometimes the coloration may be monochromatic. The eye color ranges from brown to blue. Sometimes they are multicolor, especially in the case of the merle variety. The eyes are almond-shaped and set widely apart.
The ears are as well characteristic. They may be erect, hanging loose or half-erect. According to the AKC, the breed’s appearance should be less important than its skills and posture. This is why Border Collie is more recognized from its working methods and gait than its coloration or fur.
Border Collie is very brisk, therefore, it requires a lot of exercises and intellectual stimulation. It is utterly intelligent, thanks to which it is great as a sheepdog and a family dog.
As a working dog, it is very demanding when it comes to physical activity and play. It feels great with people who pay a lot of attention to it and who provided it with other dogs’ company. If its natural needs are not fulfilled, it may develop such neurotic behavior as digging the holes, biting or chewing objects,
It should not be owned by a person who cannot provide it with a proper stimulation. Raising Border Collie it is essential to provide it with the physical and intellectual activities.
People get rid of it, mainly because it may not be suitable for families with children and for people who own other dogs and cats. This is because it has a strong need to have a herd.
Leading causes of Border Collies’ death are cancer (23.6%), old age (17.9%) and cerebral vascular afflictions (9.4%).
The breed is prone to hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and the Collie eye anomaly, which may be both genetic and acquired. In case of Border Collies, this disease is not very serious and does not lead to vision impairment. Within the races are also found two types of hearing loss: the first related to coat color in puppies the second type occurs in adult dogs.
The dog can hear during first years of its life, then its hearing may get worse and after one to eight years the dog may lose its hearing completely. The genetic cause of this disease has not been recognized yet, however the research is in progress.
Border Collie as a sheepdog
Border Collies may be led by the whistling or with a voice from long distances. They have a lot of energy and they have strong herding instinct thanks to which it can work with all the animals: sheep, cattle, poultry and pigs. They are also used to rush the unwanted wild birds from runways at airports, golf courses and other areas of public and private.
Their work as sheepdogs is economically effective. One dog is usually able to perform a work for three people. In vast arid areas like the Australian Outback or the Karoo Escarpment, the number increases to five or more.
The attempts have been made to replace the dogs with machines, but it has not been successful. Hence, Border Collies are highly sought-after in the sheep-runs.
According to Stanley Coren, Border Collies are the most intelligent dogs in the world. Moreover, they also live much longer than any other breeds. They may live even 21 years. See the article The most intelligent dogs – top 130.
Detailed information / size
- Height at shoulders: males: 50 cm (19,7”) – 53 cm (21”) females: 47 cm (18,5”) – 52 cm (20,5”)
- Weight: males: 15 kg (33 lb) – 20 kg (44 lb) females: 12 kg (26,5 lb) – 18 kg (40 lb)
- Average lifespan: 13 -16 years, quite often 18 -21 years
Border Collie – curiosities
- A word collie comes probably from the Celtic language and means ”useful”.
- According to Stanley Coren, Border Collie is the most intelligent dog breed.
- The breed’s enthusiasts are against Border Collie’s participation in the purebred dog shows, which according to them may affect its working skills.
- They are great in dog sports such as flyball, dog frisbee, and musical freestyle. Because they have a highly developed sense of smell, they take part in tracking shows.