Guild of Shepherds & Collies

Are You Ready for a Border Collie? Lovable Breed Not For Everyone

A Border Collie Makes A Great Pet, Not Gift

border collie

The name “Border Collie” was first coined in 1915 and the breed has been around even longer than that.  They’ve long been popular as herding dogs and are known to be exceptional at herding livestock.  But years ago, back in 1995, Border Collies gained mainstream attention on the big screen as “Rex” and “Fly” in the movie Babe, and showed the world their intelligence, ability to work hard, and the possibility that they make great pets.  

Just as Dalmatians became popular after 101 Dalmatians came out, the demand for pet Border Collies grew in the wake of the movie.  They may not have had star billing, but since few parents wanted to bring a pet pig into the family, Border Collies were the next best thing.   And why not?  They’re adorable, cute and cuddly.  Not too big and not too little, and they’re smart - very smart.

You may also remember Bandit, the Ingalls’ family dog on Little House on the Prairie.   So … they must be the perfect family pet, right?  Well, yes and no.  They’re affectionate, playful and easy to train, and yes, they do make great pets – for owners that know what they’re getting into. However,  Border Collies are not for everyone.  

Potential Border Collie parents need to know the dog’s characteristics – and make sure they’re a good match.  So don’t buy one for yourself or your kids just because you saw them in a movie.   And don’t give a Border Collie – or any herding breed dog - as a surprise gift.  

So who should get a Border Collie?  First off, someone who not only recognizes, but appreciates the breed’s high energy, endurance and intense desire to work – in short, all of the qualities that make them good herding dogs.  They’re still used on ranches and sheep farms today because of their natural herding instincts and their exceptional intelligence.  (Many experts consider Border Collies to be the most intelligent breed there is.)  

Though you don’t need to worry – you don’t need to be a sheepherder to own a Border Collie!  In fact, athletes and competitive dog parents will also be happy to learn that those same traits make Border Collies highly successful at agility sports and sheepdog trials.  

One dog trainer I know has a pair of Border Collies that help her with all of her obedience classes – from beginner to advanced.  And they’re perfect for that.  They’re attentive and obey her every command.  They don’t tire and they love to demonstrate how to do everything from basic tricks to catching Frisbees and navigating a doggy obstacle course.  

But can just a regular guy (or gal or family) successfully own a Border Collie?  Of course – sort of.   Think of it like this:  Some dogs would be a great addition to any family, and some families would be a good match for any dog.  But Border Collies?  Well, they need a special kind of family.  Not one that’s professionally trained, just one that’s willing to put in the time and effort to exercise their new pup (a lot!) and provide them with both the mental and physical stimulation they need.  

Border Collies won’t be content just lying around, though too much commotion can make them over-stimulated and you may find them nipping at your heels in an effort to herd you, your kids and your other pets.  

Don’t get us wrong - we love Border Collies, thus we want to ensure that as hard-working herding dogs, they find the right owner and the right care.   Affection is great, but they need commitment and extra attention more than they need to snuggle.

Dogs aren’t one-size fits all, so if you’re thinking of giving one as a gift – or getting one for yourself - give it some thought.  Do your research, consider your lifestyle and contact some reputable breeders and dog rescues.  

The perfect dog is definitely out there.  Just make sure it’s the right one for you.


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