Breed of the Month: Border Collie

Alexa R.

Staff Writer

The working dog of the world is the Border Collie, known for its intelligence, instinct, and working ability. It is an average, medium-sized, athletic dog that moves in a stalking manner and uses an intense gaze to herd. Its coat can be rough or smooth and can be any color from tri-color to solid patterns. This dog is a perfect dog for someone who is willing to work with it and keep its mind stimulated.

Between Scotland and England is where Border Collies first originated. They were first classified as the “Scotch Sheep Dog.” These dogs herded large flocks of sheep for farmers. bordercollie_nneely ARThen in the 19th century, Queen Victoria had one and made it her pet rather than just a working animal. At this point, the modern Border Collie was developed because people began to have these dogs as more than just herd dogs.

These dogs may be desirable, but owners need to be educated on how to keep them healthy. Border Collies are more susceptible to developing epilepsy, hip dysplasia, PRA (Collie Eye Irregularity) and deafness. They are also often allergic to fleas. Additionally, this type of breed can carry a MDR1 gene, which makes them sensitive to certain drugs that are typically safe to give other breeds of dogs.

Border Collies have more than just health needs; they need a regular bushing to keep their coats bright and shiny. Extra grooming is required when their undercoat is shedding; using a brush like the FurBuster is an easy way to get rid of the shedding because the brush removes only the layer of hair that is falling out. This breed does shed, not excessively, but still enough to cause fur balls in one’s house, so keeping up with its brushing is a way to help the shedding mess. Owners should bathe or dry shampbotm ARoo their Border Collie only when necessary because it can ruin the coat of the dog if done too often. Although the grooming needs may seem like a large amount of work, keeping up with it will eliminate problems in the long run.

Not only is health achieved by taking dogs to the vet, but physical exercise is just as important for this very intelligent and highly energetic dog. Border Collies want to work for their owners; these lively little dogs have so much energy they need to use on hard work, like going to get the paper at the end of the driveway, and mind-stimulating games like hide and go seek with their favorite toy. They should also be taken on a long, brisk daily walk to help them get their daily dose of exercise. Border Collies are fun to watch while they are playing or working hard because they enjoy doing these activities so much.

Border Collies, since so intelligent and active, may not work well for certain families. The Border Collie will not likely be happy with living in an apartment because these dogs need to stay active; therefore, they would do best with an acreage that offers plenty of room to run. However, this breed will do fine in a kennel if trained for it and given the dog has daily activity and sees enough of its owner. An involved family would work best for this breed. Farmers also tend to be happy with Border Collies, as the breed was originally bred as a farmhand. These dogs will be happiest with other people and dogs if given enough attention; otherwise, they can become restless and annoy their owner, and they may be aggressive with other dogs of the same sex if they feel dominant over the owner. This breed lives for serving its owner day in and day out. They are a very good companion, so someone who wants this dog with them at all times is most ideal.

Problems can come from not taking care of Border Collies the right way. When not challenged daily, they can and will become destructive. These dogs cannot be left alone for too long with nothing to do. If they have not been exercised to the point where they are both mentally and physically tired, they will ruin items around the house because of boredom. A bored Border Collie may start using its escape artist talents, among displaying other behavior problems. They have strong herding instincts and may try to herd children and strangers and must be taught to act appropriately. Hannah Frantz, senior, says, “I had a Border Collie when I was younger, and he always tried to herd me and my siblings. Not in a mean or aggressive way, but just pushing us along with his nose.” Owners must give this pet the attention it needs, and the owner and the dog will both have a happy life together.

The Border Collie is very intelligent and always aware of its surroundings. It is able to be trained at a very high level. This is one of the hardest working dogs who thrives by getting praised by its owner. Border Collies are known for being the leaders of competitive sports. They excel in agility skills, obedience, sheepdog trials and Frisbee. Having this type of dog can be very rewarding since they can and will do so much for their owners, loving them unconditionally if given these small requests.

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