Border Collies, ranked as One of The Most Intelligent dog breeds is a part of herding dog breed. Developed in the Scottish Border region, this breed has been specifically bred for its intelligence and obedience. Blessed with high energy, stamina and work drive, Border collies are still being used as herding dogs on sheep farms and ranches around the world. Canine behaviourists across the world have ranked Border Collies as one of the most trainable and intelligent dogs that is not only suitable for herding but also excels in canine sports such as obedience, agility, tracking and other competitions. In 2011, a Border Collie was reported to have mastered over 1022 words and acts related to the citation of those words. If you are the proud owner of this breed or are planning to get one, there are certain aspects that you will have to understand about your Border Collie to develop a happy, healthy and long lasting companionship.History
A Border Collie is a descendant of Landrace Collies that were found widely in the British Isles. Between the borders of Scotland and England, herding dogs, especially Border Collies became priced assets for their owners and the best working dogs were bred with each other. With their type varying based on the terrain they worked on, these herding dogs were named Norther Sheepdogs, Welsh Sheepdogs or Highland Collies. The name - Border Collie reflects its a partial Scottish heritage. Historically, in 1860, Scotch Sheep Dogs were on display in a dog show held in England where Queen Victoria was impressed by the breed and became an enthusiast. In early 1858, Collies were listed as imports to New Zealand as working dogs from the United Kingdom.Today Border Collies are recognised as premier sheep herding dog and was recognised as a Breed by the American Kennel Club in 1995.Unique Aspects
One of the most unique aspects of a Border Collie is their superior intelligence. Experts often refer to Border Collies as the rocket scientists of the canine world. Border Collies are also known to be highly sensitive to their handler’s cue - whether its a whistle or a raised eyebrow or even a hand signal. Another unique aspect of a Border Collie is their unique stare, also called “the eye”. The stare is supposed to be so intense that nothing can escape from it. The stare or the eye helps the Border Collie to herd sheep and keep an eye on them. The third aspect which is absolutely unique to this breed is the ability to move quickly in a crouching position like a stalking cat. The gap between the shoulder blades helps the collie to move quickly and herd efficiently.
The Border Collie is exceptional in its intelligence and has been a star in many movies probably because it is easy to train. Silver screen or not this is surely a superstar in the dog training shows though. Here is a list of movies and celebrities that you share your pet with.
Border Collie was the protagonist in The Dog of the Year. It has also starred in movies such as Babe, Hotel for Dogs. Along with this they have played cameos in Snow Dogs, Dog Soldier, Day After Tomorrow and Up the Creek.
Celebrities Border Collie owners
There are not many celebrity owners when it comes to this smart breed. Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker each own this adorable dog.
A Border Collie has a double coat which is of two types - rough and smooth. The outer coat is coarse and rough in texture while the undercoat is smooth and soft. The coat is mainly black white a blaze of white on the face, neck, feet legs and the tail. Grooming a Border Collie is not much of a hassle. The water resistant double coat of a Border Collie will require a weekly brushing regime to keep the coat oils well distributed and to prevent matting of the fur. Frequent brushing during the season when they shed a lot will be good to prevent hair shed around the house. Border Collies do not need regular baths and can be given a bath only when very dirty or when smells terrible. Brushing teeth will ensure that there is not tartar or plaque buildup and that gum diseases or bad breath can be avoided. Cleaning the ears will also help prevent ear infections. The nails of a Border Collie grow real fast. It will be advisable to trim their nails regularly to avoid pain during walking and also to avoid getting scratched when training your Collie. It is imperative that grooming regime should begin from an early age, so that as the puppy grown, it is now wary of anyone grooming their teeth or nails or ears.
Border Collies are said to be an extremely healthy and sturdy a breed. However, there may be some health issues that may inflict on a Border Collie which may be hereditary or genetic in nature. When adopting a Border Collie, do seek medical clearance on conditions such as Hip dysplasia, retinal atrophy or even epilepsy. A thorough study of the medical history of the pups parents will be helpful. Some of the common ailments that may affect a Border Collie are:
Hip Dysplasia - a genetic disorder in which the thighbone is not joint properly in the hip socket as a result of which there is lameness or pain in either of the legs.
Retinal Atrophy, is a condition that involves gradual deterioration of the retina. As the disease progresses, the dogs may become night blind or lose sight during the day.
Epilepsy is a neurological medical condition that is genetic or inherited from the parents.Epilepsy in dogs can cause mild to severe seizures preceded to followed by drastic change in behaviour such as running or falling , loss of consciousness or even losing bladder control.
Collie Eye Anomaly is another inherited condition that causes changes and abnormalities in the eye which may lead to blindness. These changes may be an abnormal development of choroids, a defect in the optic disc or retinal detachment.
Osteochondrosis Dissecans is an orthopaedic problem which causes an improper growth of cartilage in the joints causing painful stiffening of the joints.
Border Collies are very intelligent and have a driven and focused temperament. With the ability to be trained to a high degree, Border Collies are born athletes, known for their speed and stamina, and have been a part of competitive sports and trainings, such as agility, sheepdog trials, obedience and even frisbee. For long, Border Collies have been bred and trained to perform complex tasks with or without human involvement in the task. Border Collies are highly energetic and have a great stamina. They are ideally not a pet for a novice or a new pet parent as without ample amount of training and work, Border Collies tend to become destructive and start herding children or even cars as they have such a strong herding drive. This breed is not the one that will lay idle on the porch while you sip your tea, so in case you are unable to put several hours in keeping these dogs physically and mentally challenged, this breed is not for you. Agility trainings, frisbee trainings and other activities will help your Border Collie bond with you stronger. Since this dog is so intelligent, owners will have to display leadership qualities else, the dog might not train well and become dominant or destructive.Environment
The only downside of having a Border Collie is its energetic and workaholic attitude. Border Collies do not do well in an apartment as they are extremely active and need large spaces such as farms or gardens to train, work and expend his energy. Border Collies do best when they have a job and their herding and nipping instinct is directed in the right direction. For a family that can provide ample training and challenging tasks along with work to a Border Collie will definitely be able to enjoy the intelligent and tractable nature that makes them so easy to train. Right socialisation with children and other pets will have to begin from early age to help the pup adapt to their living conditions.Training & Intelligence
As previously mentioned, a Border Collie is an exceptionally intelligent dog and is a good breed for families who are as active as this breed is and who is eager to be involved in dog sports and trainings. With the right training, Border Collies excel in any activity that the dog may be involved in whether its sheepdog trials, agility, obedience, flyball, tracking, frisbee, advanced obedience, freestyle obedience, dancing or even learning mathematical tables. With their strong herding instinct, pet parents will have to teach these dogs from early on that herding or nipping family members, children or even other pets is not acceptable.
Border Collies are extremely healthy and sturdy a breed and can be mated after it reaches a mature age of 1.5 years - 2 years. Before mating, it will be advisable to see the medical history of the mate to rule out any medical conditions that may be transferred genetically. If you are a first time pet parent, you might want to seek medical help from a veterinarian for the neonatal care and care post the delivery of the pups.Puppies
An average litter size for a Border Collie will be between 4 - 6 pups. Owners of the pups will never have a dull moment as these pups will constantly try to please you and with their high energy and stamina keep you on your toes. It will be advisable to start on obedience and house training and also socialisation with other people, children and pets from an early age to have a well developed personality.
In general a Border Collie is a medium size dog with a slightly long body and a relatively flat skull. On an average male Border Collies measure anywhere between 48 - 56 cms while female Collies are slightly smaller measuring between 46 - 53 cms. The skull and the muzzle of a Border Collie is about the small length with a moderate stop. The ears are medium in size and set well apart whereas the medium sized white tip tail is set low. A border Collie has a double coated fur which may be a combination of black and white fur. The eyes vary from brown to blue colour though at times a Border Collie may have eyes of different colours. According to American Kennel Club, the preferred eye colour is dark brown. A Border Collie has a strong muscular body with strong legs that help a Collie move quickly especially while herding giving them super endurance.