Border collies are thought to be the most intelligent breed of dog in the world. Unfortunately, this intelligence can get them into a lot of trouble. This dog needs to be kept busy or he will develop a lot of bad habits. This is not a dog that can do well living in an apartment or other small home. Because of the breed's popularity, many mongrels have border collie in their genetic makeup.
Border collies get their names from being bred along the border of Scotland and England in the 1800s, not for being "borderline insane" (as some Internet myths say). This breed has been known by many names, including working collie and just colley. They are thought to descend from the Scottish shepherd, the Cumberland sheepdog and the borzoi. The first foresire was Old Hemp, whelped in 1893. The name was cemented in 1915. They did not become an American Kennel Club-recognized breed until 1980.
Border collies were bred to herd sheep or other livestock outside in a rugged, wet landscape. They were meant not only to drive the herds, but also to protect them when people weren't there. This resulted in a dog able to solve problems, with a huge need to always be doing something. Many border collies still work on farms and ranches, but they also work as rescue dogs and bomb or drug detection dogs and participate in dog sports.
Border collies are medium-size. Because they were bred for function and not for looks, their size and weight can vary considerably. The average dog is 21 inches tall from the ground to the highest point of the shoulder. The average weight is 40 to 50 pounds.
There is a wide variety of physical traits in border collies. Some have floppy ears; some have straight triangle ears. Most have very long, thick coats, but short-haired purebred border collies are often born in Australia and the United States. Black and white are the usual colors, but they also come in brown and white, tricolored (black, brown and white) and blue merle. Their eyes can be brown, blue or both.
Please don't buy a border collie puppy from a pet store, as this supports the cruel puppy mill industry. Border collies are prone to several health problems, including hip dysplasia, epilepsy and thyroid problems. They also have two unique diseases: neurononal ceroid lipofuscinosis and collie eye anomaly.
This is a dog that needs to be with you constantly. Otherwise boredom will drive him to incredibly destructive and annoying behaviors. Many border collies are abandoned because they are too smart for their owners. This breed is one of the more nervous, and they require very patient and calm handling.