The Border Collie

Exercise Requirements  
Grooming Requirements  
Weight18-22 Kg (approx)
Life Span13-15 Years (approx)


The border collie is a well proportioned dog of medium size (dogs 48-53 cm and bitches 46-51 cm), the smooth outline showing quality, gracefulness and perfect balance, combined with sufficient substance to ensure that it is capable of enduring long periods of active duty in its intended task as a working sheep dog.

They are a double coated breed, with a moderately long, dense, medium textured topcoat while the undercoat is short, soft and dense, making a weather resisting protection, with abundant coat to form mane, breeching and brush.

They can be black and white, blue and white, chocolate and white, red and white, blue merle and the tri-colour black, tan and white.


The Border Collie originated in the United Kingdom, or more specifically, in the area bordering Scotland and England.
The breed was originally known as the "Working Collie" in the early 1900s and through selective breeding has evolved the Border Collie we see today. It is believed that the breed emerged from a mixed ancestry, including the Bob tailed sheep dog, the Bearded Collie and the Harlequin Collie. There is also some references that the collie was often crossed with the setter. This could account for the milder temperament of the Border Collie.
In 1893, Adam Telfer, a farmer living in Otterburn, mated a couple of his working collies, Roy and Meg and produced one called Old Hemp, which might be regarded as the foundation sire of the Border Collie breed. Hemp indeed was early recognised as the very quintessence of the working sheep dog and his services were in great demand. Not only did he sire some two hundred puppies before he died in 1901, but he seems to have been capable of transmitting his own pre-potency to his offspring with the result that Border Collie pedigrees are about as clearly defined as any in the livestock world.
The first recorded import of a Border Collie into Australia was Hindhope Jed in 1901 and research has led us to believe that they were first shown in 1907. They were first shown at the Sydney Royal in 1933 as "Any Other Variety". Later, they were shown in the non-sporting group and in 1953, a separate group was formed, comprising the Australian Cattle Dog, the Australian Kelpie and the Border Collie. This was called "The Australian Working Dog Group" and it was at this time that the RAS Kennel Control classed the Border Collie as an Australian Working Dog because it was one of the main working dogs in Australia and greatly relied on in our sheep and wool industry. This classification has carried through to the present day, although other breeds were added to these in 1961 and the group was then renamed the "Working Dog Group".
The Border collie’s intelligence, tractability and stamina are breed assets which have long been recognised and sought after in their sheep dog work . These same traits are now being put to good use by our "suburban" Borders in the fields of obedience, tracking and agility.
Of course, the Border Collie is first and foremost, a sheep dog and for many years was used for this purpose only. However, the breed has shown its ability to adapt to city life: as long as the Border Collie is in the right home, it is a most attractive and companionable dog, intelligent, loyal and full of fun.


The Border Collie is a loyal, loving family pet who is highly intelligent, with an instinctive tendency to work and is readily responsive to training. They are alert, lively, energetic, full of life and need to have this energy and enthusiasm directed positively.

They are generally a gentle and good natured dog and are happiest when they are with their family. They are affectionate towards friends but may be sensibly reserved with strangers.

Any tendency towards aggressiveness or extreme shyness is not desired.

Care / Grooming

Exercise: As they are a working breed they need at least one good walk a day with the opportunity to have free running a number of times a week. When they are fully mature they will be happy to go jogging or trot along beside a bike.

Grooming – comb through coat in sections with a comb or rake comb right to the skin and finish off with a brush. When the dog is shedding coat (usually spring/summer) make sure that you regularly groom him/her to remove all dead coat before it forms mats and knots. Always groom before bathing.
Feeding – regular well balanced meals of good quality dry dog food and fresh meat/chicken/vegetables. Raw bones to be given regularly to keep teeth/gums clean. Like all breeds border collies can become obese if fed too much/exercised too little which can shorten their life and give them health problems.

Training – As border collies are highly intelligent they need training, games and toys to keep them occupied. Although easy to train if they are allowed to do what they want they can be naughty so need to learn their place from the start and should commence with puppy pre school classes followed by classes at a local obedience club.

Worms/Vaccinations - General worming, heart worm prevention and vaccinations need to be done. Your local vet will give you the best advice/program for your dog.


Border Collies are considered to be a generally healthy breed. However, as in all animals, there are some potential health problems. This information is presented to help both breeders and buyers to become more aware of some of the health and genetic issues in the breed at this time.

Inherited disorders reported in the breed include the following:


CL is a type of storage disease affecting Border Collies. CL is likely to be published as NCL in up and coming scientific literature (the N stands for neuronal). This is because it is a storage disease which affects the nervous tissue, or neurons, of the brain.

Inheritance patterns and percentage of affected pups in litters indicate that CL is inherited in a recessive manner. The gene responsible for disease causes a faulty protein to be made in the neurons, this causes an accumulation of waste products inside the tissues of the brain and the function of the neuron is destroyed. Symptoms of CL usually commence with behavioural changes- hyperactivity and aggression, progressing to loss of learned behaviour, dementia and blindness. Clinical signs usually commence between 16 months and 23 months. Therefore the problem occurs well after puppies are sold and it is heartbreaking for owners as well as breeders. There is no cure or treatment for affected animals, and all are eventually euthanased on humane grounds.

Since 1980 a total of 26 litters have been identified as having CL affected puppy/s. When compared with the vast number of litters bred in this time, it can be seen that this disorder is actually very rare in the breed. In March 1989, the Border Collie Club of Victoria set up a committee to help monitor the incidence of CL and provide relevant information. Actions this committee took to assist breeders were the publication of the names and pedigrees of proven carriers of CL, and the raising of funds to assist in developing a test to diagnose carriers of CL.

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