Border Collies are among the most popular dogs in the United States due to their intelligence, agility, and friendly nature. Owners can use them as working dogs on farms and ranches, but they also make excellent pets for active families. However, like any breed of dog, Border Collies have their pros and cons. Keep reading as we explore the biggest advantages and disadvantages of owning this dog to help you see if this breed is right for you.
The 8 Border Collie Pros
The Border Collie has the reputation of being one of the smartest dogs in the world, and many organizations actually put them at the top of the list. They are quick learners and eager to please, so they are easy to train and excel in agility, obedience, and herding competitions.
2. Active Lifestyle
Border Collies have a high energy level and require a significant amount of exercise to stay healthy, making them ideal for people who enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, running, and biking. They love going for long walks and enjoy adventures.
3. Loyal and Protective
The Border Collie is a loyal and protective breed that forms a strong bond with their owner and is always ready to protect them from harm. They make an excellent watchdog and will alert you of any potential danger.
Border Collies are versatile dogs that excel in various activities, including obedience, agility, flyball, and herding, so they can perform a wide range of tasks around the house and can adapt to many different lifestyles and living arrangements. Border Collies also make excellent therapy and service dogs.
5. Low-Maintenance Coat
A big advantage of owning a Border Collie is that they have a double coat that requires minimal maintenance. They will require extra brushing when they shed seasonally, to help keep the fur looking clean, but it doesn’t tend to tangle or knot, so you won’t need frequent trips to the groomer.
6. Strong Work Ethic
Breeders created the Border Collie to work hard and thrive on having a job to do and excel at tasks like herding, making them great for people who like working with their dogs.
7. Affectionate and Playful
Despite their strong work ethic, the Border Collie is an affectionate and playful dog that loves spending time with their owner. They often have a silly and playful personality but will snuggle on the couch with you or lay under your feet while you watch TV.
8. Strong Social Skills
Border Collies have strong social skills and are outgoing and friendly with children and other dogs, making them ideal for large families, as many people can get involved to help ensure that the dog gets enough exercise and attention to stay healthy and happy.
The 9 Border Collie Cons
9. High Energy Level
While the high energy level of a Border Collie can be a good thing for an active family, it can be a drawback for those who don’t have the time or energy to spend much time walking their dog. Unfortunately, if they don’t get enough exercise, these dogs can start to misbehave and even become destructive. They may also begin to gain weight, leading to health problems like cardiovascular issues and diabetes.
10. Need for Mental Stimulation
Border Collies are intelligent dogs that require significant mental stimulation to prevent boredom. They need activities that can help challenge their mind, like learning a new command, or they can quickly become bored, which might turn into destructive behavior.
11. Prone to Separation Anxiety
Border Collies form strong bonds with their owners and like to spend as much time with them as possible. Leaving them alone for too long can lead to separation anxiety, increasing their stress level, which can cause them to misbehave. By properly training them, you might be able to spend more time away from home, but this breed works best with families that are at home all the time or have a large, secure outdoor area.
12. High Prey Drive
The Border Collie has a strong prey drive and can become fixated on small animals like cats, squirrels, and rabbits, often chasing them around the yard, regardless of the owner’s commands. They might even kill these critters if they don’t have the proper training. However, with training and socialization, they can get along with other family pets, though they might still chase animals in the yard.
13. Potential Health Issues
Unfortunately, Border Collies are prone to health issues like hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and certain eye conditions. Researching the breeder you intend to use beforehand and learning about your puppy’s parents can help you be aware of a few of the issues that you might face, as many are genetic. Frequent vet visits can help you find problems early when they are manageable.
14. Not Ideal for Small Living Spaces
Border Collies like to run around and will even do so in the house, so they are not ideal for people with small apartments with multiple things to knock over, especially if you can’t devote time each day to getting them the exercise that they need.
15. Strong Willed
Any Border Collie owner will tell you that they can be extremely strong willed, especially when they want something to go their way. You must be a confident and consistent owner who can provide them with firm and fair leadership to keep them from taking over your household.
Border Collies can be prone to barking, especially if you leave them alone for long periods or if there are loud trucks and other activities nearby, which can be a problem for people living in areas with noise restrictions. Training can help, but there’s no guarantee that your dog won’t start barking when they get excited.
17. Strong Herding Instincts
Border Collies have a strong herding instinct that might cause them to attempt to herd nearly anything in their path, including children, other pets, and even cars. Unfortunately, herding can involve nipping at the ankles, which can be surprising to unsuspecting visitors. Your pet will need plenty of training to help curb this behavior.
Border Collies are intelligent, active, and loyal dogs that make excellent pets for the right family. However, due to their high energy level, need for mental stimulation, and risk of separation anxiety, they aren’t suitable for everyone. Before purchasing, potential owners should carefully consider whether this breed fits their lifestyle and living situation. If it works out, Border Collies can make wonderful companions with proper training, socialization, and care.
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Featured Image Credit: Lucia Horvath Photography, Shutterstock