The Border Collie is a breed of herding dog that originated in the border country of England and Scotland.
They are widely regarded as the most intelligent dog breed. Border Collies are highly energetic, and as a result have a tendency towards neurotic or destructive behaviour if not given enough to do.
They are still frequently used on farms all over the world for assisting with the handling of livestock, and they have also become popular as pet and sport dogs.
Though known to be reserved with strangers, these dogs can also be protective of a human family member and affectionate to those they know.
In general, Border Collies are medium-sized dogs without extreme physical characteristics and a moderate amount of coat. Their double coats can be anywhere from slick to lush, and can come in many colors, although black and white is by far the most common.
Black tricolor (black/tan/white), red and white, and red tricolour (red/tan/white) also occur regularly, with other colors such as blue creme and yellow white, red merle, blue merle, “Australian red”/gold, and sable seen less frequently. Solid Black is also seen.
Eye color varies from deep brown to amber or blue with occasionally one eye of each color, usually seen with merles.
The ears of the Border Collie are also highly variable – some have fully erect ears, some fully dropped ears, and others semi-erect ears (similar to that of the Rough Collie).
Although working Border Collie handlers sometimes have superstitions about the appearance of their dogs (handlers avoid mostly white dogs due to some genetic problems found in Border Collies.), in general a dog’s appearance is considered to be irrelevant.
It is considered much more useful to identify a working Border Collie by its attitude and ability than by its looks.
Border Collies are an intelligent, biddable breed with an instinctive desire to work closely and intensely with a human handler.
Although the primary role of the Border Collie is that of the working stock dog, dogs of this breed are becoming increasingly popular as pets.
True to their working heritage, Border Collies make very demanding, energetic pets that are better off in households that can provide them with plenty of exercise and a job to do.
Among some breeders in the United Kingdom there is a common saying: “no sheep, no collie”, referring to the dog’s usual unsuitability for people who just want an “intelligent dog.”
However, in an appropriate home, with a dedicated, active owner, a Border Collie can be an excellent companion.
Participating in dog sports is popular with Border Collie owners.
Border Collies excel at several dog sports in addition to their success in herding trials.
They dominate the higher jump heights at dog agility competitions, so much so that in England competitions often include classes for ABC dogs, “Anything But Collies”.
The Border Collie’s speed, agility, stamina have allowed them to dominate in up-and-coming dog activities like flyball and disc dog competitions. Their trainability has also given them a berth in dog dancing competitions.
Border Collies have a highly developed sense of smell and with their high drive make excellent and easily motivated tracking dogs for Tracking trials. These trials simulate the finding of a lost person in a controlled situation where the performance of the dog can be evaluated with titles awarded for successful dogs.
Because of this skill, Border Collies make excellent Search and Rescue dogs in both Lowland, Mountain, and Urban areas.