Skip to main content - The Animal Encyclopedia for Kids

  • See All Dog Topics

Border Collie

Border Collie Dog Breed Information

Size 18-20 inches (46-53 cm)
Weight 26-44 lbs (12-20 kg)
Origin Great Britain
Color Black and white, red, blue, sable, lilac; multi-colored
Lifespan 10-14 years
Suitable As Family dog
Personality Loyal, intelligent, attentive, full of energy, untiring

Border Collie Photo: Dalibor Valek/Shutterstock

Breed Characteristics

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs. They're known for their exceptionally high intelligence. While they make great family dogs, they're not recommended for first-time owners. Also, they don't make good apartment dogs and need a lot of exercise.

The Border Collie is a real bundle of energy that needs lots of attention. If they’re not occupied enough, they get terribly bored and start to think silly thoughts. It’s sometimes hard to keep coming up with new challenges, as they learn so quickly. But they have a strong will and are quite independent.


Pros and Cons


  • Very intelligent
  • Loves mental challenges
  • Easy to train
  • Easy grooming
  • Friendly to strangers


  • Has lots of energy
  • Needs lots of exercise
  • Struggles when left alone
  • Not a “beginner” dog
  • Not an “apartment dog”
  • Medium shedding

Border Collie Photo: Ksenia Rakova/Shutterstock

Exercise Needs and Training

Even though Border Collies are easy to train, you still couldn’t call them “THE dog for beginners”. If this dog doesn’t sense that its master is in charge, training will quickly become a very disheartening and frustrating task. Inexperienced dog owners in particular are often “too nice” and give in too much. And aren’t consistent enough. And a pooch as clever as the Border Collie will take advantage. Can you blame them? If you’d still like to take on the challenge as a beginner, you should definitely find some good dog training classes.

Top Activities

Agility, Puzzle Toys, Trick Training

Border Collie Photo: Юлия Завалишина/

Learning Tricks Is A Cakewalk

It seems that there is nothing a Border Collies could not do. There are numerous records in the Guinness Book of Records. E. g. "Fastest crossing of a tightrope by a dog" (18.22 seconds), "Most steps walked down by a dog facing forwards balancing a glass of water" (10 levels) or "Fastest car window opened by a dog "(11.34 seconds).


The Most Intelligent Dog Breed

The most honorable Guiness World Record is probably the "Most intelligent breed of dog". Psychology and neuropsychology professor Stanley Coren (USA) and 200 professional dog obedience judges participated in the decision.

By the way: After the Border Collie, the poodle comes in second place and the German shepherd dog in third place. Border Collies are able to "understand" 250 words (well, „differentiate“ would be more precise).

Our conclusion is: This dog is not for lazy people! A Border Collie is always busy and wants to be challenged. Not only physically, but also mentally. If you think, going for a jog with this dog is sufficient, you are definitely wrong. If that's too much of a hassle, choose a more slow-paced race.

Border Collie Photo: Shutterstock


They generally have white markings on their fur at the forehead and around the snout, as well as on their chest and legs. Although the combination of black and white is the most common, Border Collies come in all sorts of colors. Border Collies are as colorful as they are curious and happy!

Aside from black, they can be blue, lilac, sable and chocolate and may have “merle” or “brindle” markings. You can also find three-tone Border Collies, e.g. black, brown and white or red, brown and white. One-tone coats are also possible. One special feature of Border Collies are the beautiful tufts of fur on their legs.

Health and Care

The medium length coat of the Border Collie needs regular care. It has to be combed and brushed. At least once a week, but better would be two to three times a week.

Border Collie with stick Photo: Alan Sheers/Shutterstock


Border Collies have been bred for some time, but they are officially recognized as a breed only since 1976. That's not so long ago! They used to be used as sheepdogs (and still are today). The "border" in Border Collie is the border between the two countries England and Scotland. This is the geographic origin of this breed. "Collie" comes from the Scottish or even Celtic language and stands for something "useful".

Fun Facts

In the German tv show "Wetten, dass ...?" a Border Collie named Rico was able to assign 77 words to the corresponding toys and brought them from an adjoining room. Later, on the German tv show "Stern TV" he could even distinguish 250 toys.

Famous TV dog Lassie wasn’t a Border Collie, but a Rough Collie.

Comparable Breeds

Video: Is a Border Collie the Right Dog Breed for Me?

Border Collie Dog Breed

(Video opens on YouTube)


See all topics on