So, you’re interested in Border Collies. Smart choice! Border Collies are fantastic, hilarious and eerily smart, and if you understand the complex mind of a Border Collie, they can be fantastic pets. However, there are a few things you need to know before buying a Border Collie puppy. By reading the information below, you can see why Border Collies take a special kind of person to appreciate.
When trying to decide if a Border Collie would be a good fit for your home, keep in mind the purpose they were originally bred for- Herding. Border Collies were created over 100 years ago to fit the high demand for excellent herding dogs in the border country of England and Scotland. Herding is what makes a Border Collie what it is- down to the markings, coat, and eyes. Every part that makes up a Border Collie is designed to aid them in the harsh environment that they were bred to work in. For this reason, Border Collies differ in coat, temperament, and structure, depending on where they were bred to work.
Whats on the Inside
Border Collies are well known for being the smartest dog breed in the world, but also for being incredibly driven and intense. Although this makes them superb working and performance dogs, the #1 reason Border Collies end up in rescue is because they were too high energy for their owners. Many people buy a Border Collie because they advertised as being easy to train, which simply isn’t the case. Yes, Border Collies are undeniably smart and learn very quickly, but that intelligence also makes them very skeptical of “a higher power”. A Border Collie believes (and sometimes, they aren’t wrong) that they are considerably more intelligent than any other animal around them, including their owners. Border Collies do not follow orders just because you say so- they question your thinking; They want to know “Why should I do this? Whats in it for me?”. You may be asking “Well, then how did the shepherds get them to herd sheep?” Well- Border Collies don’t just have a talent for herding- they have a passion for it. Herding is a very strong reinforcement for them, and shepherds quickly teach a Border Collie that if they don’t follow the rules- they don’t get to play the game.
In general, a Border Collie’s temperament is very difficult to understand. They are typically reserved of strangers, but are extremely affectionate at home, but in my personal experience, they are not the most loyal of dogs. I often tell people- a Border Collie works for himself, and he will choose whatever is most fortuitous for him. If I go to a dog park, and don’t bring a toy, my dogs go to whoever has the best toy, and they fully intend to go home with that person. If a robber came to my house and offered my dogs a cookie or a frisbee, they’d show him where the all the valuables are. A Border Collie is designed to think for themselves- because in many situations, they’d be sent out over 400 yards to the flock of sheep, without the shepherd- and would have mostly have to rely on their own instinct and skills. For this reason, a Border Collie also needs a huge amount of mental and physical stimulation. A bored Border Collie is a very naughty Border Collie. Ignore them outside for too long- they will find a way to jump the fence. Leave them unattended at home with nothing to do- they’ll find a way to get on the counters. The best home for a Border Collie is one who has a considerable amount of time to spend with them every day.
I could go on for days about the Border Collie temperament, but instead I’ll link you to this article which is a fantastic way of explaining the finer points of a Border Collie’s strengths and weaknesses.