Is a Border Collie a good family dog? If you’re asking this question, you’re likely considering getting this breed for a pet. The good thing is that Border Collies are smart canines that can thrive with a family. However, there are very important points to consider, especially if you have young kids.
Every dog breed is different, and they suit specific types of families. It’s important to get the right match so you and your family will have a harmonious relationship with the canine. Also, this is to avoid another Border Collie from ending up in a rescue shelter.
In this post, I discussed if a Border Collie will be a good family pet. Read on before you contact a breeder:
A quick background of the Border Collie breed
Border Collies were bred as a herding dog. They were tasked to control sheep and herd other livestock. Border Collies are lauded for their intelligence, agility, and stamina as working canines. Without a doubt, they became a popular breed not just for farmers but also for families.
Moreover, Border Collies can grow from 18 to 22 inches in shoulder height. They can also weigh as much as 30 to 45 lbs., making them a medium to large-sized canine.
While slightly larger than small breeds, Border Collies can live up to 15 years. However, they require a lot of maintenance and training if you want to maximize their full potential.
Aside from that, Border Collies can be found in either smooth or rough coats. Smooth coat Border Collies are the most common and have a shorter profile together with feathering on the ruff, legs, chest, and haunches.
Meanwhile, rough-coated Border Collies have denser fur, but it’s also a double coat, just like the smooth version. However, it can be difficult to differentiate by the untrained eye.
When it comes to color, Border Collies are available in a variety of hues and patterns. The most popular is the standard black and white coat, but you can also find them in merle, gold, brindle, red, sable, and more. Overall, there are 17 AKC-registered Border Collie colors, and seven registered marking patterns.
Is a Border Collie a good family dog?
Border Collies suit as family dogs, but they are not for everyone. While they have attractive characteristics, these dogs also come with some downsides.
To start, the following are some traits that make Border Collies great family dogs:
1. Border Collies are highly trainable
Border Collies are dubbed as the most intelligent dog breed. This makes them easy to train, and they can also learn a variety of tricks. As a family pet, Border Collies can be trained to follow commands and perform tasks around the house.
Experts even call Border Collies ‘intelligent workaholics’ because they crave mentally stimulating activities. They are very much capable of learning a good number of commands, words, and gestures.
Since they are smart, Border Collies can be quite imposing. It’s important to uphold your alpha position to make this breed a well-rounded family dog.
2. Border Collies are affectionate
Despite their intelligence and energetic personality, Border Collies love a good snuggle with their favorite person. They are affectionate toward their families, but they tend to form a strong bond with one person to whom they feel more attached.
With proper training and socialization, a Border Collie can be family-friendly canines. They can also be raised with another dog, but you have to be very specific with the breed pairing. As an energetic dog, a Border Collie needs a companion pet that can keep up with their antics.
3. Border Collies are playful
When not working on a task, Border Collies love a nice playtime. This is an excellent personality for families with an active lifestyle. With proper supervision, Border Collies will give an older child a dose of exercise.
Also, Border Collies love Frisbees, which makes them an active companion at the beach, dog park, or in your yard.
Take note that Border Collies require a lot of physical and mental exercise. This will keep them happy while dampening potential destructive and nippy behavior.
4. Border Collies are medium-sized dogs
Unlike Malamutes, German Shepherds, or Bernese Mountain Dogs, Border Collies are on the medium side. This makes them a manageable addition to the household in terms of space. They don’t occupy too much floor space at home, but don’t underestimate their eagerness to invade the couch!
As medium-sized dogs, Border Collies are a tad easier to groom and maintain than other breeds. They are also easier to carry around if need be.
5. Border Collies are good-looking
Another thing that makes Border Collies attractive to families is their good looks. This dog has a fluffy coat available in a variety of colors and patterns. If groomed well, a Border Collie is a handsome dog that will surely turn heads during a walk.
Aside from that, Border Collies have a friendlier stare, unlike the similarly looking Australian Shepherds.
6. Border Collies are versatile pets
Lastly, Border Collies are versatile canines. They can be trained as a family pet or a working dog around a farm. These canines can adapt to just about any task at hand as long as you train them properly.
Border Collies can learn just about any command imaginable for dogs. They are a joy to train, especially if you don’t have much patience for stubborn canines.
Questions to ask yourself before getting a Border Collie
If you’re almost sure that a Border Collie is a perfect fit for your family, the following questions will be the deciding factor. Ask yourself each one and see if this breed still matches your family:
Do you have a large yard?
I ask this because Border Collies aren’t apartment dogs. They need a yard where they can roam and run around. So if you live in an apartment building, this breed isn’t for you. Forcing Border Collies to live in an apartment or confined houses will just fuel negative behavior.
Do you have infants or young kids?
Border Collies aren’t really aggressive, but their intense energy level can pose harm to toddlers and infants. Unless you can guarantee round-the-clock supervision, it’s best to wait until your kids are older. Even a well-trained Border Collie can knock down a child when it gets overexcited during playtime.
Does your family have an upbeat lifestyle?
Border Collies are suitable for families with an active lifestyle. Since this breed requires a lot of exercise, it just fits to raise them in an active family. Otherwise, a neglected Border Collie will become bored, anxious, and destructive.
Do you have experience in raising dogs?
Raising a Border Collie isn’t a walk in the park. They suit owners who have knowledge about dogs. If you’re planning to get a Border Collie as a first pet, you should consider your decision multiple times. These dogs need an experienced alpha. Otherwise, they will push you around and take the upper hand.
Can your family provide companionship for the dog?
Border Collies were bred as herding dogs, so they are used to the companionship of farmers and other animals. If your family is out of the house all the time, a Border Collie may not be a good choice. This breed thrives in the presence of their pack, so leaving them alone will only result in a slew of behavioral issues.
Can you put up with intense grooming?
As double-coated canines, Border Collies have more grooming needs than other breeds. They are moderate shedders, but they also experience intense shedding as the season changes. You should first consider the grooming aspect before you bring home a Border Collie as a family pet.
Are you willing to conduct extensive training?
Border Collies are smart, but such intelligence requires a lot of training. You should know how to channel this breed’s brainpower into productive tasks. If not, your Border Collie will find ways to entertain itself. Most of the time, they resort to destructive ways.
Can you manage an intense dog?
Border Collies have an intense energy level. Unless you have the patience and skill to handle this, you should consider another breed. Border Collies can nip on children, chase after smaller pets, and run around the house like crazy.
Can you keep the dog mentally busy?
As an intelligent dog, you can’t expect a Border Collie to be happy with just a few toys. They need actual mental stimulation like playtime, agility drills, herding tasks, and so on. All of these activities satisfy Border Collie’s natural instinct as a working dog.
Should I get a puppy or adult Border Collie for my family?
Families who are planning to get a Border Collie should decide whether they will opt for a pup or an adult rescue.
A puppy requires a lot of work because the dog will arrive at your house untrained. Since most breeder-sold puppies are sent to the owners at 8 weeks, such canines are yet to receive any form of training. You have to deal with obedience training, socialization, and more. Not to mention puppy teething, it’s a roller-coaster ride for pet owners.
If you want to skip all this work, you should consider adopting a Border Collie from a local shelter. However, adopted dogs always come with excess baggage.
Many dogs in shelters are abused and maltreated. Without proper knowledge of the breed, it’s easy to brand shelter dogs as aggressive.
Just like an abused person, rescued Border Collies need care, love, and proper treatment to dampen the unwanted behavior. It takes a lot of work, too, but some canines will turn their behavior around once they warmed up to their new owners.
Nevertheless, adopting is always a noble choice. You’re giving a rescue dog a second chance in life while letting another rescue canine have a space in the shelter. Most of all, adopting is way cheaper than buying a Border Collie.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Border Collies good off leash?
A: Border Collies can be off-leash, but only if it has undergone extensive training. But if you’re planning to take a Border Collie in a public place, you must keep the canine leashed. This is an unwritten rule for all pet owners, regardless of the dog’s breed.
Q: Do Border Collies like to cuddle?
A: Border Collies can snuggle with you from time to time, but don’t expect them to be lap dogs. These canines are made for the outdoors, so they love running, chasing, and performing tasks. But after a hard day’s work, a Border Collie won’t mind cuddling with their favorite person.
Q: Are Border Collies high maintenance?
A: Border Collies are high maintenance dogs due to their high energy levels and intense personality. Unless you can handle a dog that needs a lot of work, Border Collies may not be for you. These dogs are suitable for families with experience in dogs.
Q: Should Border Collies sleep inside?
A: Border Collies are happier when they sleep closer to their pack members. With this, it’s best to keep them inside with a cozy bed. Also, avoid locking up your Border Collie in an isolated room because it can trigger separation anxiety and destructive behavior.
Q: Can Border Collies get aggressive?
A: Border Collies aren’t aggressive canines, but if you don’t train and socialize them right, these doggos can exhibit rough behavior. Also, you have to focus on dampening their nippy behavior, which is a hard-wired characteristic since Border Collies are herding dogs.
Q: Are male or female Border Collies better?
A: Female Border Collies tend to be aloof and reserved as they get older. Meanwhile, males tend to pertain their puppy personality for quite some time. Also, males are observed to be more food-driven than females, but it varies per dog. Overall, both genders make great pets with proper training.
Is a Border Collie a good family dog? Yes, but you have to put in a lot of work for this dog to become a well-rounded house pet. Also, you should consider factors like yard space, schedule, family lifestyle, and so on. This is to ensure that you and your Border Collie will have a happy life together.