Northumbrian Border Collie Type Details

In today’s time, Border Collies have been paired with other breeds. Thus, you may find a Border Collie mixed with Pomeranian, Siberian Husky and the likes. But long before this, this breed come from a strong and prominent lineage, the Northumbrian Border Collie.

What is a Northumbrian Border Collie?

shiny coat Northumbrian Border Collie in grass

The Northumbrian Border Collie is a herding dog breed. It’s been developed over many years of selective breeding in the United Kingdom. They are still relatively rare. Yet, they are becoming more popular with families and individuals. More so if you’re looking for a tough and loyal dog that can also be an excellent agility and obedience competitor.

They have a medium-sized, muscular body. At the same time, they have short, dense coat that comes in one of the following colors

  • Black and white
  • Red and white

Their ears are large and stand up as they move through their environment. The average height for this breed is 23 to 27 inches (59 to 70 cm) at the withers.

The weight for males ranges from 70 to 90 pounds (32-40 kg) and for females it ranges from 50 to 70 pounds (22-32 kg).

Where are they Used?

The Northumbrian Border Collies are categorized as working dogs.

herding instincts of Border Collie

It’s primarily because of the reason that they are bred to work. Actually, they were bred to herd cattle and sheep. They can be trained to perform any number of tasks, including detection, protection, search and rescue, and agility. Because of their intelligence, they can learn complex tasks quickly and easily.

Then and Now

Northumbrian’s have come a long way. Today, they are now referred to as one of the popular Border Collie breeds. Far from its origins of being used as a herding dog, they are now very social animals and enjoy being around people.

On the other hand, they can become quite attached to their owners. This is the reason why it’s important for them to be socialized from an early age. By doing so, they don’t become clingy or overprotective.

The 4 Types of Border Collies

These days, you can easily find different mixes of Border Collie. Some of these mixes include Border Collie Pomeranian mix, Border Collie Chihuahua mix, McNab Border Collie mix and many more.

But if we will talk directly about their lineage, there are only 4 types of Border Collie. These are the Northumbrian type, Wiston Cap type, Nap type and the Herdman’s Tommy type. As we move on, you’ll learn about each type and on how they are different from each.

The Northumbrian Type

well-groomed Northumbrian Border Collie

Majority of the modern-day Collies that you’d find can be traced down to Old Hemp. Old Hemp is otherwise known as the Northumbrian Collie. They were bred and born in 1894 and it was Adam Telfer who owned such breed. He lived in Northumbrian part of England, hence the breed’s name.

Physically, this breed is the epitome of Northumbrian type, having little white trim with a medium-sized build with rough coat.

The Wiston Cap Type

The Wiston Cap type was developed from J.M. Wilson’s dog, Cap. This was done through the outstanding stud and trial dog of Jock Richardson’s Wiston Cap. Today, you can spot a Wiston Cap type with their blocky heads and rough coats. They also have more white trim in the forelegs, chests and collars.

Wiston Cap dogs are friendly and energetic. They are very active and love to run around. They also enjoy playing fetch with their owners. They are very social animals and get along well with other dogs and people. These dogs are also very intelligent so they learn new things easily.

The Nap Type

Out of all the Border Collie types, the Nap Type is actually the only one that is smooth coated. Its name is derived from a canine referred to as Whitehope Nap. Such dogs are known for being powerful, strong and fast. Normally, their coat is short. However, they have an undercoat which serves as insulation from heat or cold.

Most have shorter bodies and longer legs. This makes their outline squarish compared to other Collies. Due to their power, speed as well as short coats, countless Americans opted to use them for cattle on big ranches.

The Herdman’s Tommy Type

The last item on our list is the Herdman’s Tommy. Believe it or not, this was named after the Hemp’s grandson. Believe it or not, 3 out of 4 of the Hemp’s main breeding lines has a trace of Tommy’s.

The appearance of a Herdman’s Tommy can be noticed with its rough coat coupled with white and black that has tan markings. This type has a reputation for its good nature, strong-headedness and power. While it may look like the dog has a sad expression, Herman loves its face! It gets tons of kisses, cuddles, and belly rubs when it rolls over on his back.

Herding Capability of a Northumbrian Border Collie

Northumbrian Border Collies exhibit strong herding ability. This makes them excellent for dog training. Also, they are ideal canines for those who love to take charge of the family herd. They also have a high prey drive, which means they are naturally inclined to chase after anything that moves.

They have an excellent instinct for following a path and having no problems with direction. They can be used to herd sheep, cattle and other livestock in a ranch environment. They are also great at finding lost animals or people in the woods.

If you want a dog that will come when called, this breed is for you! Their favorite pastimes include:

  • Playing fetch
  • Running around outdoors
  • Chewing on bones
  • Playing with other dogs

Teaching New Skills to Your Collie

These dogs are very intelligent and can learn tricks very quickly. Aside from that, they’re also known for their intensity, energy and drive. This can make training a challenge for some owners.

Border Collie waiting for commands

Teaching them new tricks is a great way to bond with your dog and keep them stimulated. However, due to their innate energy and intensity, it can also pose a challenge. Why don’t you let us help you with some tips on how to train your Border Collie. Here are some that can make the entire training session a true bond for you and your dog.

Tip 1: Teach the word “Treat” – It’s important to teach your dog what the word “treat” means. When you give your dog a treat, make sure it’s something that smells good. As a matter of fact, you’ll never fail with chicken or peanut butter. Also, be sure to praise your dog when they do something good, like sit or shake a toy.

Tip 2: Body Language – Another important thing to remember is to keep a positive body language to your dog during training. What this means is, if they’re running around or jumping up on you, it may not be the best time to start training. Instead, invite them over and keep them calm with pets or treats.

Tip 3: Baby Steps – When working on new commands, try starting with small steps until you can build up confidence in your dog.

Perks of having a Northumbrian Border Collie

There are many good reasons for owning a Northumbrian Border Collie. First of all, they’re excellent family companions. And as mentioned earlier, they’re very loyal and intelligent. They are very active, which can be good for people with physical limitations.

They make great pets for families with children because they are eager to please and will do anything to keep the kids entertained. They also love to play fetch, which is a great way to get your dog some exercise and help you bond with them.

Furthermore, these dogs are also excellent watchdogs. It can be really helpful if you live in an area where there are lots of animals and burglars. If they sense anything suspicious, rest assure that they’re going to bark on it. This gives you enough time to be prepared if ever someone tries to break-in your home.

They are smart dogs and can pick up on cues very quickly. With this said, it’s important to reward them when they do something right.

Are they Prone to Sickness?

The Northumbrian Border Collie is generally healthy. However, it is not immune to sickness. Fact is, they are prone to eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy. But this mostly happens if it does not get enough sunlight or has trouble getting enough exercise. They also have a tendency to whine when they need to go out. This is because they do not know how to communicate their needs through words like other dogs do.

Common Health Issues

As mentioned earlier, the Northumbrian Border Collie is healthy most of the time. Just like any other dog though, they’re not immune to certain illnesses. Basically, some of the most common health issues these dogs experience are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Eye problems
  • Skin conditions
  • Ear infections

This is exactly the reason why regular visits to the vet is recommended. Every dog owner would wish that their pet is healthy and lives a long and happy life.

Finding a Vet for Your Dog

When you need to find a good veterinarian, it can be a challenge. You may have to travel long distances or search for hours on the internet. It’s essential to find someone who is qualified. Of course, let us not forget that a good veterinarian doesn’t necessarily mean a big name.

Even if your vet has less experience than others, he or she will still be able to provide quality care.  Actually, you can start your search by asking friends and family members.

Once you’ve found a vet that you like, ask them how they became qualified to work in the field. They may have trained at an accredited veterinary school or completed additional courses. This way, you know that they are qualified to provide the level of care that you need.

What is the Ideal Diet to Your Northumbrian Border Collie?

One of the best ways to keep your dog engaged is by feeding them tasty, healthy foods. Luckily, there are many different types available. The thing is, most are made from grains or soybeans and other processed ingredients.

These foods can cause digestive problems for dogs if they don’t have the proper nutrition, so it’s important to choose a balanced diet for your dog. Check out the next paragraphs to learn what you should give and not to your Northumbrian Border Collie.

Foods to Give

Give your dog plenty of high-quality protein. Offer small quantities of meaty bones (e.g. raw chicken or turkey necks), high-quality canned dog food, and high-protein treats like lean ground beef.

If you’re looking for a good option for the health-conscious, consider feeding your dog vegetables and fruits.

A higher-quality diet can help prevent common health issues like:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • joint pain
  • Obesity
  • Skin conditions

Remember, there is no cookie-cutter approach to feeding your pet. There are so many variables involved from (age, activity level, environment, etc.). If this feels kind of overwhelming, don’t think twice to consult professionals.

Foods to Avoid

Not all foods are safe to eat. Some foods should be avoided at all costs including

  • Chocolate
  • Grapes
  • Raisins

Other foods may cause unwanted side effects in your dog. It is important to keep an eye on your dog’s diet and their behavior. Through this, it can ensure that they are getting proper nutrition.


The Northumbrian Border Collie has come a long way indeed. They’re far from their initial purpose of herding and helping its owners to lead cattle and sheep. Today, they are one of the most loved members of the family.

Northumbrian Border Collie showing herding abilities

Their affection towards their owners is undoubtedly adorable. Plus, their energetic behaviors make them a perfect fit for families and individuals with an active lifestyle. However, due to their preying instinct, they might occasionally chase small animals. Fortunately, this can be easily having them socialize with other animals and people at a young age.

Like other dogs, their food diet is something to watch out for. You can always pay a visit to your trusted vet. This can help ensure that you get the best care for your Northumbrian Border Collie.

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