Are Border Collies Really the Smartest Dogs?

Easily one of most intelligent dog breeds, Border Collies are the ultimate working dogs with extraordinary instincts. Like most working breeds, they need to have jobs. They seek purpose in life by doing work. Workless dogs will always try to find something to stimulate their bodies and minds and if you don’t give them something productive, that might mean that they become rowdy and destructive.

With an average lifespan of 12-15 years, this medium size dog usually weighs between 30-45 pounds.

They are the Type A personalities of the dog world. The Border Collie has only one thing on its mind – work!

Without adequate exercise, not just a casual stroll around the block and ample mental stimulation, they can become acutely neurotic and develop serious inappropriate behavioral issues. This dog needs a job!

One of the primary reasons why so many Border Collies or Border Collie mixes are found in rescues and shelters is they had the wrong owner. They are not the perfect dog for an inexperienced dog owner!

They are remarkably intelligent. They are easy and fun to train. But, being from the Herding group they can quickly revert to inherent behaviors, which are exceptionally hard to modify. For example, chasing cars, other dogs, cats, squirrels, bikes, and skateboards can be an on going problem, even for the most obedient. An experienced owner recognizes their dead give-away that they are about to shut the world out and do what they were born to do. It is their powerful stare. Incredibly, they shut everything else out, and focus only on the victim(s) of the chase. Without appropriate training, it’s almost impossible to get their attention to a recall, when they are in their working mode.

This is a dog that is not happy when they are not working. If you don’t have a farm or lots of land to roam, be prepared to participate in rallies, obedience, flyball, Frisbee and agility competitions. Plan to have a trophy room. Give them the time and attention they require and they will make your efforts worthwhile. They are show offs. They love to perform and they thrive when the spotlight is on them.

Because of their incomparable instinct in herding, demanding nature, high level of energy and their endurance, they are not not good apartment dogs, nor are they recommended for older people and/or families with small children, cats and sometimes even other dogs. Their impulse to nip, push and bark is inherent and just about impossible to modify.

They need positive reinforcement, punishment-free Puppy Kindergarten at an early age. Socialization with people and other dogs is crucially important. It is imperative they receive as much obedience training as possible. They will not disappoint you. They will succeed with every challenge and respect your convincing leadership.

Most Border Collies would rather spend their days outside having an adventure with you, rather than plopped on the couch in front of the TV cuddling. This is not the right dog for an inactive family!

They are emotionally and keenly sensitive to their family and surroundings. Without proper training and socialization, they can be wary of strangers and without warning, snap at children and adults they do not know.

Border Collies have their fair share of predisposed health issues. They include: elbow and hip dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA), epilepsy, allergies, Ostenochondrosis Dissecans (OCD), deafness, arthritis and Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA).

Seasonal shedding should be expected. Their medium length coats require regular brushing and baths when needed.

Bottom line: Do your homework. This is a dog that demands loads of attention, hours of exercise and fair, firm, consistent leadership. They do best where there is plenty of room to run. Keep them in a small yard unattended, there is no question they will find a way to escape as soon as they are bored. Avoid flea markets and pet shops. They only perpetuate dreadful puppy mills. Find a responsible, trustworthy breeder. Shelters and rescues overflowing with Border Collies give credibility they are not the easiest dog to live with. Who knows, if you have what it takes your new best friend may be anxiously waiting for you there.

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