The border collie is a herding dog. This active dog is noted for its speed and agility. The border collie runs 20 to 30 miles an hour while twisting and turning to keep sheep together, or while racing through an obstacle course. The border collie is easily trained, enjoys learning new skills, and can understand more than 200 words.
Border collie speed
At their fastest, a border collie can run as much as 30 miles per hour. That's faster than the fastest man alive: Olympic winner Usain Bolt has set the record at 27.5 miles per hour.
History of unusual dog breeds
For generations, the border country between England and Scotland has been home to sheep. Shepherds developed sheepdogs to herd sheep in the rugged environment. Speed was critical for a dog to keep the flock moving in one direction, dart off to bring in a stray, and patrol for danger on the same run. According to CountryFile Magazine, in 1876, sheepdog trials were introduced in London. Amazed spectators watched as dogs quickly handled and penned wild sheep. Shepherds guided the dogs by hand signals and whistles.
The American Kennel Club added the border collie to its herding group in 1995. The border collie has since excelled in dog sports, often reaching the championship levels of agility.
Purpose of border collies today
The border collie does the work of two to five human herders with its quick and agile movements. The dog tirelessly roams, watches, and circles to manage the herd. In agility competitions, the dog is guided by voice commands because it quickly outruns its handler. Search and Rescue groups use the Border collie to locate missing people because the dog covers rubble quickly and climbs ladders or searches tunnels with impressive speed.
Border collie characteristics
The border collie is easily trainable and affectionate, even with strangers, though they do have a protective nature. The dog is nimble, turning in its own length while running. This is what makes border collies so dominant at agility competitions that Anything But Collies (ABC) competitions have been established in the United Kingdom to encourage other breeds. The American Kennel Club does not have this rule. The dog is high in stamina and has about a 12-year life span.
How to identify border collies
A typical border collie is a medium-sized dog that is usually black and white, or just black, blue, brindle, gold, or red. They may be tricolor such as black, tan, and white, and have white or tan markings. The dog is usually 18 to 22 inches tall at the shoulder. Border collies may weigh 30 to 55 pounds. The head is moderately broad and slopes down to a tapering muzzle. Ears are often erect or semi-erect. The eyes are brown, blue, or merle in color. The dog may have a smooth or a rough coat with medium-length hair and are less likely to drool.
Border collie temperament and considerations
The border collie is not well-suited to small spaces or confinement. They need room to run and play. This popular dog breed needs positive attention and outlets for its high-energy drive including both mental and physical stimulation. This breed is very intelligent and can find mischief or wreak havoc in creative ways if it goes not get enough exercise to work off pent-up energy.
Border collies love being put to work and will enjoy learning new tricks, participating in dog sports like dock diving, agility, lure coursing, and weight pulling. They will also benefit from days spent at doggie daycare, the dog park, and playing with their owner. Border collies make great family members for any active household.