The AKC describes the Border Collie as, “a well balanced, medium-sized dog of athletic appearance, displaying style and agility in equal measure with soundness and strength.” Their bodies are a bit longer than they are tall, with moderately long, low-set tails. They have wide, flat skulls and their muzzles are usually the same length as the skull. The Border Collie's nose color should match the main color of his body. Eyes can be any color, and some dogs have two different colored eyes (usually found in Merle patterns). Their ears can be erect, semi-erect or fully dropped. They come in two coat varieties: rough and smooth; and they may come in just about any color and color pattern including solid, bicolor, tricolor and merle.
Size and Weight
Border Collies fall into the medium size category, standing between 18 and 22 inches at the shoulder and weighing in between 30 and 45 pounds. At maturity, females tend to be slightly smaller than their male counterparts. When showing a Border Collie, overall balance of the dog is more important than his size.
Coat and Color
Border Collies' coats come in two varieties: rough and smooth. Both rough and smooth coated dogs have double coats with a soft, thick undercoat and a rougher outer coat. But the rough coated variety has medium length hair with feathering on the belly, legs and chest. Smooth coated Border Collies have shorter hair with little feathering, and the coat is actually more coarse to the touch.
Border Collies are bred for athletic ability, not appearance, so this breed comes in just about all colors and patterns of the canine rainbow. They may be solid, bicolor, tricolor or merle. The most common pattern found in Border Collies are black with a white blaze at the neck, face, chest, legs and tail tip. The only solid color not accepted by the breed standard is white.
Border Collies are not high-maintenance in the grooming department. They shed lightly throughout the year and heavier during the change in seasons. Weekly brushing will keep shed hair from accumulating around the house and will also help distribute the natural oils in the dog's coat and prevent mats from forming. Unless a Border Collie likes to romp in the mud, baths are only needed once every few months.
Weekly brushing of the teeth and cleaning of the ears can help keep harmful bacteria from growing and keep the dog healthy. Individuals with drop ears are especially prone to ear infections, and weekly cleanings with a veterinarian-recommended cleanser are essential.