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Border Collie - Temperament & Personality

Source: PetWave, Updated on May 23, 2016
Border Collie


Border Collies are famous frisbee and agility champions. With an intense, watchful eye they tackle every task put before them with the focus of an Olympic Athlete. Watching a Border Collie at work, whether in a field or on an agility course is truly breathtaking. They love to take on new tasks, and make the ideal dog for farmers and ranchers.

Activity Requirements

Border Collies are some of the most intelligent dogs in the world, and they need a lot of physical and mental activity. They can be a challenge for even the most seasoned dog owner. They must have at least two hours of activity a day in order to stave off behavioral problems, and the behavioral problems that develop in Border Collies can be severe. Apartment living won't do for this breed, a home with lots of room and time to run, play catch, chase balls and practice agility are a much better fit. Farms would be the most ideal setting for a Border Collie. Originally bred to tend flocks of sheep, they would spend hours a day running and herding and are their happiest when they are at work. Farmers are guaranteed a loyal, energetic “employee” when they adopt a Border Collie.

If this breed does not have their physical and mental activity requirement met, they will develop anxiety and destructive behaviors. Many families are attracted to the breed because of their medium build and energy, but this energy can quickly become a problem if it is not channeled in the proper ways.


Border Collies are problem-solvers and can be easily trained to do just about any task. Intelligent and observant, they can also pick up new behaviors without being taught – but usually behaviors that are unwanted such as opening cabinets, closets and doors, where they can get into mischief.

Early training is essential with Border Collies. The earlier they learn to obey commands, the better. They like to be in charge and will take the opportunity to rule the roost, if given a little leeway. Positive reinforcement and a gentle but confident tone are needed when working with Border Collies. Their sensitive nature can cause them to shut down if they are treated with a heavy hand.

This breed excels in agility and physical competition. Border Collies are often the champions of frisbee and long jump competitions, and thrive on this type of activity.

Behavioral Traits

Border Collies are the Houdinis of the dog world. Mere fences can not keep them from escaping into the world. It is important to keep an eye on your Border Collie at all times. They have been known to jump, dig, even open the locks of fences to get out and explore.

Early socialization and exposure to new experiences is very important, as Border Collies can be shy. If left unchecked, their reserved nature around strangers can change to aggression. They are often aggressive toward other animals, and cats or small pets should not be introduced into a Border Collie's home.

Herding is in their blood and Border Collies have been known to try and herd groups of people at parties, children, other animals, bicycles and even cars. Never leave a Border Collie off a leash when in an open area, or they will take chase and nip at people. They can also be injured when running after bikes and cars.

Separation anxiety is common in this breed, and can be severe. Because they need so much activity to stay happy, when they are bored and alone, anxiety sets I quickly. Border Collies will chew, bark, howl and dig when left alone for too long, unless they are properly exercised. Because they need so much exercise, it can be difficult to prevent severe anxiety.

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