Before you consider bringing a Border Collie into your home, you should
read this and, if all possible, meet and talk with people who currently own Border Collies
and are familiar with their uniqueness. You should be as well informed about the breed as
possible. If you should decide to get a puppy, you will need to find a reputable breeder.
While it is important that the dog is purebred, you should remember that there are no
guarantees just because a dog is registered with any particular organization or
association. Registries only provide documentation based on what the breeder tells them.
As the consumer, you must be careful. Read the do's and don'ts below and take time to find
a breeder who you feel answers all your questions honestly. Border Collies are
unquestionably highly intelligent and active dogs. While the level of intensity varies,
those unaccustomed to the breed may consider them too energetic for their lifestyle.
Border Collies are the result of hundreds of years of breeding dogs that
herd sheep. They love to work and become very bored with inactivity. They will focus on
motion and try to stop moving objects (including people and animals) by getting in front
of them. They will frequently invent their own games, some of which may be highly annoying
for h that are not h to Border Collies. Those wonderful dogs you may have seen working
sheep or performing in the movies are the result of many years of training and you should
expect an untrained puppy to be UNTRAINED.
IS A BORDER COLLIE FOR YOU?
If you live in an apartment, town house, have very small children, have a
busy life, have an unfenced yard, are impatient with compulsive h, or want a Border Collie
only because you saw one in the movies, or want an attack dog, then please consider
Many unhappy situations have resulted when unaware, owners purchased a
Border Collie and left it to its own devices while at work. Human companionship is very
important to the Border Collie. They are extremely sound and bidy sensitive and need to be
treated gently to build up trust and confidence.
BORDER COLLIES NEED A JOB.
The type of job can be as simple as chasing a tennis ball or as
sophisticated as herding, agility or obedience training. you should be able to spend some
time each day working for you. Training a Border Collie to be a good citizen in your house
is a must. Your kindness will be rewarded with undying loyalty.
BORDER COLLIES ARE ACTIVE
Border Collies are an intenslely active breed especially when young. They
need space to run and explore. Their strong herding instinct leads them to chase cars,
bicycles and children. It is not unusual for them to inadventently knock young children
over or cause a child riding a bicycle to crash. Out of frustration, Border Collies may
even nip running children. While you might not mind, you are liable if your neighbour
does. As you might imagine, a fenced yard is a necessity to prevent dogs from getting into
other mischief or from running into roadways and possibly being killed. Border Collies
won't usually exercixse on their own. Most require their human couterparts to
participate in their exercise programs. Merely putting a Border Collie into a fenced area
as a form of exercise will NOT be enough for them. These dogs need to be physically and
mentally challenged and if you cannot provide that for them, they will do it themselves -
at the expense of your lawn, furniture, wall or whatever looks tempting to dig or chew on.
They are extremely quick, highly energetic, busy dogs and the must have plenty of
exercise. Border Collies may not be particularly good around other dogs. Their wish to
herd other dogs may not be appreciated.
WHAT KIND OF ESCAPE ARTISTS ARE THEY?
Border Collies are extremely agile dogs and can easily jmp or climb a
6-foot fence if they decide there is something more interesting on the other side. They
are also good diggers and chewers, so if they can't jump a fence, they might try to dig
under it or chew through it if they want to get out. And don't forget their intelligence.
Some Border Collies are good at opening doors and latches.
IF YOU STILL WANT A BORDER COLLIE, PLEASE CONSIDER A RESCUE DOG.
More often than ever before, Border Collies are simply abandoned, taken to
local shelters or put up for adoption. Some may have behavioral problems that can be
overcome, but most are perfectly wonderful dogs.Often adopting an older dog is preferable
since you have a better idea of what the mature dog will look like and have a clearer idea
of what the temperament might be. Past experience has shown taht rescue Border Collies
bond closely with their adoptive families.These dogs seem to understand when they have
been placed into a permanent new home.
LOOKING FOR A PUPPY
If you decide that you would prefer a puppy, you will need some
information to help you make a wise decision.
Is the puppy from healthy, sound parents?
Border Collies are not immune to genetic problems that plague all dogs.
Hip Dysplacia (HD) and genetic eye diseases are more common than you might imagine. At
present, it is recommended that breeding stock be evaluated for these problems prior to
their being bred. Hips should be examined radiographically and the radiographs evaluated
by a reputable vetenarian or by the Faculty of Vetenarian Science at the University of
Pretoria. Hips are graded on a scale of 0 to 4, 4 being the worst and 0 being clear of HD.
Insist on seeing the certificates. Dogs do not have to be obviously lame to have this
condition and pass it on to their offspring. Certificates are only issued for dogs after
the age of 2 years so younger dogs will not have a certificate.
Border Collies can suffer from progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and
collie eye anomaly (CEA) in addition to other eye diseases. in addition to other eye
diseases. All can appear at any time. Since CEA may appear initially in young
puppies, it is a good idea to have the entire litter examined between the age of 6 - 10
weeks, as that is the only time they can be certified free. Dogs that are used for
breeding should be examined yearly by a certified veterinary opthalmologist.
There is a growing problem with epilepsy and other seizure disorders in
Border Collies. Unfortunately, origins of the disease are not always clear and you will
have to rely on the honesty of the breeder as to whether an inheritable problem exists in
their line. Ask about allergies, problems with shoulders or elbows, heart problems,
digestive problems and osteochondritis Desicans (ODC) a disease that causes lameness in
the joints of young dogs. You would also be wise to ask about siblings of the sire and dam
and about any puppies they might have produces. The more dogs in a pedigree that are known
to be free of problems increases the chances that your puppy will be healthy. By all means
you should make an attempt to see the sire and dam. If you have questions, contact your
local veterinarian for more information.
HAVE THE PUPPIES BEEN DEWORMED AND VACCINATED?
Puppies, which have distended round bellies, may have internal parasites.
Breeders should check their puppies and treat them if necessary. Most veterinarians
recommend that puppies be vaccinated to prevent distemper and parvo at least once. In some
areas where the incidence of parvo is high, two vaccinations may have been given. Insist
on a vaccination certificate.
DOES THE PUPPY APPEAR HEALTHY?
You should look for an active puppy. Sometimes after they have eaten they
might be sleepy, but try to arrange a time to visit when they will be awake and playful.
At 6-8 weeks, the puppy should move easily on strong legs. Avoid puppies that have debris
in their eyes or have eyes with any discharge. You should also avoid puppies that have
dirty ears (inside) or ears that smell badly. Check the inside of their lips expecting to
see a bright pink colour. Paleness may indicate parasites. Evidence of diarrhea in the
kennel area may indicate unhealthy puppies. While each of these mau be symptoms of
treatable illnesses, they are also symptoms of a breeder who is not responsible.
DOES THE PUPPY HAVE A SOUND TEMPERAMENT?
You should look for puppies that are well adjusted and outgoing. Look for
wagging tails and a playful attitude. Stay away from puppies that are shy towards humans,
fearful of reasonable noises, or aggressively growl and snrl at humans. The parents'
temperatment is usually a good indicator of what the puppy's temperament will be.
Remember that the money you invest in a healthy puppy is an investment in
12 - 15 or more years of a wonderful relationship with your canine companion. You are
paying for the thought, time, expenses and expertise of a reputable breeder. Puppies are
usually ready to leave the breeder at about 7-8 weeks. They should have been completely
weaned by then and eating solid food. You should have chosen a place in your home to keep
the puppy and made plans to acclimatise the new puppy to his strange new surroundings. Ask
the breeder for recommendations on feeding. Although opinions vary, a veterinarian
recommended, well balanced puppy food is adequate. Too much calcium causes too much bone
building and disrupts cartilage maturation and possibly contributes to developement of
structural problems. The breeder should provide you with a Vaccination history. Contact
your veterinatrian and make an appointment to have the new puppy examined and arrange a
continuation of his vaccination schedule. Some breeders will also provide you with written
guarantees promising to either take the puppy abck or refund part or all of the purchase
price should the puppy develop specific health problems (HD for example).
Now that you have this "action bundle" where do you go for help
and training? You can find information at obedience training schools, herding clubs and
In addition you veterinarian may have names of folks who offer help with
Learn all that you can about Border Collies before you make a decision
that should be for the dog's lifetime.
Consider adopting a homeless Border Collie
Carefully investigate the breeder. Ask for references. A responsible
breeder will make you prove you are qualified to own one of their puppies.
Talk to other Border Collie owners and meet their dogs.
Never buy a puppy on a whim or buy a puppy as a surprise gift for
Never buy a puppy from a pet store. Reputable breeders would never sell
their puppies to a pet store. More than likely, puppies in the pet store window are from
puppy mill operators and are likely to be poorly bred and unhealthy
Never take a puppy because it is available. You may find that you will
have to wait 6 months or more untill the right puppy is born.
Never take a puppy unless you are committed to spending time training
The people who make the most satisfied Border Collie owners are people who
enjoy spending a lot of time with their dogs and are willing and able to make the
commitment to exercise and train in some way every day, who are veryactive, ho like to
hike, jog and or take long walks with their dogs, who don't mind living with a dog that
never really settles down, even in the house, even after a lot of exercise, even when the
owner is tired from a long day at work, and most importantly, who have a real job for the
dogs to do, whether it's one of the dog sports that these dogs excel at, or, of course,
herding a flock of sheep.
If you think you could give a Border Collie the home it deserves, please
think of our rescue dogs looking for permanent, approved homes. We are happy to give
advice on any aspect of the breed.
Irene Thompson - Tel: 011 706 5988
Lynette Trollip - Tel: 011 957 2491
P O Box 97125
Non Profit Organization : 006 620 NPO
This information is endorsed by:
The South Africa Sheep Dog Association
P O Box 757
The Collie Club of SA
P O Box 558
(011) 802 4432