There’s no denying that Border Collies are considered one of the most hyperactive, demanding, and high maintenance dogs known to exist.
After all…it takes a lot of energy to maintain all that brain power, not to mention the untapped potential and working abilities that is built into every one of the Border Collie dogs.
They might be a good breed for first time owners depending on your circumstances, but for the most part they’ll be needing a lot of your attention since they like to be entertained, like to have a purpose, like to feel like they’re being useful and handy.
In this post, we’ll be diving into the question of are Border Collies high maintenance a little more in-depth, we’ll be taking a look at what their demands are food-wise, exercise-wise and so on, and we’ll be looking into what else you can expect if you want to bring one into your life.
Are Border Collies High Maintenance
Border Collies are pretty high maintenance dogs both because they have specifically been bred as working dogs in addition to being just overall overly energetic. Here are some of the main reasons why Border Collies are so high maintenance:
- They’ve been bred specifically to herd sheep, and herding is their “default mode”. They’ll actively look for any opportunity to do so (whether you like so or not) if they get too bored or if they start to lose their sense of purpose. As a behavior, it can be quite taxing on the owner.
- They have a lot of fur and a double coat that sheds twice per year. While they won’t cause as many headaches as for example the Siberian Huskies will, it’s practically impossible not to get Border Collie fur everywhere (particularly if you live in more closed environment like an apartment). Unless you’re okay with that, having to increase the frequency with which you vacuum or clean, is almost a given.
- Border Collies require a lot of your attention (especially in the early months of their life) and if left unchecked, will try to take the dominant role in the household. A strong sense of authority and some solid boundaries are needed, to maintain a good behavior and to prevent your dog from acting out too much, which might manifest into breaking household items, whining, digging, biting, eating things it shouldn’t eat, etc.
- Like with many mammals, bonding and socializing with others of its species is necessary to reinforce standard social skills which are crucial for the dog throughout its life. You wouldn’t want an antisocial Border Collie, or one that has been rejected too much by its peers, and you’ll probably want to actively partake in its socializing, at least to some extent.
These are just some of the main reasons why Border Collies are of such high maintenance. Some of these are very relative, since what some owners might not find that big of an issue, other owners might dread…but generally speaking most owners can agree on most of these.
How To Keep Up With Your Collie
To keep up with the demands of your Border Collie, here are a few tips on what should generally be expected, when it comes to things like exercise, health and vet checks, food and grooming.
NOTE: Information in this post is educational and is no not meant to be treated as expert advice. Make sure to consult and verify this information with your licensed veterinarian.
Daily exercise at least once per day should do the trick. A good intense 30-60 minute workout can be more than enough but to be frank there is almost no limit to the amount of exercise you can have your dog do.
Most owners of Border Collie dog usually exercise with their dogs twice per day. A little walk in the morning or afternoon and one last before bedtime is very common.
“Common exercises that you can do with your dog include, walking and slow trotting, playing catch in parks with toys and frisbees in open fields, herding if you have a farm, lake swimming and hiking in the forests or just simply obedience training and trick learning.”
Anything that could be both physically and mentally stimulating, that breaks the habit or daily routine and is new to your dog, will be gladly welcome. Always providing your dog with new experiences and not making things too repetitive will keep your dog at the edge of the chair and will fulfill their activity needs.
Vet checks for this breed are nothing out of the ordinary and a good general checkup should be happening either once per year or once every 6 months just to be safe.
Generally speaking, purebred Border Collies are genetically very healthy and are not prone to developing many of the more common diseases that you could find for example in the case of Hip Dysplasia in German Shepherds, or cataracts on Poodles.
This is not to say that Border Collies don’t run the risk of getting these illnesses, only that it’s less likely that they do get them simply because of genetics.
In the case of the Collies, illnesses like deafness, hypothyroidism and Collie eye anomaly are some of the illnesses you should be a bit more concerned about.
Tip: When getting a Border Collie, you’ll want to find a good breeder that’ll be able to show you health clearances for both of the parents of that pup and the pup itself, so you have an idea of the health of that particular puppy and what to expect going forth.
Food And Nutrition
Border Collies are mid-sized dogs, and thus require an average amount of feeding when compared to other breeds. It goes without saying that each Border Collie is its own individual, and not all of them require the same amount of food. A dog that is a lot more sedentary, will need a lot less caloric intake to maintain, than one that is extremely active.
Generally speaking though, 1.5 to 2.5 cups of dry-food per day, divided into two meals, is one of the more common combinations when it comes to feeding your Collies.
“To keep your Border Collie in good shape, it’s recommended that you feed them in these big meals, as opposed to having food available at all times. This way your dog will both not overeat and also get its metabolism adjusted to its ‘feeding times’ so that they won’t be hungry either.”
A few snacks here and there throughout the day are not heresy either, (especially if your dog’s been good) but this 2 big meal configuration, really goes a long way.
Grooming – Bathing
When it comes to grooming, Collies have a medium length double coat to keep them comfortable. With double coating comes a lot of fur however, so weekly grooming is a must.
It’s recommended to groom your Border Collies coat, at least 1-2 hours per week or once every 2 weeks, and increase the grooming frequency in shedding season. Grooming sessions are a great opportunity to check on your dog’s overall skin condition, like checking for sores, dry skin or rashes too.
If you’re considering shaving your Border Collie, it’s not completely necessary unless it’s too matted to brush, your dog is a swimmer or if you need to get rid of fleas and ticks, for example.
This is because they use their coat for insulation in summer and to maintain heat in the winter and interfering with the coat layers might create skin conditions and doesn’t make the dog shed less.
As for bathing, you only really want to bathe your Border Collie when it’s dirty, and only with a shampoo that is specifically made for dogs so as to not irritate the skin. If your dog is more active, a good rule of thumb is for it to bathe once every four weeks.