Are Border Collies Protective? Exploring Their Natural Instincts

Are Border Collies protective? There are differing opinions on this specific topic, although at the end of the day, the final conclusion is most likely the same.

With that said, the idea of this article, is to try to explore the question of whether Border Collies are protective or not, in a deeper fashion.

Some people argue that yes, for the most part, Border Collies are protective dogs. They can be protective of their owners, family members, homes and other pets.

At the same time, other people believe that Border Collies are not protective because they were bred to herd livestock, not to protect them specifically. 

If you’re looking at getting a Border Collie for yourself, it’s important to understand the facts about them and their protective behavior to make an informed decision about whether this breed is right for you.

Let’s dive right in.

Are Border Collies Protective

History Of The Breed

The Border Collie is a breed that originated from the Scottish border region, originally developed from sheepdogs, and was primarily used as a working dog for herding sheep. 

The breed has been used along the English-Scottish border for many years, and is known for its intelligence, agility, ability to work long hours, and its herding skills (which were highly valued by farmers and shepherds in the region).

The Border Collie was first recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1995 though, but the development can be traced back to the 18th century when shepherds in the Scottish Highlands began breeding them, because of their abilities.

Today, the Border Collie is still used as a working dog, but they are also popular as companion animals. The breed’s intelligence, loyalty, and protective nature make them an excellent choice for families.

Border Collies: Natural Protective Instincts

As we’ve mentioned already, Border Collies are a highly intelligent breed of dog known for their energetic and active nature.

They’re used primarily because of their herding skills, their capacity to work long hours, and their impressive stamina.

Border Collies are also great pets, which make them a great choice for families who are looking for an active and loyal companion.

But apart from being known for all of this, Collies are known for protecting. Whether that be protecting you or keeping an eye out on sheep, they are protective in nature.

So generally speaking, to answer the question of whether or not Border Collies are protective, the response is a resounding “yes”, regardless of what they are protecting or if they are “herding”.

Herding, is just another word for protecting, and so for those who argue against Border Collies being protective, that just isn’t the case.

While they may not be aggressive, they are very loyal and will often protect their owners from perceived threats too.

They may bark or growl to alert their owners to potential danger, and their strong bond with their owners means that they will often go to great lengths to protect them.

Overall, their strong bonds with their owners and their protective instincts make them a great choice for those looking for a loyal and loving pet.

Herding Instincts and Protective Behavior

Border Collies have very strong herding instincts, that most still use today.

In fact, herding sheep was the sole reason they were bred in the first place. It was only the dogs that could collect and guide sheep most efficiently and effectively, that were bred. 

These instincts can manifest in various ways, such as their intense stare, nipping, chasing and bounding. 

With all that said, while Border Collies are primarily bred for herding, they can also exhibit protective instincts towards their owners and their territory.

  • Their work ethic and focus on boundaries make them excellent guard dogs.
  • They have a strong protective behavior that makes them fiercely loyal to their owners and their territory.

However, it’s important to note that their protective behavior can also be a problem if not properly channeled and controlled.

Border Collies may become territorial and aggressive towards strangers or other animals if not disciplined and socialized properly.

Are Border Collies Protective 2

Interaction with Strangers and Children

Border Collies are generally friendly and outgoing dogs, but their reaction to strangers and children can vary depending on several factors.

Of course, when it comes to strangers, “protective” is probably not the right word to use here. 

Just like any interaction, dogs need to get comfortable with strangers, before they can consider them part of the tribe or someone worth protecting or caring over.

Here’s where good socializing comes into play.

  • If a Border Collie is not properly socialized, they may be more fearful or aggressive towards strangers, or simply lack the confidence to interact with them in a positive way.
  • By socializing a lot, and at an early age, a dog might consider most strangers to be generally “good” and might be more protective of them than of you (for that brief time they meet of course). 

Remember that Border Collies are not the best guard dogs and were originally bred to herd farmed animals, not to protect property. They’re not naturally aggressive, but they can attack if trained to do so.

When interacting with children in particular, Border Collies may exhibit some funny and sometimes weird behaviors.

They may growl or snarl if they feel threatened or uncomfortable, and to ensure that they’re well-behaved around children, socializing them properly from a young age is crucial.

Overall, Border Collies are generally friendly and outgoing dogs, but they’re not naturally protective of strangers and children, unless they’ve had ton of exposure to different people while growing up, and can consider almost anybody as part of the group, and worth defending.

Are Border Collies Protective? Conclusion

In conclusion, the protective nature of Border Collies is deeply rooted in their history and purpose, so yes, Border Collies are protective usually. So long as what they’re protecting is of some value to them.

Bred for herding, which inherently involves safeguarding livestock, these canines exhibit an already inherent drive towards protection which has been ingrained in their DNA through generations of selective breeding.

While some might argue against their protective disposition because of the fact that technically “herding” and “protecting” are two different things…

in practice, they’re both different sides of the same coin.

Their natural protectiveness becomes is evident in their devotion to their owners, the bonds they can create, other pets, their homes, and anybody else they can consider part of their tribe or group.

These dogs have an innate capacity to provide loyalty and through early socialization and responsible ownership, this nature can be channeled in ways that benefit both the dog and their human companions.

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