Border Collie Jobs: Opportunities for the Smartest Dog Breed

Border Collies are a highly intelligent breed known for their herding abilities. They are also popular pets due to their loyal and affectionate nature.

However, these dogs require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. One way to provide this stimulation is by giving them a job to do.

Border Collies thrive when they have a specific task to focus on. This can range from fetching a ball to herding livestock. Giving them a job not only provides mental stimulation but also helps to channel their energy in a positive way.

It’s important to find a job that is appropriate for your individual dog’s personality and abilities, since not all dogs are alike.

In this article on Border Collie jobs, we’ll explore options that are suitable for Border Collies, discuss the benefits of giving your dog a job and how to determine what type of job is best for your furry buddy.

Whether you have a working Border Collie or simply want to provide your pet with an enjoyable and stimulating activity, this article will provide valuable information.

History and Origin of Border Collie

The Border Collie breed’s origins can be traced back to the United Kingdom and its far-flung outposts, where it was developed by farmers to help them manage their livestock.

The Border Collie descends from traditional sheepdogs that were once found all over the British Isles.

And although dogs similar to today’s Border Collies were most likely working alongside farmers as far back as the first century B.C., most Border Collies alive today can trace their roots back to one common ancestor, a dog named Old Hemp.

In the early 1900s, the breed began to gain popularity in the United States, where it was used primarily for herding sheep. Today, the Border Collie is still used as a working sheep-herding dog, but it has also become a popular companion animal.

Overall, the Border Collie’s heritage is closely tied to the earliest development of livestock farming and the wool trade throughout the United Kingdom.

The breed’s intelligence, stamina, and herding abilities have made it a valuable asset to farmers and ranchers for centuries.

Understanding Border Collie’s Intelligence

According to experts, they are the #1 smartest dog breeds due to their high-instinctive and adaptive intelligence. Their above-average IQ is attributed to their ability to learn and remember object names, which is a rare quality in dogs.

Research has shown that Border Collies have a larger brain size than other dog breeds. This may contribute to their high intelligence and ability to learn quickly.

Their alertness is also a factor in their intelligence, as they are always aware of their surroundings and can quickly respond to changes in their environment.

They also have the ability to learn for themselves and associate objects with actions, which is a quality that makes them excellent problem-solvers and allows them to adapt quickly to new situations.

With that said, even though they can excel at many jobs that are given to them, they still require proper training and socialization to reach their full potential, and to do the jobs that are asked of them.

Without proper guidance, their intelligence can lead to destructive behavior and disobedience.

Border Collie Jobs: The Most Common Jobs For Your Dog

As we mentioned before, Border Collies do best when they have a job to do, because without one, they can become bored and destructive.

Some of the more Here are some typical jobs that you can give your Border Collies are:


Herding is the most popular job for Border Collies, since this is what they were originally bred for.

They have an innate ability to control and move livestock such as sheep and cattle, using their stare and body movement, and can be trained to work on farms, ranches, and even in urban settings.

Search and Rescue

Border Collies are also used in search and rescue operations.

Even though these jobs are mostly done by dogs like the Bloodhound of the German Shepherd, the Border Collie still is one of the top option.

Their intelligence and agility make them well-suited for finding lost or missing people, they can easily learn to hunt, they can navigate difficult terrain and work in a variety of environments, including forests, mountains, and urban areas.

Agility Training & Sports Competition

Border Collies excel in agility competitions and cam participate in various sports like flyball, frisbee, obstacle courses and so on.

These activities can provide the exercise and mental stimulation that Border Collies need to keep their herding instincts at bay, and can be a great way to bond with your dog.

Collies are incredibly fast and agile, making them perfect for obstacle courses, as you can see from the video below. In fact, a well trained Border Collie, almost feels like cheating when it comes to these types of competitions.  

Therapy & Service

Border Collies are also suitable for therapy work and are also great service dogs.

As service dogs, Border Collies are trained to assist people with disabilities, such as visual impairments or mobility limitations, providing valuable support and enhancing their independence.

They have a calm and gentle temperament, making them ideal for visiting hospitals, nursing homes, and schools and can provide comfort and companionship to people in need.

Dock Diving

Dock diving is a popular sport where dogs jump off a dock into a body of water and are judged based on the distance of their jump.

Border Collies don’t necessarily love water, but they can learn to do so,  making them excellent competitors in this sport.

In conclusion, Border Collies are versatile and intelligent dogs that excel in many jobs and activities, and these are just some of the top jobs you can give your Border Collie.

Scent Training

Scent training involves teaching Border Collies to identify and locate specific scents, a skill that has practical applications in various fields, including search and rescue, detection work, and even canine sports.

Scent training starts with simple exercises that build the dog’s confidence and understanding of the process and using treats or toys, handlers can introduce a specific scent while playing games.

Gradually, the dog learns to associate the scent with positive rewards, creating a strong motivation to search for and identify the targeted scent.

As the Border Collie becomes more proficient in scent recognition, the complexity of the training can be increased and advanced scent training can include tasks such as:

  • Finding hidden drugs.
  • Explosives.
  • Or even finding missing people.

Training Border Collies for Jobs

Border Collies are intelligence, agile, and are eager to work. To train them for jobs, it’s essential to provide them with proper training and commands.

Here are some tips to train your Border Collie for jobs:

Basic Commands

Before training your Border Collie for jobs, it’s crucial to teach them basic commands like sit, lie down, and focus. These commands will help you control your dog and communicate with them effectively.

  • To teach your Border Collie how to sit, hold a treat above their head and say “sit.” When your dog sits, reward them with the treat. Repeat this process until your dog learns the command.
  • To teach your dog how to lie down, place a treat on the ground and say “down.” When your dog lies down to get the treat, reward them. You can repeat this until your dog learns the command.
  • To teach your dog how to focus, hold a treat in front of their face and say “focus.” When your dog looks at the treat, reward them. Repeat this until your dog learns the command.

Fetch and Catch

Border Collies have a natural instinct to chase and retrieve objects.

They can quickly learn how to fetch and catch a ball or frisbee and this skill can be used in different jobs, throughout their lives.

And so, not only is this fun for your dog, but it can also be an excellent way to exercise them.

Advanced Tricks

Border Collies can learn advanced tricks such as rolling over, spinning, and jumping through hoops.

These tricks require more time and patience to teach, but they can be a fun way to challenge your dog mentally and physically.

Positive Reinforcement

When training your Border Collie for jobs, it’s essential to use positive reinforcement. It’s the most important aspect of training your dog.

Reward your dog with treats and praise when they perform a task correctly. This will help them associate the job with a positive experience and encourage them to perform the task again.

In conclusion, training your Border Collie for jobs requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Teach them basic commands like sit, lie down, and focus, and then start training them for specific jobs.

Border Collie Jobs 2

Exercise and Energy Management

Border Collies have high levels of energy, and it’s important to provide them with enough exercise. This keeps their minds stimulated and prevents boredom.

In general, adult Border Collies need at least 90 minutes of exercise per day more or less, depending on factors such as age and overall health. Some can do more, other can do less.

To ensure that your Border Collie gets enough exercise, incorporating a variety of activities into their routine is pretty important.

These activities can include:

  • Walks
  • Runs
  • Fetching
  • Lake swimming
  • Hikes
  • Trips to the park.

It’s also a good idea to provide them with mental stimulation through activities such as agility training, puzzle toys, and games of fetch.

In addition to regular exercise, it’s important to manage your Border Collie’s energy levels throughout the day.

This can be achieved through activities such as the Red Light, Green Light game, where playtime is interspersed with periods of rest.

You can also provide them with food-dispensing toys or slow feeders to keep them mentally stimulated while they eat.

Border Collie’s Instincts and Behaviors

Border Collies are not “naturally calm”. They’ve been bred and selected to have a specific job, and without it, they might feel bored, anxious and might develop bad habits and behaviors like chewing on furniture or digging holes in the yard or worse.

This is something to keep in mind at all times, and if you’ve read through this article, you’ll already know by now.

It’s also important to note that Border Collies require a lot of attention and socializing, since they’re pack animals.

Providing them with plenty of socialization and training from a young age to ensure they become well-adjusted and obedient adult dogs, will prevent them from becoming awkward, ostracized and can prevent depression further down the line.

In summary, Border Collies have a strong instinct to work and need plenty of physical and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors.

Providing them with a job or task to do can help channel their energy in a positive way. Additionally, socialization and training are crucial for their overall well-being and happiness.

Other Fun Activities for Border Collies

Here are some other fun activities that you can do with your Border Collie.

1. Walking, Jogging, and Hiking

Border Collies love to be outside and explore. Take your dog on multiple walks, jogs or hikes, to give them some exercise and mental stimulation.

This will also help to keep them fit and healthy and can get them prepared to do other more intensive jobs, further down the line.

2. Agility Training

Agility training doesn’t have to be a job, but can be used as a part time thing. It’s a great way to challenge your Border Collie’s mind and body.

Set up an obstacle course in your backyard or take your dog to an agility training class.

This will help to improve your dog’s coordination, balance, and agility.

3. Swimming

Most Border Collies are natural swimmers. Taking your dog to a lake or beach and letting them swim and play can have them use up all of that extra energy.

Swimming is a low-impact exercise that is great for dogs with joint problems.

4. Hide and Seek

Border Collies love to play games, and hide and seek is a great way to challenge their minds.

Hide treats or toys around the house or yard and let your dog find them. This will help to improve your dog’s problem-solving skills and keep them mentally stimulated.

5. Teaching New Tricks

Border Collies are quick learners and love to please their owners.

Teach your dog new tricks like rolling over, playing dead, or giving high fives. This will help to keep them mentally stimulated and improve your bond with your dog.

6. Playing Fetch

Border Collies love to play fetch. Use a tennis ball or frisbee to play fetch with your dog. This will help to improve your dog’s coordination and exercise their body.


In conclusion, Border Collies are highly intelligent and energetic dogs that require mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

They thrive when given a job or task to perform, and excel in a variety of work roles such as herding, search and rescue, and agility competitions.

To ensure that your Border Collie is happy and fulfilled, it’s super important to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. 

When it comes to training a Border Collie for a job or work role, start with basic obedience training before moving on to more complex forms of training.

Overall, Border Collies are a unique breed that require a dedicated and knowledgeable owner to reach their full potential.

With the right training, exercise, and mental stimulation, they can excel in a variety of job roles and make excellent companions.

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