Choosing the right dog for a particular home can sometimes be overwhelming since there are so many compelling breeds to consider.
For a wide range of people, however, a Border Collie can generally be found at the very top of the list.
It’s one of the more popular choices after all, and while these intelligent and athletic animals might not be ideal for absolutely every situation, it is worth diving a bit deeper into the possible reasons they would be a great addition to pretty much any family.
So do Border Collies make good pets? In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the characteristics of the breed, to explore exactly what a prospective owner can expect, so as to make the best possible decisions.
Do Border Collies Make Good Pets?
A combination of loyalty, intelligence, enthusiasm, an even temper, good general health, great stamina and an average maintenance cost (if trained well enough) make these dogs a perfect option for a pet or for a companion for a wide variety of individuals and families.
Since they are naturally inclined to please their owners, it is easy to introduce a Border Collie to new situations that include kids and other animals, making them very adaptable. So yes, Border Collies can be considered really good pets.
To add onto this, some of the most impressive traits that a Collie possesses to make it an excellent option for veteran dog lovers or new owners alike, include:
● Extreme intelligence. Considered to be the #1 most intelligent breed of dogs in the world.
● Loyalty to their owners. They’re known for their obsessive focus (AKA “the stare”) and can ignore almost all distractions when requested to do so.
● An instinctive desire to please. Bred originally as working dogs, they’re most happy when they know they’re doing a good job and will actively look for ways to please their owners.
● Gentle nature and down-to-earth character and mood. The same can’t be said for most dogs!
Of course, their curiosity and seemingly limitless supply of energy can be exacerbated by young children (especially in the dog’s first year of life) so some families find that it is better to wait until kids get a little bit older and are better suited for the responsibility of interacting with these pets.
In any case, it will require some training and close supervision to teach these pets an appropriate way to behave in general, when in a new situation (in addition to adapting yourself to them) but for the most part they’re absolutely great pets and can compete with the likes of some of the more popular pet breeds like the Golden Retriever or the German Shepherd.
When it comes to Collies, they’re a very loyal, sociable and caring breed that aims to please (and love being around) their owners regardless of where they themselves are at, so there are countless examples of Border Collies living peacefully with people from small urban apartments to a sprawling farm stocked with animals, throughout the globe.
Are Border Collies Easy To Train?
Since Border Collies are so smart, it stands to reason they can learn to obey commands and respect boundaries in a relatively short period of time. And in fact they do, although you should always look at training your Collie as a long term thing.
When undertaking the task of training one of these animals, it’s also important to remember a few key factors in order to make the experience as rewarding and effective as possible for both the pet and owner.
● Training Collies, could be a challenge for individuals that have never owned a dog before, since they can be demanding and are extremely energetic. With that said, a lot of experienced dog owners and trainers, consider Collies a “dream dog to train”. So even though your experience might matter, Collies are some of the more trainable dogs.
● Border Collies are driven by stimuli, which can lead to distractions during long training sessions. Therefore, it is often more effective to focus on highly structured and brief lessons.
● Puppies can begin learning basic commands and tricks as early as three months old, but more advanced training is better suited for Collies that are at least six months old. As mentioned above, training is a long term commitment. Just like with kids, you want to gradually increase the complexity and difficulty of the training.
● This breed of dog also generally responds well to obedience school, so if it becomes especially difficult to train a Collie pup or if you don’t have that much time on your hands, consider signing up for classes with a trusted professional.
“As with any other animal, it takes patience and persistence to adequately train a Collie. You have to balance not expecting too much out of your pup in the early days, with creating stimulating enough ongoing learning experience when it’s a bit older.”
Are They Good For People With Allergies?
While some breeds might frequently be “described” as hypoallergenic (which just means that they don’t produce any allergens and thus, don’t produce potential allergic reactions) the reality is that true hypoallergenic dogs simply don’t exist.
Someone who suffers from allergies to pet dander can be triggered by practically any canine after close and extended exposure to the animal.
With that said, it is true that breeds with shorter hair that don’t shed very much, are generally less likely to spark an allergic reaction in their owners. So if you’re allergic to dog fur, of course you’d want to have as little of it around as possible.
Unfortunately for allergy sufferers, Border Collies do not fall into that category since they do in fact shed fur in larger quantities than a number of other breeds.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that people with allergies should automatically avoid Collies…
Instead (and if possible) future owners can spend some time with a Border Collie to determine how much of an impact the shedding fur might have on their allergies.
It’s not the most modern way of figuring out whether or not Border Collies are good for people with allergies, but it’s better than getting a Collie pup, falling in love with it, and then realizing that you get itchy eyes and runny nose every time you see each other.
Keeping a friend’s pet for a weekend, for example, can offer some important insight into whether this breed would make an appropriate pet for you or not. Assuming the allergic response is not too severe, then it might be possible to further reduce the effects in the long run.
NOTE: Brushing a Collie’s coat regularly to reduce loose fur and cleaning up clumps found around the house can limit the amount of allergens in the atmosphere. Over-the-counter allergy medication can significantly reduce or eliminate allergic reactions to the dander too. which is something that a lot of pet owners already do without giving it a second thought.
With that said, if you have had unbearable allergic reactions to dog fur in the past, then it might be best to go for a smaller less furry companion instead.
Do Border Collies Ever Become Aggressive?
In most cases, this breed is quite gentle, playful and tolerant of all types of interactions by humans and other animals alike. This means that young and old owners can typically approach a Collie with the confidence that it will respond with a loving and welcoming demeanor.
Although aggression is not in their nature, it is important to remember that Border Collies are prone to boredom which can manifest itself in somewhat destructive behavior. They can become territorial without proper guidance or training, so be sure to identify unusual patterns before they become traits that could result in more aggressive long-term consequences.
Fortunately, it is easy to break bad habits early with a bit of understanding and foresight. The following tips will help any Border Collie owner reduce the likelihood of behavioral problems:
● Make sure the dog receives plenty of exercise and attention. Frequent walks, trips to the park, and playdates with other dogs can reduce the anxiety and boredom that might otherwise lead to negative actions.
● Set clear boundaries from the beginning. Letting a Collie know that it is inappropriate to jump on the furniture, for example, will result in positive learned behavior that will pay off as the dog gets older. It’s crucial to get this right, and to let the dog know what you want and don’t want it to do.
● Reward good behavior (and don’t punish bad behavior). In line with the last point, you want to try to communicate to your dog, what you want and what you don’t want. Aggression is usually a sign of worry, fear or anxiety and can sometimes be due to past traumas. Don’t punish or instill fear into your pup, instead try focusing on rewarding positive behavior. A happy dog is not an aggressive one.