For most people the very intelligent border collie dog may seem like a great pet, but often of these dogs are not suitable for the average person's lifestyle. Border collies are often surrendered to animal shelters because owners are easily overwhelmed by this super smart dog.
Border collies are one of the most intelligent dogs, if not “the” most intelligent dog. Bred for herding sheep, they are keen workers, always alert, and looking for things to do. Many people consider them "hyper" but in truth they are just active and intelligent. In most cases a border collie, if left to its own devices, will get into trouble; its active mind always in search of mental stimulation.
Border collies are often black and white, but can be other colors including red and white, merle, or tri-colored. It is not uncommon for them to have one blue eye and one brown eye. They are a small-medium sized dog, with a coat that is medium in length and it does shed. The dogs are rarely fat, and often must be fed an a “Active dog” formula of dog food or can be underweight.
These dogs are passionate about what they do, and herding is what they love to do most. If trained they are a farmers best friend, if not trained, they can be a nightmare. An untrained border collie will herd anything it can just out of desire, but will not know what it is doing and can cause weight loss in livestock as the animals will not be able to have a chance to eat and are kept running all day. A border collie will herd cats, deer, cattle, and even small children, or cars, if not trained correctly and not kept mentally stimulated. They can be nippy if not trained correctly.
When people cannot provide their border collie with the opportunity to do what it does best (herding) they often find it necessary to keep the dog mentally stimulated by taking it to agility. Again this is not a simple case of showing the dog some weaving poles and expecting it to know what to do, the dog must be trained to weave the poles, catch the ball, or whatever. Basic obedience training is a must before entering agility.
Border collies must be given mental stimulation, and physical exercise, every day, but kenneling should be used when the dogs are left alone to prevent problems. However that is not to say that they should be kenneled at all times, nor is kenneling a dog a way of controlling them. Their needs must be met. A walk, even a really long walk, is not enough for these dogs. Border collies should not be kept tied in a yard, or left on a chain.
A person who is considering getting a border collie must plan on spending at least one hour a day with the dog devoted to mental stimulation. They should have a lot of time to spend with the dog in addition to this, and should have a way of containing the dog if they cannot be home with it (or cannot take it to work with them).
Border Collies are not a dog for a first time dog owner who has limited time or energy, nor should they be a child's pet. They are extremely smart, and if not properly cared for can be a disaster. There is always an exception to every rule, but on the whole border collies should be considered to be a very demanding, but extremely loyal, dog.
An even more physical dog, but one that needs less mental stimulation, is the Husky.