Border Collie illustration
Pastoral

Border Collie

Naturally active and intelligent herding specialist and all-round worker

Breed characteristics

Size
Medium
Exercise
More than 2 hours per day
Size of home
Small house
Grooming
More than once a week
Coat length
Medium
Sheds
Yes
Lifespan
Over 12 years
Vulnerable native breed
No
Town or country
Either
Size of garden
Large garden

About this breed

The Border Collie is still seen performing the task for which it was bred, working sheep (and cattle) and its fitness for function is seen in its speed, its innate herding instinct and its stealthy gait and carriage.

The name derives from the border regions of England, Scotland and Wales where he originally showed his worth, working sheep in the hills and mountains. His intelligence, speed and versatility have brought the Border Collie success in many canine activities such as obedience, agility and as a sniffer dog for detecting explosives and drugs. In relatively recent times the breed has become highly popular in the show ring. The natural activity and intelligence of the Border Collie means that he needs to be engaged to lead a fulfilled life.

Read the breed standard

Images for this breed

The Pastoral breed group

The Pastoral Group consists of herding dogs that are associated with working cattle, sheep, reindeer and other cloven footed animals.

Usually this type of dog has a weatherproof double coat to protect it from the elements when working in severe conditions. Breeds such as the Collie family, Old English Sheepdogs and Samoyeds who have been herding reindeer for centuries are but a few included in this group.

Breed standard colours

Breed standard colour means that the colour is accepted within the breed standard and is a traditional and well-known colour in this breed.

Breed standard colours in this breed include:

  • Black & White
  • Black Tricolour
  • Black White & Tan
  • Blue & White
  • Blue Merle
  • Blue Merle & Tan
  • Blue Merle & White
  • Blue Sable
  • Blue Sable & White
  • Blue Tricolour
  • Blue Tricolour Merle
  • Blue White & Tan
  • Brown & White
  • Brown Merle
  • Sable
  • Brown Merle & White
  • Brown Sable
  • Brown Sable & White
  • Brown Tricolour
  • Brown Tricolour Merle
  • Brown White & Tan
  • Chocolate & White
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • Gold & White
  • Gold Merle & White
  • Gold Sable
  • Gold Sable & White
  • Lilac
  • Lilac & White
  • Lilac Merle
  • Lilac Merle & White
  • Lilac Tricolour
  • Lilac Tricolour Merle
  • Red & White
  • Red Merle & White
  • Red Tricolour
  • Red Tricolour Merle
  • Red White & Tan
  • Sable & White
  • Sable Blue Merle
  • Sable Merle
  • Sable Merle & White
  • Seal
  • Seal & White
  • Slate
  • Slate & White
  • Slate Merle
  • Slate Merle & White
  • Slate Tricolour Merle

Other colour/s

'Other' means you consider your puppy to be a colour not currently known within the breed and one that does not appear on either the breed standard or non-breed standard list. In this instance you would be directed through our registrations process to contact a breed club and/or council to support you on identifying and correctly listing the new colour.

Non-breed-standard colours

Non-breed-standard colour means that the colour is not accepted within the breed standard and whilst some dogs within the breed may be this colour it is advised to only select a dog that fits within the breed standards for all points.

Colour is only one consideration when picking a breed or individual dog, health and temperament should always be a priority over colour.

Health

Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy, or breeding from your dog, it’s essential that you know what health issues may be found in your breed. To tackle these issues we advise that breeders use DNA tests, screening schemes and inbreeding coefficient calculators to help breed the healthiest dogs possible.

More about health

Priority health schemes and tests

The Kennel Club Assured Breeders must use the following schemes, tests and advice. All other breeders are strongly advised to also use these.

Important health schemes and tests

We strongly recommend that all breeders, both assured breeders (ABs) and non ABs, use the following schemes, tests and advice.

Other health schemes and tests available

*CombiBreed - simple to use and easy to organise all-in-one DNA tests for breeders

The DNA tests listed above marked with an * are included in our CombiBreed health test package. This includes:

  • CEA/CH (Collie Eye Anomaly) (partner lab)
  • IGS (Imerslun-Gräsbeck syndrome/Cobalamin malabsorption)
  • MDR1 (Multidrug resistance gene 1) (partner lab)
  • CL (Ceroid lipofuscinosis)
  • SN (Sensory neuropathy)
  • Gonio (Severe goniodysgenesis & glaucoma risk)
  • TNS (Trapped neutrophil syndrome)

As part of this package, all seven tests are carried out from a single swab for a total of £135 (incl. VAT). Assured breeders receive a 10% discount (£121.50 incl. VAT).

Find out more about our CombiBreed health packages.

Find out about a particular dog's results

Please visit our Health Test Results Finder to discover the DNA or screening scheme test results for any dog on The Kennel Club's Breed Register.

You can also view the inbreeding coefficient calculation for a puppy's parents, or for a dog you're thinking of breeding from.

Have any questions about health in your breed?

If you have any concerns about a particular health condition in your breed then you may wish to speak to your vet or you could contact your breed health co-ordinator.

Breed health co-ordinators are individuals working on behalf of breed clubs and councils who are advocates for the health and welfare of their chosen breed. They acts as a spokesperson on matters of health and will collaborate with The Kennel Club on any health concerns the breed may have.

Contact the breed health co-ordinator for the Border Collie.

Breed watch

Category 1        

Currently no points of concern specific to this breed have been identified for special attention by judges, other than those covered routinely by The Kennel Club breed standard.

Read more about Breed Watch

Breeding restrictions

There are a number of The Kennel Club rules and regulations that may prevent a litter from being registered, find out about our general and breed specific breeding restrictions below.

More about breeding

With effect from 1 January 2013, The Kennel Club will not register puppies whelped from a merle to merle mating born on or after this date. This is due to associated health risks of impaired vision and hearing associated with the merle gene in this breed.

More information

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