Is A Border Collie right for you?
Every dog has been “made” for a purpose in mind. Different breeds and individual crosses bred through generations with an end goal in mind, evaluating the pups and making choices who stays in the breeding gene pool and who does not. When you consider adding a dog to your family you need to keep this in mind. It is much more important than picking a cute pup. I personally have not seen to many pups of any breed that didn’t pull your heart strings a bit and get you thinking about bringing it home. A dog is a Lifelong Commitment so the breed you choose needs to fit into your family and lifestyle.
Border Collies have been developed to be working dogs, herding dogs to assist in the management of livestock. Each herding breed has their “style” in which they work. Border Collies are Heading dogs; naturally going to the head of livestock and using what is called EYE to control and move the stock. A breed can quickly loose this ability unless it is specifically bred for. Those pups that come from generations of herding / actually working dogs before them are born with the information in their heads. It is quite amazing to see a pup discover livestock and watch this instinct come forward at a very early age. I have known some pups to want to work at 3 months old. They are not physically capable of much work at this age but you can see the instinct and want to in some. There is no question when working livestock a Border Collie will be a great addition for you.
It is the movement of stock that kicks in this inherent ability and knowledge and gets it to come to come to the surface. Given the right breeding, encouragement and training the pup will be on its way to making a working dog. No one can say how good the dog will be, how long it will take, if the dog is suited for sheep or cattle… there are far to many contributing factors in the next couple years while the dog is developing. The best way to have an Idea about a pup is to know the generations before it. The way the pup actually works more times than not will be close to the way the parents work. Therefore if the pup is going to work make sure you see the parents work and enjoy their style of working.
The Border Collie is a highly intelligent active dog, again bred that way so it suited to do a job. Not all Border Collies are suited for herding, some go into sports homes and excel there, some go into active pet homes. Border Collies, because of their intelligence and high energy level, need a job of some kind. That can be accompanying their family when hiking, biking, camping or as a running partner, or agility, dock diving ect. They need both mental and physical exercise daily and do not fit into a sedentary life style. A bored Border Collie will create things to do and may become destructive or exhibit compulsive behaviors. Border Collies are excited by movement and can become car chasers, cat chasers and attempt to herd children and people unless these activities are stopped quickly and the energy redirected. Because of their overall intelligence and need to be active they are usually not a good choice for a first time dog owner, if you are not on top of your game a Border Collie will subtlety take control and train you. They are a more sensitive breed and can be raised so they understand people are in charge but if you do not demonstrate that for them most intelligent breeds will figure a way to use you to their advantage. Border Collies will keep you on your toes. They can be a wonderful companion and working partner. I will not be without one, ok several, on the farm.