The Border Collie is a herding breed that descended from breeds near the border of England and Scotland. It is commonly considered the most intelligent breed of dog. It has always been a herding breed and has more recently become popular as a pet and a sporting dog.
The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog with a fairly thick double coat. Black and white is the most common color combination, although its coat can be black tricolor, red and white, red tricolor, blue and white, red merle, blue merle, sable or Australian red. The ears of the Border Collie can vary from fully erect to fully dropped, or they can lie somewhere in between. The Border Collie’s eye color also varies from deep brown to blue to amber; occasionally the Border Collie has one eye of each color. The Border Collie stands from 18 to 22 inches tall and is slightly longer than it is tall. In general, the appearance of the Border Collie is not as important as its ability and attitude. The look of the working Border Collie typically varies more than the look of the show dog, since the show dog must conform to more specific breed standards regarding looks.
The Border Collie is highly energetic with a strong desire to work closely with a human handler. It might tend toward destructive behavior if it is not given a job. It can be a very demanding breed and may be unsuitable for households with owners who are inactive. In a household where the Border Collie is given a job to do and space to run it can be an excellent companion. The Border Collie demands daily exercise, both mental and physical. Border Collies are easy to train and excel at dog sports, agility and various other competitions.
The Border Collie is a very economical solution for herding sheep, cattle, poultry, pigs, and other animals. A well trained Border Collie can do the work of three humans. It can take direction by voice and whistle when herding. The Border Collie also has a highly developed sense of smell which can be used for search and rescue work.
The Border Collie is not free of hereditary health problems. It is commonly plagued with hip dysplasia, epilepsy and Collie eye anomaly (a congenital eye disease involving the retina, choroids and sclera. Deafness, osteochondritis, and hypothyroidism are also common problems. Two other slightly rare but serious diseases often affect the Border Collie: Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (resulting in neurological impairment) and Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (an autoimmune-deficiency disease). DNA testing can be used to detect both of these diseases.