Top ten facts about Border Collies

facts about border collies
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Known for being incredibly smart working dogs, there’s still lots to learn with our facts about Border Collies.

From their beautiful coats to their ability to use ‘their eye’ to effectively herd sheep, Border Collies are one of the most reliable, hard-working breeds in the world. 

So grab a beverage – and a snack or two of course – and get comfy as you find out all there is to know about these energetic canines.

1. Collie means “sheepdog”

Originating in Scotland, the breed’s name 'collie' is a Scottish word that is commonly used to describe sheepdogs. Since the canine thrived in the areas on the border of England and Scotland, this pooch was soon lovingly christened the 'Border Collie'. Believed to date back to the 1700s, its ancestors are thought to be other breeds of Collie, such as the Scotch Collie and Bearded Collie, and possibly even a Spaniel.

2. Their coats come in two styles

Border Collies aren’t all the same. Some sport a coarse coat with hairs growing approximately three inches long, commonly with a lush tail and mane. Whereas other types of Border Collie have shorter and smoother coats, which measure roughly one inch long.

facts about border collies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

3. They make great search and rescue dogs...

These canines don’t just use their intelligence, agility and hard-working ethic for herding other animals. Border Collies are also incredibly effective search and rescue dogs. In 2016, a Border Collie named Blitz rescued a missing woman who was lost under thick foliage in England for over 24 hours – somewhere she wouldn’t have been visible to the human eye.

4. ...and great guard dogs too

Border Collies also make excellent watchdogs. Because of their natural herding instinct, these pooches can be protective of their territory and the family they live with. Though they are sociable with children and other pets, there is the unfortunate potential that Border Collies can nip at the heels of strangers, similar to how they will nip at sheep.

5. Border collies are not a dog for couch potatoes

Since they are such a highly active and intelligent breed, they require a lot of exercise – both of their mind and body. It’s recommended that adult Border Collies are given at least two hours of exercise every day in addition to mental stimulation and training as a way to occupy their minds.

facts about border collies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

6. They stare at sheep to intimidate them

Border Collies excel at herding sheep by using ‘the eye’ – their ability to intimidate the flock by giving them an incredibly intense stare – in combination with the breed's stamina, strength, intelligence, and extremely loyal work ethic.

7. A tired Border Collie is a quiet Border Collie

A vocal Border Collie has the potential to become relatively quiet as a result of an increase in their physical exercise and mental stimulation. Many owners notice that their canine is a lot less vocal on days in which they have exhausted all their energy.

8. Queen Victoria was a big fan

Queen Victoria – who reigned as the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837 to 1901 – was believed to be an active Border Collie enthusiast during the early 1860s.

facts about border collies

(Image credit: Getty Images)

9. They have been herding for at least 150 years

The first-known recording of Border Collies being used as sheepdogs was in 1873 at a sheepdog trial in Wales. The audience was astonished to witness the breed's capability to guide sheep into the pen only by following their owner's hand signals and whistles.

10. The smartest dog in the world is a Border Collie

Border Collies are record breakers. One, named Chaser, is known as the smartest dog in the world since she has the ability to recognize and name all of her toys – all 1,000 of them! Another Border Collie, called Jumpy, holds the Guinness World Record for completing the fastest 100m on a skateboard by a canine, wheeling their way across the line in less than 20 seconds.

Chloe Petrylak

Chloe is a freelance writer, editor, and proofreader, who has more than ten years’ experience in creating animal-focussed content. From National Geographic to Animal Planet, Chloe’s passion for creating fact-filled features all about wildlife and the environment is evident. But it’s not just wild animals that Chloe’s fascinated by. Having written more than 75 articles for PetsRadar - and having her very own four-legged friend by her side - it’s no wonder that her love of dogs (and, of course, cats) has grown exponentially.  

Her website,, and social media pages - @ChloeMayWrites on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter - showcase her knowledge through daily facts and trivia tidbits. For example, did you know that snails have teeth?!