All about your Border Collie

Smart, loyal and agile, with bags of energy.

Intelligent and enthusiastic, Border Collies are hard-working and well-suited to the outdoors and active families. Discover this lively, athletic dog, and get tips on a range of topics from exercise, grooming and behaviour, to what you can do to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Cautious Border Collie Walking Through Grass

Breed information & advice

As part of the pastoral dog group, the Border Collie is known for his loyal, sensitive and determined personality. Though each dog’s coat will vary, classic markings for this breed include a black body with a blaze of white across his face and chest, and white socks.

  • The Border Collie is a highly affectionate breed of dog and very easy to train.
  • His coat requires minimal upkeep – he should be bathed once every four months.
  • This dog will typically weigh between 8kg and 14kg, when fully grown.
  • If healthy he can live between 12 and 15 years.

Typical size of a Border Collie

Medium: 46cm-56cm

Because Border Collies were originally bred to herd sheep and cattle on farms and in hilly conditions, they require plenty of exercise in open spaces. Your dog will be highly intelligent, so it’s a good idea to keep him mentally active too.

Feed your dog twice a day, but the quantity will vary depending on his weight, age and size (and will differ during puppy years). Always read the label to make sure you’re feeding your dog the right amount and just be aware that red meat can make some dogs very hyperactive.

Two hours of exercise a day

It is important to give your Border Collie at least two hours of exercise per day, so he can burn off all the energy he’s stored up, and keep his mind active too.

Border Collie Running Through Grass In Front Of Trees
Black, White & Tan Border Collie

Common health problems & illnesses

Border Collies need all of the usual vaccinations, flea and tick control, and dental checks to go on to lead a healthy life, but it’s worth being aware of some of the more specific ailments which can affect this breed, so you can look out for any symptoms.

1. Joint problems

Arthritis is common in Border Collies due to their active nature, and hip dysplasia is also seen in a high number of these dogs. This condition is caused by genetic problems in the hip, leading to damage in the muscle and tissue around the joint. Look out for any changes in your dog’s mobility, and if persistent, speak to your vet who will advise on the best treatment depending on your dog’s circumstances.

2. Epilepsy

This hereditary condition may affect some Border Collies, usually starting between the ages of 1 and 4. Epilepsy is caused by over-activity in the brain, resulting in twitching, seizures and fits. The effects of epilepsy can vary between animals and the condition can be controlled through treatment and medication.

3. Cruciate ligament problems

Cruciate rupture is when the ligament tears in the hind legs and it can be quite common in agile dogs like Border Collies. Keep an eye out for any lameness in your pet’s stance – he may be hopping more off his back legs rather than walking naturally. If you notice anything unusual, speak to your vet who may recommend a range of treatment options, including surgery.

4. Eye problems

Collie eye anomaly (CEA) can leave a dog's vision either damaged or permanently lost, but can be easily diagnosed in young animals. It’s caused by the blood vessels that support the retina not growing properly, leading to sight issues, though CEA is only evident in a low percentage of Border Collies.

5. Warts and growths

As you're grooming your dog, make sure to check him for any lumps or bumps you might not have noticed before. A growth could be anything from a wart or a lipoma (a fatty growth), to something more serious, so if you feel anything unusual on your pet's body or skin, speak with your vet who’ll be able to advise on the best treatment options available.

Dog name popularity

If you’re struggling to think of a name for your new Border Collie, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Bank Pet Insurance for inspiration.

Dog name popularity

Average treatment costs

Wondering whether pet insurance for your Border Collie is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions and problems claimed for by Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customers in 2018, and the average cost of treatment.

Average Treatment Costs Table
ConditionAverage treatment cost
Arthritis/Degenerative Joint Disease£197.17

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/18 to 31/12/18.

Considering Border Collie insurance?

We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Bank Pet Insurance.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Grooming advice

Your Border Collie won't need a huge amount of grooming and will only need a bath every four months or so – unless his coat gets dirty from playing or walking outside.

Keep his coat in good condition by brushing him on a weekly basis, to keep the natural oils spread across his fur and to get rid of any knots or kinks. He'll shed his coat usually during autumn and spring, so you'll need to give him some extra brushing during these periods.

Clean your dog’s teeth two to three times a week to keep his teeth and gums fresh, removing any build-up of bacteria. There are various specialist toothbrushes and pastes available to help you stay on top of your pet's oral health.

Keep his nails in good condition by trimming them back once every month. Cleaning his ears is vitally important too – with a dampened cotton ball, wipe in and around his ears to help remove dirt and to prevent any infections.

Fun & interesting facts

  • The breed played a major role in the 1995 film Babe, as Fly and Rex act as sheepdogs teaching a piglet how to herd livestock.
  • A Border Collie holds the world record for being the fastest dog to open a car window – in 11.34 seconds.
  • Research has found that Border Collies can recognise up to 250 different items.
  • Border Collies are often employed by the police and airport customs due to their strong sense of smell.
  • They have been rated as the smartest breed of dog.

Important information


The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.


vetfone™ is a 24/7 helpline that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

As a Tesco Bank Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you a trip to the vet.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by VetsDirect Ltd.

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