The Beautiful Border Collie

Looking for a dog who is often smarter than you? Look no farther than the Border Collie! This super smart pooch has some great characteristics:

Highly active sầu và eager to serve sầu a purposeVigilant watchdog with a ready barkAlert, curious, và busyAthletic và agileWell suited as a companion or working dog

Those great traits find some balance in these other features:

Needs a lot of activity và mental stimulation khổng lồ avoid boredom vicesSvào herding instinct can lead khổng lồ chasing cars & small animalsProne to separation anxietyNeeds frequent attention from her familyCan be snappy with childrenSheds quite a bit and needs to lớn be brushed regularly

Widely considered the most intelligent dog breed, she can also be a handful. Without proper exercise và mental stimulation she may develop problem behaviors.

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Border Collies were bred as herding dogs in the countryside between Scotl& và Engl&. They are known for their intelligence and the intense stare they use on flocks of sheep. They are extremely active dogs that vày best when they have sầu a job. Their natural herding abilities can lead to herding anything that moves, including children và small animals. Border Collies are generally a healthy breed with an average lifespan of 12-15 years.

Your Border Collie"s Health

We know that because you care so much about your dog, you want lớn take good care of her. That is why we have sầu summarized the health concerns we will be discussing with you over the life of your Border Collie. By knowing about health concerns specific khổng lồ Border Collies, we can tailor a preventive sầu health plan khổng lồ watch for and hopefully prsự kiện some predictable risks.

Many diseases & health conditions are genetic, meaning they are related khổng lồ your pet’s breed. There is a general consensus ahy vọng canine genetic researchers & veterinary practitioners that the conditions we’ve sầu described herein have a significant rate of incidence and/or impact in this breed. That does not mean your dog will have sầu these problems; it just means that she is more at risk than other dogs. We will describe the most comtháng issues seen in Border Collies to lớn give you an idea of what may come up in her future. Of course, we can’t cover every possibility here, so always kiểm tra with us if you notice any unusual signs or symptoms.

This guide contains general health information important to all canines as well as the most important genetic predispositions for Border Collies. This information helps you and us together plan for your pet’s unique medical needs. At the kết thúc of the article, we have also included a description of what you can vị at trang chủ khổng lồ keep your Sheepdog looking and feeling her best. You will know what to watch for, & we will all feel better knowing that we’re taking the best possible care of your pal.

General Health Information for your Border Collie

Dental Disease

Dental disease is the most comtháng chronic problem in pets, affecting 80% of all dogs by age two. Unfortunately, your Border Collie is more likely than other dogs to have sầu problems with her teeth. Dental disease starts with tartar build-up on the teeth & progresses to infection of the gums & roots of the teeth. If we don’t prsự kiện or treat dental disease, your buddy may thất bại her teeth và be in danger of damaging her kidneys, liver, heart, và joints. In fact, your Border Collie"s life span may even be cut short by one lớn three years! We’ll clean your dog’s teeth regularly and let you know what you can bởi at trang chính to lớn keep those pearly whites clean.


Border Collies are susceptible lớn bacterial and viral infections—the same ones that all dogs can get—such as parvo, rabies, and distemper. Many of these infections are preventable through vaccination, which we will recommkết thúc based on her age, the diseases we see in our area, & other factors.


Obesity can be a significant health problem in Border Collies. It is a serious disease that may cause or worsen joint problems, metabolic and digestive sầu disorders, bachồng pain, & heart disease. Though it’s tempting khổng lồ give sầu your pal food when she looks at you with those soulful eyes, you can “love her to lớn death” with leftover people food và doggie treats. Instead, give her a hug, brush her fur or teeth, play a game with her, or perhaps take her for a walk. She’ll feel better, and so will you!


All kinds of worms & bugs can invade your Sheepdog"s toàn thân, inside & out. Everything from fleas and ticks to ear mites can infest her skin & ears. Hookworms, roundworms, heartworms, & whipworms can get into her system in a number of ways: drinking unclean water, walking on contaminated soil, or being bitten by an infected mosquilớn. Some of these parasites can be transmitted lớn you or a family thành viên and are a serious concern for everyone. For your canine friover, these parasites can cause pain, discomfort, và even death, so it’s important that we demo for them on a regular basis. We’ll also recommkết thúc preventive medication as necessary to lớn keep her healthy.

Spay or Neuter

One of the best things you can bởi vì for your Border Collie is to have her spayed (neutered for males). In females, this means we surgically remove the ovaries và usually the uterus, và in males, it means we surgically remove sầu the testicles. Spaying or neutering decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancers & eliminates the possibility of your pet becoming pregnant or fathering unwanted puppies. Performing this surgery also gives us a chance, while your pet is under anesthesia, to identify & address some of the diseases your dog is likely to develop. For example, if your pet needs hip X-rays or a puppy tooth extracted, this would be a good time–it’s more convenient for you & easier on your frikết thúc too. Routine blood testing prior to lớn surgery also helps us lớn identify và take precautions against common problems that increase anesthetic or surgical risk. Don’t worry; we’ll discuss the specific problems we will be looking for when the time arrives.

Genetic Predispositions for Border Collies

Hip Dysplasia

You’ve sầu probably heard of hip dysplasia, an inherited disease that causes the hip joints to lớn size improperly & leads lớn arthritis. Hip dysplasia is common in Border Collies. You may notice that he has lameness in his hind legs or has difficulty getting up from lying down. We’ll take X-rays of your dog’s joints to lớn identify the disease as early as possible, và we can treat the arthritis—the sooner the better—lớn avoid discomfort & pain. Surgery is sometimes considered in severe và life-limiting cases of hip dysplasia. And keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, causing undue pain & suffering.

Bone Disorder

When Border Collie puppies are allowed to lớn grow too quickly, the cartilage in their joints may not attach lớn the bones properly. This problem is known as osteochondritis dissecans, or OCD. If this occurs, surgery may be required lớn fix the problem. Our recommended growth rate for Border Collie puppies is no more than four pounds per week. To maintain this rate, don’t overfeed hyên and don’t supplement with additional calcium. Feed a large-breed puppy diet rather than an adult or regular puppy diet. And weigh your puppy every three lớn four weeks lớn make sure he’s on track.


There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive sầu, secondary, and primary. Reactive sầu seizures are caused by the brain"s reaction to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary or idiopathic epilepsy. This problem is often an inherited condition, & Border Collies are commonly afflicted. If your friover is prone lớn seizures, episodes will usually begin between six months and three years of age. An initial diagnostic workup may help find the cause. Lifelong medication is usually necessary khổng lồ help keep seizures under control with periodic blood testing required to lớn monitor side effects và efficacy. If your dog has a seizure, carefully prevent hyên from injuring himself, but don"t try to control his mouth or tongue. It won"t help hyên, & he may bite you accidentally! lưu ý the length of the seizure, & Call us at 908-332-5057 or Hotline an emergency hospital.

Thyroid Problems

Border Collies are prone to a common condition called hypothyroidism in which the toàn thân doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. Signs can include dry skin & coat, hair loss, susceptibility to lớn other skin diseases, weight gain, fearfulness, aggression, & other behavioral changes. We’ll conduct a blood chạy thử annually lớn screen for this disease. Treatment is usually as simple as replacement hormones given in the khung of a pill.

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs become bored or anxious quickly when away from their human companions, especially if they are not getting enough exercise or mental stimulation. A scheduled routine, lots lớn bởi, and a stable trang chủ environment can help prsự kiện common behavior problems associated with separation anxiety. Also, make sure your Border Collie gets alone time as well as play time as a puppy so he becomes used khổng lồ being by himself for short periods.

Noise Phobia

Fear of storms, fireworks, and loud noises is comtháng in dogs of all breeds. Dogs are at risk of hurting themselves when terrified, especially if they frantically try to lớn escape or chew through doors, kennels, or walls. Working with us khổng lồ find an appropriate plan for your Border Collie is a process we will approach together. We want khổng lồ address his problem when signs first appear as fear behavior tends to lớn get worse with time.

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Cancer is a leading cause of death in older dogs. Your Collie will likely live sầu longer than many other breeds & therefore is more prone lớn get cancer in his golden years. Many cancers are curable by surgical removal, and some types are treatable with chemotherapy. Early detection is critical! We’ll persize periodic diagnostic tests & look for lumps và bumps when we examine your pet.

Multidrug Resistance

Multidrug resistance is a genetic defect in a gen called MDR1. If your Border Collie has this mutation, it can affect the way his body processes different drugs, including substances commonly used khổng lồ treat parasites, diarrhea, and even cancer. For years, veterinarians simply avoided using ivermectin in herding breeds, but now there is a DNA demo that can specifically identify dogs who are at risk for side effects from certain medications. Testing your pet early in life can prsự kiện drug-related toxithành phố.

Overheating Disorder: Malignant Hyperthermia

Some Border Collies seem khổng lồ have sầu a defective “internal thermostat” and can develop dangerously high toàn thân temperatures leading to lớn heat stroke, muscle rigidity, and organ damage. This condition is called malignant hyperthermia— malignant, meaning deadly or dangerous, & hyperthermia, referring to lớn overheating. This is especially comtháng during và after anesthesia, thus we will monitor your pet’s temperature closely to lớn prsự kiện complications following surgical or dental procedures. DNA testing for a predisposition lớn hyperthermia is available, và carriers should be screened và identified before breeding.

Heart Disease

Border Collies are susceptible lớn a condition called patent ductus arteriosus, or PDA, in which a small vessel that carries blood between two parts of the heart does not cthua kém as it should shortly after birth. This results in too much blood being carried to lớn the lungs, causing fluid build-up và strain on the heart. Outward signs may be mild or severe, including coughing, fatigue during exercise, weight loss, shortness of breath, và weakness in the hind limbs. We listen for a specific type of heart murmur to lớn diagnose this problem during your pet’s examinations. If your pal has this condition, we may recommkết thúc surgery lớn cthua thảm the problematic vessel.

Liver Problems

Your Border Collie is more likely than other dogs to have sầu a liver disorder called portosystemic shunt (PSS). Some of the blood supply that should go khổng lồ the liver goes around it instead, depriving the liver of the blood flow it needs to grow and function properly. If your friend has PSS, his liver cannot remove toxins from his bloodstream effectively. To kiểm tra for this problem, we’ll conduct a liver function demo in addition to lớn a standard pre-anesthetic panel every time he undergoes anesthesia. If he develops symptoms such as stunted growth or seizures, we’ll kiểm tra his blood và possibly conduct an ultrasound scan of his liver. Surgery may be needed, but in some cases, we can treat with a special diet & medication.

Nutrient Malabsorption

Cobalamin (Vitamin B12) is an essential nutrient necessary for life. A genetic defect, more likely in Border Collies than other dogs, disrupts the absorption of this nutrient in the intestines causing poor appetite, stunted growth, protein loss, and low red and Trắng blood cell counts. Don’t worry; we can chạy thử for this defect with blood work. If your buddy is affected, cobalamin injections will be needed for the rest of his life. Luckily, this disease is rare.

Blood Disorder

A relatively rare blood disorder called Pelger-Huet anomaly can occur in your Border Collie. If he is a carrier of the disease, his infection-fighting trắng blood cells will look abnormal under the microscope, but will operate normally. Puppies that inherit a copy of this abnormal gene from both parents, however, usually die before or shortly after birth. For this reason, it is important to lớn diagnose breeding dogs who are carriers of this defect so they don’t pass it along to lớn their offspring.

Nerve Disease

Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, or NCL, is a progressive sầu neurologic disease found in several breeds, including Border Collies. Clinical signs usually appear in younger dogs around one to three years of age. In the early stages, rear leg weakness và imbalance can occur. Symptoms may progress to lớn weakness involving all four legs, and some dogs also chiến bại vision. There is currently no effective treatment for this disease, but a genetic kiểm tra is available. Dogs carrying the mutation should not be used for breeding since it is readily passed lớn future generations.

Eye Problems

Not many things have as dramatic an impact on your dog"s chất lượng of life as the proper functioning of his eyes. Unfortunately, Border Collies can inherit or develop a number of different eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated right away, & most of which can be extremely painful! We will evaluate his eyes at every examination khổng lồ look for any signs for concern.

Cataracts are a common cause of blindness in older Border Collies. We’ll watch for the lenses of his eyes khổng lồ become more opaque—meaning they look cloudy instead of clear—when we examine hlặng. Many dogs adjust well to lớn losing their vision & get along just fine. Surgery to remove sầu cataracts and restore sight may also be an option.Pannus is like a suntung on your dog"s eyeball. In affected breeds, inflammatory cells infiltrate the cornea (the clear part of the eye), which then darkens with exposure lớn ultraviolet light, & may lead lớn complete blindness. It"s considered lớn have a genetic component since the condition is predominant in certain breeds, like your Border Collie. We"ll watch his eyes closely for early signs and start preventive eye medications if needed. Doggie sunglasses are also an option to lớn help reduce sun exposure.Collie eye anomaly is a genetically linked disease that causes abnormal development of the eyes in Border Collies. In severe cases, the disease can lead to lớn blindness. Unfortunately, there is no treatment. It is important to give your pet a thorough eye examination prior to lớn breeding.Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is an inherited disease in which the eyes are genetically programmed khổng lồ go blind. Unfortunately, Border Collies are a bit more likely than other dogs to have this condition. PRA is not painful, but also not curable. In dogs with this ren, early symptoms such as night blindness or dilated pupils generally begin around three lớn five sầu years of age. A genetic thử nghiệm is available for this condition.

Taking Care of Your Border Collie at Home

Much of what you can bởi to lớn keep your dog happy and healthy is comtháng sense, just lượt thích it is for people. Watch her diet, make sure she gets plenty of exercise, regularly brush her teeth và coat, & call us or a pet emergency hospital when something seems unusual (see “What khổng lồ Watch For” below). Be sure to adhere to the schedule of examinations & vaccinations that we recommend for her. This is when we’ll give sầu her the necessary “check-ups” & demo for diseases và conditions that are comtháng in Border Collies. Another very important step in caring for your pet is signing up for pet health insurance. There will certainly be medical tests and procedures she will need throughout her life and pet health insurance will help you cover those costs.

Routine Care, Diet, and Exercise

Build her routine care into your schedule lớn help your Sheepdog live sầu longer, stay healthier, và be happier during her lifetime. We cannot overemphakích cỡ the importance of a proper diet and exercise routine.

Supervise your pet as you would a toddler. Keep doors closed, piông chồng up after yourself, và bloông chồng off rooms as necessary. This will keep her out of trouble and away from objects she shouldn’t put in her mouth.Brush her coat at least weekly.Border Collies generally have sầu good teeth, và you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!Clean her ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—we’ll show you how!She"s a very smart dog with lots of energy, so keep her mind và body toàn thân active sầu, or she"ll get bored. That"s when the naughty stuff starts.She"s an athletic & acrobatic dog that excels at agility competitions, flyball, & herding events.Border Collies can be sound sensitive sầu, so be prepared for thunderstorms, New Year"s Eve, & the Fourth of July!Keep your dog’s diet consistent và don’t give sầu her people food.Feed a high-chất lượng diet appropriate for her age.Exercise your dog regularly, but don’t overbởi it at first.

What lớn Watch For

Any abnormal symptom could be a sign of serious disease or it could just be a minor or temporary problem. The important thing is khổng lồ be able khổng lồ tell when lớn seek veterinary help và how urgently. Many diseases cause dogs to lớn have sầu a characteristic combination of symptoms, which together can be a clear signal that your Border Collie needs help.

Office Calls

Give us a điện thoại tư vấn for an appointment if you notice any of these types of signs:

Change in appetite or water consumptionTartar build-up, bad breath, red gums, or broken teethItchy skin (scratching, chewing, or licking); hair lossLethargy, mental dullness, or excessive sầu sleepingFearfulness, aggression, or other behavioral changesDull coat, hair loss; sluggish, weight gainSlow or stunted growth; sometimes seizes after eatingAnxiety, destructive sầu behaviors, vocalization, hiding, panting, or drooling


Seek medical care immediately if you notice any of these types of signs:

Scratching or shaking the head, tender ears, or ear dischargeInability or straining khổng lồ urinate; discolored urineCloudiness, redness, itching, or any other abnormality involving the eyesLeg stiffness; reluctance to lớn rise, sit, use stairs, run, jump; “bunny hopping”Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremorsLethargy, drooling, or abnormal behavior following drug administrationFatigue during exercise, coughing, or shortness of breath
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