Excerpt from Border Collies: Author: April M. Quist
Is a Border Collie For You?
With the recent appearance of the Border Collie in movies, commercials, and television programs, many people are now considering one as a potential new pet. While Border Collies are very intelligent, they also require a larger time and energy commitment from their owners than many other breeds. They are active, spirited, and sometimes strong willed. Although some may be calmer than others, others are decidedly hyperactive, always wanting to be up and doing something. They often exhibit obsessive behaviors, like chasing lights, shadows, and running or dripping water. Many owners have no patience for this kind of activity, but breed lovers seem to enjoy this loony streak.
There is no way of telling how highly developed a pup’s herding instinct will be. If you acquire one that wants to work above all else, its frustration may take the form of herding and possibly nipping at the heels of children, running adults, or other animals. This is not a sign of viciousness, but it is something that must be controlled, especially with small children who can become frightened with the behavior.
The people who make the most satisfied Border Collie owners are people who enjoy spending a lot of time with their dogs and are willing and able to make the commitment to exercise and train in some way every day; who are very active, who like to hike, jog, and/or take long walks with their dogs; who don’t mind living with a dog that never really settles down, even in the house, even after a lot of exercise, even when its owner is tired from a long day at work; and most important, who have a real job for the dogs to do, whether it’s one of the dog sports that these dogs excel at, or, of course, herding a flock of sheep.
In summary, Border Collies are much more work than most other breeds. They do not typically make easy family pets. If you have never been around one, try to spend some time with the breed before you decide to get one. Many Border Collies end up in shelters when their owners find that they are just too much trouble to have around because they need so much exercise, attention, and training/mental stimulation.