Are Border Collies smart? You bet they are

B&W Border Collie looking at cameraAre Border Collies smart? You bet they are. In fact, they’re rated among the top 5 smartest dog breeds and most folks even say they’re the smartest dog breed. Let’s find out more about them.

What is a Border Collie?

The Border Collie is a well-balanced, medium-sized dog with an athletic appearance and hard muscular body. This breed stands from 18 inches to 22 inches and weighs 30 to 55 pounds. They have a double-coat that’s usually thick and can vary from smooth to rough. Although they’re commonly seen in the black and white coat pattern, this breed can appear in just about every color and pattern known to occur in dogs.

Their almond shaped eyes convey an intelligent expression and intense gaze. The eye color varies from brown to blue and occasionally they have eyes of differing color. Their ears can be erect or drooping.

Personality Traits of the Border Collie

Border Collies have been called the world’s greatest herders. You may agree if you watch them work with their stealthy crouching, creeping and explosive energy. They convey effortless movement, great endurance and seem to have endless energy. Border Collies are very demanding, playful, energetic and require considerably more daily exercise and mental stimulation than many other breeds. Although they were originally bred as herding dogs, they’re becoming increasingly popular as household pets and are ranked 38 out of 192 in popularity according to the American Kennel Club.

Because of their demand for mental stimulation and exercise, many Border Collies develop behavioral problems if their needs aren’t meant. They’re famous for chewing holes in walls and furniture as well as destructive scraping and digging if they become bored. People who are considering a Border Collie as a pet must keep in mind that as a working dog, this breed might run many miles in a day. Thus, the dog’s owner must adjust their schedule to accommodate this level of exercise.

Border Collies also have a strong desire to herd and may show this trait with small children, cats and other dogs. Furthermore, they are motion-sensitive and might chase moving vehicles and bicycles because these behaviors have been encouraged in this breed over many generations. However, being extremely intelligent, they are very trainable and can live amicably with other pets and children. They are highly sensitive to their handler’s every cue and will respond to a raised eyebrow, hand signal and whistle.

Border Collies can also become shy and fearful if they aren’t properly socialized as a puppy. For this reason, they need puppy classes and plenty of exposure to a variety of people, places and things to gain confidence.

Border Collie IntelligenceAdult Border Collie and pups

In 2011, on the PBS program “Nova Science Now” host and famous Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson featured a 6-year-old Border Collie named Chaser and her owner, psychology professor John Pilley.

John had trained Chaser to understand over 1,000 words by using children’s toys and other objects and the results were remarkable.

Tyson quizzed the dog with a random sampling of toys. The toys were placed in another room and Tyson would call out the name of the toy and ask Chaser to fetch it. Chaser brought Tyson the correct toy each time.

The really remarkable moment came when a new toy that Chaser had never seen was introduced. Again, she brought the correct toy. In other words, she learned by deduction which is an advanced cognitive function.

History of the Border Collie

During the long, slow dissolution of the Roman Empire, fierce Vikings took their turns raiding Britain. They brought their dogs who were smaller, quicker, spitz-type herders. Crosses between the old Roman dogs and the Viking spitzes produced compact and agile herders. This began the history of the Border Collie.

This breed was developed as a working dog specifically for herding livestock, and especially sheep, in the area of the Scottish/England border in Northumberland. The name “Border Collie” comes from the fact that they were developed on this border.

All Border Collies today are known to be descendants of the Old Hemp, a tricolor dog who was bred by Adam Telfer. Old Hemp was a smart, quiet dog and was used by many shepherds and known as the best herding dog around.

The first time the name “Border Collie” was used came in 1915 when the Secretary of the International Sheep Dog Society, James Reid, named the breed in order to register them as a separate breed from other Collies.

In Conclusion

Yes, the Border Collie is one smart puppy and a joy to have as a pet. Just make sure you have the time and energy to spend with this intelligent dynamo.

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