Border Collies: The Shepherd’s Dog
What do Border Collies look like? Border Collies vary in the placement of their coloring, but they generally have black, black and white, or black and tan coloring. Their coats and are often more thick than not (though thickness and texture of the coat varies), and they tend to have a medium length hair. Border Collies are generally medium sized dogs, and their weight usually ranges from 30 to 55 lbs. Since Border Collies are classified as sheep herding dogs, there is no official uniform appearance; the focus is centered on their ability and traits rather than their appearance.
What are common traits in Border Collies? Border Collies are specifically trained to gather and herd animals, primarily sheep. Shepherds generally look for traits such as athletic ability, strength, endurance, a biddable nature, and superior livestock sense that is quick to cover the flock. These dogs are exceedingly sensitive to commands from masters; they can even distinguish the difference between different whistle variations as commands.
What is their temperament like? Border Collies are sensitive to following commands and they possess a strong desire to please. They are protective of those in their family (humans or animals), they are eager to learners and confident and intense in their working abilities; they also demonstrate a sensitive care for the livestock by remaining alert and in-tune with their surroundings at all times.
Are there any genetic issues that are common in Border Collies? There are a few, as with any other breed of dog. One common issue with the Border Collie breed is that they are prone to eye diseases or genetic eye abnormalities. It is recommended that all puppies between the ages of 6 to 12 weeks should be examined by a canine ophthalmologist. Also, some Border Collies experience hip dysplasia, and some breeders choose to receive certification by a radiologist that states their dog is clear the canine of hip dysplasia. Other issues such as shoulder lameness and epilepsy may also be caused by genetic defects, but research is still being conducted to prove the validity of that theory.
As with any pet, Border Collies require a lot of care. They need their teeth cleaned and nails clipped, just like any other dog, as well as clean-up when they shed their winter coats. They also need to remain up to date on their vaccinations and preventative medications so they stay healthy. Because Border Collies possess a thicker coat, be conscious of heat exhaustion of your dog, giving them plenty of cool water and shade. Also be aware that because Border Collies are roaming, herding dogs, they like to wander and run around outside. Car chasing is something to be aware of, as it may prove harmful, if not fatal.
Border Collies are caring, fun-loving, hard-working, fast, and energetic dogs. Be prepared to enjoy your Border Collie and share your life with it, as they make wonderful companions in the home, not just in the working field.
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