Are border collies good to have for someone who hasn’t had a dog before?

By Austin F

Let me ask you this. Are you ready to have a dog that is always ready to work? Are you ready to have a dog that needs to be constantly challenged? Are you ready to have a dog that needs to be active as much as possible? Are you ready to have a dog that can be trained, trained, and trained even more? Are you ready to have a dog that is the most intelligent and obedient dog you have ever seen?

If you answered yes to all or most of these questions then a border collie might be for you. If you answered no to most of these questions, then you might want to keep reading if you are still curious.

Border collies are great for people who can give them the attention, mental stimulation, and exercise they need. They require more work than other dogs, but the work is well worth it.

A little about border collies

The border collie is a dog breed that got its start in the United Kingdom. They come from the region around the border between Scotland and England.

They were first developed to be working dogs made for herding sheep and other livestock on farms. Border collies were bred for their intelligence and obedience. And to this day, they sure as heck are intelligent and obedient.

Border collies are very smart. They are full of energy and do wonders as athletic and acrobatic dogs.

You will often see them in dog competitions, agility courses, and sheepdog trials. Border collies are often cited as the most intelligent breed of domestic dogs. To this day they are still used for herding all across the world.

Border collies in your household

Border Collie at HomeWhile their past says they should be working dogs on farms, border collies have slowly made the shift into homes. This is happening as a result of more and more people moving to urban areas. This isn’t as much of a problem as it may seem, as long as you are putting in the effort to give them the best life possible.

Since they are herding dogs, border collies are full of energy. This makes them playful and even sometimes demanding. They function best in homes that can provide them with the daily energy release they need.

This means you need to exercise them a lot, either with other dogs or with humans.

They also need mental stimulation. If not provided to them, they can become little troublemakers in the home.

This is when problems might arise when they don’t get the stimulation they need. Problems can include chewing holes in things, scraping at things, and digging holes.

They are also known to try and herd things, which is often seen in other pets and young children. You can train this out of them with proper socialization and obedience training.

Like other working dog breeds, border collies have some unwanted characteristics that can be trained out over time. A couple of these include nipping and motion sensitivity which are commonly seen in border collies.

The positive in all this is that if a border collie gets the proper exercise/training, they can be beyond wonderful household dogs. My collie is one of the most affectionate, caring, and friendly dogs I have ever seen. But he wasn’t that way when I first got him.

Daily requirements of a border collie

Border Collie First Dog PlayingBorder collies are full of energy and need much more daily exercise than most other dog breeds. They are also very intelligent and need much more mental stimulation as well.

It is recommended by the American Border Collie Association that if you do decide to take on the care of a border collie, you have to commit to daily exercise and mental stimulation.

Collies are built to run miles a day on a farm, so if they don’t fulfill this urge, they can become distressed and frustrated. With that being said, the amount of exercise required really depends on the dog. Some collies are fine with three 20-minute walks a day, while some need as much as 6+ miles a day.

In addition to daily exercise, they also need constant mental stimulation or training. They can get this from learning new commands, tricks, or other working tasks. They can also get mental stimulation from toys made specifically for this.

Border collies compared to other breeds

There are so many breeds of dogs out there it is crazy to think of.

Unlike cats where there are less than 75, there are almost 400 breeds of dogs. And that isn’t including mixes.

This means that there are so many options out there for you if you might be thinking a border collie is not for you.

There are small breeds, large breeds, and medium breeds.

There are dogs that need hardly any exercise and are happily laying around all day. Then there are dogs like border collies that need lots of exercise and stimulation.

There are dogs that are friendly and trusting of any person, like golden retrievers. Then there are border collies that need constant training and reassurance that strangers are not threats.

If you think at this point that border collies are not for you, there are so many other kinds of dogs out there that may be for you.

You can take tests like this one to help you make a better decision.

Owning a border collie is not easy. They require constant work and care to live their best lives. But when you put in the effort, they can be the best dogs you will ever own.

Border collies for first-time dog owners

Now that you know a little more about border collies and what they need to live their best lives, the decision is yours.

With proper training, exercise, and care, border collies can be the best dog you will ever own. But with a lack of training, exercise, and care, they could be some of the worst dogs you will ever own.

Are you ready for many walks a day (Or a good amount of time spent playing in the backyard)? Are you ready for daily training (Or at least multiple times a week)? Are you ready to give them your full attention when they need it? Are you ready to take the time needed to give your border collie the best life they can live?

If you answered yes to all these questions, then yes, a border collie is good to have for someone who hasn’t had a dog before. If not, then you may want to consider another, easier breed at first.

Are you considering getting a border collie? Comment below with any questions you have!

15 thoughts on “Are border collies good to have for someone who hasn’t had a dog before?”

  1. So the border collie will be my first dog but my wife had a huge sheep dog when she was young. I read a lot about border collies. I fell in love with them. I mainly want a running partner and someone to cheer me up on my bad days. I’m away about 6-7 hours in the day. Is this bad? During the weekend I would do many activities with her, just the week is a bit tight. I also have a medium big backyard but behind my house there are terribly huge fields. So I took that as an advantage. I found a breeder and I’m thinking of getting a border collie. On the internet I read that this breed needs a lot of time outside. It made me think. It’s a big commitment. But I’m willing to make it. Could you give me some advice

  2. I’m thinking of getting a border collie as a first time dog but have worries about the “horror experiences”. I’m willing to put in the exercise, both mental and physical for the dog and training etc. I’ll be away for school for 8 hours in the fall so would that be alright?

  3. Hi!
    My partner and I decided to get a BC in April last year. Our girl is now a full sized 16 month, brilliant dog. My partner did have Yorkies but nothing bigger and I’ve never had a dog, and I must say we’re happy and loving our decision.

    We needed a smart dog that liked being taught commands and complex ideas, that liked running and exercise and which bonded strongly.

    Because there’s two of us this means we devote 1:30hs each per day (when we are time restricted) and up to 5 during non busy days (weekends, holidays…).

    Before we adopted her we purposefully moved into a ground floor flat right next to 2 big car-free garden areas plus we’re surrounded by dog parks, so she is usually never walking on a leash unless we’re going somewhere.

    We also have the advantage of living in a dog friendly area, so teaching her indoor manners when going for dinner, etc., has become our favourite sport, and it’s adequately challenging for her as well!

    Even if you don’t have those many advantages, if you’re willing to invest time and love and efforts, you’ll get a wonderful dog that will bond with you really strongly.


  4. Just coincidentally came across your site and I’m glad I did! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

    I’m adopting an 11-month old BC tomorrow and it’s not only my first dog as an adult, we’ll also be living together in an apartment.

    Oh, I also live abroad so it’ll be an extra challenge…can’t see what lies ahead.

  5. Hi, I would love to get a Border Collie. I like the way they look and their intelligence. But every online search for their personality says the same thing – these dogs needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation. But my nephew has one and when i visit him she just comes and sits next to me. She’s the most chilled creature I ever seen. And not just her. I think Ive been to 4 breeders to check them out and each time the dogs come over for a pat, walk around with us and sit with us while we’re having a coffee and a chat. I honestly hate to leave them because thats exactly what I want. They’re not hurtling around the yard or dropping balls at my feet demanding a game. I wonder if the high energy/ nature of the breed is waning because breeders are choosing more chilled, easy going parents for their pups? If so maybe I shouldn’t be put off getting one on the generalisation of the breeds original purpose? Maybe they are not as high energy as Im being led to believe?
    I wonder if its possible to see a quiet personality in a pup before they leave the breeder? ie in the first 8 weeks? What do you think? Cheers

    • My border collie mix (BC and red heeler) is very chill. He is older now, but has always been that way. Not all are the same. I still walk him every morning and play ball in the afternoons, but I have never had a problem with him being destructive.

  6. I want to have a female border collie. My boyfriend and I lives in an apartment with 2 stubborn male cats in Den Haag. We adorpted them. We still have one extra big room we dont use. We love to walk to the forest, beaches and in the natures frequently. There are dogs playgrounds also near our house 10 minutes drive. I am not exercise person but i do cycling. But i want my dog smart, independed and easy to train. Is Border collie ok with us ? Because some say no to me.

  7. We are looking to get a Border Collie pup after Christmas. We get out at least once a day but usually more. We want to train the BC to do some tricks and simple commands but we don’t know if the BC would like the smaller house we live in? Do they usually like cats because we have a senior cat who isn’t afraid to smack the dog in their face. WE have a good-sized backyard and are doing all the research possible to be prepared. Just wondering if our house is the right fit for a BC!

    • Sorry for the late response. Collies are highly intelligent and love to learn new commands and tricks. It depends on their personality but it sounds like you should be fine if you have a big yard and are willing to take her out daily. We have two cats and our collie at home. If you take the time to introduce them properly over a few weeks, then they will be perfectly fine together.


Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend