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My husbands family used to have one when he was younger...and now my dh wants to get a border collie puppy. Im not so sure im on board with the idea of getting a dog yet, its definatly growing on me, but I dont know what to do...if you have a border collie, can you give me your experience with them? I know they are very energetic dogs and needs lots of excercise. We do have a cat, so im concerned about the dog and cat being around each other. I also dont want my cat to change because of being mad that we brought a dog into the house. Are females better than males or vice versa? HELP! Thanks!
I owned a border collie, HATED that dog and considering I pet sit, foster for a rescue, and have owned 3 dogs of my own that's saying a lot!
I have cats and the dog wanted to CONSTANTLY herd my cats (they're herding dogs so guess I couldn't blame it), she was beyond hyper. I own Boxers now (had one then too) and they are very energetic, they couldn't hold a candle to this dog. Very anxious, very hyper, chewed EVERYTHING, herded my cats, OMG it was a HORRIBLE experience. We got her at 7 weeks old, kept her until she was 10 months. I finally found a border collie rescue who found a good home for her with a couple who was moving to a ranch in Wyoming which was perfect for her.
Unless you are willing to devote A LOT of time to draining the energy, providing LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS of running, walks, and have the patience of a saint then I would find another breed. Border collies can be great family dogs, very smart and easy to train, but they require A LOT of time to drain their energy a lot of outdoor activities, great if you are an outdoorsy family that does hiking, etc. A border collie will not do well with two (or less) 20 minute walks a day and a few minutes of backyard playtime and nothing else. There's also no guarantee that he/she will not start herding your cat (mine didn't start doing it until around 6 months old).
Definitely do some SERIOUS research on the breed and be honest with yourself and your lifestyle. I see you are pregnant from your siggy, unless your hubby is going to take a VERY active roll in your dog, I'd encourage you to wait until your baby is 6 months to a year old so you can devote time to a puppy, or go to a rescue and get one full grown that already has some training and potty skills under it's belt.
Personally, and again, I pet sit been around TONS of breeds of dogs, own 2 cats myself, have owned 3 dogs (well 4 if you count the border collie), foster for a rescue, train dogs, educate on dog nutrition, I do A LOT of stuff with animals and I personally will NEVER own a border collie ever again and can say that giving her to the rescue and sending her to that ranch in Wyoming was the BEST thing i ever did.
Do lots of research, be honest about your lifestyle, being pregnant is a big deal (especially taking on potty training, chew training, bite inhibition, obidience training, etc), time, etc.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Its so hard because ive heard such wonderful things about border collies and then ive heard stories like yours. Its such a tough decision.
Oh and just for the record, im not pregnant, the baby in my siggie is our Angel Daughter that we lost just before Christmas...dont feel bad though, I can understand why my siggie can make it seem like im pg with the u/s pic in it.
They ARE great dogs...for people that have TONS of time for them. They're dogs that once upon a time (and still are in some cases) found on ranches, farms, etc. They're herding dogs, they helped to herd the cattle on the farms and had a job with the farmers and if those needs cannot be met they turn destructive with pent up energy. No different than any other dog in that respect, they just have a TON of energy that has to be drained DAILY that most other dogs do not have. So if you do not have the ability to run the dog off leash somewhere, do multiple walks for a decent amount of time, and can devote that time to draining their energy then it probably isn't the breed for you. If you have that time and can maintain that for the rest of the dog's life then it may be a good idea for you. But given that you have a cat I still think a grown one rather than a puppy would be a better bet as you never know how "ingrained" that herding instinct will be and your cat may end up being herded once the dog grows up and starts getting close to maturity.
I just know for us, I go and play with my dogs in the yard 1-2 times a day off leash but we rarely do walks and when we do it's down to the school (not even a mile round trip) wasn't even remotely enough for the pup and my cats weren't appreciating being herded.
You can also find your border collie kennel club nearest you and speak to owners of them, go be around some, etc which may help. Also www.dogbreedinfo.com is a good site to look up breeds.
Last edited by SpazTaz; January 28th, 2010 at 06:40 AM.
I have a border collie/GSD mix... and she is a handful. She's an amazing dog and a fantastic family pet, but we live in a NYC apartment right now, and this dog is meant to live on a farm. She's okay because we make sure she gets to run and play for at least 2 combined hours a day, often more, but it is a lot of work. She does have a strong herding instinct, we are still doing obedience with her every day just to maintain her so that she doesn't herd the little kids. We have two purebred shelties who are actually much easier to manage with that, despite being herding breeds. That BC instinct is so strong in our mutt.
You have to be willing to WORK if you're even considering a BC. You can't slack off on the walks and playing or the training. If you decide to stay on the couch and watch TV when the dog knows you're supposed to be walking it, you may very well leave for 5 minutes and come back to that couch being totally destroyed. They need a job, they need exercise, and they need to use that brain of theirs, or they are terrors.
Many BC's do get on fine with cats. They don't have as much a prey drive as a herding drive, as in they aren't usually naturally inclined to catch and kill small animals, they just want to herd them. But like I said, if that dog isn't exercised and stimulated, all bets are off and it could easily go after a cat if it's frustrated and not properly trained with cats.
They are fantastic dogs. While they are amazing, they are not for every dog owner. Some individuals require more exercise and stimulation than others. A show-lined "barbie collie" still looks like a border, but is more likely to be easy going and even the couch potato type who will go when you want to go and chill when it's not play or work time. I've been training dogs and running agility for over ten years and border collies have been a big part of that. I love our barbie collie. He's one of the few truly talented conformation borders. He finished his championship at ten months going Best of Breed over champions with professional handlers and went on to pick up numerous agility titles and even herding titles. He's great with kids, other dogs, ADORES ((and more importantly is safe around)) small animals, and is one of the best dogs one could own. He's perfectly happy to be lazy and cuddle, but as soon as you want to work/train/play he is totally with you and rarin to go. He had about a year of semi-retirement when we placed him with a friend of ours, but once she brought her newborn home, I ended up picking Clue ((now nicknamed Shamu because he is FAT)) up and bringing him home within hours. He's currently slimming down to resume his career as an agility dog. More specifically, MY agility dog. c:
That said, there's a whole different flavour of border collie. Dogs that come from more of working lines tend to have less hair, leaner more wiry build and are far more intense than the barbie collies. Where some barbie collies you need to work to build an "on switch", with working dogs you are lucky to have a functioning "off switch". They are more prone to being neurotic or becoming obsessive. In general, they are a bit more work than a pet or show BC. Depending on the kennel a dog comes from can also tell you how much drive you're getting. Typically a dog that comes from parents who are used on cattle ((specifically cattle, not just sheep)) are WAY too much dog for someone who wants a pet. Your working dogs are ones who will require regular exercise to keep them stimulated and happy and help prevent behavior problems. Prey drive varies immensely. I honestly have more problems with our barbie dog wanting to chase kids than with the working-bred girl. Initial training can also affect overall behavior.
Regardless, any BC will require a commitment to socialization, training, and exercise. A BC with a job is a happy dog, even if that job is getting the morning paper. I currently have an 8 month old Aussie and co-own another Aussie with my mum. For the time being, mum also has Ice ((our working girl)) and Clue ((Shamu the barbie collie)). Here soon Shamu should be coming to live with my boyfriend and I... either way he is still my agility dog to compete with. He's also my super tricks dog ((took me 10 minutes with a clicker to teach him to step inside a hula hoop, grab it with his teeth, and then spin around on command)).
A BC can be a nightmare or a reward, depending on what you put into it. It's not going to train itself without you there to guide it. But if you have the time and energy, you could have the best dog you'll ever own.
Just for fun, a comparison between the EXTREME difference of a show dog versus a working dog:
CH. Wagons Ho Inspector Clouseau a.k.a. Clue ((or Shamu if you're me and teasing))
This is a basic stacked shot after he'd been groomed. Keep in mind he normally has twice the coat, but it had been stripped out for summer. He is more square-bodied and blockier.
Hillcrest Hard Freeze a.k.a. Ice
Ice was bred for sport. She's lean and has drive out the wazoo ((and thankfully has an off switch)). Ice is my mum's dog, but she is my frisbee guinea pig. ((Our co-owned Aussie is going to be my next competitive frisbee dog, but I teach things to Ice first to decide if there's a better way of teaching something cause if I mess Ice up, it's not messing up my competition dog, lol!))
Really think it through if you decide to go ahead and get a border collie. If you do, thoroughly research WHERE you are getting the dog from to try and make the best match for your lifestyle. BCs ((and herding dogs in general)) are one of my greatest passions and my inbox is always open. c:
Thank you GraysMama for my gorgeous siggy!
I don't have a border collie, but I DO have a blue heeler. His name is Duke, he is about a year old, and we live in a 'city' (not new york size or anything) and he is the best dog that we have ever had. We got him as an adult, but he has never had an accident in the house, follows perfectly outside even without a leash, and he is great with the cat. He is also not a problem with the lizards that we have upstairs. He doesn't try to get into the cage or anything. He gets 1 walk a day, and the rest of the time he is in and out just to do his potty thing if he wants. We have 6 kids and he has never tried to herd them either, even when they run back and forth in the house. I think that herding dogs are just as unique in personality as any other breed. You can't base yours on one other dog. HTH