Border Collies are a beautiful, intelligent, and hardworking breed. They are loyal and fantastic companions to families that can meet their demanding mental and physical stimulation needs. Whether you already have a Border Collie or are considering adopting one, you should familiarize yourself with the breed to understand your current (or future) dog’s inner workings.
Keep reading to find 10 incredible Border Collie facts to help you become more acquainted with this devoted and brilliant breed.
The 10 Incredible Border Collie Facts
1. Border Collies Are One of the Smartest Dog Breeds
Border Collies consistently top the list of the smartest dog breeds. In fact, according to The Intelligence of Dogs, a highly-regarded 1994 book on dog intelligence, Border Collies are the smartest dog known to man. These highly intelligent pups are workaholics, prized for their extraordinary instincts and fantastic working ability.
Need more irrefutable proof? Chase, often called the “smartest dog in the world,” was a Border Collie with a rather large “herd” she was in charge of—over 1,000 stuffed animals. Each stuffed animal had a name, and Chaser knew them all by name, earning her the largest tested memory of any non-human animal.
There’s even a memorial statue of Chaser in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina.
2. Many Border Collies Are in the Guinness Book of World Records
If you need more evidence of the intelligence of this breed, crack open a Guinness Book of World Records.
Two Border Collies, Wish and Halo, set a Guinness World Record in 2020 for the most tricks two dogs perform in 1 minute. The two dogs were able to perform 28 tricks in 60 seconds. As an additional bonus, Wish also executed the fastest 5-meter crawl by a dog, further adding to his growing list of accolades.
Geronimo, a Border Collie from Maryland, skipped her way into the Guinness Book by performing the most skips by a dog in 1 minute (91) and most double dutch-style skips by a dog in 1 minute (128).
From Somerset, United Kingdom, Neo achieved a record for the fastest ten hoop/tire slalom by a dog (8.58 seconds).
From New York, Leonard Lee broke his record in 2022 for the most basketball slam dunks in 1 minute. His previous record was 14, but he achieved 18 in his most recent attempt.
3. Border Collies Excel at Dog Sports
Considering the breed’s intelligence and agility, it should come as no surprise that they excel at numerous dog sports. Of course, they’re excellent at any herding task due to their highly tuned herding instinct, but the breed can also perform well at high jumping and dog agility competitions. They do so well, in fact, some competitions in England include classes for ABC Dogs—Anything But Collies.
The breed’s incredible speed, agility, and stamina lend well to sports like flyball and dog disc. Their high degree of trainability makes them great performers in dog dancing competitions, too.
4. Border Collies Are One of the Fastest Dog Breeds
In addition to topping the list of the most intelligent breeds, Border Collies often make top 10 lists for the fastest dogs.
Their background in herding sheep requires them to be highly fast and agile. Like many other working dog breeds, Border Collies love running at top speed, which is approximately 30 miles per hour.
5. Many Celebrities Own Border Collies
Many famous people choose to own Border Collies as pets. Queen Victoria, a royal known for her love of animals, had two working Border Collies. Her most well-known, and perhaps most beloved, was Sharp. Sharp was born in 1854 and was loved so deeply by Queen Victoria that a statue of him stands over her grave.
More notable Border Collie owners include Jane Fonda, Bon Jovi, Jeff Bridges, Ethan Hawke, and Matthew Broderick.
6. Modern-Day Royalty Still Loves Border Collies
It’s not just the royalty from yesteryear with a penchant for Border Collies. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark welcomed two Border Collie pups in 2021.
It really shouldn’t be a surprise that they would choose this breed as they have long been in the family. Princess Mary’s beloved Collie Ziggy passed away in 2017, after which she adopted another Border Collie named Grace, the mother of the family’s two newest additions.
7. Border Collies Have Been on TV Shows and in Movies
Many celebrities own Border Collies, and plenty of these dogs have carved a name for themselves in Hollywood by starring in TV shows and movies.
A Border Collie named Fly starred in the 1995 film Babe. Fly was a maternal character who taught the title character how to herd sheep.
Snow Dogs, a 2002 comedy about a team of sled dogs, is not surprisingly primarily focused on Siberian Huskies. However, Nana, a Border Collie, plays an important role as the confidant of the human lead.
On the small screen, a Border Collie portrayed Bandit in Little House on the Prairie. Bandit is Laura Ingalls’ second dog after her first passed away.
8. Border Collies Were Around During the Roman Empire
In 43 AD, emperor Claudius invaded Britain, allowing the empire to establish dominion over the British Aisles. The occupying legions brought their livestock and the dogs they needed to herd them. These large canines became very popular, spreading across Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.
When the Roman Empire fell, Vikings took over. These brutal warriors also brought their herding dogs, resembling Spitz breeds. These dogs eventually bred with the larger Roman dogs, resulting in the compact and highly agile dogs we know today as the Border Collie.
9. Border Collies Need a Lot of Exercise
Border Collies are a highly active and energetic breed with high exercise demands. They require much more physical activity and mental stimulation daily than most dog breeds. They thrive best with owners willing and able to provide them with the necessary exercise and play.
Because of their high physical activity requirements, they may develop problematic behaviors if not given the required stimulation. This can result in destructive behaviors like chewing holes in the drywall and excessive hole digging.
10. Border Collies May Be Prone to Certain Genetic Disorders
Border Collies may be at risk of collie eye anomaly (CEA) and epilepsy. CEA is a congenital and inherited eye disease that certain breeds, like the Border Collie, are predisposed to. This condition occurs due to a gene mutation that determines eye development, resulting in defects in many layers of the eye.
The most common sign of this condition is blindness or vision loss. Thankfully, numerous genetic tests are available for CEA, which means it can be prevented by not breeding the dogs that carry the abnormal gene.
Studies show that the prevalence of idiopathic epilepsy (IE) in Border Collies is high. Generally, most dogs will start showing signs of epilepsy between 6 months and 5 years.
Border Collies are a very special breed that can make a positive difference in the lives of their human family members. The most important thing to remember with this breed is that they have an extremely high activity level and need to be in a home willing, able, and eager to provide them with the physical and mental stimulation they need to thrive.