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How Long Do Border Collies Live? Average Lifespan, Data & Care Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Border Collie outdoors

Border Collies are one of the most popular dogs in the United States. Their high intelligence allows them to easily learn commands and compete in any canine sport. Their herding skills are unmatched, and they’re extremely devoted to their families. Many dog owners prize these traits, especially if looking for a hands-on breed.

Because they’re largely bred for a purpose, Border Collies are very healthy. Border Collies live around 12 years on average. They aren’t prone to many health problems, especially if you purchase a puppy from a qualified breeder. Therefore, they tend to live decently long lifespans—at least when taken care of.

However, many things can affect how long a Border Collie will live. We’ll discuss the breed’s average lifespan below and the factors that affect their lifespan.

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What’s the Average Lifespan of a Border Collie?

Border Collies live between 10 and 17 years. However, most dogs live closer to the middle of this range. 17-year-old Border Collies are decently rare, though they do exist. Dogs tend to live to at least 12, but some lines are prone to health problems that shorten their lifespan to 10 years.

Of course, many factors determine how long a particular Border Collie will live.

Male Border Collie
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

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Why Do Some Border Collies Live Longer Than Others?

1. Nutrition

What a dog eats matters. Border Collies fed a high-quality diet tend to be healthier and live longer. What counts as “high quality” can be a tough question. The biggest dietary concern is avoiding obesity, which can significantly shorten a dog’s lifespan.1 Keeping pets lean through dietary restrictions is necessary.

2. Environment

Dogs in moderate environments live longer than those in more extreme environments. If you live in a very hot or very cold area, you shouldn’t leave your Border Collie outside all the time without the proper protection. While this may not kill your dog outright, it can worsen certain health conditions.

3. Size

On average, larger dogs live shorter lifespans than smaller dogs. They also experience more health problems, especially those involving the joints. Luckily, Border Collies don’t vary much in weight for a huge difference in lifespan from the largest to smallest Border Collies. With that said, the difference is still there.

border collie
Image Credit: jhas, Pixabay

4. Sex

There are very small differences in lifespan between male and female Border Collies. It does depend on whether the dog is neutered or spayed. Intact males tend to survive longer than intact females, but the opposite is true when the dogs are spayed or neutered. The effect of neutering does have a large impact on a dog’s lifespan positively2.

5. Genes

Some dogs just get better genes than others. Inherited disorders are carried in genes and when dogs inherit these genes, their lifespans may be reduced due to the illness. Careful breeding can prevent dogs from inheriting these disorders to some extent.

6. Breeding History

Female dogs that are bred tend to live shorter lives than females that aren’t. Pregnancy has a huge impact on a dog’s health, and leaving the dog intact also has a negative effect. Therefore, we don’t recommend breeding your dog unless you’re a professional breeder who knows how to minimize the potential negative effects of breeding.

Blue Merle Border Collie Laying On The Bench
Image Credit: xkunclova, Shutterstock

7. Healthcare

Dogs that receive all the necessary preventative care tend to have increased lifespans. Vaccinations and early detection of diseases can prevent dogs from ending up with complications, which can be life-threatening. Getting your Border Collie to the vet regularly is vital if you want your dog to live a long time.

8. Mental Stimulation

Bored dogs don’t tend to live very long. Dogs that spend much of their time lying around are often obese. Bored dogs may also get into more trouble than other dogs, as bored dogs tend to be more destructive. Therefore, they’re more likely to eat things they aren’t supposed to.

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The 3 Life Stages of a Border Collie

1. Puppy

border collie puppy
Image Credit: Loic Polet, Pixabay

All dogs start as puppies, including Border Collies. Puppies are adorable, but this stage doesn’t tend to last very long. It’s extremely important, though, as the dog’s health will be set up during the puppy stage. If puppies don’t receive the right nutrition or are over-exercised, they could experience life-long health problems. Therefore, your puppy must be properly cared for.

2. Adult

Border Collies will be adults for most of their life. At this point, nutrition and exercise matter less than when the dog was a puppy—but it still matters to some extent. Getting your dog preventative health care and preventing obesity are the two most important factors you can affect at this age.

3. Senior

red border collie
Image Credit: volofin, Shutterstock

Border Collies age differently, so when they hit their senior years differ. Some dogs may slow down as early as eight, while others may still be prancing at 15. You don’t necessarily have to change your dog to senior dog food at a certain age, especially if they’re doing fine on their adult dog food. However, you should increase the number of checkups your dog has.

Health problems become more common as your dog ages, so getting your pet the proper health care is vital.

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How to Tell Your Border Collie’s Age

If your Border Collie is a puppy, determining its age is often easier. When they’re still getting their teeth, you can make a pretty close estimate based on the teeth that they have. It’s easiest to ask your vet, as they know about puppy development.

When your dog is older, it is harder to tell its age. Your vet can estimate based on their teeth’ health. However, the predicted age ranges tend to become longer as the dog ages.

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Border Collies often live between 10–17 years. However, most will reach 12, and very few will live past 15. Genetics, nutrition, and health care help determine how long your dog will live. There are many factors outside of your control, such as inherited diseases. However, your dog’s nutrition, exercise, and health care are in your control.

Plus, you can add up to 2 years onto your dog’s lifespan by keeping them at a healthy weight.

Featured Image Credit: ForeverNaturalPhotography, Shutterstock

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