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Can Border Collies Be Service Dogs? All You Need to Know

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

border collie dog getting trained

Border Collies are considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds around. They are muscular, full of energy, and have the remarkable ability to excel as herding dogs. These medium-sized dogs not only make excellent herding dogs but also make loyal and loving companions that get along well with other pets. Given their outstanding characteristics, can Border Collies be service dogs? The answer is yes, they absolutely can be service dogs.

Let’s discover the astonishing abilities of the Border Collie and learn how they can be service dogs.

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What Exactly Does a Service Dog Do?

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are specifically trained to assist an individual with specific disabilities such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), people with physical limitations, traumatic brain injuries, guiding people who are vision impaired or blind, people who are hearing impaired or deaf, and other duties.1

Service dogs can pull wheelchairs and also bring alertness and help to someone having a seizure. Other amazing tasks are calming someone having an anxiety attack, reminding someone with mental illnesses to take medications, assisting in balance while standing, interrupting destructive behavior for those with neurological issues, turning lights off and on, and other remarkable duties.

What’s the Difference Between a Service Dog and a Companion Dog?

a woman playing with border collie outdoor
Image Credit: Julia Zavalishina, Shutterstock

 It’s important to know that service dogs are not companion animals or pets. Service dogs are specifically trained to do work and assist with an individual’s specific disability. Companion dogs are just that, companions, and do not receive special consideration in certain places. For example, service dogs are allowed in areas where companion animals are not, such as the cabins of commercial airlines, restaurants, rental properties, and any other places where dogs may be prohibited.

How Can My Border Collie Become a Service Dog?

Any dog breed can become a service dog; however, they must pass all training requirements but do not need to be professionally trained. You do not need certification specifying that your Border Collie is a service dog, but you can put a “service dog” vest on your Border Collie to alert others that your dog is, in fact, a service dog. You can also display this information with a tag or collar.

Border Collies are extremely intelligent and should pass all requirements with flying colors. Such requirements include:

  • Be alert but not reactive to noises or other distractions
  • Be calm in any setting or environment
  • Stay close to its handler and be always under the control of its handler
  • Be reliable in performing specific tasks catered to an individual’s disability
  • Eager and willing to please
  • Be able to learn and retain information

Suppose you are unsure you can train your Border Collie to be a service dog yourself. In that case, you can hire a professional trainer to train your Border Collie to ensure all the necessary training behaviors are met.

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What Disqualifies a Dog from Becoming a Service Dog?

Young boy hugging a border collie
Image Credit: encierro, Shutterstock

Even though you are not required to certify your Border Collie as a service dog, the dog must be able to perform all of the tasks mentioned above, as well as pass the public access test. Any dog that displays aggressive behavior, is distracted by food or affection while on duty, distracted by sniffing, is intolerable of sights and sounds, over-excitement, displays unruly behavior (such as barking), or relieving themselves in public unless instructed to do so will not qualify as a service dog.

What Other Breeds Can Be Service Dogs?

Border Collies undoubtedly make excellent service dogs and are an outstanding choice for anyone needing this type of aid. In addition to the Border Collie, other breeds that make excellent service dogs are Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds, but remember that any dog breed can be a service dog as long as they pass the requirements.

Tips for Keeping Your Border Collie Safe

Border Collies have tons of energy and need daily exercise to keep them mentally and physically happy and fit. Border Collies have tons of hair, and regular grooming is in order to keep the fur from matting. Ensure you brush their teeth regularly or provide dental treats, and always feed a high-quality dog food appropriate for your Border Collie’s age. Check the ears often, clean them when needed, and keep all vaccines current.Divider 7

Final Thoughts

Border Collies make excellent service dogs due to their loyal and affectionate nature. They are extremely intelligent and can learn specific tasks with no problem. Border Collies also love to work and have a job to do, making them even more desirable to serve as service dogs.

Bear in mind that they do require exercise due to their energy, and their grooming requirements are a little more than other breeds. If you’re willing and able to ensure your Border Collie is exercised daily and groomed regularly, you’ll have an outstanding service dog.


Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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