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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Was entertaining the thought of getting a border collie, can any border collie owners out there chime in with their good and bad traits? My in-laws have a neighbor with one, that barks constantly, is this a common issue?

Thanks in advance for the info, John
 

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Border collies are OCD.
This works for you, if you have a job the dog can obsess over, which requires large amounts of physical and mental energy.

In all other circumstances, it works against you. Constant barking is actually a very small problem compared to some other problems that unworked border collies are prone to.

They are pretty (lots of easier dogs are pretty) but they are smart. Smart is not always good in an animal. Think of dog intelligence like dynamite. A force capable of huge destruction unless carefully channeled in the right hands. There are plenty of breeds that are very trainable, without being very smart. Unless you need smart, you don't want smart, you want trainable.

Don't mean to sound preachy. I have just seen first hand what a bored border collie is capable of. It is expensive, destructive and really not pretty. They don't make good pets, unless you are as obsessive about dogs as the dog is obsessive about everything. So any time someone says "I'd like a border collie" and doesn't finish the sentence with "because I need a herding/agility/search and rescue/competitive obedience partner" I've never known it to end well.

Wendle has some, she can tell you about their personality too.
 
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That's a good summary from Otter.

They are driven to be very busy; it's been bred into them. They have to have some kind of work or physical activity to use up that energy. They have to have a sense of purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What kind of job do they usually have? Would keeping my chickens in my yard count as a job? How do they do around chickens?
 
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What kind of job do they usually have? Would keeping my chickens in my yard count as a job? How do they do around chickens?
:D This looks like a good job for a border collie:

http://www.familytiez.com/video/gin.htm

But you want something more practical.

My 9 month old Cissy showed her herding instinct when she was 5 months old.

My biggest problem with her and chickens was to break her of playing with them. She never, ever hurt them, but she would catch them and hold them down and pet them and love them and call them George. :rotfl: Those poor chickens would get freaked out.

But now she herds the goat, and the chickens, and the other dogs (which is hilarious).

Her primary purpose is to guard the chickens and to alert me to intruders.

Here's a thread about training dogs with chickens:

http://homesteadingtoday.com/showthread.php?t=253419
 

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Go with an English Shepherd. They're less intense and still have the herding ability.
 

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I am owned by a Border Collie! Bandit is a great dog. But the breed needs to be understood, they need a job or they will find one...................but it may not be the "job" you want them to do. For the average person unless you are real dog savy and have a job to do I would think twice about one. Bandit is going to be 11 years old this spring and his age it starting to show. I have been offered another Border Collie pup from a planned litter this comming summer, but am hesitating. Just not sure if I want the intensity of a young pup as I get older. I wouldn't trade Bandit for anything, but not sure I want to have another pup. I would consider a retired working one that needs easy "work" to do. They are great dogs but really think it over if your ready for one! (the man I got Bandit from, made me wait two years until he was sure I really knew what I was getting into. Bandit's parents were working cattle dogs)
 

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What kind of job do they usually have? Would keeping my chickens in my yard count as a job? How do they do around chickens?
They usually have very demanding jobs. Youtube border collies, you will see them herding huge flocks, moving cattle, doing freestyle obedience, doing agility. You'll likely see search and rescue dogs, bomb and drug sniffers.

You will notice a definite lack of dogs hanging out on porches or couches. For a border collie, keeping the hens in the yard is nowhere near enough work. These dogs are bred to cover ground. If you want a dog to keep geese off of airstrips - there's your dog. If you have a Salatin sized pastured poultry operation and want some help moving batches of birds all day, now you might be looking at a border collie.

But Ted is right, if you just want a dog who will keep your farmyard safe and orderly, that is what English Shepherds are bred for. If you gave a border collie the idea that you want the hens in a certain place, the dog may very well spend all day keeping them in a tight little circle "But Boss, I thought you wanted them here" Whereas an ES will follow you on the daily rounds and then maintain the routine "Chickens in the chicken yard, check. Goats in the goat pen, check. Hey, that bird shouldn't be over there!" and be happy to just observe as long as all is going well.
Border collies don't just observe. They have to be doing something, and they'd prefer to do it 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365, etc.
 

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We have owned border collies our whole life. Currently we have 2. They are wonderful dogs for ranch/acreage owners...not city dogs or house pets! Ours are quiet and highly respectful...we are strict with our dogs from the beginning that they behave and observe the rules of our farm. They are the smartest breed of dog alive and are easily trained. Conditioning them to the animals of the farm and what is meant to be around and what isn't is easy enough from when they are pups. All in all, a good farm dog. Plus, they have diverse genetics so they are free from all of the purebred crap diseases out there now adays.
 

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Border Collie = small nuclear powered animal. If I could have found an Amreican Working Farm Collie, I wouldn't have my current Border Collie, who for most things is a lower key, wonderful dog. He has his moments though - took on a 135 pound Anatolian over food the other day - Border Collie is on antibiotics and is hurting today.
 
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But Ted is right, if you just want a dog who will keep your farmyard safe and orderly, that is what English Shepherds are bred for.
I'd love to have one of those! Unfortunately, I've never seen them around here at all, let alone free.
 

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I can't disagree with the above information because it sums up most border collies. I am surprised the pet crowd hasn't popped in yet to tell us how theirs is the perfect family pet, but thats an exception not the norm. Truth is border collies are working dogs, and should be intended to be used as working dogs before pets. They can play the dual role well when they have a real job to do. Not all dogs confirm to the breeds traits though and if you really want a border collie look into a border collie rescue. They could probably help you find a low energy, sit around the house type of border collie that didn't cut it as a working dog.
 

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As a border collie owner I agree with all the above post. Border collies are very busy, we have a large cattle operation, but sometimes even that is not enough lol. She is exercised daily but if she gets bored, she will find something to do and we provide her with lots of toys. If you can't keep one busy or are not committed to exercising (hours) I would say do not get one.
We love ours-but- she is a different kind of dog that we were used to.

B Adams
 
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Border collies are very busy, we have a large cattle operation, but sometimes even that is not enough lol. She is exercised daily but if she gets bored, she will find something to do and we provide her with lots of toys.
Yep, they love their toys.

Cissy plays hard with toys, and with the other dogs. Fortunately 3 of the other dogs are very playful- Annie the other BC, Bubba the shepherd mix, and Sonny the chiweenie.

It's really fun when all 4 of them get going lol.
 

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I have a working Border Collie, he's young and very driven. If I don't work him often enough (2-3 times a week) he burns circles in the backyard - have a nice path. He barely ever barks. He is wonderful with my other dogs. He loves cats. He doesn't like cats on the table, but neither do I.

He will herd chickens and unfortunately, he has extinguished a few by 'herding them to death'. This is normally tag teamed iwth my old Giant Schnauzer (another herding/droving breed). Otherwise I can use him to herd the geese, chickens, turkeys...but working with supervision here is key.

He is not into toys.

I do have a 'farm collie' and she is useless. She likes to kill chickens. She doesn't like to herd the sheep or goats. She's been mandated to 'in house pet status'.

If you want a working dog, and you need to move sheep, goats, etc, get a Border. If you want a pup that can sometimes work, but you don't care if it doesn't want to or not, go with a farm collie - or even a Corgi! My friend has a German Shep that works well too, but only when he wants too... When I need to pull the sheep in off hte field, I need the sheep in. Not when the house pet decides it wants to work.

Hope that helps a bit!

Andrea
 

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My BC would fit the description well, they are a dog that works best with a person who has a lot of time to spend with the dog doing something... anything really. She is a herding farm dog but a house dog too. We are used to playing fetch while watching TV or on the computer........ You kick the ball she fetches returns and loads your foot to kick it again. At 4 she does settle a bit more but she used to throw the ball at you if you got tired. You really have to want a dog that wants to be and work with you nearly constantly.
 
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Thread drift; Ladycat, there are several ES breeders in Texas. You can find some links to ES and other breeds here - http://www.farmcollie.com/
I can't afford to buy a dog.

Border collies, aussies, pyrs, and catahoulas are all used around here as working dogs and it's easy to find free puppies.

I have a working Border Collie, he's young and very driven. <SNIP> He will herd chickens and unfortunately, he has extinguished a few by 'herding them to death'.
I had to work hard with Cissy until she understood she is to herd chickens ONLY on my command. She finally got it figured out.
 

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As others posted above border collies are a working breed. They are bred with the ability to work all day. That said I hate to see the border collie profiled as the poster child OCD dog. I have 5 of my own living in the house with me. I must have gotten lucky that none of them are obsessive? Or maybe it's my willingness to spent the necessary time in training each individual dog as needed according to their talents and temperaments. Just like a very smart child, they need attention. This breed more so than some dogs, just as you would not stick a braniac child in an average classroom where they would become bored and disruptive.
I've had and worked with a few other breeds of dogs and these are my hands down favorite. The work I put into them is returned 10 fold in their talent, companionship and willingness to give me 200 percent every time I ask them to work. I'm not anti-other herding breeds, but I judge a dog by their work, and ability to learn. One of the reasons I like border collies so much as a farm dog is sort of like the Mark Twain effect. If I wanted to paint a fence I wouldn't use a watered down whitewash and go over the same thing time and time again. (training the same dog time and time again) Instead I would use the proper paint for the job and get it done right the first time. I can take a well bred border collie and use him for chores within a few days to a week of starting in training. All the knowledge to handle stock is already wired in him, it's just communicating to him what I want done and developing teamwork.
I have a few friends who started out with English shepherds(they were told these were "the"farm dog), they had a very limited attention span when they would work. They thought they were getting a working dog and have since retired them to pet status. I've seen 5 of these dogs around sheep and only one the owner continues to work, she is only a part time worker in that she only works when she wants to.
While I'm teaching stockdog lessons I try to help each and every person/dog team reach their full potential. I also am honest with their dog's good and bad qualities. I just see a dog and evaluate them by their individual talents, they can vary quite a bit, but I often see tendencies in different breeds and bloodlines.
Op ask yourself what you want in a dog, and the time you want to spend training. Do you want a pet, or working?
Slev might also have some good thoughts on this.
Good luck in your search.
 
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As others posted above border collies are a working breed. They are bred with the ability to work all day. That said I hate to see the border collie profiled as the poster child OCD dog. I have 5 of my own living in the house with me. I must have gotten lucky that none of them are obsessive? Or maybe it's my willingness to spent the necessary time in training each individual dog as necessary according to their talents and temperaments. Just like a very smart child, they need attention. This breed more so than some dogs, just as you would not stick a braniac child in an average classroom where they would become bored and disruptive.
That's what I do- work with each one individually. They are fantastic family and work dogs.

I have one in the house and one outside. Each way, they are trained accordingly.

I've had others as house or outside dogs, as needed. I've never had problems with any of them.

Yes they are high energy dogs, and oh so intelligent! They do need regular exercize, and mine get that.

With Annie, the indoor BC, I just take her out a few times a day, let her run her energy off, and she spends some time at least twice a day playing with the outside dogs. Plus a couple times a day to run and romp in the pasture (she's 7 years old). She has always been exceptionally well behaved, even as a puppy, and I never had to use corporal punishment (I don't do that to dogs, except my mother's chihuahuas have now and again needed a swat, but not enough to hurt).
 
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