Are Border Collies good family dogs? (why not?)

are Border Collies family dogs

The Border Collie is the perfect dog for many people. They are ideal if you are very active, want to take your dog to agilty or even play frisbee with your dog. But are Border Collies good family dogs? I clarify this question in this article….

Border Collies can be good family dogs. The emphasis is on can, not that he is automatically a good family dog. The Border Collie is a classic herding dog, and he may well start herding the children in the household if they ever get too wild or suddenly run off. For this reason, a Border Collie requires the dog owner’s awareness that herding is not a self-fulfilling task.

Border Collie herds the children

This is one reason why Border Collies are not good family dogs if you have small children.

You have to realize that the Border Collie is a herding dog from England. His job is to independently herd mostly large flocks of sheep. The Border is bred for this, it is in his blood.

The difference of the Border Collie in contrast to other herding dogs is that the Border Collie has worked alone over long distances. He is much more independent than other herding dogs and not really comparable with them. So he decides for himself what to do.

For example, if you have small children running wild all the time (we have 2 boys, there’s action in the house), it can happen that the Border Collie’s instinct is triggered and he sees the child as a sheep and tries to herd it – that is, bring it back to the flock.

You read about this phenomenon over and over again and it should definitely be taken into consideration if a Border Collie is the right family dog for you.

A Border Collie is an active family dog

If you have small children and you are already thinking about taking care of them, the next point should strengthen your doubts.

I know from my own experience that if you have small children, there is one thing you certainly don’t have, and that is time in abundance. Think carefully about whether you can spend at least 2 hours of active time with your dog every day.

A Border Collie needs a lot of exercise.

Be itrunning, biking, Frisbee for dogs, agility or specific mental exercise. A Border Collie needs a relatively large amount of exercise compared to other family dogs.

So you need much more to get a Border Collie tired than for example a Labrador or Golden Retriever.
After all, if you don’t keep your Border Collie busy enough, he will look for work and then herding your children can definitely come in.

is a border collie a family dog

Border Collie are intelligent family dogs

That the Border Collie is intelligent is probably known to most. But depending on how you measure intelligence in a dog, the Border Collie is the smartest dog ever according to Prof. Stanley Coren.

The criteria to measure how smart a dog is, were with Stanley Coren once the number of repetitions until the dog has understood a command and how high is the probability that the dog executes the command the first time.

In these two points, the Border Collie took first place, i.e. it learned a command the fastest and then executed it the most confidently.

On the one hand, this is of course a good characteristic for a family dog. Because the Border Collie learns quickly and is easy to train. If you invest the time, you have a great family dog. Ideally, when the children are already older.

But the intelligence of the Border Collie can also turn into the opposite. They learn very quickly, but also what they should not. As mentioned above, it is a very independent breed and will become active itself if it is not sufficiently exercised.

For example, if you don’t have time and just want to let your Border Collie out in the garden, in time it will figure out how to escape from prison.

A perfect alternative if you are looking for an intelligent family dog that is much better suited if you have small children is the Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever is smart and takes 4th place behind the Border Collie and the Golden Retriever is the perfect family dog.

One person is the center of attention in the Border Collie

The Border Collie often bonds to one person in the household. Usually to the one who spends the most time with him.

If you, as a family, want a dog that loves the whole family (which the Border does), it might get weird if the dog only wants to be with one person.

In addition, the Border Collie may see other pets or the other family members as competitors.

We have this phenomenon, in a much weaker form, with our dogs. Our youngest and our Cane Corso are a team. When our older son goes to Malou, it can happen that she gets up during the petting session because the little one calls her. This makes for sad faces.

Why you need to consider if the Border is right for you!

Up to now I have only mentioned points that the Border Collie is not a good family dog. But you have to think about these points.

It would be bad if you get a dog and then exactly one of these problems occurs and you give the dog to the shelter.

Think about all potential dog breeds in advance so that you make the right choice and the dog does not suffer in the end.

Why Border Collies are good family dogs

As mentioned above, the Border Collie is extremely intelligent, he learns very quickly and wants to please his owners. He prefers to play with you than with other dogs.

If you, or another member of the family have several hours, at least 2 hours a day, to spend with the Border Collie properly, the Border Collie is a good family dog.

In this case, of course, it is a great advantage if the children are already older and can also participate in the education and exercises.

If your children are of an appropriate age, a Border Collie can be perfect for your family because there is always someone around who can train with him, teach him tricks, etc.

Conclusion: Are Border Collies good family dogs

The Border Collie is a good family dog if you have the time to spend with him. If the children are still very small, you should think twice and carefully consider whether a more relaxed breed might not be the better choice.
All in all the Border Collie is a great dog also for families. You just have to be aware of what you are getting.

© encierro-stock.adobe,.com (Contributing image)


I am Marco and I have the pleasure of living with 3 large Mastiff-type dog breeds. I would like to share my dog-related experiences on this blog

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