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A Detailed Description of the Border Collie


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Height at the withers: Males 48 – 56 cm, Females 46 – 53 cm

Average weight: Males 14 – 20 kg, Females 12 – 19 kg

Border Collies are very graceful dogs, always on the alert and ready to obey commands they are given whether as a working dog or in a home environment. Providing they are given the correct amount of exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis, Border Collies make wonderful family pets. They are medium in size and boast double coats with some dogs have luxurious wavy coats and others having slicker, finer ones. Border Collies come in an array of colours, but the most recognised dogs the world over are those that boast black and white coats with a white blaze, a white-collar and white on their legs.

Border Collies boast broadheads with a very distinct stop and tapering muzzle. They have black noses except if they have brown or chocolate coats when their noses are brown in colour. Dogs with blue coats have slate coloured noses but all dogs have well-developed nostrils. Their oval eyes are set wide apart on a dog’s head and are brown with the exception of Merles when one or both of their eyes can be blue. Sometimes just part of a merle’s eyes is blue, but all Border Collies boast a very keen, intelligent and mild look in their eyes whether they are working or at when they are at rest.

Their ears are medium in size and set well apart on a dog’s head which they carry either erect or semi-erect. Their mouths are strong and dogs boast a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. A Border Collie has a strong, muscular neck that they hold slightly arched and which is wider at the shoulder than the nape.

Their forequarters are strong and well boned with well laid back shoulders and nice straight front legs. They boast athletic-looking bodies with well-sprung ribs and a deep chest over deep, muscular loins. The hindquarters are muscular with well-developed thighs and back legs. Their feet are oval in shape with deep pads, tightly arched toes and short nails.

Border Collies have quite long tales that are set low and which are well covered in hair and which have a slight curve in the right to the tip, all of which adds to the perfect balance and proportions of these dogs. When excited, a Border Collie will raise their tale, but they never carry them over their backs.

When it comes to their coats, Border Collies can either have quite long hair or their coats are short and smooth. Both types have a very dense topcoat and a softer undercoat which offers dogs a lot of protection against the elements. Long-coated dogs have longer hair around their necks and upper shoulders which forms a mane and they have feathers on their legs and under their tails.

Border Collies, as previously mentioned come in a variety of colours and combinations of colours with the most recognisable being the black and white dog. However, other colours include the following:

  • Black & White
  • Black Tricolour
  • Black White & Tan
  • Blue & White
  • Blue Merle
  • Blue Merle & Tan
  • Blue Merle & White
  • Blue Sable
  • Blue Sable & White
  • Blue Tricolour
  • Blue Tricolour Merle
  • Blue White & Tan
  • Brown & White
  • Brown Merle
  • Brown Merle & White
  • Brown Sable
  • Brown Sable & White
  • Brown Tricolour
  • Brown Tricolour Merle
  • Brown White & Tan
  • Chocolate & White
  • Cream
  • Gold
  • Gold & White
  • Gold Merle & White
  • Gold Sable
  • Gold Sable & White
  • Lilac
  • Lilac & White
  • Lilac Merle
  • Lilac Merle & White
  • Lilac Tricolour
  • Lilac Tricolour Merle
  • Red & White
  • Red Merle & White
  • Red Tricolour
  • Red Tricolour Merle
  • Red White & Tan
  • Sable
  • Sable & White
  • Sable Blue Merle
  • Sable Merle
  • Sable Merle & White
  • Seal
  • Seal & White
  • Slate
  • Slate & White
  • Slate Merle
  • Slate Merle & White
  • Slate Tricolour Merle

It is worth noting that any white in a Border Collies coat must never be the predominant colour in a dog’s coat under the Kennel Club Breed Standard.

Border Collies come in other colours too, but these are not recognised by the Kennel Club and as such, they are thought of as being “undesirable” as it would mean a dog has been outcrossed to another breed which could have an adverse effect on their health. Any Border Collie with an undesirable colour would be refused registration.


Border Collies are tireless and move freely and smoothly with the minimum of effort which gives them the appearance of both speed and stealth.


Under the Kennel Club Breed Standard, any departures from the standard would be considered as faults with the seriousness of a fault being judged on how much it affects the well-being and health of a dog and their ability to work.

Male Border Collies must have two normal testicles fully descended and if they are not, this would be deemed a fault.

It is also worth noting that the size given in a Border Collies KC breed standard is to be used as a guide only. As such, a Border Collie may be slightly larger or smaller and weigh a little less or more than stated in their breed standard.

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