What makes the Border Collie a great herder

on June 21, 2022
border collie working farm dog

The Border Collie is arguably the smartest breed around, able to learn commands at least 5 times faster than others. They're one of the better choices if you’re looking for heading dogs for your farm. They’re great at their job but are also able to do other tasks like guarding livestock.  

Here are a few things to know about Border Collies before getting one for your farm.  


The breed’s origin story 

Border Collie breed history

The Border Collie working farm dog breed originated from the border between Scotland and England. They were first bred as sheep dogs, with the earliest dog trial recorded in Wales in 1873. This test demonstrated that Collies could herd sheep into a pen with minimal guidance by their partners, using only hand signals and whistles.  

From Britain, these dogs were exported to the United States for farm work. Farmers were impressed by their performance after observing them. From here, organizations like the North American Sheepdog Society and The Border Collie Society of America were formed to protect this breed. They were tasked with training them and providing information about their herding capabilities. Eventually, the American Kennel Club formally recognized the Border Collie in 1995.  


Is the Border Collie the right breed for you?  

Border Collie farm dog breed

If your farm has sheep and cattle, these herders are excellent partners to have around. These black and white dogs can safely direct your livestock wherever you need them to be with minimal guidance. Just be sure to train these dogs and properly introduce them to the animals they’ll work with.  

Border Collies require daily exercise outside farming activities since they’re active and have lots of energy. It’s best to give them space on your farm to run around and play in order to burn that excess stamina. 

In terms of grooming, they have a double coat that protects them from outside elements, but it requires grooming once a week to get rid of stray hairs.   


Health issues to take note of  

Border Collie health issues

Border Collies are prone to canine hip dysplasia since they are a medium-sized dog breed. This inherited disease causes deformed hip joints in their later life stages. Signs can include lameness in their hind legs, decreased physical activity, and difficulty lying down. Taking X-rays is recommended to monitor their health, while surgeries may be required to correct any deformities.  

Osteochondritis dissecans or OCD is another condition that affects them. This disorder is identifiable by cartilage not properly attaching to bones. Surgery is recommended to correct this so your dog can walk and run properly.  


Recommended farm role and takeaways   

Their intelligence is the Border Collie’s defining trait. They’re able to learn commands and carry them out perfectly. While this makes them suited for all kinds of tasks like guarding, they shine best when they’re needed to herd livestock on your farm. 

Just be sure to introduce them to your farm animals and train them properly so they can respond to you. Got a Border collie working with you on the farm? Share with us your experience! 


Feeding your farm dog requires a specialized diet. This means food with quality protein, Taurine and Glucosamine for muscle, heart and joint health, respectively.    

These can be found in Wishbone Gold, a dry dog food formula with premium New Zealand Beef and Lamb making it rich in protein. It also gives your dog an immune boost with its 8 Superfoods like Mango, Papaya, and Rosemary.    

Get your farm dog the nutrition they need today and click here to shop! You can also subscribe to Wishbone Gold’s delivery service and get 15% off on monthly delivery fees.