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Are Border Collies Good for First-Time Dog Owners? Important Answer!

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

Border Collie with different eye colors

Are Border Collies Good for First-Time Dog Owners? Important Answer!

If you are looking for an active canine companion with a caring and friendly personality to join you on your hiking adventure or a game of frisbee on the beach, a Border Collie will definitely fit the bill and bring you years of joy and unconditional love. However, if this is your first time owning a dog, you may be wondering if a Border Collie is still the best choice.

Being a first-time dog owner can be both exciting and daunting, and what makes an ideal breed for a first-time owner depends on various factors. In this article, we’ll discuss what you should consider before becoming a first-time dog owner, what you should know about owning a Border Collie, and tips to help you decide if this is the right breed. A Border Collie may be challenging for a first-time dog owner, but with adequate training and care, it can become an extraordinary pet.

Being a First Time Dog Owner

At some point in everyone’s life, the prospect of becoming a dog owner ignites and becomes all-consuming as you decide which dog you should bring into your life. Whether you are looking for a canine companion, a playmate for the kids, or an adventure buddy, there is a lot to consider before committing to a puppy. When looking after a dog, you must ensure you can provide your companion with the correct diet, grooming needs, and healthcare.

border collie puppy practicing tricks
Image Credit: Geertes, Shutterstock

Caring for a Border Collie

If you are thinking about getting a Border Collie as your first dog, you should learn everything you can about them. Knowing about their temperament, behavior, grooming and training requirements, and overall care requirements can help you decide if this breed fits into your lifestyle and if you can provide the best care for it.

Temperament and Personality

Border Collies are known to be highly active canines. This is a true characteristic of their temperament, as they were initially bred as herding dogs. They are also a very intelligent breed. Border collies are working canines and therefore need to be given a job every day; otherwise, they may turn to more destructive forms of entertainment.

border collie dog with toy ball on the couch
Image Credit: Julia Zavalishina, Shutterstock


Border Collies are known to herd other pets in the home and children. They also have nipping tendencies, and although this is not intended to cause harm, it may end up hurting someone. This is another reason to keep them busy, mentally stimulated, and well-socialized. Border Collies can also be protective of their family and unsure of strangers, which is another important reason for early socialization.

Border Collies will undoubtedly form a close bond with their owner, and while this is special and so rewarding, a first-time owner needs to know that this may cause them to be intolerant of being away from you. Before connecting with a Border Collie, you must assess your routine and schedule and ensure your dog won’t be left alone for hours at a time. If this happens, they can become destructive and anxious.


Border Collies are extremely intelligent, which is excellent when it comes to training. However, Border Collies are so intelligent that training may be more difficult. It’s crucial, especially for a first-time owner, to research positive training techniques and consider investing in training classes.

A Border Collie will always seek to test boundaries. They will learn who is more of a pushover in the family and use that to their advantage, and they are smart enough to think a few steps ahead. Border Collies must begin training as soon as possible because they may become destructive if not given enough mental stimulation.

Brown border collie dropping the ball to a person's hand
Image Credit: Anaite, Shutterstock


The grooming needs for a Border Collie are moderate and don’t require any unique considerations. As with most dogs, they will need regular brushing and shampoo; on occasion, their nails will need to be clipped. It is also a good habit to regularly check your dog’s ears.


It is essential to be aware of any health issues that your dog may be predisposed to so that you can be educated and prepared. Your pet should go for regular checkups with your veterinarian, and pet insurance is worth considering. Border Collies are generally healthy dogs, but like all dogs, they are predisposed to a few health conditions.

The most common issue is hip dysplasia, which can lead to arthritis. It can be caught early and rectified with medication and surgery. Epilepsy is another common health issue that usually starts between 2–5 years of age and sometimes requires medication. Border Collies can also have a genetic eye disease called Collie eye anomaly, which can lead to vision problems or blindness. It is usually present at birth and can be detected at 6 weeks.

Image Credit: 4924546, Pixabay

Tips for Keeping a Border Collie Safe

Your Border Collie will be a part of your family, and it will be a top priority to keep it safe and healthy.

Here are some essential tips for keeping your new canine safe:
  • Ensure your Border Collie comes from a reputable and responsible breeder.
  • Keep up with regular vet visits and vaccinations.
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your dog. Overweight dogs are more prone to disease and joint issues.
  • Introduce your pet to other dogs and people when it’s young.
  • Provide at least 2 hours of exercise a day for your dog; since Border Collies are full of energy, they require long walks and a large yard to play.
  • Ensure your Border Collie is fed a well-balanced, high-quality diet.
  • Provide your Border Collie with the right environment. They require shelter, warmth, and an environment that is enriching.
  • If your Border Collie has any signs of being unwell, have them looked at and tested as soon as possible.
  • Look into purchasing pet insurance to pay for unexpected costs.

Is a Border Collie Right for You?

Some would say that Border Collies are not suitable for a first-time owner, while others say it is an excellent breed for a first-time owner. You need to consider how much time, attention, and patience you have while considering the overall needs of a Border Collie.

A Border Collie may be suitable for you if:

  • You understand the needs and demands of this breed.
  • You are committed to training.
  • You are active and committed to daily exercise and activities.
  • You are prepared for a little challenge.
  • You have the time to spend with your dog.
  • You are looking for an active dog instead of a lap dog.

A Border Collie may not be suitable for you if:

  • You are just looking for a guard dog and won’t be home.
  • You are thinking of leaving the responsibility up to the kids.
  • You don’t have time and patience for proper training.
  • You are looking for a cuddly lap dog.

Final Thoughts

Border Collies make amazing pets. A Border Collie is suitable for a first-time owner who provides adequate exercise, attention, and the love that the animal requires. Obviously, having some experience with the breed would be helpful, but no experience doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own one. A border Collie is unsuitable for a first-time owner that is looking for a low-energy dog or an owner that is never home and doesn’t have the time or patience to give this breed the attention it needs.

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Featured Image Credit: L.A.Kennedy, Shutterstock

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