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Can Border Collies Swim? Breed Facts & FAQs

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Dogster Team

female border collie standing on grass

Can Border Collies Swim? Breed Facts & FAQs

Border Collies are gorgeous active dogs with plenty of personality and energy. They’re herding dogs, originally bred to keep sheep and cattle in line. Border Collies are classified as medium-large dogs and grow 18 to 22 inches tall. Most weigh between 35 and 55 pounds. They come in several dominant shades, including black, red, lilac, and brindle, but most have distinctive bi-color coats.

Border Collies are recognized as some of the most versatile all-around athletes in the canine world and frequently win agility and other competitions. Although they weren’t bred to work in aquatic environments, most enjoy the water and can swim quite well.


Are Border Collies Waterproof?

Border Collies have double coats, making it easier to tolerate cold temperatures and avoid the shivers even when wet. While their coats provide a fair amount of water resistance, Border Collies aren’t technically waterproof.

Are Border Collies Mellow?

Border Collies are generally considered a high-energy breed, with most requiring at least 90 minutes of daily physical activity. Border Collies that don’t meet their exercise needs can become destructive out of boredom and stress. And because the breed is so intelligent, these dogs also have high mental stimulation needs. Most thrive when engaged in training that allows them to run around and use their problem-solving skills. Border Collies do incredibly well in working dog trials and agility competitions.

Border Collie purebred dog swimming in a river
Image Credit: TamaraLSanchez, Shutterstock

Are Border Collies Good for First-Time Dog Owners?

While they often make fantastic companions, Border Collies aren’t usually recommended for first-time dog owners, as the breed has a reputation as being tricky to train. Due to their high energy levels, Border Collies are often easily distracted, and many become bored and tune out when faced with unchallenging training activities.

Because early and consistent training is critical for establishing behavioral expectations with Border Collies, first-time owners often struggle with training. Learning how to communicate with dogs is a learning process, particularly for those just getting started. Border Collies are energetic and smart enough to stay one step ahead of those new to dog ownership, which can lead to training and behavioral problems.

Do Border Collies Get Along Well With Strangers?

While most Border Collies are loving and attached to their family members, some can be reserved around new people until they become comfortable with the new arrival’s presence.

Are Border Collies Good Apartment Dogs?

Border Collies are active dogs that typically prefer to spend their days working, playing, and training instead of napping. Because of their high energy levels and tendency to bark, they’re often better suited to environments where they have room to roam and work to keep them busy. But Border Collies can happily live in apartments as long as their activity and social needs are considered and met.

Do Border Collies Do Well With Children?

Border Collies usually get along with children quite well and show love towards the family’s littlest members. But Border Collies are herding dogs, meaning they tend to round up smaller critters, including children, which can result in leaning and pushing incidents. They also tend to nip due to their herding heritage.

They can sometimes get underfoot, causing small kids to trip. Most do fine around older kids, particularly children who’ve learned how to communicate and interact with dogs appropriately. Border Collies are incredibly intelligent, so they can often control their instincts with early, consistent training and socialization.

Cute boy hugs his border collie on the road
Image Credit: encierro, Shutterstock

Do Border Collies Get Along with Cats and Other Dogs?

Border Collies aren’t always the best choice for homes with cats since the gorgeous dogs are naturally inclined to herd and nip, which can result in unfortunate chasing incidents. While some Border Collies simply can’t resist the temptation to chase small, furry animals, others do fine around cats, particularly those they’ve grown up with. With early and consistent socialization, many are fine around cats, but some never outgrow the desire to chase after smaller animals.

Do Border Collies Require Much Grooming?

Border Collie collies have gorgeous medium-length fur and double coats. They require weekly brushing during most of the year and daily attention during heavy shedding periods. They require baths every few months and regular dental and nail care.

Are Border Collies Generally Healthy?

Border Collies are relatively healthy for pedigree dogs. Most live anywhere from 12 to 15 years. But they’re at heightened risk for several conditions, including hip dysplasia, progressive renal atrophy, Collie eye anomaly, and epilepsy. Working with a reputable breeder is often the best way to minimize the chance of purchasing a pet with these and other common breed-specific conditions.

Border collie running in the water
Image Credit: ANNA TITOVA, Shutterstock

Do All Dogs Like Water?

Some breeds love water, while others aren’t interested in getting nice and wet. Dogs bred for hunting, retrieving, and rescue work typically love everything about water. Dogs that love water include Labrador Retrievers, Newfoundlands, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Other dogs, including Cane Corsi, Dobermen Pinschers, and Greyhounds, aren’t that comfortable swimming, even though some enjoy splashing around if the water is shallow enough.

Smaller breeds such as Dachshunds, Shih Tzus, and Basset Hounds often have trouble staying afloat as they have difficulty paddling due to their short legs. Brachycephalic pups like Pugs and French Bulldogs sometimes have trouble swimming due to their short faces, which can make it difficult for these dogs to breathe when exercising.



Border Collies are great swimmers who enjoy splashing around in the water and taking serious dips. They typically don’t need swimming lessons and most naturally know how to stay afloat! Border Collies are not just incredibly intelligent; they’re also some of the best athletes on the planet. Most are happiest when they engage in physical activity, and swimming is a great way to add variety to your pup’s exercise routines as it provides a fantastic all-body workout that’s fun, challenging, and great for dogs’ overall well-being.

Featured Image Credit: Arnold.Petersen, Shutterstock

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