Why not get a Border Collie?

So you think you want a Border Collie? After all, they’re intelligent, energetic, focused! Who wouldn’t want such a dog?

Well, YOU might not when you stop to think it through.

While a Border Collie is a super dog breed, it’s not the right dog for everybody and every situation. There’s a lot to think about BEFORE you get a Border Collie.

Here are some reasons why you may NOT want to get this breed.

Reason #1: They’re intelligent.

Super Smart Border Collie

Whoa! Wait a minute! An intelligent dog is a good thing! If they’re a smart dog, that means they should be easy to train, right?

That much is true, a Border Collie IS easy to train. They are quick learners indeed.


That’s not the end of the story.

While the Border Collie is considered one of the smartest dogs around, if not THE smartest, and yes, they can be trained to do just about anything, there’s a dark side to that intelligence.

It needs a challenge. It needs to be used.

In other words, Border Collies get bored if they don’t have some way to use all that intelligence. Without the proper mental stimulation, this canine can become destructive or depressed.

Yes, dogs can get depressed.

And in the wrong situation, Border Collies are prone to depression. And for this breed, not having mental stimulation is definitely the wrong situation.

Also, bear in mind it can be a challenge to stay “one step ahead” of this dog.
They are constantly thinking and analyzing their situation. They can be master escape artists. That intelligence means they’ll figure out ways to do what they want to do, so you’d better be prepared!

If you are NOT prepared to “think ahead” of your dog, if you can NOT provide something for your Border Collie to do, some way to keep them mentally active, maybe this isn’t the right breed for you.

Reason #2: They are high energy.

If you’re looking for a couch potato, a dog that would be content to lay around in your apartment all day, the Border Collie is NOT that dog.

They need exercise and lots of it!

Border Collie Running through water

Yes, a Border Collie not only needs mental stimulation, but physical activity as well. And if you don’t give this dog something to do, it will FIND something to do.

The trouble is that you may not like what the dog finds to do.

A bored, under-exercised Border Collie can be a destructive dog. Like chewing up things. (Think puppy chewing on steroids.) Ripping apart cushions. Chasing stuff you don’t want the dog to chase. Nipping at things.

The dog WILL find an outlet for all that pent-up physical energy one way or another.

This is not a dog you can leave alone in your apartment all day and expect to find your apartment in the same state you left it when you finally get back home again.

(And don’t even think that putting this dog in a crate all day is the answer. That would be both physically and mentally cruel to this breed. JUST. DON’T.)

So if you can’t provide a lot of physical activity for a dog, then a Border Collie is not the right dog for you.

Reason #3: A Border Collie is a herding dog.

That’s their job. And they are determined to DO their job.

So what happens if they don’t have a herding job?

They make one up.

Border Collie herding ducks

They may try to herd children, other pets, visitors, cars, just about anything that moves!

It’s an instinct for these dogs to herd. If you don’t have an actual herding job for them, then you need to get creative and find something else for them to do. Besides exercise and games, advanced training and/or agility training are other outlets for a Border Collie’s intelligence and energy.

Just be aware, however, that even with providing your dog with other things to do, you’re not going to totally eradicate that herding instinct.

Reason #4: A Border Collie can be prone to anxiety.

Border collie feeling anxious

A dog is a social animal. They want to be around their people. They need mental and physical interaction with their people.

If left alone too much, this breed can be prone to separation anxiety.

Because like any dog, a Border Collie needs security, affection, respect, companionship, interaction, communication and love.

And they’re certainly smart enough to know when they aren’t getting it. They want to be around their person, so if you can’t spend a lot of time with a dog, then a Border Collie is not a good fit for you.

Reason #5: A Border Collie is a challenge.

All things considered, keeping up with a Border Collie can be a formidable task.

Combine the needs for lots of mental stimulation, lots of physical activity, a job to do, and the need for constant companionship, and all that adds up to having a Border Collie can be a challenge.

If you understand that and are prepared for it, that’s one thing.
If you don’t know what you’re getting into, that’s a recipe for disaster.

Be honest with yourself, are you up to the challenge?
Do you even WANT such a challenge?

You may not want to do all the things necessary to keeping a Border Collie. And that’s okay. There’s nothing to say you need to get a Border Collie. If you’re not interested in the particular challenges a Border Collie represents, then obviously this breed isn’t for you.

Summing it up…
Why You Might Not Want a Border Collie

A Border Collie is not a battery operated toy you can turn off and put on a shelf when you are tired. It’s a living, breathing, creature with physical, mental and emotional needs. And as the dog’s human partner, it is up to YOU to make sure those needs are met.

The dog can’t do it.
Only YOU can.

Just like you need to provide food, water and shelter, with a Border Collie you also need to provide for other needs like plenty of physical & mental activity.

If you don’t want all the work that comes with a Border Collie, there’s a simple solution.

Don’t get one.

After all, what’s the point of making yourself miserable with a dog that misbehaves because its needs aren’t being met? And why make the dog miserable?

The animal shelters don’t need another dog.

why you may not want a Border Collie

So, bottom line….

  1. If you don’t have time to deal with a super intelligent, needs lots of mental stimulation dog, then don’t get a Border Collie.
  2. If you don’t have time to play lots and lots of fetch, Frisbee, go on long walks, or in some way provides LOTS of exercise for this high energy dog, then don’t get a Border Collie.
  3. If you can’t provide creative ways to channel the dogs herding instincts, to provide some sort of “job” for this breed, then don’t get a Border Collie.
  4. If you don’t have much time to spend with a dog, don’t get a Border Collie.
  5. If you don’t have the time or want the challenge this breed represents, don’t get a Border Collie.

In Other Words, A Border Collie May Not Be for YOU!

All the great things about this breed can end up being bad things in the wrong situation. Make sure you’ve got the right situation before you commit to having this breed dog and that you don’t have any of the above reasons NOT to get a Border Collie.

After all, why get a breed dog that will be a burden for you when there are so many breeds with different personalities, and one that would likely fit your situation so much better? No need for you to suffer through a dog you can’t care for, or to make a dog suffer from your neglect.

Don’t fall for the “a Border Collie is such a cool dog. We need one!” kind of mentality. Avoid that trap.

Sometimes NOT getting a dog is the right thing to do.