The Border Collie is a highly intelligent working dog, whose job has been and still is, as a working sheepdog in the hills and mountains. He seems to have endless stamina, is loyal and faithful and able to think for himself when necessary. These qualities have also made him and excellent mountain rescue dog. He needs to live in a house with a large garden, ideally with proximity to the open countryside. He needs to be trained and given challenges to make him happy. He sheds his coat which needs careful and regular grooming. The Border Collie needs an owner who is willing to give him the time and challenges he needs, and has the energy to match his dog.
Inbreeding Coefficient - COI
(Should be as low as possible)
The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 4.0% - see 'A Beginners Guide to COI'
Effective Population Size - EPS113.54
EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.
Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)
- Hip dysplasia: breed mean score 11.9 (parents should be lower)
- Elbow dysplasia
- Eye Disease: Collie Eye Anomaly (CEA) (litter screening); Retinal Pigment Epithelial Dystrophy (RPED) (annual testing); Primary Lens Luxation (PLL) (annual testing); Hereditary Cataract (HC) (annual testing); Goniodysgenesis / Primary glaucoma (G) (annual testing); Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : EBVs for Hip Dysplasia are available for this breed
DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)
- Neuronal Ceroid lipofuscinosis 5 (NCL 5)
- Collie eye anomaly (CEA)
- Multidrug Resistance MDR1
- Myotonia Congenita
- Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)
- Imerslund-Grasbeck Syndrome (Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption)
- Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)
- Degenerative Myelopathy (DM)
- Sensory Neuropathy (SN)
- Dental Hypomineralisation (Raine Syndrome)
- Canine Cyclic Neutropenia (CNN)
Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test. Good breeders will have followed the recommendations of the appropriate breed clubs, Kennel Club and/or other qualified experts.
Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes
- BAER test for deafness
Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.
Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)
- Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
- Drug reaction – Vincristine associated myelosuppression
- von Willebrands disease (vWD) type 2
- Diabetes mellitus
- Congenital portosystemic shunt
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastrocnemius musculotendinopathy
- Osteochondrosis – shoulder
- Adult onset deafness
- Steroid-responsive meningitis (SRMA)
- Chronic superficial keratitis (pannus)
- Border Collie Collapse
- Cancer: testicular neoplasia; nasal carcinoma; Squamous cell carcinoma; lymphoma
- Ciliary dyskinesia
- Haemophilia A
- Cutaneous lupus erythematosus
- Intestinal Cobalamin Malabsorption
Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.
Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions. Some breeders will also agree to contribute towards medical costs or refund purchase price.
You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the RSPCA / BVA AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP): www.puppycontract.org.uk
You are also advised to buy from a breeder who follows the Dog Breeding Reform Group’s (DBRG) Standard for Dog Breeding: