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Advice on acquiring a pet Border Collie

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The right Border Collie can make a faithful, loyal pet and companion, providing the dogs owner understands its needs and addresses them correctly.

As a potential owner, the first thing you need to do is to research the breed, its needs and its requirements to see if you are able ( or if you wish ) to make any changes to your lifestyle that may be necessary for the sake of the dog.

If you intend to take a Border Collie as a family pet - be very cautious; the breed is not known for its tolerance of babies and young children.

  • DO NOT get a young puppy from a farm - farm bred puppies are obviously from working parents (and bloodlines) and not from domesticated pet stock.

Working Border Collies are not bred to be pets and pups from these bloodlines should not be sold as such due to the likelihood of working instincts developing later.

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This cartoon copyright to Londons Times Cartoons  by Rick London and reproduced here with kind permission.

All the selective breeding that has gone into these bloodlines has been aimed at producing dogs that will be inclined to chase and work stock and at concentrating the instincts and drive that they need to do the job successfully.

At about six months of age, a Border Collie puppies working instinct will be developing and if you buy one, you run a very high risk of ending up with a working sheepdog in your sitting room.

If this should be the case there will be little or nothing you can do about it unless you are prepared to break the spirit of the dog and force it to go against its natural inclinations.

This will require a lot of time and work on your part and carries no guarantee of a successful outcome. The dog is more likely to end up frustrated and confused, developing social and behavioural problems which may be expressed aggressively towards people or animals.

You may see adverts in the press offering puppies from farms that have been bred surplus to requirements or even to supplement a dwindling income.

They usually say “will make good working dogs or pets”. -  This is a certainly a contradiction in terms.

Border Collie Rescue takes in a lot of young dogs of between 9 months and 18 months of age that have been purchased - as puppies - from farms. Often, their owners attempts at domestication only results in making them unsuitable for both pet or working environments.

  • DO NOT just pick a BC from a private rescue centre or advertised on a notice board -’free to good home’ -

Make sure of the dogs temperament if you take one on ‘spec’. There is usually a good reason for someone to part with their dog and - if it is because the dog is a problem to them - desperate people can be ‘economical’ with the truth.

Private ( or non charity ) rescue centres or individuals are running a business in re-homing dogs. As with the nature of business - turnover and profit is important. These ‘rescues’ therefore have conflicting interests and often do not follow proper assessment and re-homing procedures that a more professional organisation would use to protect the client and the dog.

It won’t help the dog if you have to return it or re-home it because it does not fit in. You won’t enjoy the experience either. Its also worth bearing in mind that you may not be able to return the dog to the place you got it from - leaving you to make other arrangements.

  • DO NOT buy a pup or young dog from a puppy farm or from a general animal dealer or from an un-registered private breeder -

Puppies do not belong in pet shops and many buy from puppy farms.

Commercial puppy farms are profit making enterprises and sometimes welfare standards are not as high as may be desirable.

The breeding stock must also be considered. If you by a puppy from poor bloodlines you run the risk of ending up with a dog that suffers from hereditary or congenital diseases, leading to expensive vet bills for you and a poor quality of life for the animal.

Many dogs from these sources have weak immune systems and contract fatal diseases.

Another point to remember is - by buying from these sources you encourage the breeder to go out and do it again.

  • Never buy any dog or puppy that is delivered to you after a phone call in response to a newspaper ( or other ) advert.

Many puppy farms use anonymous agents to sell on dogs for them in this way. This is courting disaster.

Parting with a dog that has become a problem can be traumatic for the whole family - the death of a weak and sickly puppy is even worse - its simply not worth the risk.


GET A DOG from a responsible Rescue organisation -

RSPCA - Blue Cross - NCDL - The Dogs Home Battersea and Border Collie Rescue - are organisations where the staff will take the time and trouble to assess the dogs properly and advise you and help you to find the right dog that will fit in to your home and circumstances.

  • If you have to buy a Border Collie pup get one from a responsible Kennel Club or other registered breeder.
  • Make sure you meet the Sire and Dam (don’t buy unless you do) and ensure they are tested and certified to be free of hereditary diseases.
  • Don’t pay any money over until you have copies of any promised pedigree or registration certificates.
  • Ask questions about the background of the dog and its parents. It is not unreasonable to be seen to be responsible - if answers are evasive, defensive, offhand or aggressive - look elsewhere.
  • GET ADVICE - but get your advice from someone that is not trying to sell you a dog.

The Border Collie Rescue Society is here to help & advise people who wish to acquire a B.C. It is in our interests & objects to help you get it right. Our advice is unbiased, with no commercial influences.

Most Rescue charities will also give unbiased advice. Few of us want you to take a dog that is unsuitable - we would only get the dog back later.

You should expect to be questioned, vetted, home visited and fully informed about any dog you are offered. This is done for your own sake as well as for the sake of the dog. We want permanent new homes for our dogs.

If you are advised that a Border Collie is not the right dog for you, don’t be offended, take the advice and consider a Collie cross or a different breed of dog.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the majority of problem dogs referred to Border Collie Rescue for re-homing come from pet homes - not farms.



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