Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: I haven't learned care / training techniques
Posted June 18, 2014
Kolie was my best friend during the brief time I knew him. I was a young kid at the time, but I still remember so much about him. Though the Border Collie trait of herding by nipping at heels can be an issue for those families with small children, when trained properly the problem can be avoided altogether, and the breed becomes a perfect family dog.
Border Collies are very smart dogs, easy to train and quick to understand new tricks even at an older age. They are great protectors, especially for young ones, as they often see issues and danger before the little one could ever have perceived it. Their natural herding instinct even comes in useful when they understand how to use different tactics than their go-to, and they have been known to steer a happily oblivious child or even adult from imminent danger. As a result of their cleverness, they are also great against intruders and harmful animals, using their intelligence and agility to out-maneuver an assailant who has dared go after their owner.
Kolie was also a very quiet dog, only truly vocalizing when necessary, though the occasional siren did set him off as it does most dogs. He was alert to everything going on around the house, and would immediately inform us if people or animals got too near the house.
Grooming this breed of dog is an extensive process, as they have long fur and shed basically year-round, though much more so in the summer months. As active dogs, they also get dirty fairly easy and matting can be a problem. Regular brushing and bathing will help these dogs feel their best and keep your house cleaner, though fur in the carpet and on furniture is unavoidable. However, since Border Collies are mostly black with white markings, you need not worry too much about your nice slacks being overly decorated with white fur, though having a roller handy in case of a big meeting or an important interview is always a good idea.
Kolie's health was fairly good until his sixth year, when he unfortunately got into a box of rat poison in the garage. From there on, his health rapidly deteriorated, and we ended up having to put him down when he got Alzheimer's and was so disoriented that he ended up biting my grandmother. He had never been aggressive before then, which led us to believe it was the state of confusion that caused him to fear that she would do us or himself harm. Generally, Border Collies are very hardy dogs; however, the breed is well known for such genetic diseases as Hip Dysplasia, Collie Eye Anomaly (a disorder where parts of the eye, most commonly the retina, do not develop normally), and Epilepsy. Kolie himself never suffered more than minor joint discomfort, a common trait in purebred dogs, and several of this breed have been known to live happy, normal lives in good health.
All in all, for those owners ready for an active pet and who have a decent-sized yard at the very least, this breed provides for very loyal and loving companions.