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Living With a Border Collie

When asked to write about living with a Border Collie in 2009, I thought no problem, I will say how great a breed they are. Loyal, versatile, energetic, trainable – the list is endless. But then I thought all of this could be read in the numerous Border Collie breed books available in the shops, libraries, and internet.

So I decided to do it like this-

Living with a Border Collie means there is never a dull day. Logan, officially known as Logan to Die For, is nine years old and is just retired from working the top obedience class due to arthritis in his feet. Jaro, officially known as Mad Ted, is six years old and works the top obedience class. His son Ryac is 17 months and will be gracing the obedience ring later this year. Jaro and Ryac are collectively known as Team Asbo.

I walk them at least one hour a day which will include road walking and free running and I train the younger two as well. Logan may get less depending on how his feet are. No matter how much exercise they get they are always up for more, even though their tongues are touching the floor panting.

Logan is happy to lie on my lap while I am watching television – all 21kg of him! No matter what I do he doesn’t mind so long as he can ‘help’ by being by my side. Never interfering, just overseeing and giving the occasional lick when he thinks I need encouragement. Nothing appears to faze him.

Jaro is like shaking a bottle of soda, just waiting to explode. He is always ready to ‘do’ something and a total wind up merchant. He brings me things constantly. When I am preparing my dinner he will come into the kitchen with the entire contents of my bedside unit. He appears in the kitchen ‘smiling’ with a deodorant bottle in his mouth or a biro etc.

Before I ‘Jaro proofed’ my underwear drawer he would bring me socks, knickers etc unless it is tied down, locked away or out of reach Jaro will ‘fetch’ it and present it to me – trading off!!! Yes, I could stop him and teach him not to do it but it is part of his character. No matter what he is doing he will do it at 150 miles per hour.

He is scared of my phone ringing and will leave the room post haste when it rings. He was in the front garden with me the other day and the phone rang in the house. He cleared the three-foot wall, separating mine and my neighbour’s house, ran out of their driveway and came back into my garden – all done in a split second – reacting without thinking.

He was three years of age before he was capable of settling down in my living room at night and going to sleep while I watched the television or read a book. Even now at six years of age, he resists the urge to relax – I think his batteries are self-charging.

Ryac is his ‘father’s son’. Himself and Jaro are like ‘peas in a pod’ in many ways. However, he has jealousy issues with his father and is not happy if I am hugging Jaro or giving him attention – Ryac has had to learn to live with it! He stalks Jaro when out running loose and in the house is never too happy if Jaro is beside me. When I am not around he will lie quite happily beside Jaro as if there was no problem.

He was nine months of age before I could leave him without him howling the place down. At 17 months of age, he still has to sleep in a crate at night as he chews everything he can get his teeth into.

All three Border Collies have got wonderful temperaments – happy and love people. Logan is not too comfortable around strange dogs, Jaro isn’t really interested in other dogs and Ryac loves to play if the other dog is agreeable. They are ‘soft’ in many ways but can be determined if it suits them. Although they are related – Jaro is Ryac’s dad and Logan’s sister is his mum they are all very different. Logan would be a perfect house pet while Jaro and Ryac need to work to keep them out of mischief.

Before making the plunge towards living with a Border Collie, or indeed any breed, you should be careful to investigate the breed fully. Although they are a great dog, they are not suitable for everyone. Buying from a reputable Border Collie breeder is the first step to ensuring you are getting a pup who has been bred and reared carefully.

If you’re looking for any advice on your dog’s behaviour or choosing a dog for your family; get in-touch with one of our pet experts by leaving them a quick question here.

Have any tips you want to share? Include them in the comments below.


This piece was written by Connolly’s RED MILLS Nutritional Advisor, Professional Dog Trainer, Behavioural Instructor, International Judge and Owner of Tag N Rye Dog Services, Julie Holmes. Julie has over 35 years experience working with dogs of all breeds and specialises in providing Basic and Competitive Obedience, Dog Training Classes and Private Tuition to dog owners all over Ireland.

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