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A good friend if you're fit ....
Member Name: vintage_laurie
Advantages: Kind, intelligent, affectionate.
Disadvantages: Need lots of exercise, destructive if bored.
I'm lucky enough to have two Border Collies in my life; one which I've had since he was only a few weeks old and who lives with my father, and one who my step father has had since he was a pup, who I've known for 3 years. Even though they have different personalities (well, doggyalities, I suppose!), they have lots of common charecteristics of the breed as a whole.
The first thing I always say about Border Collies is DO NOT GET ONE. They are beautiful, incredible, intelligent, affectionate dogs, and I don't think I could ever have another breed. However, if you have any doubts, then you probably can't manage one.
Timmy, who is now 11, still needs a good 2-3 hours a day. He has a 45 minute walk each morning, joins my father in a 2 mile run each lunchtime and spends the rest of the day at the large arboretum where my father walks running around after my dad - covering, at a conservative estimate, 2-3 miles. He STILL needs an evening walk of about an hour if you don't want him barking and racing around the house all evening. Max, who is also 11, needs a bit less exercise, probably because he isnt used to having as much. He has at least 3 half hour walks a day and races around the yard to entertain himself regularly. They are not dogs for the unfit or infirm, or with busy / unpredictable lives. If you can't give them the exercise they need, they will chew, bark, scratch up carpets and be pretty miserable.
I haven't yet met an unfriendly Border Collies, but that's probably because they all have such lovely owners (LOL). Some can be too affectionate in that they won't leave you alone, but most are happy enough with a stroke and to leave you to get on with your errands! They will be wary of strangers until you welcome them, but I've never known one to attack. They do have a tendency to 'herd' you though, by chasing around you, diving at your ankles (you have to train them out of the habit of nipping) and trying you to direct you, which can be a bit disconcerting if you're not used to it. Tim has a tendency to try and herd bicycles, which is a little odd!
We started feeding Tim on Eukanuba, which was recommended by the vet, but later moved to a mix of the dry biscuits and fresh, cooked meat. He eats about the same as 1 1/2 to 2 large tins of dog food a day in one evening meal, with a snack such as a meat-based chew after lunch. Max eats 2 large tins of pedigree chum. Both are partial to biscuits, cornflakes, potatoes and catfood, when they can steal them. They're not too bad with snacks and extra food - both will leave snacks or food they're not bothered about -although as with all dogs, you have to be careful not to let them get overweight.
Apart from the usual cost of boosters and flea treatments, we haven't had too many medical problems (touch wood)! They can, like any active dog, harm themselves by running into walls, and with the longer haired varieties, you should check for ticks regularly.
The two border collies I have are wonderful. Max is playful, affectionate, loves human company and playing games. He's always off 'investigating' and trying to climb onto the beds or sofa for a nap. Timmy is more placid, but just as affectionate - he likes to sleep at your feet and seems to know when people aren't well or are upset - he always nuzzles up against them. He also loves playing with other dogs and owners.
In conclusion, they are wonderful dogs, but a huge committment; if you are considering one, I would advise getting to know a local owner and spending some time with them and their dog - the responibiltiy and time requirements cannot be underestimated.
Summary: Wonderful, but a big commitment
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