The brilliant Border Collie is among the world’s most hardworking and intelligent dog breeds. They are relatively popular breeds in the U.S., and many active families choose the Border to keep them company. To keep your Border Collie healthy, you need to understand their breed, what health concerns they’re predisposed to, and what you can do to keep them as healthy as possible.
How long do Border Collies live? The average lifespan of a healthy Border Collie is 12 to 15 years. However, all dogs are different, and many factors determine how long a dog lives. You can control many aspects, such as feeding them a high-quality diet and visiting the vet regularly for health checks. But there are some things you cannot control, such as the genes they inherit from their parents and unexpected accidents that might shorten their lifespan.
Border Collie Breed
The Border Collie is a popular dog breed in the U.S., although they are much more common in their homeland across the pond in the United Kingdom. Thousands of years ago, they were bred by Vikings invading the British Isles, and they have been herding their master’s livestock ever since. Border Collies are one of, if not the best, herding dogs in the world. According to Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs,” they are also the most intelligent dog breed.
Border Collies are medium-sized dogs that weigh between 30 and 55 pounds, and they stand between 18 to 22 inches tall. Their hardworking and tenacious nature can mean they get themselves into tricky situations, but thankfully, their problem-solving intelligence gets them out quickly. They are aloof with strangers but very affectionate with their family. Their high energy and love for humans make them entertaining companions.
How Long Do Border Collies Live?
The expected lifespan for a healthy Border Collie is between 12 and 15 years. This is a fantastic lifespan for a canine, but you must keep them healthy to reach this age. And remember that every dog is different. While most reach this age, some sadly don’t, and others might live well beyond this expectation. It is thought that the longest-living Border Collie was a pooch named Bramble, who lived beyond her 25th birthday.
Health Factors That Impact Border Collie Health
Like all dogs, they are predisposed to a few health conditions. Not all Borders experience these health concerns, and others might have entirely different ones. However, you must be aware of them to keep your Border Collie as healthy as possible. Keeping up to date with regular health checks is vital for early detection of problems. It’s also important to consider pet insurance for your Border. An insurance plan can help offset unexpected or emergency healthcare costs.
Deafness in Border Collies is one of the highest rates in the canine kingdom. It can be inherited or acquired through an injury or infection, and it can occur in one or both ears. A brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) test can be conducted early to identify deafness in puppies, so be sure to ask your breeder for this certificate.
A BAER test can be performed anytime if you suspect hearing problems. Raising a deaf Border requires patience and specialist training. Although deafness doesn’t lower lifespan, it can heighten the risk of injuries, so extra caution must be taken with deaf dogs.
Border Collies are prone to a variety of eye conditions. The most common are progressive retinal atrophy, pannus, collie eye anomaly, and cataracts. If you’re buying a Border Collie puppy from a responsible breeder, ask for the ophthalmologist evaluation certificate to demonstrate their eye health. If you see any changes in the condition of their eyes or reduced vision, get them in for an eye exam. Although poor vision doesn’t directly lower a Border Collie’s lifespan, it can lower their quality of life and lead them into dangerous situations.
Hip dysplasia occurs when the hip joint doesn’t align with the bones correctly and causes abnormal skeletal formation. This inherited abnormality causes increased wear and tear of the joint, which leads to mobility issues and arthritic pain. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include exercise intolerance and trouble standing or climbing. Hip dysplasia can lower the quality of their life. It can also lead to secondary health conditions relating to a lack of exercise, such as obesity and additional stress on the cardiac system.
Other Factors That Impact A Border Collie’s Lifespan
Care & Lifestyle
When dogs are happy, they experience less stress, which can lengthen their expected lifespan. Borders are very energetic and curious dogs that can find themselves in tricky situations if left to their own devices. It’s essential to keep them safe by securing your yard and keeping toxic food and dangerous items out of paw’s reach. If a Border is blind or deaf, you must be even more safety conscious.
Border Collies are workaholics who need a very active family to stay happy and healthy. They require at least 60 to 90 minutes of intense exercise daily to be satisfied. They have explosive energy that needs burning off. Otherwise, they become stressed and destructive. Leading an active lifestyle is crucial to keeping your Border Collie healthy and happy.
How healthy a dog is depends a lot on the health of their parents and the genetics they inherit. Unfortunately, you cannot control what genes they inherit. However, working with a responsible breeder who screens their dogs for health concerns makes you more likely to adopt a healthy pup. When you meet the breeder, make sure you ask about the parents’ health and ask to see the relevant health certificates.
Avoid irresponsible breeders and puppy mills at all costs. They use sick and unhealthy dogs to produce as many litters as possible. They invest no time, love, or care into these pups and only care about increasing their profits. This usually results in sick and undersocialized puppies that have a shorter lifespan. Researching the breeder, looking for independent reviews, and meeting them and the dogs in person are crucial. A great place to start your search for a reputable breeder is on the AKC’s Border Collie breeder page.
Health & Vaccinations
Staying up to date with regular health checks and vaccinations is a simple and effective way to keep them as healthy as possible. Not only do vaccinations protect them against disease and infection, but regular health checks can also mean early detection of problems that need treatment. Some things, such as cardiac concerns or nervous system problems, might only be detected by a vet using medical equipment.
Feeding your Border Collie a high-quality diet is another simple way to ensure that their health is maintained and nutritional needs are met. Look for nutrition that complies with the guidelines of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO.) Food packaging states whether the food is AAFCO compliant. If it doesn’t have this seal of approval, the food is likely to be deficient in nutrients, leading to health problems and a lower life expectancy.
You also need to pick an age-appropriate diet, which is especially important during the first year of their development. A diet made specifically for developing puppies can help minimize the risk of hip dysplasia and other health problems. Many Border Collies need a diet with higher-calorie content to meet their active lifestyle. Some Borders might have preferences for specific animal proteins or intolerances of others, so it’s crucial to pick a diet that meets their nutritional needs.
Spay & Neuter
Unless you plan on breeding your Border Collie, it’s important to consider spaying or neutering them as this can increase their life expectancy. The University of Georgia found that these procedures can improve the life expectancy of males by 14% and females by 26%. The same study also found that not having these procedures can shorten their lifespan by approximately two years.
10 Ways To Help Your Border Collie Live A Long Life
- Work With A Responsible Breeder. This is the first and most crucial step to ensure that the puppy you buy is as healthy as possible. Responsible breeders do everything they can to produce healthy litters. Ask to meet the puppies and the mother and ask for the relevant health certificates. Responsible breeders usually charge a high price for Border Collie pups, but they are more likely to be healthy and cost less in the future.
- Visit The Vet Regularly. Taking your Border Collie for regular health checks and keeping up to date with vaccinations is a simple way to fight diseases and infections. Regular health checks can help with early detection, increase treatment success and recovery, and improve their lifespan.
- Neuter Or Spay At The Right Time. These procedures can help increase their lifespan by improving their health and reducing the chance of cancer. These procedures should be carried out at the right time, and this varies from breed to breed, so be sure to ask your vet during one of their first visits.
- Physical Exercise Is Crucial. Border Collies are among the most active and hardworking breeds, so you must be ready to meet their energy needs. They need a minimum of one hour of daily exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
- Mental Stimulation Is Also Important. In between physical exercise, your Border Collie needs mental stimulation, too. Play with them when possible, as interaction with their humans is essential to their happiness. They also need access to challenging dog toys to keep their mind busy and avoid unwanted behaviors such as herding in the home or chewing.
- Choose High-Quality Nutrition. Feeding them a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs is imperative to a healthy body and mind. It is also one of the easiest ways to keep them healthy.
- Dental Health Is Essential. A dog’s dental hygiene is an influential factor in their overall health and wellness. Poor dental hygiene can reduce a dog’s lifespan by several years. Establish a weekly grooming routine that includes brushing their teeth.
- Be Safety Conscious. Border Collies are almost insatiable regarding their energy levels and curiosity. This can lead them into trouble and dangerous situations. Keeping your Border Collie as safe as possible is essential to their health, especially if they have vision or hearing problems.
- Provide Proper Training. Although Border Collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds around, they still need to be trained. Otherwise, they might not grow into the intelligent and obedient adults you expect them to be. Start training and socializing them as soon as you welcome them into your home.
- Shower Them With Love And Affection. Most dogs crave human interaction and companionship, and the Border Collie adores their family. You must meet their needs for them to remain happy and healthy and improve the likelihood of them living longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions our readers ask most often about the lifespan of Border Collies. Don’t see yours here? Ask us in our comments.
Is There A Difference In Lifespan Between Male And Female Border Collies?
There is no clear answer as to whether one sex is healthier and lives longer than the other. Some studies show that female dogs live longer and vice versa. Ultimately, the most influential factors on their lifespan are their individual health and the care they receive.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of Border Collie Mixes?
The lifespan of a Border Collie mix depends on the average lifespan of the other breed. The Border Collie is a healthy dog breed, so you can expect it to be close to 12 to 15 years old. Again, their unique genetics and lifestyle mean it can vary between individual dogs.
Want To Learn More About This Breed?
If you’re considering adopting a Border Collie, you may want to learn even more about this amazing breed, including the wide variety of coat color variations, grooming needs, and how quickly they grow. Finally, if you’ve already decided that this is the breed for you, we have over 250 Border Collie dog names to help give you ideas before you bring your new puppy home.