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Are Border Collies Good for First-time Dog Owners? The Truth!

Are Border Collies good for first time dog owners

Owning a first-time pet is always an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be daunting. Dogs, in particular, are one of the most popular first animals to keep as they are great companions for people of all ages plus they have a variety of other benefits too. As a first-time owner, it’s important to be able to make sure you have the right animal for your household.

Are Border Collies good for first-time dog owners? No, inexperienced owners might find it too much of a challenging breed. Border Collies are an extremely intelligent breed requiring both frequent physical exercise and mental stimulation. They are a demanding breed to train as they need consistent reinforcement which requires a lot of time and patience. However, if you have the time, temperament and resources then there is no reason you could not bring a Border Collie home from your local shelter.

Pets provide a number of benefits to any household such as improving their family’s overall fitness, lowering stress levels and helping to provide company that can combat loneliness and improves general mental well-being. But it has to be a good fit for all concerned… and should this new companion be a Border Collie?

Are Border Collies Good for First-time Dog Owners?

A Border Collie is one of the smartest dogs out there. They are often the first in line on many intelligent dog breed lists. With proper training by an experienced owner, they can make a good family pet.  A Border Collie needs lots of activity, but not necessarily big yard. A dog can get plenty of exercise through regular walks, proper socialization and positive training.

There is no escaping, Border Collies can be considered ‘high-maintenance’ dogs (let’s be honest, most of us are high maintenance too!). They can be stubborn and need people with some time and patience, and space in their lives. They can be introverted, independent, and sometimes aggressive to strangers for example with their juvenile nipping behavior.

This means they are generally only suited to people who like a challenge. Border Collies are loyal, love to work hard and will give you hours of entertainment – you will have to come up with plenty of new tricks to keep your Border Collie happy at home. But if you are the type of person who gets frustrated easily or wants a low-maintenance dog, we would not recommend getting one! 

So, if you are a first-time owner, then this is probably not the breed for you. Unless you get a rescue dog that was already trained (housebroken for example), you might reconsider getting a Border Collie. It will take patience and obedience training to get them under control which first-time owners typically do not have enough experience of. 

If first-time owners do decide on a Border Collie, it is important to understand the breed first before you bring your new family member home. 

Border Collie Origins

To understand what makes collies tick – and whether they may fit into your life, we need to go back in time a few hundred years! Border Collies originate from the border of Scotland and England and have been used for herding livestock. Border Collies were a popular breed as they proved very effective due to their high energy levels and intelligence making them very fast, agile and able to follow commands. 

This type of outdoor lifestyle gives Border Collies a lot of exercise per day but they may require extra socialization time. They have been a popular breed throughout history with Queen Victoria having a smooth collie among her many canine companions. 

Border collies are sporting herding dogs and they will not hesitate to chase and herd anything that got lose – sleds, cows, sheep, golf carts – it doesn’t matter if you live in the country or not. Add to that how much they love running and there’s no way we’re going to recommend them for first-time dog owners without hard backing boundaries!

Read more about the origins of Border Collies in our feature article here.


So, are Border Collies good first-time dogs? In a nutshell, no. HOWEVER, if you are active and know you can step up to this and give them the attention, fresh air, and life they deserve then there is no reason this should not be great for you and a Collie in need of a home and love.

Just remember, Border Collies are some of the most active dogs out there, so really does depend on how much you’re willing to put in. They’re not natural couch potatoes!

Border collies are intelligent and active, meaning they require a lot of attention and patience on behalf of their owners. They have a good deal of herding instinct, which means they need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise each day in combination with training. IF you can do all these things for them, with a little additional research, a collie could be a good fit in your life and home.

Here is some more general advice for first-time dog owners.