You are alone in the home and there is a bump in the night! If you hear that noise at the front door at midnight… how will your Border Collie respond? Will they keep snoozing or cower in the corner? Or will they protect you? Are they loyal? And do they make good guard dogs? We attempt to answer these questions for you here.
Do Border Collies make good guard dogs? Border Collies are not considered good guard dogs because they are bred to be friendly and social with people. However, their high intelligence and ability to assess situations means they can often alert you to danger. They may bark excessively when they see or hear something unusual, allowing you to investigate – but they are not typically aggressive towards strangers.
Border Collies – and all other animals are here with us – not for us. When we choose to share our lives with these amazing creatures, we do it for the love of their company appreciating their unique personality – not because they offer us a service or make themselves ‘useful’. However, there are certain perks that come with having a highly intelligent, alert and active canine in the house. Is being loyal, protective or natural guard dogs one of them? Read on to find out.
Are Border Collies Good Guard Dogs?
These days it pays to be security conscious. Therefore, it is not an irrelevant question to ask whether your new Border Collie will exhibit any behaviors associated with a typical guard dog. Border Collies are a medium-sized dog with boundless energy, intelligence, herding instincts, little aggression and an intense stare. But do they make an effective guard… Or are they a better ‘watch dog’?
Can Border Collies be guard dogs? Border Collies are not seen as good guard dogs because they were originally bred to herd farmed animals and not to protect property. There are many breeds of dogs that are better suited for guarding property than Border Collies who tend to be good-natured and not aggressive. Some of these traditional guard dog breeds include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, and Alaskan Malamutes.
That said, there are certainly exceptions to this rule, and some Border Collies may make an effective guard dogs with extensive training. It all depends on the individual dog’s personality and temperament. However, would you really want to encourage your friendly companion to be aggressive to strangers or display excessive barking? To bite, bare their teeth and growl – and even attack? As a society we need to move away from seeing dogs – and any other animal – only in terms of what ‘service’ they can provide us. What if instead, we saw them as the amazing individual they are? They can certainly see this in us!
Are Border Collies Good Watch Dogs?
A ‘watch dog’ may be a better description of a Border Collie than a ‘guard dog’. If – instead of a savage and violent defender of property at all costs – you mean a faithful friend who will alert you to unusual goings-on and potential dangers… then Border Collies have this trait in spades.
Are Border Collies good watch dogs? Although Border Collies are not natural guard dogs they are excellent watch dogs because they are highly intelligent, alert, active and curious. They have an inbuilt ‘nose for news’ – or in this case – potential danger. This makes them perfect watch dogs who will bark to let you know there’s something unusual going on.
However, like humans Border Collies are all different and not all Border Collies make a good watchdog. Some will give the postman or postwoman a much easier time, and not raise an eyebrow or paw when there is a sound at the door. And you may appreciate this more laid-back behavior without the incessant barking, which can also be encouraged by obedience training. However, like a good watcher, most collies will naturally let you know instantly (and loudly!) whether someone is at your door – whether it is 2pm or 2am!
Will Border Collies Protect You?
There are many cases where Border Collies protect their owners. Most of us remember ‘Lassie’ – the most famous screen collie, who helped protect humans in danger for example saving children trapped in a well. It is no coincidence the makers of Lassie chose a collie. Their fierce intelligence allowing them to assess a situation, their willingness to please their human and keen sense of smell and hearing. SO, are border collies protective?
Will Border Collies protect you? Border Collies are protective of their owners as they have been bred to be loyal and ‘protect’ the flock due to their herding instinct, making them good search and rescue dogs. In general, some Border Collies will watch over their human companions especially if encouraged to do so from a young age. This protective behavior also often extends to other animals in the house – including cats!
However, not all Border Collies will have these strong instincts to protect, in particular if they suffer from anxiety from past traumatic experiences. The best way to help your Border Collie’s protective instinct to emerge is to provide them with a happy and stable environment with lots of exercise, physical and mental stimulation, proper training and love. They will then return this with interest! Border Collies are extremely intelligent and need mental stimulation or they can easily get bored and exhibit destructive behavior/bad behaviors – and these will often replace that protective behavior.
Are Border Collies Loyal?
It is useful to know more about the traits of a dog before making a life’s commitment of adopting a companion/family pet. Many people wonder whether or not Border Collies are loyal. ‘A man’s best friend’ or ‘a woman’s best friend’. These statements could have been written about a Border Collie, the bond and connection with humans can be as strong as with any other loyal breed.
Are Border Collies Loyal? Border Collies are considered one of the most loyal breeds of dog. This is because of their origins as a herding dog in difficult environments where the bond between canine and human was all the more important. One of the best ever examples of loyalty in dogs was in ‘Ruswarp’ the Border Collie who did not leave his dead master’s side for 11 weeks in the snowy mountainous UK Lake District!
Some Border Collies are naturally more loyal than others, with some who value independence and others who can become very attached to their owners and family. Some will be incredibly loyal to their human companions and bond deeply with them. However, like any dog, socialization and training is essential – both in terms of controlling behavior when out on walks or in public, but also making sure they play nice with others! Positive reinforcement – rather than threats and punishments – will get you the best results.
Are Border Collies Territorial?
Border Collies evolved from wolves. You can see that spark still inside them! Wolves are of course pack animals with a hierarchy and are fiercely territorial. Wolves defend their territories against intruding wolves and other canines. Normally, these territorial conflicts are diffused without violence, that terrifying teeth-baring and a growl being sufficient to ward off the trespasser! SO, how much of this wolf territorial defensive instinct have Border Collies retained?
Are Border Collies territorial? Border Collies are a friendly and social breed and are not normally very protective of their territories. Their natural instincts to defend the area they occupy is not as strong or developed in them as it is for wolves or dog breeds such as Chow Chow specifically bred to defend territories. They will however remain watchful and suspicious of strangers on their territory until they get to know them more.
Where some do retain this territorial behavior though is where they perceive their human family to be. For example, many Border Collies will protect those they consider vulnerable such as the young or those who are injured and require care and attention, making them a natural first choice for search and rescue work. They will also defend these humans against any perceived threat – even if it’s just another little dog on the other side.
It is worth remembering that the territorial behavior of Border Collies will depend on a variety of factors. Their early experiences with other dogs, their environment – and most of all, their individual personality. Some collies will not bat an eyelid if another dog ventures into ‘their territory’. Whereas others will express in no uncertain terms that the trespassing canine is not welcome.