One of the first things you learn about Border Collies is that they love being outside! They were bred to herd sheep across open fields, and this is why they need access to acres of space in order to be fully content. With this in mind, the answer to this question is fairly predictable…
Are Border Collies outside dogs? Border Collies can be considered outside dogs in the sense that they are well adapted – and most content – when spending several hours outside being active. This stems from their breeding as herding dogs in the borders of Scotland, making them resilient, hardy and active. However, this does not mean that Border Collies do not appreciate a warm, loving home and they should always have access to a safe and welcoming space indoors, including a comfortable bed.
When choosing to welcome a Border Collie into your life you will already be aware that they enjoy being outside the most. Running, exploring, sniffing and generally letting off steam! In this article, we explore the collie’s relationship with the outside/outdoor world, including whether they should sleep outside, whether they can be left alone outside and their temperature tolerance. Are Border Collies Outside Dogs?
Are Border Collies Outside Dogs?
When learning about Border Collies, many people wonder whether they are inside or outside dogs. Border Collies originate from the border regions of Scotland, where centuries of breeding have given us a medium-sized breed with a warm double coat which is well suited for colder climates. Just imagine, winters herding sheep in the Scottish Highlands! (Grabbing an extra jumper just thinking of this!)
Historically collies, therefore, made good “working dogs” having strong herding instincts and resilience to the great outdoors. In an active family context, this means they need a good amount of mental stimulation, plenty of attention and enough physical activity and daily exercise outdoors. Border Collies are therefore the perfect breed for an outdoor-loving active family!
There is no doubt collies love the outdoors and are hardy. However, people’s definitions of ‘outside dogs’ may vary. Some people may think that being an ‘outside dog’ means collies could be left outside 100% of the time, including sleeping in an outdoor kennel. We explore this in greater depth below.
SPOILER: At Muddy Noses, we strongly feel that all dogs should always have access to an indoor space, especially at night time when it comes to sleeping. Collies may be able to survive outdoors, but this does not mean they will thrive and they will appreciate a warm loving home just like any other breed of dog… as long as they get the outside exercise they crave.
Can Border Collies Be Left Alone Outside?
After all the checks, you have just collected your new collie companion from one of your local animal shelters – and the time has come for you to bring home your newest of your family pets. No matter the breed, size, or age of your dog, you will want to keep them safe and healthy. There are many things that you must consider when bringing a new addition into your family which includes housing them in the safest way possible. One of those considerations is how long to keep your Collie outside and whether they can be left to their own devices?
Can Border Collies be left alone outside? If a backyard is secure then Border Collies can be left alone outside for short periods of time. They should always have access to a safe kennel with warm bedding material and hazards such as poisonous plants should be removed. However, they should always have access to a warm indoor space overnight to ensure the best quality of life and avoid health conditions associated with exposure to cold and dampness.
Giving collies access to a backyard will be appreciated by them, especially if there is some natural vegetation and dirt to dig! However, this is no substitute for daily exercise during walks with their human companion where they will be able to run and interact with other canines and dog walkers. A common misconception with herding breeds is that their energy level will decrease once the dog becomes an adult. This couldn’t be further from the truth! These dogs are active dogs at heart, so even if they’re not chasing after livestock for 8 hours a day, there’s always something on their mind – like squirrels or other small animals outside your house!
Can they be left alone in your house? Find out here.
Back Yard Preparation For Border Collies
Most dogs prefer being outside rather than being confined inside all day long, so periodic access to a yar/garden is important for your collie. If you plan on keeping your dog outside for periods of time during the day then there are five simple steps that will help ensure their safety and comfortability while outdoors.
1. Make it safe!
The first thing you should do is inspect the outdoor area that your dog will be staying in. Make sure that there are no holes or escape routes to where they can run away or sharp objects such as glass or wire. Also, make sure that there are no poisonous plants within their reach that can harm them over time. If there happen to be any poisonous plants then you may want to consider getting rid of them or putting up a barrier around the area your dog will be staying in so they don’t have access to those dangerous plants!
2. Get A Doghouse
Next, a doghouse/kennel should be created for them immediately before letting them loose on their own. This house must keep them safe, keeping them cool during the summer heat – and warm during windy, chilly and snowy conditions outside! You can find many different types of shelter plans online but make sure to run them by your family veterinarian first before attempting to make one on your own. Consider creating a floor for them with gravel or dirt to help keep their doghouse clean of their waste!
3. Make Your Doghouse Comfy!
After you have created a safe place for them to sleep and stay dry in the event of rain, snow, strong wind gusts, etc., it is now time to start focusing on what type of dog bed will be best suited for them for daytime napping. There are loads of different kinds of beds that you can purchase online or from your local pet store. This means they always have somewhere warm and comfy outside, ideal for a daytime power nap!
Purchasing a dog bed that is water-resistant will be best suited for your dog because this means that they can sleep on it without any issues if it starts to rain during their outdoor time! Also, make sure the outdoor beds are easy to clean such as having a zipper where you can remove the cover and wash it off if something happens to get spilled or soiled on it.
4. Outside Time Periods
The last thing you will need to focus on is how long your dog should stay outside and what its limits are especially in the cold weather. Each breed of dog has different tolerances when it comes to heat and cold conditions – although collies tend to be fairly hardy in cold conditions, it is very important that you keep an eye on your dog’s body language when they are outside. If they start to shiver, have their ears down flat against their head, or start hiding from the wind then it is a sign that you should bring them in and let them rest inside where they will be safe and warm!
If you follow these simple steps when keeping dogs outside, you can ensure your dog stays safe and sound while being outside in hot or cold weather conditions without any problems! Ideally, they will always have access to an indoor space too – and have the company from their favorite human as much as possible!
Can Border Collies Sleep Outside?
Spending their whole lives outside – including sleeping – will be detrimental to any Border Collie; so-called ‘working’ dogs have a considerably shorter life expectancy not least because they are exposed to cold, dampness, heat, and wind throughout the year. This can cause them to lose body heat and increase the risk of hyper/hypothermia which could potentially leave them in a critical condition, as well as increase the chances of health conditions such as hip dysplasia.
So, whilst collies could technically be left to sleep outside, we recommend always giving your dog access to a comfy indoor bed and they will thank you for this. For any longer daytime stints outside, you should make sure your dog is acclimated to the weather before them spending longer time periods outside to minimize stress and discomfort. This is particularly the case in cold or hot climates.
Although an unacclimated Border Collie can tolerate cold temperatures if she spends time outdoors regularly, this does not mean that every day of the year is suitable for dogs preferring the indoors. For example, short-haired breeds may experience frostbite during the winter months. So if you have an indoor dog, be careful of temperatures and adjust them as necessary for your pup’s comfort.
If you are unsure about how your Border Collie will react to hot or cold weather, check with your vet for more information on how to care for your dog in various temperatures.
How do Border Collies sleep? Find out here.
Border Collie Temperature Tolerance
Are Border Collies Outside Dogs? Many people assume that dogs with relatively short hair and thin coats, such as border collies, cannot tolerate the cold. However, this is not always true. Border collies have a high tolerance for temperature changes and can do well in both hot and cold weather if they are acclimated to it properly from a young age. One reason they often enjoy being outside more than inside! Whatever their specific breed or coat type or coat color or breed – be it a rough coat, smooth coat, merle Blue Collie, rough collie breed or mixed breeds… your collie will have a basic level of resilience to the outdoors, especially if raised in this environment.
The key to a Border Collie’s temperature tolerance is in the adaptive biology of their ancient ancestors. One fundamental aspect of this is that all primitive, or wild canids have a much better ability to forage and survive during cold temperatures than domesticated dogs. In fact, studies have shown that one reason why many modern breeds struggle with heat stroke compared to primal breeds is that they tend to have a faster heart rate which means they aren’t able to stay out in the heat as long.
Border collies evolved from these ancestral roots and still share many similar traits today. Like their ancestor wolves, border collies maintain a higher body temperature and tolerate colder conditions better than most other dogs.
Another interesting fact about dogs is that every single breed has a different normal temperature range. There are some dogs, such as Malamutes and Siberian Huskies who have a normal temperature of 99 degrees Fahrenheit (37.2 Celsius), while there are many breeds with a normal temperature of 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 Celsius) or higher including border collies! A dog’s normal body temperature is very individualistic and can vary from 95 to 102. This means that if the border collie in question is experiencing a fever, they might have something wrong going on internally rather than just being stuck in the cold due to their thin coats!
Since Border Collies have evolved from wolves they still retain many of the adaptive characteristics of their ancestors. This includes the ability to tolerate cold weather and utilize their coats as insulation from it. However, this does not mean that you should go out and let your dog be free in the snow without any danger. Just like with human beings, limiting exposure to extreme environments is key to protecting against injury. We all have a safe zone where we are most comfortable, Border Collies just tend to enjoy being outside more than most other breeds!
It’s important to remember that every breed has a different normal temperature range, so just because your dog might seem cool or warm doesn’t mean that they are totally fine! It’s always best to err on the side when it comes to temperatures.