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How Long Do Border Collies Live For? 7 Health Conditions to Avoid!

How long do Border Collies live for

Border Collies are one of the most popular dog breeds all over the world. They are known for their intelligence, agility, and endurance which makes Collies well suited for spending many hours outside and a great addition to active families. With that being said, many people want to know how long can they live?

How long do Border Collies live? Border Collies have a lifespan of 12-15 years on average according to the American Kennel Club. The oldest recorded Border Collie, and one of the longest-lived dogs, was Bramble who lived to 25 years of age on a plant-based diet. Collies tend to have fewer congenital genetic abnormalities and disposition to diseases than some other ‘purebred’ breeds, although are still susceptible to certain conditions such as hip dysplasia.

We all want to enjoy the present with our Border Collie and don’t always need to think too far in the future. However, being aware of potential health issues and ways to maintain optimal health for your dog can help them thrive… and with some luck live to a ripe old age! This article explores average life expectancy in Collies and some common health problems to watch out for.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Border Collie? (And How To Help Them Live Longer!)

The average life expectancy for a Border Collie according to the American Kennel Club (AKC) is between 12 and 14 years. However, like most animals, their lifespan can vary depending on many factors such as health care, genetics, and living conditions.

With good health, nutrition and living conditions – and some luck thrown in – you can be rewarded with a long-lived companion that will share lots of love and enjoyment.

Four key things that may help increase a Border Collie’s life expectancy are:

1. Regular veterinary checkups along with preventative medication or treatments such as Heartworm Treatments and /or vaccinations. Pet insurance can help with these costs.

2. Physical exercise – this breed has a high energy level requiring hours of exercise on a daily basis including long walks, games, and family activities.

3. Mental stimulation- this smart breed gets bored easily if not mentally challenged daily.  Border Collie training and dog agility, herding events, and playing brain games can help to avoid mental dullness and frustration in this breed.

4. Healthy diet – feeding your Border Collie high-quality dog food can be the best way to ensure your dog maintains a healthy weight whilst meeting all its nutritional needs. This should include plenty of veg – and even some fruit!

Border Collies are a fun family pet but active owners need to spend plenty of quality time and provide creative outlets to allow their pets a healthy life and a natural life span.

The Story of Bramble – The Oldest Ever Border Collie

Two Collie breeds make the top ten list of oldest recorded dogs in history, with the third oldest being Taffy a Welsh Collie who lived to 27 years and 211 days. Not far behind is Bramble, the Border Collie the eighth oldest ever recorded dog!
The oldest ever Border Collie was ‘Bramble’ who lived in West England and lived to 25 years and 89 days of age. This fortunate senior Collie was raised in the west of the UK – on a 100% plant-based diet. Bramble is the eighth oldest recorded dog and lived between 1978 and 31st March 2003.

Anne Heritage, Bramble’s proud mum, had seven dogs in total, with two others living far beyond the normal life expectancy to 19 and 20 years old. Her secret? A diet based mainly on lentils, textured vegetable protein and brown rice – being both nutritious and low cost. How could she tell Bramble loved her food?

“She was like a little bulldozer. At feeding time, she would run at the food and stuff it all down. All of my seven dogs loved meal time, but Bramble was always extra keen on her meals.” ~ Anne Heritage

Find out more about Bramble’s story and healthy diet here.

What Are The Problems With Border Collies?

The Border Collie is a breed of dog known for its intelligence and energy, often be found on farms originating as a herding breed from the border region of Scotland. As medium-sized dog with a double coat which can vary in color due to the type of collie (e.g. the Blue Merle just like other merles will be lighter in coat color) – their “working” nature means they need high-intensity exercise, as well as mental stimulation to stay healthy. It is also important to be aware of more common health conditions in collies.

Common health conditions with Border Collies are: canine hip dysplasia, epilepsy, congenital heart defects, degenerative myelopathy, allergies, eye anomaly and ‘lens luxation’. Border Collies generally have fewer congenital conditions as a result of unhealthy breeding practices as experienced by many other pure breeds. However, the above are some of the more common conditions in collies to look out for. Always consult a qualified veterinarian if you have any concerns or questions.

Below are the more common Border Collie health conditions explained in greater detail.

Common Health Conditions in Border Collies

Canine Hip dysplasia is a malformation of the hip joint which often results in severe lameness. The degree of pain and lameness varies depending on whether it’s bilateral or unilateral. It can be diagnosed with x-rays by an orthopedic vet.

Epilepsy has various triggers that may cause seizures to occur including flashing lights, stress, fever, certain medications, low blood sugar levels, among other things. If you believe your dog may have had one seizure you should see your vet immediately for more information about what happened and get them checked out for future episodes. There are many different types of medication and treatment plans for this disorder. If you think your dog may have had more than one seizure, seek immediate veterinary care.

Congenital heart defects are present at birth and can cause a wide range of symptoms such as irregular breathing, low energy levels, loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen, and fatigue during exercise. Treatment depends on the type and severity of the condition but it is common that dogs with these conditions should not participate in regular exercise or strenuous activity. It’s all up to your vet though so get an opinion from them about your particular dog before deciding what is best for them.

Degenerative myelopathy (DM), also known as chronic degeneration of the spinal cord, has no cure. There are medications that can help slow the progression of the disease and may allow your dog to have a better quality of life for a longer period of time. It’s important that you spend as much time as possible with your Border Collie because they will notice if you’re not around or if something happens to you.

AllergiesBorder Collies prone to allergies can be triggered by environmental factors such as food, pollen, mites, and many other things. There is no known way to avoid allergies but there are many different types of medication that can help reduce or eliminate symptoms such as itching, redness on the skin, hot spots, and hair loss.

Eye anomaly – CEA is a congenital disease that can either be a minor health issue or in its most serious form cause blindness.

Lens Luxation – occurs when the lens dislocates within the dog’s eye.  This is a genetic disease that causes a weakness in the zonules which are the fibers holding the eye lens in place. 

There are several conditions either related to collies’ levels of bad breath, drooling and panting (see linked articles).

The quality of care a dog receives also has a huge impact on its lifespan, so making sure your dog gets enough exercise, space to run around, and keeping them healthy can have a big effect on how long they live. If you look after them properly you could see your faithful friend living until 20 or more!


Border Collies are known for their high-energy, intelligent nature. With an average lifespan of 12-15 they often live up to 15 years or even more, but there is a huge variety of factors that influence how long these dogs will live. Some can even reach 18 or 20 in healthy conditions! There’s no guarantee as to what age your dog will reach, so we need to make the most of every moment.