If you are thinking about getting a Border collie, also known as the smartest dog breed in the world, then you will want to know everything about your pup’s health before you get started.
One of the most common concerns with adopting one is to know what the Border collie lifespan looks like.
Regardless of whether you are adopting a puppy, teenager, adult, or senior dog, it is a good idea to know what you are in for.
It is difficult to simply put a number on the life expectancy of a Border collie, because there are a lot of different factors at play that can impact your dog’s lifespan. These can include diet, exercise, vet visits, and even what health concerns the breed commonly comes with.
We have researched what impacts a Border collie’s lifespan and what you can do to extend it as long as possible. This is what you need to know.
Border Collie Life Expectancy
When we are looking at what a Border collie life expectancy is, the short answer is that on average, the dogs live between 12 and 15 years. This is the average for a medium-sized dog, so Border collies are right on par with other breeds of the same size.
The breed was initially bred as a Scottish herding dog, meant to manage sheep. They have been explicitly bred for their intelligence and their obedience, making them incredibly capable of training.
They are a working breed of dogs and they will have the most fulfilled life when they are given a job. Border collies without jobs are stressed and will not be as content in life. Just like with humans, dogs that have a happier life will be less anxious and live better and longer lives.
There are many other things that you can do to extend the life of your Border collie as well.
How Can I Extend The Life Of My Border Collie
Feed Him Healthy Diet
One of the most important things that you can do to extend the Border Collie lifespan is to feed him the right foods.
We have all seen the inexpensive, store-brand foods out and about. They look like a bargain and are incredibly tempting to try out.
Unfortunately, generic and inexpensive foods will have a different cost at the end. They might not cost much upfront, but if your dog is not getting his nutritional needs met, he will cost you a lot more money in the long run.
When you look at dog food and are trying to evaluate whether it is good for your dog, the first thing to look for is the first ingredient listed.
It should be a real protein, like beef or chicken. It must not be a byproduct of the meat or a grain, because those foods supply empty calories with no real nutritional value.
Of course, the best benefit of feeding your dog a healthy diet is that his overall health will improve, decreasing the risk of developing certain health conditions. He will then be able to live a much longer and better life.
Exercise & Training
Border collies are sure high in energy, so getting your Border collie to exercise is not going to be a problem. The issue is that you are going to have trouble getting your Border collie to stop exercising.
As we mentioned before, they are a working breed and thrive off of tasks.
That means when they are injured, they will continue to run and play as if they were not, putting them at a greater risk of injury and more permanent damage.
Monitor how you are exercising your Border collie to make sure that he is getting a kind of movement that will not hurt him or run the risk of him tearing his knee.
Putting him through training can also help you out a lot with this. Border collies respond to training very well as they are an obedient breed of dog.
Training your pup to know when to stop is not going to be possible, so instead, make sure that your Border collie knows how to stop when you tell him to stop and to come when you call.
If your pup is laid up with an injury, he is not going to get adequate exercise, so it is better to prevent the injury from happening in the first place. That’s hard with a Border collie, but not impossible.
Visit The Vet Regularly
It is a tendency for some dog owners to only take their dogs in when there is a problem or concern. Instead, you can improve your Border collie’s life expectancy by taking him to the vet regularly.
Through regular visits, your vet will be able to check for any signs of an illness that might not have appeared yet.
Getting to health conditions before they turn into something else will definitely increase the lifespan of your dog. Your vet might also be able to check your dog’s weight and look for anything that might be of concern.
Likewise, your vet will be able to keep your dog up-to-date on vaccines, keeping your pup healthy in that way as well. There are a lot of diseases out there for dogs that can be prevented through routine vaccines, improving and extending your dog’s life.
Brush Your Border Collie’s Teeth
Brushing your dog’s teeth is definitely one of the most-forgotten tasks that dog owners should do. It makes sense, because the process seems daunting and your dog would have to comply. Luckily, Border collies are excellent at compliance.
Just like with humans, bacteria and plaque can build up on a dog’s teeth, putting them at risk of losing their teeth or developing an infection that can lead to death.
You should aim to brush your dog’s teeth once a day with canine toothpaste. Border collies should be able to understand what the goal is for brushing teeth, even if they have no idea why anyone brushes teeth.
Overweight Border Collies Live Shorter Lives
Just like with humans, overweight dogs will not live as long as healthy-weight dogs. This is because as mammals, we need to be the weight that our body can support best.
This is done through healthy exercise and balanced nutrition. While some breeds are more predisposed toward overeating and obesity than others, this is not the case with Border collies.
When a dog becomes overweight, it is harder for the dog to move around and therefore harder for the dog to lose the weight.
When a dog has extra weight, their joints will be put under more pressure and they will be more likely to develop weight-related health issues, such as heart issues or even diabetes.
With the introduction of weight-related illness, your Border collie’s life expectancy will drop dramatically. He will also live a less joyful life as he will not be capable of running around in the same way that he once did.
Do Mixed Border Collies Live Longer Than Purebred Ones?
A common thought that comes up between all breeds is whether mixed breeds live longer than purebred dogs.
This is because there was once a big issue with purebred dogs being inbred, as in the dog parents used for breeding were closely related. This does limit the gene pool and amplifies the risk of developing breed-related illnesses.
Inbreeding is not as much of a concern anymore. Certified breeders are more careful about tracking where the dogs come from to ensure there is more diversity within the gene pool.
On average, mixed Border collies might live a fraction longer than purebred ones, but the difference is very slight and not enough to make a big difference if that is what your decision is waiting on.
If you do opt to have a purebred dog, just make sure that you can verify that the lineage is diverse enough to not have any of the inbreeding dog issues that can shorten your dog’s lifespan.
Border Collie Age Groups Explained
When your Border collie is a puppy, he will be with his mother until he is about 8 weeks old. He will remain a puppy until about a year old.
They are high-energy working dogs, so you can expect them to run around hard and then nap equally hard. They will need adequate calories to compensate for their energy.
Juvenile & Teenager
A Border collie is considered a teenager between 4 and 6 months of age. This also still falls under puppyhood.
During this age, you can expect your puppy to eat voraciously, as he will have more energy throughout the day while still growing very steadily. This is the age your puppy is likely to get in the most mischief as well.
Your Border collie will be considered an adult at 12 months of age. This is the time that you can move him off of puppy food and move him onto adult food.
His energy level is not likely to slow down during adulthood, because they are a high energy breed and a working breed.
Your Border collie is considered a senior at 10 years old, but do not expect this to mean that your Border collie will slow down.
The breed does not slowdown, unless they have been physically impaired to the point that they cannot move, your Border collie will continue to be energetic until the very end.
Does Neutering & Spaying Affect Border Collie Lifespan
Spaying and neutering your Border collie can improve his lifespan. This is a routine surgical procedure that makes it so that your dog cannot have any puppies.
When a dog has been spayed or neutered, there is a lower risk of your dog developing certain types of cancers.
You will also decrease the chance of your dog running off to find a mate, putting him at risk of being hit by cars, harmed by animals, or caught by humans.
You will also eliminate the risk of having unwanted puppies. If you have no intention of breeding your dog, it is best to have him spayed or neutered
Border Collie Common Health Issues That Can Affect Their Lifespan
There are a few different health issues that are common among Border collies, including:
Hip Dysplasia: This genetic condition causes a dog’s hip joints to form improperly and will lead to arthritis. You can see if your dog has this by the movement of his hind legs or if he has trouble standing after lying down.
Bone Disorder: If a Border collie grows too quickly, the cartilage in their joints will not attach to the bones properly. Also known as osteochondritis dissecans, this problem can be dealt with through surgery.
Epilepsy: Another issue that is common with Border collies is epilepsy. There are three kinds of seizures that dogs have: primary, secondary, and reactive.
Primary is an inherited condition and can be kept under control with medication. Reactive is due to a blood sugar issue and secondary is typically caused by a brain tumour.
Thyroid Issues: Hypothyroidism is a common Border collie issue, this is caused when a body does not produce enough thyroid hormone. You can see if through hair loss, weight gain, skin issues, and irritability. This can be treated with medication.
Anxiety: Border collies are also plagued with anxiety. This can be treated through medication, but is generally solved by moving the location of the dog to a working location.
Border Collie Lifespan FAQs
What Is The Longest Living Border Collie
The oldest Border collie on record was a dog named Bramble who lived in West England.
Bramble lived to the age of 25, which is highly unusual for any dog, Border collies included. Generally, Border collies do not live beyond 15 years.
Indoor vs Outdoor Border Collie
Typically, indoor dogs will always live longer than dogs that are kept exclusively outside. This is because outdoor dogs are exposed to the elements, potential toxins, and even predators, where indoor dogs have better living conditions. Indoor dogs have warmth, comfort, and happier lives.
Do Border Collies Live Longer Than Australian Shepherds?
While the two breeds are so frequently placed together, they are not the same breed of dog.
While a Border collie lives between 12 and 15 years on average, an Australian shepherd’s range is 13 to 15 years, which means they have a slightly narrower lifespan, but they are almost exactly the same.
If you are wondering whether you should adopt a Border collie, knowing his lifespan is only part of the equation. As is the case with any animal that you adopt, you need to commit to the care of your dog for the entirety of his life.
You will need to understand that the breed is high energy and requires a lot of work to reduce the risk of anxiety and to have a happy and balanced life.
Once you have decided to go forward with adoption, make sure you are feeding your dog well and giving him plenty of exercise to ensure that he is with you a long time.