A year ago, my husband and I decided our young corgi, Jack, needed a brother.
As we considered what kind of dog to look for, the one breed we kept coming back to was a border collie.
We weren't uneducated about living with a border collie. From 1998 to 2012 we had Connor. He was a border collie through and through - and he was also the best dog we have ever had the privilege of knowing.
So we looked for a border collie puppy, and found Sam.
As we had hoped, Jack and Sam quickly became best buddies.
(Excuse the messy floor - we were raising puppies!)
But Sam didn't stay small for long!
As much as we enjoy these two, I have to warn you...living with a border collie is not easy.
Here are the five reasons why you should never get a border collie:
Reason number 1: To say a border collie is energetic is not quite true. Young border collies put the hyper-hyper-hyper-activity in ADHHHD! To give Sam's energy an outlet, he gets two or three walks a day for a total of about four miles.
Rain or shine. Snow, wind, or sleet. Seventy degrees, one hundred degrees, or minus 20 degrees.
But walking alone doesn't do it. Sam also needs space to run off the leash.
We live in the country, so we are able to let Sam run several times per week. But if he doesn't get his running in... well, let's just say that sometimes he's more like a Tigger than a border collie: "Bouncey, trouncey, ouncey, pouncey, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!"
Reason number 2:
Energy. It never stops.
When we come home after our two mile morning walk, he's ready to go again! Another ten miles? He'd love it!
A border collie will keep going until he drops. Sixty miles of running a day is normal for a working dog.
Reason number 3:
That herding instinct. It's real.
We have a herd of deer that wander through our area, and every time Sam sees them he drops into that BC stalk. If part of the herd is on one side of the road and the rest is on the other, we can't go on until he's made sure all of them are together.
I never let him off leash when deer are around, but the stalk and stare are enough for the deer to do exactly what he wants them to do.
Reason number 4:
Intensity and concentration, aka a one track mind.
If Sam goes to the water dish in the family room and it's empty, he won't rest OR take a drink from one of the other water dishes until it's filled. Single focus.
Reason number 5:
Border collies (and corgis) need a strong pack leader. With herding dogs, someone needs to be in charge. If the people in the house don't do it, then the border collie will.
Being the leader doesn't mean that you need to be mean or abusive. It means that you need to be calm and firmly in control of every situation. If your personality isn't like that, then you should consider a different breed.
So, knowing all this, you might be wondering why in the world we thought getting a border collie puppy was a good idea!
Well, we live in the Black Hills and many hiking trails are within a short drive from our house. I wanted a dog that would keep me active and moving. One that would be a hiking companion on some of those trails. One that would keep me young.
Now that Sam is becoming an adult dog (around 16-18 months for border collies,) those things are happening. Sam is finally growing into his real name, "Samwise."
Another time, I'll tell you Jack's story. Such a sweet dog, and the opposite personality of Sam!
Meanwhile, tell me about your favorite furry companion in the comments - either from the past or the present. We love all kinds of animals on Heaven's Back Porch!