Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with black and white, red and white, black tri-color, red tri-color, sable or blue merle coats; some are one solid color. The face, ears and front legs have short hair. Some border collies have short, sleek coats about 1 inch in length, while others have coarse, rough coats about 3 inches long.
Weighing between 30 and 55 pounds, the Border Collie has an average life span of 12 years. Border Collies are known for their working ability and intelligence. They were originally bred as working dogs for sheep on the English-Scottish border. They're used to herd a variety of animals, including sheep, cattle, free-range poultry, pigs and ostriches. They're also used for more out-of-the-ordinary jobs, such as removing birds from airport runways. Working Collies take directions by voice and whistle.
This hard-working dog breed is vulnerable to hip dysplasia, Collie eye anomaly and epilepsy. Collie eye anomaly, fortunately, is rarely severe enough to significantly impair the dog's vision. Hearing loss is also a common problem for Border Collies. There are two types of hearing loss. One occurs in puppies. The other type of hearing loss has a gradual onset between the ages of 1 and 8 years.