Are Border Collies Smart?

When adopting a border collie, new owners often wonder, “Are border collies smart?” and “Just how smart are they?” These are great questions to ask, as these dogs are considered one of the smartest breeds in the world – perhaps, even the smartest one – and it’s only natural for the owners to research its peculiarities when accepting a dog into their family.

Border collies are indeed very smart. They are observant and capable of analyzing and making their own decisions. They are extremely good at detecting even the smallest change in a voice and interpret a variety of gestures. According to Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia, they are at the very top of the list of the most intelligent dogs. They are also said to be able to understand more words than any other breed. The famous example, a border collie named Chaser, who was able to learn the names of 1022 items.

But why are border collies so smart? Originally, they were bred for herding. Not a simple task for a dog. To organize and guide the sheep in the right direction, to understand the commands given by the humans, to cooperate with other dogs, to evaluate the situation and to choose the right course of action – all of these require discipline and intelligence, and these qualities have been bred in border collies for generations.

However, their cleverness doesn’t make them the most obedient dogs. They are fast learners and because of that, they tend to get bored quickly. For that reason, it’s important not to let the dog’s attention wander, as it can lead to bad habits, such as whining, barking, and nipping.

Lively and diligent, border collies need to be kept busy with regular exercises and activities – both physical and mental, so the owners have to be prepared to invest a lot of time and energy into them. This will help to avoid any behavior-related problems and will keep the pooch happy and healthy.

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