BCSA Rescue Committee and General Info

The BCSA Rescue Program was formed by the BCSA to promote rescue and to support the Border Collie Rescuers across the states. We strive to educate the public and to provide assistance to the rescuers on the local level by providing grants and referrals. We are currently working on a comprehensive list of Border Collie rescue organizations and will post that list at soon as it is compiled. In the meantime, we recommend that you do an internet search for “border collie rescue” to find a group in your area. See how you can help support the BCSA Rescue Program.

Many rescue dogs come to us with no pedigree “papers” and the dogs are neutered and spayed. This means that they will not be allowed to show in AKC conformation classes (a competition geared toward evaluating non-neutered, pedigreed breeding stock). However, you can still do a lot of AKC activities by obtaining a “PAL (Purebred Alternative Listing) registration number from AKC. Many rescue Border Collies successfully participate in agility, herding, obedience and tracking right along with the Border Collies who do have pedigrees.

At the November 2006 meeting, the Board approved giving BC rescue organizations a discounted ad rate in Borderlines. The ad rate for rescue organizations will be one half the member rate for both single issue and yearly ads. The person submitting the ad must be a member of BCSA for the organization to receive the discount.

General Border Collie Information

Border Collies have been bred for centuries for intelligence and working ability. Shepherds wanted a dog that was independent enough to make decisions, able to control the flock, and was very trainable, in essence a true working dog, a dog who could be a partner. The same intelligence, trainability, intensity and energy that make Border Collies superior working dogs can make them unsuitable for the average pet owner. The BCSA encourages you to thoroughly research the breed before adopting or purchasing your first Border Collie. If you are still unsure after extensive research, consider volunteering for at your local Border Collie rescue organization and fostering a pure bred Border Collie to see if this is indeed a breed you can love for years

Living with Border Collies can be wonderful, but it can also be very difficult. Being one of the most intelligent dogs on earth can make them the most difficult to live with, the breed is challenging for most people. This is a dog that requires mental as well as physical stimulation on a daily basis. This is a dog who needs a job to thrive and be happy and a happy border collie is a good border collie. Even if you have experience as a dog owner, the Border Collie may put you to the test. They are not the breed for just anyone.

On behalf of all the Border Collie Rescuers, THINK carefully and honestly about your lifestyle before getting a Border Collie. They are not the best choice for most people.

Basic Facts

Weight: 25 – 65 pounds Coat: Rough (long coat), semi rough, or smooth (short hair) Colors: black & white, red & white, tri color, blue merle, red merle, liver and may have ticking on the legs or muzzle Eyes: Amber, chocolate, dark brown, blue Ears: Pricked, semi-erect, dropped.

Best Thing About Border Collies: Extremely intelligent, incredibly athletic, very independent thinkers. Border Collies love to learn new things and excel in all forms of training classes. Border Collies are also extremely affectionate, observant, intuitive, intelligent and eager. They are excellent athletes and performers and quite devoted partners.

Worst Thing About Border Collies: Extremely intelligent, incredibly athletic, and independent thinkers. They need constant attention and if they are not given a job they will find one. It might not be a job you like. A Border Collie will demand activity, both mental and physical. Living with a border collie is akin to living with another person, some say a toddler as they will get into things if you do not keep them occupied.

Quirks: Border Collies being extremely sight and sound sensitive may respond to many things. Border Collies may chase and nip at moving objects (a carryover from herding when the dog uses pressure and the grip as a way to control the sheep in the flock). They can be obsessive-compulsive when it comes to having a job to do and owners who are not happy with their border collies almost always complain of this behavior being their biggest concern with their dog.

Things to Remember

Destruction vs. Confinement: Left alone for even short periods, many dogs (any breed) will redecorate their home – usually in ways not appreciated by an owner. Dogs have been known to rip up carpeting and linoleum, destroy drapes and blinds, chew completely through walls and doors, demolish furniture, and even break windows. This is a worse case scenario (link to success story). We suggest you never trust your new family member loose inside the home without constant supervision – in your sight at all times. Keeping a leash on the dog for a week or two inside the house is an acceptable way to stay connected at all time.

To avoid household destruction, we recommend provide a safe and secure enclosed area for the dog to stay while you are away from home – for a few months at least. Acceptable enclosed areas would be a comfortably sized crate (indoor kennel) inside the house (link to crate training information). Another option is an outdoor Kennel Run, minimum size of 6’x6’x12′ provided you equip the kennel with a warm shelter and water.

Exercise: DAILY exercise – running, off leash until the dog is panting and tired. Ball tossing or Frisbee tossing for 30 minutes twice a day, agility or herding a few times a week. Hiking, camping, and walking are wonderful forms of fun for you and your dog, but this alone is not sufficient exercise. Mix it up to keep you and your dog interested (cross training for dogs!)

Border Collies love to learn new things and excel in all forms of training. Without training a Border Collie can become frustrated and irritable – and irritating to owners. But the Border Collies are extremely affectionate, observant, intuitive, intelligent and eager souls; excellent athletes and performers; an owner’s constant shadow (no more privacy) and for many, is the best friend they will have.

Rescue Advantages

Before you decide to bring a Border Collie puppy (link to breeder information or information on raising a puppy) into your family, remember that a young puppy is extremely disruptive, untrained, and requires considerable attention during the first many months. A Border Collie is a puppy for the first 3 years of it’s life! Many people find that adopting a Border Collie is a much better (and easier) idea.

In addition to providing a home for a dog, rescue dogs are usually partially manners trained, crate trained, beginning to be housebroken, spayed/neutered, up-to-date on vaccinations and temperament tested. In fact, a good number of dogs in rescue are 1 year or older and past the beginning puppy stages but are still easily integrated into a new family. A reputable rescue group with help to match you with a dog who will suit you and your lifestyle.

Consider contacting a rescue group in your area and see if they have a dog that is compatible with your living situation.


Once you have decided that a Border Collie will be the best companion for you, be prepared for a wonderful adventure. A Border Collie will change your life and will have you doing things you had never thought of doing before.

Once you have your new friend home, find and trainer or training center (link here to article on finding a trainer) and sign up for a class in basic obedience. This will help to solidify your relationship and get you off on the right foot. If you and your dog enjoy this class, consider continuing on to more challenging classes and earning a the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen certificate.

Once you have a good relationship with your dog, consider adding another challenge with agility or herding or perhaps tracking (links to AKC pages on each subject). The sky is the limit, if sports are not your thing, consider therapy or Search and Rescue (SAR) as an avocation, find something that you and your dog and perhaps your entire family can be involved in together. It will make you and your dog very happy!