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Are Border Collies Good With Kids? (Good AND The Bad)

How are Border collies with kids? Do they behave around kids, and are they trustworthy?… These are all very important questions that parents have, and in this article, we answer all FAQs honestly. We’ll point out the good and the bad when it comes to Border collies with kids.

are border collies good with kids

Border Collies With Kids: The Negatives

Although there are more positives than negatives, which we will get to shortly, most parents will want to know any potential issues right away. So let’s cover that first.

In general, border collies are good with kids, but should not be left alone with them. Most of the time they are sensible and responsible around young children. One concern, however, is a collie’s tendency to herd and nip, which is something parents must be watching out for.

1. Herding and nipping tendencies

Border collies from working bloodlines have a strong urge to herd and nip. It’s known that when they don’t have any cattle or sheep to herd, they will start herding us! And kids, being small, and fast-moving will be first on the list.

Unfortunately, a part of herding is nipping. Little nips at the ankles are designed to keep the cattle or sheep in place, and when they run faster or try to get away, the collie may nip, bite and bark even more. Although this is not designed to cause harm, it most definitely will for a young child.

Most of the time, this is more of an issue with working line collies as opposed to collies that have only been used as companion dogs for many previous generations.

This is one of the most challenging aspects of raising a border collie, even for owners without kids.

But it’s not to get your hopes down… there are still many instances of families successfully raising a collie with kids, it’s just a potential issue you will need to be ready for.

2. Border collies are a demanding breed

Another potential negative is simply the fact that border collies are a breed that needs a lot of time and attention, and this can be hard to manage with kids.

From their high exercise requirements, training needs, and their natural desire for attention, all of this equals a lot of time.

Some relationships between certain breeds and kids work perfectly, whereby the kids keep the dog entertained and the dog keeps the kids entertained! But with border collies, this is not enough.

As they are the world’s most intelligent dog breed, the attention from kids just won’t be stimulating. They will need real training, guidance, leadership, and much more than a young playmate.

So if the goal was to keep both the kids and the dog entertained with each other, this probably won’t work out well with a collie.

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Border Collies With Kids: The Positives

Thankfully, there are many more positives than negatives when it comes to how border collies act with young children.

1. Border collies are very loyal

Once the relationship between your border collie and family has had time to establish, you can rest assured that a collie will be extremely loyal towards you and the children.

Pack life is everything, and for your collie, you and the kids are the pack. This means your border collie will be a good lookout and watchdog over the kids.

Collies who know their family well are very trustworthy and sensible dogs.

2. Border collies can be excellent role models

A frequent joke that circulates in the border collie community is that collies are smarter than most people… And this has many perks.

As collies are so intelligent, it allows them to understand a wide range of situations perfectly. They will watch you, learn from you, and will know how to behave accordingly in most situations.

A trained collie could keep the kids from getting into trouble, misbehaving and can even act as a positive role model for the children to look up to. I’m not saying this is guaranteed to happen, but it is very common.

3. Border collies love giving and receiving affection

While some collies are prone to be a little more reserved, the vast majority will give and happily receive A LOT of affection, and for kids, this is extremely important.

Collies have a very loving personality and aren’t just a “stern working dog”. Collies can make excellent companions and can develop very close bonds with their human family.

4. Border collies love to play

Border collies love to play and have a lot of energy. Now, I must say, there are two sides to this coin, and for some children, a collie may end up trying to play overly boisterous, so that’s something to watch out for.

But generally speaking, both your kids and the collie will benefit from each other’s interest in playtime.

Kids find throwing their ball in the yard to be the funniest and most exciting thing that’s ever happened… And your collie will love it just as much, albeit in a different way!

Positive Benefits of Growing Up With a Dog

There have been several extensive studies carried out researching the effects it has on children when growing up with a family pet or dog.

It was found that kids ranging from (3-7) who grew up with a close companion pet or dog were likely to reap a wide range of benefits. Source

From increased empathy, compassion, self-confidence, and self-esteem, having a dog when growing up can provide much more than just a source of entertainment.

  • Dogs can also help to teach young children valuable life lessons, including general health and well-being, the responsibility of care as well as other topics such as reproduction and even death.

It’s also found that kids often share secrets with their companions, which proves to be a very healthy outlet for young children to have available to them.

Raising a Well-Behaved Border Collie With Kids

Kids themselves can be quite a handful, so the last thing any parent would need is to deal with a misbehaving dog too.

To have a calm, happy, and well-behaved border collie, their needs must be sufficiently met…

Satisfying your collie’s needs involves:

  • Sufficient exercise of around 90 minutes per day
  • Basic command training on a daily basis to improve bond and obedience
  • Clear leadership with black-and-white household rules to abide by
  • Very frequent socialization with other dogs (extremely important)
  • General levels of mental stimulation satisfied (puzzle games, additional training)
  • Brushing multiple times per week
  • Peace and quiet when eating, sleeping, and resting

The reason I mention all of these critical points is that this is what it takes to have a happy, well-behaved collie.

As I mentioned in the beginning, border collies can be considered a demanding breed. They are best suited to those owners who have enough time to prioritize them.

The reason I mention this is because kids are extremely demanding too, but if this means the collie will be put on the back burner, all of the time, things will start to go south, quite rapidly.

Dividing your time between the kids and the collie will be difficult to do, but if done, will result in at least the collie being well-behaved! lol!

The Importance of Boundaries and Limits

Kids live in the moment, are happy, carefree, and are willing to play from when they wake up, to when they refuse to go to bed…

As wonderful as this is for the kids, this can be a potential nightmare for any dog.

Excitable kids can be overwhelming, and of course, they won’t naturally understand the fact that their dog needs peace and quiet. So this is something that you will have to teach them.

As much as collies love to play, they also need their peace and quiet. Time to eat their kibble without having their tail pulled, and being able to sleep during the day without a kid landing on top of them!

Kids will be kids! And there’s nothing wrong with that. But to keep your border collie stress and anxiety-free there must be clear boundaries and limits to be respected.

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Key Points Summarized

Here’s a summary of the most important points discussed about whether border collies are good with kids:

  • Border collies tend to herd and nip, which can be overwhelming for children
  • Nipping can be painful and will frighten young children
  • Most collies are extremely obedient and well-behaved
  • Border collies can act as great role models for children once trained
  • Collies learn to form strong bonds and are very loyal to their human family
  • Kids will benefit from having an affectionate companion they trust
  • Collies are a demanding breed that require a lot of your time and focus
  • Border collies love to play, but at the same time will need their fair share of quiet time

In the end, my personal conclusion to this is that border collies are very good with kids if they are in the right household. There needs to be a balance of sufficiently meeting your collie’s needs, your kid’s needs, and for everyone to be on the same page when it comes to limits and boundaries.

Please take extreme care and never leave any dog unattended with a baby or young child.

Thank you for reading!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.