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What Do I Need for a Border Collie Dog (How to Prepare for Your New Dog)?

Your Border Collie's joy does not depend on material things. Even so, you still need to provide them with certain essentials to keep them healthy and happy. This article will guide you on your checklist to help you prepare before they come to their new home.
What Do I Need for a Border Collie Dog

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Dogs also need some items at home, much like humans. Apart from the usual ones, like food bowls and toys, what else do you need? It can be frustrating coming home from the pet shop only to find that you forgot to buy a crucial item.

This article will help you with that. You will find a list of items a Border Collie could need, including some nitty-gritty details. Keep on reading and list these down before you head out to the pet store.

What Do Border Collie Puppies Need?

Border Collie puppies need the essentials like food, bowls, bed, and more. This is not a picky breed and their items do not need to cost an arm and a leg. But this does not mean you should pick the cheapest or flimsiest items in the pet store.

To help you with your preparation, below is a checklist of items your new puppy needs.

Nutritious Puppy Food

It is necessary for you to already have your Border Collie puppy’s food with you before they arrive. Not any dog food will do though, make sure you pick one that is appropriate for their age. Puppies will need more calories in their diet than adults, among other things.

Choose puppy food that meets all your Border Collie’s nutritional needs. Good dog food has high-quality ingredients, such as whole foods. Avoid ones that contain fillers, which are usually corn-based products.

These fillers have little to no nutritional value for your growing puppy. What they do though is to provide a lot of carbs and starch to keep them full. Fillers are a substitute for nutritional ingredients to lower the price of puppy food.

Instead, go look for fibers in the ingredients list. This also keeps your puppy feeling full without the high carbs in fillers. Here are some fiber ingredients that you should look for:

  • Beet Pulp
  • Fiber From Beans
  • Vegetables
  • Tomato Pumice
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes

Your puppy still does not get nutritional value from these. But what these do is aid in their digestion for regular bowel movements.

Other than the ingredients, you should also consider what kind of puppy food to choose. The three that you can choose from are the following:

  • Dry Food
  • Wet Food
  • Raw Food

Each of these has its pros and cons and so you can choose based on your preference.

Dry Food

Unfortunately, dry food often contains a lot of fillers. But again, you can avoid this by reading the ingredients list. It also has the lowest water content of the three, which can be a big con.

But dry food is not all that bad. It is the most convenient one to feed your Border Collie as it is easy to store. This option also does not spoil quickly, so your puppy can come back to its bowl after a few hours to continue eating.

Out of the three, dry food is also the cheapest one. But again, this is likely due to its filler content. It is tricky to choose a high-quality one, so make sure to ask your vet for recommendations.

Wet Food

Most dogs love wet food because the taste and the smell are more intense. This increased palatability is what makes it a great option if your puppy is a picky eater.

Wet food also fills your Border Collie’s stomach fast. So they can eat less compared to dry food and still feel full. To add, this option also has the highest water content, which will aid in their water consumption.

What puts many people off with wet food is that it is more expensive. It also spoils fast, so your puppy will have to eat their food right away. This can also be an issue with storage since you have to refrigerate this once you have opened the can.

Raw Food

This is what your furry friend eats in the wild. Many dog owners swear by giving their dogs a raw diet. They say that their coats are shinier, their feces are firmer, and more.

But these are all anecdotal evidence, so take these with a grain of salt.

The good thing with raw food is that you know exactly what your Border Collie puppy is eating. No fillers, no unnecessary ingredients, only what they need. You can even add supplements to their food for better nutritional value.

This is also a great option if they have food allergies or intolerances. You can avoid allergens without having to sacrifice the quality of their food.

But like wet food, raw food spoils fast and is hard to store. It is also time-consuming since you have to prepare every ingredient.

Food and Water Bowls

Your Border Collie does not need a fancy food bowl. But make sure it is sturdy enough to withstand their bites. This breed is notorious for being mouthy and their bowls are not safe from their mouths.

You should also make sure that their bowl does not easily tip over. Border Collies love to run around and there is a great chance that your pup will run over their bowl.

The material of their food bowl matters. Popular ones include stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic.

Puppies should live and sleep indoors until they are adults if you plan to make them stay outside. But once they live outside, you should go for ceramic or plastic food bowls.

Stainless steel bowls cool fast, making their water cold. This is a big issue during winter, as it may discourage them from drinking. Other than that, their tongue may stick to the food bowl.

Leash and Harness

Leashes are crucial for puppies as you will need this to train them. You will also use this to walk them outside, which is a crucial part of socializing them. This is something you will use until they are adults, so choose a high-quality one.

Along with a leash, you will also need a harness. Both come in various materials, lengths, and designs.

For the leash, choose a strong material, as your Border Collie will chew on it a lot while you are training them. Do not use a retractable leash first as this does not give you good control over your puppy. You can switch over to one once they are fully trained.

But with harnesses, the important thing is that it fits your Border Collie’s body type and size.

Dog Bed

Your Border Collie will spend a lot of time on their dog bed. This is where they nap to regain their energy. And like other items here, this is useful during training sessions.

Each puppy will have a preference for its bed. Some will like a round one, a rectangular one, a cave-like one, and more. So you will have to figure out which of these they like best.

There are also various materials for dog beds. But do not choose ones that break easily since your pup may chew on their bed. Broken pieces may hurt their mouth or worse, they may swallow this.

A sturdy plastic bed is always a good option. It is easy to clean too, you can give it a good wipe now and then.


A variety of toys are a big must for this breed. Apart from play, this will also help in training them as you can use toys as a reward. There are many toys on the market to choose from, such as:

  • Tug Toys
  • Kong
  • Chew Toys
  • Flirt Pole
  • Balls


Crates are another essential training tool. Dogs are den animals, so your puppy will feel safe in their crate. A crate is useful in potty training them, teaching them to sleep alone, and much more.

Grooming Tools

You should start grooming your puppy as early as you can so they get used to it. Border Collies only need basic grooming. So make sure you have these tools with you:

  • Brushes (This will depend on your Border Collie’s coat)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dog Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Nail Trimmer

Collar With ID Tags

These are not only crucial, but in some places, mandatory by law. Border Collies are escape artists, so identification is always a need. Two important details on their tags should be their name and your contact number.

Should Border Collies Wear Harness or Collars?

Whether you use a harness or a collar on your Border Collie is up to you. Many dog owners like to switch between the two from time to time. But there are pros and cons to both of these that you have to know first.

Collars are popular because it allows you the best control of your Border Collie. Especially when you are walking them outdoors, where there are a lot of distractions.

But if your Border Collie pulls on their leash too much, the collar can dig into its throat. This can injure their neck where the tugging puts excess pressure on it. This also puts them at risk of developing IVDD.

Harnesses distribute this pressure on the strongest part of their body. So even if they tug on their leash, their neck remains safe. A harness may also feel more comfortable for your Border Collie.

The downside to using a harness is that you have less control over your Border Collie. Some will say that a harness gives your furry friend more control over you.

So the best thing to teach your Border Collie is not to pull on their leash. This may take time, but this breed is always eager to learn and spend time with you.

Once they learn this, it should not matter if you choose to use a harness or a collar.

Is a Harness Bad for a Border Collie?

Harnesses are not bad for your Border Collie. It is actually the opposite, they are safer to use when walking them rather than using a collar.

Especially if they are not trained, dogs will tug on their leash during walks. Using a collar will put unnecessary pressure on their throat, choking them. Even worse, this can injure their neck and can lead to IVDD.

But with a harness, there is less pressure on their neck. There is a better distribution of the force on their body, most of which are in stronger areas.

Other than that, harnesses are more secure. Your Border Collie may get distracted during walks. Remember, they are very sensitive to stimuli, especially sounds. So if there is something that scares them, they may dash away. And you will not stand a chance in chasing them as they run faster than humans.

Harnesses are more securely fastened around your furry friend’s bodies so they do not get to run away. With collars, they may slip out of it and run into trouble, like a running car.

How to Measure a Border Collie for a Harness

To fit the best harness fit for your Border Collie, you will need three measurements. So grab a soft measuring tape and find out their neck girth, chest girth, and body length. Here is how to measure each.

Neck Girth

This is the circumference of your Border Collie’s neck, right where their collar hits. Begin by placing one end of the tape at their nape, above their shoulders. Then wrap the tape down on top of their chest and go around to meet the other end.

Don’t wrap the tape around too tight; make sure you can still insert two fingers between the tape and their body. This will be a more comfortable fit for them.

Chest Girth

As you can tell, this is the circumference of their chest. Start by finding the widest part of your Border Collie’s rib cage. Then wrap the tape around their body along this area.

Like the neck girth, make sure that this measurement is not too tight.

Body Length

This is the measurement from the base of your Border Collie’s neck until the base of their tail. Or in other terms, the length between where their shoulders start until where their hips end. So place the tape flat on their shoulders until the end of their hips and get the measurement.

Now that you have those measurements, compare them with the size chart below.

Extra Small
  • Chest: 15 in (381 mm)
  • Neck: 10 in (254 mm)
  • Neck to Tail: 7 in (178 mm)
  • Chest: 17 in (432 mm)
  • Neck: 12 in (305 mm)
  • Neck to Tail: 11 in (280 mm)
  • Chest: 20 in (508 mm)
  • Neck: 14.5 in (368 mm)
  • Neck to Tail: 15 in ( mm)
  • Chest: 23 in (381 mm)
  • Neck: 18 in (458 mm)
  • Neck to Tail: 22 in (559 mm)
Extra Large
  • Chest: 27 in (686 mm)
  • Neck: 20 in (508 mm)
  • Neck to Tail: 28 in (711 mm)
Extra Extra Large
  • Chest: 35 in (889 mm)
  • Neck: 22 in (558 mm)
  • Neck to Tail: 36 in (914 mm)

If your Border Collie’s measurements are between two sizes, then you are in a pickle. Do not size up since a loose fit can mean that they can slip out of the harness whenever they want. Instead, choose a harness that has buckles or fasteners to alter the fit more.

What Type of Collar Is Best for a Border Collie?

The best collar is one that fits best on your Border Collie and is comfortable to wear. It should also be strong enough to withstand their strength. But flexible enough not to hurt their neck

There is no exact answer to this. It will depend on your aesthetic preference, among other factors.

So here are some that you should consider when buying the best collar for your Border Collie:

  • The Dog’s Breed: Not all dogs will have the same body conformation. So there are some breed-specialized collars that you can consider.
  • The Right Fit: There are average neck sizes you can follow to pick a collar. But the best thing to do would be to measure your Border Collie’s neck.
  • Their Fur Length: If your Border Collie has long hair, you need to measure them after grooming. Otherwise, you will not get their accurate size.
  • The Collar Width: Other than sizes, collars have different lengths and widths too. You may want a thicker or a thinner one, depending on your Border Collie’s size right now.

Apart from these, you should also consider the material of the collar you want.

Especially for puppies, you can use lightweight materials like leather. These come in a variety of styles and are flexible yet pretty strong as well. These are also easy to clean, which is a great option if your Border Collie is a sloppy eater.

Nylon or polyester collars are also a great option. They are also strong and are great if your Border Collie likes swimming as these dry fast. Cleaning these is easy too, just wash them and let them dry.

There are many other materials you can choose from, but these are the popular ones. No matter what material you choose, always keep in mind that the fit on your Border Collie matters most.

What Size Collar Does a Border Collie Need?

A standard-sized adult Border Collie will need a medium collar. It is not uncommon for this breed to be between two sizes. This is why adjustable collars are best, so you can tweak the size to fit them best.

What Is the Average Neck Size of a Border Collie?

The average neck size for an adult Border Collie is around 16 to 18 in (40 to 46 cm). But this is for standard-sized Border Collies, so your furry friend may have a different size.

So for whatever purposes you may need their neck size for, it is better to measure them. Here is how you can measure your Border Collie’s neck size.

Take a measuring tape and place it on the center of their neck, above their shoulders. Now hold that end in place and wrap the tape around their neck with your free hand. Take note of the measurement and that is your dog’s actual neck size.

Do Border Collies Need to Wear Clothes?

Border Collies usually do not need clothes, especially when it is a hot day. But during harsher and wetter winters, they may need clothes for added insulation.

This is especially true for younger and older Border Collies. They cannot regulate their body temperature well, unlike healthy adult ones.

In the case of puppies, they still do not have their adult coat. Adult coats are thicker, which provides better warmth during wintertime.

Senior Border Collies often have health issues. Their coats are also not as thick as they used to be. As a result, they cannot withstand the colder weather much.

For example, arthritis, a common age-related issue in dogs, can worsen during winter. The cold weather worsens its symptoms, so your poor Border Collie will feel more pain.

So if winter is approaching, prepare their winter gear! The cold weather will not stop Border Collies from having fun. But it is best to help them keep warm, cozy, and safe.

Should Border Collies Wear Sweaters?

You should let your Border Collie wear a sweater during colder seasons. Again, especially if they are a puppy or a senior dog. Dog sweaters are one of the many clothes that will help them keep warm.

But if you plan to take them outside during winter, you should protect their paws too. Have them wear dog boots for added comfort.

This will prevent ice from forming between their paw pads. Other than that, boots will also protect them from ice salts, which can irritate their paws.

Do Border Collies Need Coats?

This will depend on their age and what the weather conditions are like. Puppies and senior Border Collies will need a coat during winter. They have thinner coats compared to an adult, so they will not have enough insulation from their coat.

The cold weather can even worsen symptoms of any existing health issues in senior dogs. So for younger and older Border Collies, it is best to give them an added layer of insulation. But the best thing you can do for them during winter is to keep them indoors, near the heater, with a soft blanket.

Healthy adult Border Collies generally do not need a sweater. In some cases, this can do them more harm than good as they can be prone to overheating

But this also depends on the conditions outside.

If the sun is up and there are no strong winds, then your Border Collie can frolic in the snow without a coat. But for wet winters with a lot of wind, they will need a coat. Do not take any chances as your Border Collie can get hypothermia or even frostbite.

At What Temperature Should My Border Collie Wear a Coat?

When temperatures are lower than 32 degrees F (0 degrees C), your Border Collie should wear a coat. In general, this is the lowest temperature a healthy adult Border Collie can tolerate. But this is not the only factor you should consider as there are a few others that can affect their cold tolerance.

This will depend on these four factors:

  • Your Border Collie’s Age
  • Your Border Collie’s Health Issues
  • Your Border Collie’s Body Fat
  • The Weather Conditions

If you are curious to see how these play a part, below is a more detailed discussion.

Their Age

Younger and older Border Collies will have a weaker tolerance for the cold weather. Both have thin coats compared to adults, which lessens their insulation.

Puppies will still need to wait for their adult coat to grow in. While Seniors have thinning coats, which is a part of their aging process

Their Health Issues

This may be a bigger issue for older Border Collies. Their age makes them prone to developing many medical conditions.

A common health issue is arthritis. Its symptoms are more intense when it is cold, causing more pain to your poor Border Collie. This will also make it harder for them to walk, due to increased inflammation in their joints.

Other health issues, like kidney disease, work a different way. If your Border Collie has this, it will be harder for them to regulate their body temperature.

Their Body Fat

Fat is a great insulator, not only in humans but also in your furry friend. Naturally, a pudgier Border Collie will do better during winter. They may be able to tolerate temperatures lower than 32 degrees F (0 degrees F).

But if your Border Collie is a leaner dog, they will have a poor tolerance for the cold. So they may need to wear a coat even in higher temperatures.

The Weather

Other than temperature itself, other factors can dictate your Border Collie’s cold tolerance. Winters that are wet and windy are too cold for them, even if the temperature is above 32 degrees F (0 degrees F).

But if there are no winds and the sun is up, they may tolerate temperatures that are below 32 degrees F (0 degrees C).

The important thing is to watch out for your Border Collie’s body language. If they are shivering, whining, or showing other signs of discomfort, it may be too cold for them. So take them indoors right away to keep them safe, a coat may not help them at all.

What Size Clothes Do Border Collies Wear?

An adult Border Collie is either a medium or a large when it comes to clothes. But if you want the best fit, you should measure your Border Collie.

Keep in mind that different brands have different size charts. So knowing your Border Collie’s measurements will give you an accurate fit.

What Size Shirt Does a Border Collie Wear?

Border Collies will fit medium or large shirt sizes if they are adults. Again, it is better if you figure out your Border Collie’s measurements as they vary in size.

If your Border Collie is between two sizes, you should go one size up. A shirt with a looser fit is better for them rather than making them wear something restricting. This will provide your furry friend the best comfort while they stay in style!

What Size Sweater Should I Get My Border Collie?

When choosing a sweater for your Border Collie, start looking at medium or large ones. Sweaters can be tricky as it goes up their neck. Some may fit your Border Collie’s neck, but can be too short or too long for your liking.

It can be hard to get the right sweater size for any dog. So you should not base your Border Collie’s sweater on this breed’s general size. It is best if you take your Border Collie’s actual measurements.

What Is the Average Chest Size of a Border Collie?

The average Border Collie chest size is around 16 to 24 in (406 to 609 mm). Keep in mind that females are generally smaller than males. So your Border Collie could be on the lower or higher end of this range depending on their gender.

Where to Buy Clothes for Border Collies

You can buy clothes for your Border Collie at pet stores or online. If you buy from a physical store, you can take them with you to get the best fitting clothes. But there may not be a lot of clothing options at a pet store.

Buying online, you have a wide variety of clothes to choose from. The downside is that you may not get the accurate size for your furry friend.

What Kind of Toys Do Border Collies Like?

Border Collies will enjoy a variety of toys, especially if it stimulates their brain. Most dogs will enjoy tug toys, balls, squeaky toys, chew toys, and more. But your Border Collie is not like most dogs.

So consider investing in a few puzzle toys or interactive toys. This will keep their mind sharp and your Border Collie will stay entertained for hours!