Before Border Collies made their way into loving homes as pets, they worked as herders. So many dog clubs emphasize breeding them only for their working ability.
Breeding them must only be to improve the breed’s abilities, not for their looks or anything else. But not everyone looking to breed Border Collies has this expertise.
So before you breed Border Collies, you must gain all the knowledge necessary. The answers to the important questions you seek about breeding them are all in this article.
Is It Hard to Breed Border Collies?
Almost anyone can bring two Border Collies together and produce puppies. But without preparation and expertise, you only produce pet-quality puppies. To breed Border Collies of high quality and for their working ability is challenging.
Lovers of the breed and even the ABCA will tell you to only breed Border Collies for their working ability. Conscientious dog lovers will only produce puppies to improve the breed.
It took centuries of work to develop Border Collies, so keep in mind to maintain their quality. And to maintain their abilities is to take appreciation for their heritage.
This is an uphill battle for one without experience.
To start, you have to look for a quality sire and dam. If you already have a Border Collie, but not of quality, you will have a hard time looking for a partner for them. Many quality stud services will refuse you if they do not like the dam.
Much of it may have to do with preserving the quality of the breed, as mentioned.
Other than that, breeding Border Collies is quite expensive. Even if they will not need a c-section, the costs can stack up.
You have stud services to consider, nutrition for the dam, and delivering the pups. Even after that, you have to make sure the mother has proper postnatal care.
This is along with making sure the puppies are healthy and given proper nutrition. You have to take them to the vet routinely for checkups, vaccines, and more.
So while anyone can breed Border Collies without much difficulty, not everyone should. There is a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and money put into breeding. And not everyone can keep up with the responsibilities breeding entails.
At What Age Can a Female Border Collie Breed?
You should only breed a female Border Collie once they are at least 18 months of age, which is the safest age. Although they get their first heat within a year old, they are not fully developed yet. But around the 2-year mark, their pelvis and hips will be ready for her to deliver puppies.
Their physical condition is not the only thing you should look at. If they have babies when they are younger, their mentality will not be ready as well. They may show no interest in raising puppies, which they will have to do for at least 8 weeks.
So if you wait a little longer, you can ensure that your Border Collie is responsible enough to take care of a litter. Not only that, but this will also ensure that you produce puppies that had enough time with their mother. This is a crucial step in their development.
When Can a Male Border Collie Mate?
Male Border Collies are fertile at 6 months of age, and you can start mating them at this age if you want to. But you will get the best results if you wait longer, once they are 12 to 15 months of age. This is when they reach full physical maturity and so they are more fertile after a year old.
What Is the Best Age to Breed a Border Collie?
The best age to breed your Border Collie will depend on their gender. For males, this would be when they are around 12 to 15 months old. For females, you need to wait longer as it is best to breed them at around 18 months old.
Technically, Border Collies can mate much younger than this, before they turn one. But your Border Collie is still a puppy at this age, so they have some more developing to do.
This is especially important for female Border Collies. Their hips and pelvis will not be ready for delivering puppies if they are as young as a year old. They will also still have the mentality of a puppy so they may not give their puppies proper care.
So while you may be eager to produce more of this well-loved breed, it is best to wait. This is for the well-being of your Border Collie and their puppies. But this will also benefit you, as you get a better experience and a better litter.
At What Age Should You Stop Breeding a Border Collie?
The oldest you can breed your Border Collie is until they are 8 years of age. But conscientious breeders will retire their Border Collies younger, at 5 years old.
Many vets will recommend this to you for ethical reasons. At 8 years of age, your Border Collie may have had too many litters already. This takes a toll on their body, especially at an age where health issues may come up.
If they already have an existing medical condition, this is more reason for you to stop breeding them. Their body is going through so much as it is. You would not want to add to their burden, carrying and delivering puppies is not easy.
Even dog organizations are very strict with this. Most of them will not allow you to register puppies if the mother is over 8 years of age.
So if you can, it is better for you to retire your Border Collie at 5 years of age. This will let you focus on their health and well-being so they transition to their golden years with ease.
At What Age Do Female Border Collies Go Into Heat?
You can expect your Border Collie to go into heat once they are around 5 to 8 months of age. You will notice some physical and behavioral differences while they are in heat.
One tell is that their vulva will appear swollen. This can come with a blood-tinged discharge, but the color may vary. Other than that, you may also notice that they are more aggressive than usual.
More signs tell you that your Border Collie is in heat. Do not worry if you see these, as they are part of the process. These signs will go away once your Border Collie’s heat is over.
How Long Does a Border Collie Period Last?
Your Border Collie’s period can last around 2 to 4 weeks. But this may last even shorter or longer so this will still vary from one dog to another. Their discharge color will be more intense early on but will be lighter at the end of their period.
How Long Does a Border Collie First Heat Last?
A Border Collie’s first heat will last around 2 to 4 weeks. But this is only an average, as they may take more time in various stages of the heat cycle.
For example, the proestrus phase lasts around 9 days on average. But it can be as short as 3 days or as long as 17 days. This is also true for the next stage, the estrus phase.
How Often Do Female Border Collies Go Into Heat?
On average, Border Collies go into heat about every 6 months. But the interval can vary from one to another, so it is best to keep track.
During their first few heat cycles, they may not have a regular interval yet. The frequency of their heat cycle may be more stable at 18 to 24 months of age.
How Can I Tell if My Border Collie Is In Heat?
A common sign of heat that many watch out for is a swollen vulva and bleeding. But these are not the only indications your Border Collie is in heat. What they exhibit will also vary on where they are in the heat cycle.
Here are the general signs that your Border Collie is in heat:
- Swollen vulva
- Frequent urination
But they will also undergo behavioral changes during the proestrus and estrus phases.
During the proestrus phase is when their vulva swells and when they start their period. They know what to do with their bloody discharge and will clean themselves on their own.
You may also see changes in how they hold their tail. Usually, they put their tail close to their body.
Other than that, a behavioral change you may notice is that they become clingier. They may always stay close beside you, like how close they want their tail to be to their body.
Your Border Collie will begin to attract males during this phase, but she will not entertain them. Because of this, she will become aggressive to male dogs, especially if they try to mount her.
During the estrus phase, the blood in their discharge will lessen. This is where their discharge changes color to a paler pink.
This phase is also their mating phase and she is now ready to entertain male dogs.
To do this, your Border Collie will urinate more and mark certain spots of the home, whether it is outside or inside. By doing this, they are spreading their pheromones as a sign to other males that she is ready for mating.
Once a male is nearby, she will display her backside to the male, with her tail to the side.
At What Age Do Border Collies Stop Going Into Heat?
Once your Border Collie goes into heat, they will keep entering the cycle forever unless you fix them. Unlike humans, dogs do not have menopause. So even if they get old enough to retire from breeding, they will still go into heat.
This is why you should consider spaying your Border Collie. Having a dog going into heat about twice a year can be a handful for most people.
Not only will spaying stop this, but it may also improve your Border Collie’s temperament. Many dog owners say that their dogs became calmer after spaying and that it reduced bad behaviors.
The benefits of spaying your Border Collie do not stop there. It also helps in preventing them from developing pyometra.
Pyometra is a life-threatening infection of your Border Collie’s uterus. This occurs when their womb fills with pus, so if left untreated, this can lead to the following:
- Kidney failure
Hormonal changes that occur during heat contribute to the development of pyometra. So the best way to avoid this serious condition is to have your Border Collie spayed.
How Long Does a Border Collie Bleed for?
Your Border Collie can bleed for about 7 to 10 days. The flow of the bleeding will vary from one dog to another. Larger dogs will often bleed more than smaller dogs.
When Is the Best Time to Breed a Border Collie?
It is best to breed your Border Collie once they have fully developed. So for males, this is around 12 to 15 months of age. While for females, this is around 18 months of age.
Males are already fertile during their adolescence, at 6 months of age. While females already have their first heat at around 5 to 8 months of age.
But during those ages, your Border Collie is still a puppy, both physically and mentally.
A male Border Collie will be more fertile after a year old. While a female Border Collie will only have its pelvis and hips ready for birthing at around age two.
Females also need time for mental maturity. There is a high chance of them rejecting their puppies when they are still under 2 years of age. You will get a better chance of avoiding this if you wait a bit more.
How Do I Get My Border Collie to Mate?
Mating is instinctual to dogs and they will know what to do so you end up with a litter of adorable pups! But sometimes, they will need your help, especially if it is their first time. Much of your help will go into preparation, a crucial part of the process that many often overlook.
But there is more to breeding dogs than putting a male and a female together. You have to make sure the timing is right, among other things. With this, preparation is key for a more successful outcome.
If you are unsure about how to mate your Border Collie, here is what to do before, during, and after breeding.
What to Do Before Mating
Before mating two dogs, make sure that they are ready for the process. Healthy dogs are more likely to produce healthy puppies. So this is part of your responsibility as a breeder.
Track the Female’s Heat Cycle
One of the most important parts of the preparation process is your timing. You need to track the female’s heat cycle to get the best results.
The first day of their cycle is when you notice a bloody discharge from them. Their vulva will swell too, along with other signs that they are in heat. But this is not when they are fertile, this happens later in the cycle.
Usually, they will be fertile at around the 10th day of their heat cycle. This is when their bleeding stops, so their discharge will be a paler pink. A female dog will be more receptive to males during this period, so she will allow him to mount her.
Maintain the Female’s Weight
The female needs to stay at a healthy weight. This will give them a better chance of having a healthy pregnancy and conceiving.
So if your female is underweight or overweight, bring them to an ideal weight before the mating. You can consult your vet so they can recommend a diet for them.
Feed Them Both a Healthy Diet
You need to give both dogs the proper nutrition for them to yield quality puppies. But take note that each dog will have different dietary needs. So you need to tinker with their diet to what suits them best.
To do this, you can talk to your vet to be sure. At home, you can substitute commercial treats for healthier options. Fruits and veggies are great for this, such as carrots, apples, and green beans.
Keep the Male Well-Groomed
This is especially important on the day of mating. You need to keep their genitals clean to prevent infections during mating. Other than that, it is also encouraged to trim the fur around their genital area.
Introduce the Dogs
This will make the mating process much easier for everyone, especially the dogs. By doing this, they will get familiar with each other and feel less nervous on their mating day.
What to Do During the Mating Day
Mating can be stressful for some dogs, more if they are first-timers. The important thing here is to keep both dogs calm as their instincts will kick in soon after.
Do Not Feed the Male
A male with a full stomach will not have the energy to mate. So you need to withhold their meals on the day of mating. This is to maintain their energy and enthusiasm. Do not worry, you can feed them after the mating process!
Calm Them Down
This is a necessary thing for you to do. If they are anxious, you may not get them to mate. So right before the process begins, introduce them to one another if you have not done this yet.
So take the time to pet and talk to each dog gently for reassurance. It will also help if you muzzle the female to prevent her from biting the male dog. This will make the male feel more at ease knowing that he will not get hurt.
Make sure to pick a calm and quiet place for breeding. Remember that Border Collies are skittish. Any loud noise or other distraction can make them even more nervous.
Any stimuli that will startle them can stop the breeding process.
Help Them if Needed
This is where the perfect timing plays a part. If the female is in the right phase of the heat cycle, she will present her rear end to the male. You will know that the male is ready when his tail starts to shake.
He will then mount the female to begin the breeding process. But if he does not, do not hesitate to direct them. You can guide the male towards the rear end of the female to let him mount her.
The female may also need your help during the process. The weight of the male dog on her may be too much, but there is something you can do to help.
You can keep the female on a leash and collar, and hold her by the ribs. This will stabilize her until the male can successfully penetrate her.
Give Them Privacy
Once they have started the process, supervise them from a distance. Make sure not to do anything that interrupts them, such as making a loud sound.
Be patient, as they may stay tied together tail-to-tail for up to 30 minutes. Do not interrupt or separate them when you see this, as this will stress them out.
Continue supervising them and prevent the female from moving around too much. Your goal now here is to prevent the male from getting harmed.
What to Do After Breeding
After the two get released from being tied up, there are still a couple of things you can do to assist them.
Caring for the Female
The important thing to do here is to prevent her from urinating for about 20 minutes after mating. This will give the sperm enough time to be inside, helping with the conception.
To do this, you can walk them around for that duration. Remember not to let her crouch while waiting for the time as well.
After that, give her plenty of rest in her crate.
Caring for the Male
The male’s penis will retract sometime after mating. But if it does not retract after 30 minutes, you can help them by moving their penis back into the sheath. By doing this, you can prevent any issues with their genitals.
You may also feed them after the mating process as they have not eaten all day yet.
How Long Does It Take for a Border Collie to Get Pregnant?
After mating, you need to wait around 48 to 73 hours for your Border Collie’s eggs to get fertilized. It is hard to know if your Border Collie is pregnant this early. So you can take them to the vet after 3 to 4 weeks from the day of breeding to confirm.
But a week after mating, you may notice some signs that they are pregnant.
A week after mating, you may notice that their vulva is still swollen. Their nipples may also appear enlarged.
Around 3 to 4 weeks in, they may show a decrease in appetite. What this tells you is that she now has morning sickness. But during these weeks, you can already take them to the vet to be sure if they are pregnant.
But keep in mind that the scans you get this early on may still not be reliable. Scanning them after a month or so is a more reliable way to check if they are pregnant.
When Do Border Collies Start Showing Pregnancy?
Your Border Collie will start to show at around the 40th day of their pregnancy. Their body will appear bigger, especially their belly. You will also notice that their nipples are much bigger and darker than they used to be.
Since they are this far along in their pregnancy, you need to start preparing for delivery. Unexpected things may happen and she may give birth earlier than expected. Make sure to set up a calm birthing area that she is comfortable in.
How Long Do Border Collies Carry Puppies?
Your Border Collie will carry her puppies for around 61 to 65 days, which is about 2 months. Like humans, she will also undergo trimesters, each lasting about 21 days.
Throughout her pregnancy, you need to take extra care of her. This includes her nutrition, which is extremely important for her and her puppies.
Make sure you speak with your vet about the proper diet for your Border Collie. She needs to gain weight, this needs to be the right amount. If she is underweight or overweight, this will negatively affect her puppies.
Pregnant Border Collies will need a diet that is low in fiber yet high in soluble carbohydrates. Her meals should also consist of 29% of protein and 17% fat content.
Make sure to cut down her calcium as well. A high-calcium diet for pregnant dogs can lead to high blood pressure. This puts them and their puppies in a dangerous situation.
Another thing to consider is her daily exercise. Even if she is pregnant, she still needs to stay active to maintain her health. If she remains sedentary, she may get ill and this will affect the puppies.
Your Border Collie does not need an extensive exercise routine while she is pregnant. You should not overwork her, but she needs to use her muscles.
Finding the right balance is important. You can start by taking her on long walks at least twice a day. If she still can, you can play fetch with her or any game she likes.
But make sure you give her enough rest between sessions.
How Long Is a Border Collie in Labor?
Since Border Collies have slim heads, their labor generally lasts around 2 to 3 hours. But this can still vary, as some will be in labor for around 6 to 12 hours or longer.
Given that the duration varies from one dog to another, you should know when to call your vet. This will let you get immediate help when the situation calls for it. You should seek your vet’s help if:
- No puppy comes out after 30 minutes of strong contractions
- No puppy comes out after 2 to 4 hours of week contractions
- There are 4 hours or more between the puppies
- The labor process lasts more than 24 hours
- A puppy is hanging out
It will also be useful for you to know the normal signs of labor. This way, you will not get startled once your Border Collie is in labor.
It is normal if your Border Collie exhibits the following:
- Heaving panting or difficulty breathing
- A drop in rectal temperature by 2 degrees F (-16 degrees C)
- Refusal to eat her meals
If you notice anything more than these signs, it is best to consult your vet to make sure that everything is okay.
How Many Times Can You Breed a Border Collie?
The ethical thing to do is to only let your female Border Collie have 4 to 5 litters in her lifetime. If they are not in good health, this should be even less. Not only is this the right thing to do, but breeding a female dog too much can impact her health. Carrying puppies to term, delivering them, and recovering from it is hard on their bodies.
So just because they go in heat twice a year, does not mean that you should breed them twice a year. This does not give them enough time to recover.
They look like they have recovered after a few months, but this is only on a physical level. You also need to let them recover mentally for their well-being. Motherhood will also take a toll on their mental health as well.
How Often Can Border Collies Breed?
From an ethical standpoint, you should only breed your female Border Collie once about every 2 years. For a male Border Collie, you have more freedom as there is no breeding limit for them. So your attention should be on the female when it comes to breeding.
Once every 2 years is the safest for a female, but this is assuming they are in good health. Here is an explanation of this breeding frequency. But first, here are the facts.
The safest age to start breeding females is at least 18 months, which is around 2 years of age. And they should retire from breeding when they are 8 years of age. According to the ABCA, you should only let a female have 4 to 5 litters in their lifetime.
With that, you only have 6 years to breed your female Border Collie. Adding 4 to 5 litters into the equation, you can breed them once about every 2 years. This gives your female Border Collie enough time to recover between pregnancy.
Keep in mind that this is only if your Border Collie has a clean bill of health. So make sure to have your vet examine your Border Collie before you plan to breed them again.
How Many Puppies Does a Border Collie Usually Have?
Border Collies have a generous litter size with an average of 6 puppies. But they can have fewer or more, with a range of 4 to 8 puppies in a single litter. There are a few factors that affect their litter size, such as their:
- Pregnancy history
Smaller Border Collies often deliver less than 6 puppies, while bigger ones have more. Some Border Collies may even deliver more than 8 puppies in one litter.
Older Border Collies or those with health issues will also yield fewer puppies, at around 4 to 6. They can also have a litter size that is small if they have been pregnant before.
But if your Border Collie is young and healthy, you can expect more adorable pups coming your way!
How Many Puppies Do Border Collies Have in Their First Litter?
There is no exact number for this, but the first litter your Border Collie has is usually smaller. So you can expect their litter size to be fewer than 6 puppies.
Is It Normal for a Border Collie to Have One Puppy?
While this is rare, it is possible for your Border Collie to only deliver one puppy. Popularly called a “singleton”, this puppy will have some problems down the road. So when this happens, you need to take extra care of them.
A puppy’s littermates are their first teachers. Through constant socialization and physical contact, they learn how to behave.
Being with their littermates is like an early test for puppies. For example, puppies bite each other as a form of play. But through this, they learn how hard to bite before hurting any dog.
That is one of the things that help them to be better dogs when they grow up. Bite inhibition will also teach them how hard to munch on your hand before hurting you. And since Border Collies are mouthy dogs, this will come in handy.
There are a lot of other lessons a puppy can learn from interacting with their littermates. All the nuisance they experience from being in a pile of puppies is for their benefit and yours.
Their early experiences are important for their social growth. But being a singleton, your Border Collie puppy does not get to learn as much without a litter.
Here are some of the behavioral issues a singleton puppy may exhibit as they grow up:
- Difficulty in controlling impulses
- Lack of social skills
- Inability in handling their frustration
- Sensitivity to touch
All these can affect you as their carer as well as other family members or pets you have at home. With this, raising a singleton Border Collie will need more work.
The best thing to do for a singleton puppy is to raise them with another litter. You can find one that is close to your pup’s age to make things easier.
If you cannot find one, you may have to teach everything to them. But this will need a lot of your time, which can be hard if you have other responsibilities.
What Age Should a Border Collie Puppy Leave Its Mother?
The best age for a Border Collie puppy to leave its mother is once they are around 8 to 9 weeks of age. Some argue that it is even better to wait a bit longer than this. But by this time, they are already weaned off and have had enough socialization with their litter.
If you separate them from their mother and littermates too young, you will face some issues. These puppies are more prone to developing behavioral issues when they grow up. They may also be trickier to train and display resource guarding more.
How Much Does It Cost to Breed Border Collies?
Considering all the breeding expenses, breeding a Border Collie will be around $1,609 to $8,245. The price will vary depending on how much you are willing to pay for the quality of their care. This will also depend on your location, how much your vet charges, and more.
What Is the Breed Standard for a Border Collie?
The general appearance of this breed is a well-balanced body with enough substance. At first glance, you can tell that Border Collies are athletes. Their physical characteristics should display power, endurance, and agility while displaying gracefulness.
Border Collies should also display their intelligence and alertness through their facial expression. They are always full of interest whenever they focus on something.
A big factor in determining a Border Collie’s breed standard is their ability to work. So their conformation, movement, and temperament should all work together in enhancing this. Remember, Border Collies are being bred for their abilities and not for their looks.
With this, here is a more detailed breed standard for Border Collies.
Head and Skull
Their skull has moderate flatness and width, with the back of their head not pronounced. Their skull and muzzle are about equal in size. A Border Collie’s muzzle should taper to the nose and is fairly short and strong.
Border Collies should have a black nose. But it can be brown if their coat color is brown or chocolate. If they have a blue coat, the nose should be slate.
Border Collies should have oval-shaped eyes of moderate size that are set wide apart. Their eye color should be brown, but in merles, one or both of their eyes can be blue.
This breed has medium-sized ears that are set well apart. It can either be erect or semi-erect and they should be sensitive and move to stimuli. If their ears as semi-erect, they can only fall out to the side or forward.
They should have strong, healthy teeth that have a complete scissor bite. Border Collies who have broken teeth due to their line of work are acceptable.
A Border Collie’s neck should look strong and muscular and must be of good length. It should have a slight arch and broadens toward its shoulders.
Notice the bones on their front legs, they should be strong but must not look heavy. From the front, their legs should look parallel to the ground. Their patterns should slope when you view them from the side.
Their shoulders are well laid back with their elbows close to their body.
Their back legs should appear broad and muscular, with long thighs that are deep. Border Collies should have well-turned stifles and their hocks must be strong.
When viewed from the side, their back legs should slope to the tail. When viewed from the back, their hind legs should appear parallel as well.
Their oval-shaped feet must be strong and deep. They should have an arch on their toes and they should be close together.
This athlete must have a deep and broad chest, with well-sprung ribs. Their loins are also deep and muscular, but should not tuck up. A Border Collie’s body length must be longer than their height at the shoulders.
Border Collies have tails that are of moderate length. The tail is set on low and the bone must reach the hock at least. Their tail has a slight upward swirl but it must not curve over their back.
Border Collies can have two coat varieties. One is a rough coat, which is medium to long in length. The other is a smooth coat, which is shorter.
Both coats have a dense topcoat with a medium texture. While their undercoat must be soft and dense.
Border Collies come in a variety of colors and markings. No color or pattern is preferable, but white must not predominate.
Male Border Collies have a height of 19 to 22 in (482 to 558 mm) at the withers. While female Border Collies stand at 18 to 21 inches (457 to 533 mm).
Should I Desex My Border Collie?
Spaying your Border Collies is one of the best things you can do for her. Dogs do not undergo menopause, so this will stop them from going into heat, which can be a stressful time for you.
By spaying them, you do not get unwanted litter and they are less likely to roam. This may also improve their temperament, making them less aggressive and calmer.
But the benefits of spaying your Border Collie do not stop there. It can also help your Border Collie live a long and happy life.
Spayed dogs often live longer lives than intact dogs. This is because desexing your dog helps in preventing several health issues. This includes breast cancer and uterine infections.
Other than saving your Border Collie’s life, you are also saving other dogs’ lives. May dogs get euthanized each year as there is no space in rescues or shelters.
By not bringing more unwanted litter, you indirectly save other dogs. You give them a chance of getting adopted into a loving family. And you save space in shelters for those who need it.
At What Age Should a Female Border Collie Be Spayed?
There is no definite answer to this, as this will depend on what your vet thinks is best for your Border Collie. But in general, the best age to breed a Border Collie is when they are around 4 to 9 months of age.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Border Collie Spayed?
On average, spaying your Border Collie will cost you anywhere between $50 to $500. The exact price for your Border Collie will depend on your location, their size, and your vet.
Should Border Collies Be Neutered?
Like desexing females, neutering your male Border Collie is also the best thing to do. Neutering will help in decreasing the possibility of developing certain cancers. But it may also improve their behavior, making them less aggressive.
This will also prevent them from escaping home in search of a mating partner. Border Collies are escape artists, so this is something to consider.
Other than that, you will also prevent unwanted litter too. There are so many dogs in shelters who have not found their forever homes yet. Neutering your Border Collie is an indirect way of helping other homeless dogs.
What Age Should I Neuter My Border Collie?
There is also no cut-and-dry answer to this, so make sure to consult your vet and see what they recommend. But in general, many suggest that neutering a Border Collie after they reach puberty is best. This means neutering them at around 6 to 12 months of age for the best long-term health benefits.
How Much Does It Cost to Neuter a Border Collie?
You can expect to pay anywhere around $35 to $250 to neuter your Border Collie. The price will vary depending on where you live, their age, and your vet.