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Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Adopting Companion Dogs

Are you looking for a canine companion to share your life with?

Border Collie Rescue always has dogs looking for suitable homes

Not all Border Collies make good pets.
Border Collie Rescue has been around for over 41 years and during this time we have learned a fair bit about the breed.
From the enquiries we get on a daily basis to take in and re-home dogs, we are aware that the vast majority of problem Border Collies we are asked to take in are from pet homes.
Most of these have been young dogs, taken from a farm as a puppy to live in a domestic household as a family pet.
Their herding instincts developed as they matured and frequently that, or the environment they were living in had caused conflicts or frustrations within them that resulted in aggressive or problematic behaviour.

Every Border Collie we take in is assessed before we offer it for re-homing
We assess each dog we take in for physical and mental health, stamina, intelligence, level of training and control, temperament and character. In addition to these basic assessments we also assess every dogs drive, needs and inclination
The information gleaned enables us to target our re-homing.

Unfortunately some dogs we are asked to take and many that come for behavioural advice had been re-homed by other rescues.
Consequently we have developed a very careful process of assessing dogs to make sure we only offer suitable dogs to be companions.

There are Border Collies that will make wonderful companions.
The trick is finding the right ones

Our experience has taught us that these are the dogs that have little or no working drive or instinct.

Our assessment process ensures that any dogs that wish to herd, or possess strong working instinct, are detected and re-homed to working homes where they can be trained, putting their herding instincts and drive to positive use.
Those with high levels of energy are also detected and offered to homes where they can be trained and participate in some sort of work or interactive discipline like agility, flyball, obedience or working trials that will satisfy and direct that energy in a way that fulfills the dog.

During our assessments we look for dogs that are best suited to becoming companions in a domestic home environment.
If you are looking for a companion dog, it is dogs of this type that we would offer.

Click on a link in the sliding menu at the side if you want a dog for another purpose

Things we consider when selecting and offering Family and Companion dogs

People take on a Border Collie as a companion for many reasons - they may like cycling, walking or running and want a dog that will enjoy the exercise - they may want a dog as a faithful household guardian and be attracted to the qualities of loyalty the breed displays - they may find the breeds intelligence fascinating - they may want a dog to grow up with their children and enhance the childhood experience.
The Border Collie is a versatile breed but whatever the reason you may wish to take on a Border Collie it is important that you get a dog with the right qualities to suit your lifestyle and environment. The wrong dog could be a disaster.

Our assessments include understanding the character and temperament of all the dogs that come though our care so we can find them the right sort of home to suit the dog and ensure compatibility within the household.


Border Collies are not the best breed with young children - in fact many of the dogs we are asked to take in have proved to be a problem with young children in a household and we frequently hear stories of how a Border Collie has nipped, bitten or over enthusiastically knocked over or accidentally injured a child when play got out of hand.

Some Border Collies will get along well with children, others may not.
They may regard children as their siblings and become over competitive in play.
They may get over excited and boisterous if there are lots of children or the children are very active.
They may simply view a child as lower in the 'pecking order' and try to dominate them or usurp their position.
They may become intolerant when in close proximity of children and growl or snap in order to warn them to keep away.

Older children and teenagers stand less chance of becoming victims and are more likely to gain respect and compliance than young ones.

A family with young children should be aware of these risks when taking a Border Collie as a family dog, even if told it is good with children.
This is particularly true of puppies who develop instinct as they mature and could easily develop a dislike of children by a few months old.
Consequently we do not place Border Collies in domestic environments if there are children under 8 years old in the household.


Being designed to be sheepdogs, Border Collies are sensitive to sound and movement.
In an environment natural to the breeds purpose this is not a problem, however in a busy human household or in a busy urban environment, Border Collies can often become over stimulated and develop behavioural issues and hyperactivity.
Dogs will have different tolerances of environmental stimuli and this should be considered when taking on a breed as sensitive to such matters as the Border Collie. Some simply will not cope with being over stimulated and are only suited to quiet rural environments.
Others can cope better without becoming hyperactive, excited or protective by the sound of nearby activities.

You may have heard it said that many Border Collies do not do well in boarding or rescue kennels because they get wound up and over excited by the noise and movements of all the other dogs surrounding them, which is often described as going 'stir crazy'.
 Because of this propensity many rescue centres do not like taking in Border Collies or keeping them for long periods because they can quickly develop behavioural issues in the kennel environment which makes it more difficult for them to get new homes.

The same thing happens in towns, on housing estates and particularly in housing terraces.
Its exactly the same thing, just on a larger scale. The dog is constantly stimulated by everything that is going on around it and never gets any real rest. It's constantly being triggered and will often develop little quirks of behaviour as a result. Sometimes these little quirks are regarded as amusing by the dogs owners but will frequently develop into bigger behavioural issues if left untreated or encouraged.

The temperament and character of a Border Collie needs careful consideration when matching lifestyles to that of potential owners.
Consequently we don't place Border Collies into towns or built up urban environments with lots of activity and background noise.


The temperament and character of a Border Collie needs consideration when matching lifestyles to that of potential owners.
One myth about the Border Collie is that it is a hyperactive breed that requires vast amounts of exercise to keep it content - yet we hear from many owners that they regularly take their dog for very long walks and it still wants to go out again as soon it gets back.

The Border Collie breed is not normally hyperactive. Sheepdogs cannot be hyperactive, they need to be steady and calm.
Hyperactive Border Collies have problems and issues that need remedial attention for the dogs health

Individuals of the breed are just as capable of being a couch potato as any human - if they have that inclination.
Some are fireside dogs who will sleep and lay around the house as long as they are permitted - others prefer living outside, shunning heat, or lying close to doorways to take advantage of cool drafts coming under the door in centrally heated rooms.
Most require some form of mental stimulation in preference to physical stimulation and are happiest when engaged in some sort of activity with their owners but few actually need long periods of excercise as long as it's regular and stimulating.
Physical exercise is only needed to keep them fit and healthy. Mental exercise keeps them alive and gives their life quality.

If you live in a fairly busy household with lots of people coming and going you need a dog that tolerates or enjoys such a lifestyle.
If you live alone or are a couple in a quiet household you need a dog that enjoys sharing that sort of lifestyle.
If you walk a lot you want a walking dog. If you don't you need a dog that is content to stay at home.

One deliberately enhanced quality of the Border Collie breed is its desire to bond strongly with a single person.
Think about One Man and His Dog - not just the TV program of man and dog working as a team but also why that expression has been used to describe the relationship and bond between a sheepdog and a shepherd for decades past.
Bonding is another instinctive behaviour built into the Border Collie by design. They need someone to look up to and call their own.

In a normal family environment this can lead to conflicts if there are several people making demands on a dogs loyalty and companionship.
The dog may select one person to be its leader, protecting them and reject the others. The inclination to make a close bond frequently leads to problems if the dog is left home alone for extended periods while everyone is away at work or if it's chosen leader is absent.

Consequently we will not place a Border Collie where all adults are in full time work or the dog is left alone for long periods.

Age of dog and age of applicant

Border Collies are designed to be sheepdogs. Their instinct to herd will usually develop in the first 9 months of their life
We would consider it unwise to place a young pup into a pet home where it stands a good chance of growing up frustrated, developing behavioural problems, becoming a problem for its owner and consequently needing to be rescued and re-homed again.

Examination of the ages and problems of dogs we are asked to take in confirms this as a wise policy because many of these dogs were taken on as pups but failed to make the grade as domestic pets. Issues occurred and both owner and dog needed to be rescued.
As a rescue organisation we would be failing our dogs and our clients by knowingly putting them at risk.

We cannot claim ignorance of these problems and consider this policy to be acting in the best interests of the pups and potential owners.
This is a welfare issue and we see placing untried Border Collie puppies, who have not had the chance to work, into domestic environments as a contravention of the 2006 Animal Welfare Act in respect that the dog has been deprived of a chance to 'exhibit normal behaviour'.

Welfare is not just a matter of physical care, it is also a matter of considering an animals psychological needs.
If you want a domestic companion, you need a dog that does not have frustrated working drive so why take the risk?

We have often heard the arguments - I want a puppy to grow up to get on with my children or - I only want a puppy because I can make it into what I want it to be or - I prefer a puppy because an older dog is too set in its ways. A puppy will be easier to train.

O.K. that may be true with some breeds, but not with the Border Collie. You cannot train out instinct and attempting to force a Border Collie to go against its nature is disastrous for both dog and owner. Border Collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds and most will quickly learn and adapt to new commands at any time in life. You can teach an old Border Collie new tricks!

We don't credit these arguments as we spend too much time clearing up the mess created by people who swear by them and we are not going to help people destroy the life of a young dog.

We only rehome dogs as companions that we can accurately assess as suited. A puppies instinct will not have developed and cannot therefore be accurately assessed so we will only place puppies into homes where they can be trained as sheepdogs.

Exercise and Age

We do consider a dogs age and need for exercise and the applicants age and ability to provide for such needs.
We are do not discriminate or refuse an application because of the age of the applicant - as long as they are adults - over 18.
We do take an applicants age into consideration when offering dogs so that we can ensure a dog goes to a home where all its needs can be fulfilled, so it is unlikely we would offer a young dog to an elderly applicant.

We would certainly never offer an active dog to an elderly person but would try and match energy levels so everyone's a winner.
One other consideration is that we want the dog to go to a home where it stays for the rest of its natural life.
We do need to consider if a dog will be likely to outlive its new owner and need to come back into our care and be re-homed again. It's a question of being sensible and considering the dog.

We take in dogs of all ages and would encourage an elderly applicant to take on a dog of compatible age and physical ability.

Criteria for adopting a Companion dog from Border Collie Rescue

More about Older dogs

We often have older dogs looking for homes - in fact we do run a special scheme for older dogs
We call it 'CollieLaw' and it is designed to enable people to give a permanent supervised home to an older or disabled dog that may otherwise be passed over in the normal run of homes we are offered.

If you can offer a home to an older or disabled dog or want to find out more about CollieLaw follow this link.

If you come to Border Collie Rescue to take on a companion dog we will not take 'Pot Luck' with you and offer you any old dog and let you and the dog take your chances - that's not rescue - that's exploitation - especially if you pay a 'non refundable' donation and have to take the dog back later. Too many dogs get bounced from home to home in the name of rescue!
We want to get it right first time, for dog and owner, so we will go to a great deal of trouble to do so.

Other relevant information
We do not sell dogs - we offer dogs for adoption, to remain in their new homes permanently, but with the assurance that if anything goes wrong we will want to take the dog back and look after its interests.
In an uncertain world this can be a reassuring safely net for people who care about their dogs.

Dogs offered are fully vaccinated, wormed, parasite treated, microchipped and when appropriate neutered or spayed.
Under no circumstances would we allow dogs to be bred from or used for breeding purposes.
Annual booster vaccinations must be maintained by the new owner to protect the dog from infectious disease.

is a formal agreement between us and an applicant that they will give a home to a dog and look after it properly for the rest of its life, however we are aware that life sometimes throws up problems and part of the arrangement is that we will always take a dog back into our care and look after it, at any time, if the new home is unable to keep it - for any reason.

The full terms and conditions of our adoption agreement can be read here - opens in a new window

If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us,
please do not write to us or email us - we want to speak to you before we start the process.
Please phone us during office hours. Details here.
Calls to our office and mobile will only be answered during our office hours