Border Collie Lifespan: How Long Do Border Collies Live?

Border Collie Lifespan: How Long Do Border Collie Live?

A border collie is one of the working dogs which was used and bred for herding purposes within the Scottish borders, mostly for sheep.

Border Collie was explicitly bred for obedience and intelligence. They are considered athletic, acrobatic, extraordinarily energetic, and intelligent dogs. 

Due to all these great qualities, the breed is also competing with sports and other sheepdogs with great success. They are also referred to as the most intelligent domestic dog.

Border Collies are famous and mostly compared with other similar size dogs such as German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, and Labrador of their long lifespan.

How Long Do Border Collies Live?

The lifespan of Border Collies is relatively long, and they can live up to 10 to 17 years. The leading causes of death for Border Collies are cancer, old age, and cerebrovascular disease.

Some common health conditions of Border Collies such as Hip dysplasia, Collie Eye, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), and Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS) are known to reduce the life expectancy of Border Collies.

Early treatment and cure for these diseases are crucial to lengthen the lifespan of your Border Collie.

Did You Know?
Bramble is the oldest Border Collie who lived in the UK from 1st September 1975 to 31st March 2003. It has lived up to 28 years, which is very unusual for dogs of this breed.

At the age of 25, Bramble was recorded as the world’s oldest dog in the Guinness book of world records.

Bramble was a vegetarian dog who eats a bowl of vegans in the evening once a today and exercises a lot according to its owner Anne Heritage.

This clearly shows that with the right diet and healthy exercise, this breed can live longer than usual with proper care for other potential health problems.

Because like other breeds, Border Collies also have many potential health problems and risks, which shorten their lifespan. For Border Collies, the majority of health concerns come from their ancestors.

Breeders can even predict the Border Collie’s lifespan by seeing the history of their family members.

Common Health Problems of Border Collies

Every breed has some pros and cons related to its health, behavior, loyalty, aggression, temperament, and lifespan.

Border Collies have different types of potential health concerns, which may lead them to a shorter lifespan, as discussed above.

Let’s investigate the potential health risks your Border Collie could face:

  1. Hip dysplasia
  2. Collie Eye
  3. Epilepsy
  4. Hypothyroidism
  5. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  6. Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)

Hip Dysplasia 

Hip dysplasia is the most common genetic disorder which can be found in many dog breeds, including Border Collies.

It is the condition in which the socket and the ball of the hind leg don’t correctly fit with each other. This disorder can affect up to 12% of Border Collies.

The main symptom of this disorder is discomfort associated with the hind legs. It can appear early at the age of 5 months in the form of stiffness and lameness in the hind legs and could happen at any stage of Border Collie’s lifespan.

Hip dysplasia may be treated with corticosteroids or anti-inflammatories, which can be fed through dog food as a nutritional supplement.

According to the nature of dysplasia, a number of corticosteroid injections can be injected, and/or surgery will necessarily be needed to cure this disorder. 

Collie Eye

It is a congenital condition in which the eyes of the Border Collies don’t develop sufficiently, particularly the retina of an eye, which leads to eyesight problems in Border Collies.

The mutation of the eyes can result in other defects in the eyes, causing more severe conditions. It can be more severe in one eye than in the other eye. But it always occurs in both eyes. 

Collie Eye is more common in other breeds such as Rough and Smooth Collies. Approximately 70% to 90% of Rough and Smooth Collies are affected in the United States and Great Britain.

The good news is that Border Collie has a deficient percentage of having this issue. Only 2 to 3 percent of Border Collies face the Collie Eye problem.


Border Collies are also susceptible to epilepsy. It is a neurological disorder that causes dogs to develop sudden, uncontrolled, and recurring seizures.

seizure is a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in Border Collie’s behavior, movements, and feelings. Epilepsy can come with or without a loss of consciousness.

There are two types of epilepsy:

  • Primary Epilepsy (Idiopathic Epilepsy)
  • Secondary Epilepsy

Primary Epilepsy: Primary epilepsy or Idiopathic epilepsy is a genetic condition in which a Border Collie suffers from a brain disorder called a seizure.

In a seizure, a sudden and uncontrollable electrical disturbance happens in the brain, which results in a change of behavior, feelings, movement, and levels of consciousness. 

Secondary Epilepsy: In secondary epilepsy, the seizures are caused by something else like a toxin or an infection. No matter what type of epilepsy is, repeated seizures are a nightmare for a dog and its owner.

Because repeated seizures are the confirmation of having epilepsy in your Border Collie, you should concern with your veterinarian immediately.


Hypothyroidism is a situation in which the thyroid glands don’t produce enough amount of thyroid hormones. As thyroid hormones mainly deal with the metabolism of a body.

Due to this condition, your Border Collie will have a slow metabolism, which may result in constipation and other health problems.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), which is also known as Progressive rod and cone degeneration (PRCD), is a group of degenerative eye disorders in dogs, which causes blindness in both eyes.

Retinas play an essential and vital role in the vision, which absorbs and reflects light. Within the retina of an eye, there are rod cells, which allow the Border Collie to see in dim light.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy makes these rod cells programmed to die themselves. The main symptom of this disorder is night blindness, which leads to poor or low vision in dim light settings.

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome (TNS)

Trapped Neutrophil Syndrome shortened as TNS is a deadly syndrome in which the marrow within the bones creates white blood cells but don’t release them into circulation.

The effect of this syndrome is overall on the body, such as poor health, poorly developed coat, trouble indigestion, and moving around. 

Unfortunately, this situation is challenging to treat and can ultimately lead to death. Note that all health problems directly or indirectly affect the overall lifespan of a breed.

Factors That Determine the Lifespan of a Border Collie

Let us discuss some factors which can predict or determine the lifespan of your Border Collie.

The factors that can affect the life expectancy of Border Collies are:

  • Body Size
  • Diet
  • Activity Level
  • Family History

Body Size 

It is often true in the case of animals, especially. That larger or bigger animal lives longer than the smaller animals. For example, a cat lives longer than a rat.

However, it is the opposite in the case of dogs. Larger size dog breeds tend to live shorter than smaller size dog breeds because they age more quickly and are more susceptible to certain health risks.

So, a smaller dog from another breed such as Chihuahua may live longer than Border Collies. The average life expectancy of Chihuahuas is 12 to 20 years which is about 2 years longer than Border Collies.


Diet plays an essential and vital role in the life expectancy of your dog. As the example quoted above of the world’s oldest dog Bramble, its menu depends on the bowl of vegans.

However, dogs are carnivores in nature, they love to eat meat, but they can also eat vegetables and rice happily, which makes them semi-carnivores animals. 

Therefore, a proper diet for your Border Collie is a significant factor that can boost the life expectancy of your dog.

Always go for high-quality dog foods that provide adequate nutrients for your Border Collie. Consult your vet to figure out which dog food brands work best for Border Collies.

Activity Level

The activity level is another crucial factor that controls the life expectancy of your dog. Daily physical activities keep your herding dog happy which makes them motivated and confident for the upcoming days. 

Demotivated and unhappy dogs feel useless and alone. So, it’s a good idea to have a long walk daily (which is necessary for herding dogs to have a hike scheduled daily).

Family History

The family history can determine the overall life expectancy of your Border Collie. A healthy and strong Border Collie will produce strong puppies too. The puppies produced by strong and healthy parents generally live longer due to fewer health issues.

Fortunately, reputable breeders do maintain a complete family history of the breed. Therefore, they can determine the overall life expectancy of your Border Collie. You should consult with them to check out the family history of your pet.

How You Can Improve the Lifespan of Your Border Collie?

There are some effective ways to increase the life expectancy of your Border Collie:

  • Visit veterinary regularly
  • Avoid chemical products
  • Provide a Healthy Diet
  • Regular Exercise

Visit Veterinary Regularly

Having proper health care for your pet extends its life expectancy. Visiting your nearest veterinarian regularly will make your vet more familiar with your dog’s moods, behavior, habits, and temperament.

Especially, it does help in determining the likes and dislikes of your Border Collie. It will give a deeper understanding of the things which make your Border Collie healthy and happy.

Proper care of anything indeed goes longer than usual. It is important if you want your dog to live longer, even more than its typical average lifespan.

Avoid Chemical Products

Border Collies are inquisitive dogs; they put their nose in each and everything around them. So be careful not to put any harmful, deadly chemical around it. Keep your Border Collie safe from all the household cleaners. 

Not only keep your indoors safe but outdoor of a house too for your Border Collie. It needs a lot of exercise as it’s a herding breed, So, it’s common that your dog will move around your yard.

Also, don’t put any garbage bags in your yard, which could contain the bottles of hazardous chemicals like products, cleaning materials, detergents, or anything which may lead to the poisoning of your dog.

Did you know the fact that 16 ounces of chocolate is enough to kill a 20 pounds dog? So, be careful about all these hazards. Taking good care of all this will extends your dog’s life expectancy.

Provide a Healthy Diet

Diet has one of the most significant shares in the health of your Border Collie. A healthy, balanced, and proper diet can make your dog live longer and enable it to go beyond its usual age.

It is also recommended not to use big brand food because they mix additives and by-products. You should consult a professional or do some research on the right diet for your Border Collie.

Regular Exercise

Border Collies are herding dogs who love to walk and exercise a lot. They can’t live longer if you do not take them on a walk daily.

You should schedule daily exercise for your dog to make it healthy and fit. Bring them outside for a walk at least 30 minutes a day.

Final Thoughts 

Border Collie is an energetic, charismatic dog who has an overall average life expectancy of 10 to 17 years, which is more than other herding dogs, such as German Shepherds and Shar-Pies.

However, a good and healthy lifestyle of your Border Collie can push it to live even longer than its overall average life expectancy.

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