How Fast Are Border Collies? (Why Are They So Fast?)

Border collies are the most common breed of collie-type dogs in the world and are known for not only being quick learners but quick on their paws. They run laps around their owners are doggy friends.

Border collies can run at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h). To put that into perspective, the fastest a human being can run is 23mph (37km/h). Collies are so fast because they have been selectively bred for their speed and agility, which helps with herding.

In this article, we are going to explore how fast border collies are and how they have been bred to maximize their potential as fast, agile working dogs.

How Fast are Collies?

Different collies all run at different speeds depending on their breed, genetics, training, and stature. In general, most collies can run at speeds of between 20mph and 25mph, (32-40km/h) with the fastest ever collie being recorded at 30mph (48km/h).

Out of the collie types, the fastest is the border collie. Border collies are the smallest of the breed type and tend to be the fastest. They are compact but very muscular ranging between 30 to 45 pounds on average depending on sex and stature.

Rough collies are a similar size but their coat length makes them less streamlined for running quickly.

Bearded collies are the stockiest of the collie types and reach weights of up to 55 pounds making them a little less quick on turns and less agile than their smaller, lighter counterparts.

Collies can run at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h)

Why Are Collies so Fast?

Collies are so fast because over the last few hundred years collies have been selectively bred for their speed and agility, resulting in the quick and agile dogs we see today.

Collies have been bred for centuries to aid in herding livestock. To be competent at their jobs they needed to be able to be faster than the livestock to control where they move and get them going in the right direction.

Through years of breeding, we have shaped collies to become smaller and more agile dogs. Working farms would only breed their fastest, best workers, and as a result over time, collies have become increasingly fast, intelligent, and agile.

If they were herding livestock that could run faster than them, they could easily avoid the dogs and go wherever they want to.

Since collies can quickly circle back and change direction faster than livestock, they are efficient at performing their jobs.

What’s the Fastest Type of Collie

The fastest of the collie breeds is the border collie with its small but muscular build. Border collies tend to top the agility championships every year at Crufts and other dog shows because they are so fast and agile.

Agility is a sport that collies tend to dominate because it required speed but also incorporates sharp turns and jumps so dogs need to be highly agile to compete.

In 2020 the top three dogs in Crufts were all border collies and the winners for the last three years have also been border collies. In 2018 all 9 dogs that placed in the Championship finals were border collies or border collie mixes.

Every collie breed is fast, including border collies, smooth collies, bearded collies, and rough collies.

Are Collies the Fastest Dogs in the World?

Collies are not the fastest dogs in the world, several other species including greyhounds and lurchers can run faster in a straight line. Where collies are unmatched is in their ability to corner at speed and move quickly over rough terrain.

A collie’s speed generally comes from how agile they can turn corners and change direction. When compared to other breeds of dogs like sighthounds, they aren’t as fast in a straight line.

Collies are bred to chase and control the movement of prey animals which means they need speed but they also need to be agile. If we consider other working type dogs like hunting dogs which are namely hound breeds, they are bred to be faster in straight lines to chase down and catch prey.

Turning quickly is less important for sighthounds so they are usually very long and agile with sharply pointed faces to help them move faster through the air.

Collies don’t have the same build and because they are wider set are a little slower but their small size means they can turn a lot faster than a breed of dog like a greyhound.

All the muscle in a greyhound is generally in their back legs which collies are more evenly muscles and are bred to run for longer periods.

Collies are the fastest dogs in the world on rough terrain, but not on flat ground.

What’s the Fastest Agility Dog?

Border collies are by far the fastest dog in agility competitions. Every year, all the major agility championships are dominated by Border Collies. As of this year, both the Crufts agility championship in the UK and the Westminster Masters Agility Championship in America are topped by border collies.

The record for agility in the Westminster Masters Agility Championship in New York is currently held by a border collie called Kelso. In 2014 he completed the course in 28.44 seconds and has remained unbeaten since then.

Collies make great agility dogs because of how compact they are. They’re relatively smaller with short, powerful legs and can complete the turns required while barely needing to slow down.

Border collies are ranked one of the most intelligent dog breeds which makes them easy to train and tend to enjoy agility as a means of exercise and mental stimulation.

They may not be the fastest dog in a straight line but their small, muscular build and ability to process information quickly make them ideal for agility.

Collies are the best dog in the world at agility. Almost every agility competition is won by a collie.

How Fast are Collie Puppies?

Collie puppies are slower than adult collies because their bodies are still developing. Collie puppies shoulnd’t take part in strenuous agility or herding training until they are fully grown, which happens at around 12 months.

Young collies still have a lot of bone, muscle, and brain development to grow into. They’re not as coordinated as adults dogs and so tend to stumble more often at high speeds and trip themselves up.

Very young puppies have a lot of growing left to do and it’s important they don’t strain themselves and cause long-term injuries.

Agility clubs will not accept puppies into their classes if they are not fully developed to avoid causing harm. Collies only reach their full potential as far as speed is concerned when they are fully grown and more robust.

Can a Collie Compete in Dog Races?

Collies aren’t the fastest breeds when it comes to straight-line speed, so they can’t usually take part in dog races where whippets and greyhounds top the leaderboards. Instead, collies can take part in agility races, where they excel due to their hyper agility and receptiveness to training.

Not only are they not likely to win in a dog race but the dog races themselves are cruel and often prioritize money over their animal’s lives and welfare.

A racing dog’s career is often short-lived as the sport is very damaging to them physically. The fast speeds cause falls and many of the courses are circular which causes some horrific leg breaks.

A racing dog that is injured rarely receives a good retirement but charities are trying to put a stop to this dangerous sport and find homes for injured racing dogs.

Collies often fare better with sports that require agility. They are built perfectly for the jumps and turns that and they will often find them rewarding as it’s the perfect mix of physical and mental exercise for them.

Collies are faster than most other dogs over rough terrain because of their heritage as sheepdogs.

Conclusion

Collies are not the fastest dog in the world in a straight line, but they are the most agile. Collies can run at speeds of up to 30mph (48km/h) and are faster than most other dogs on rough terrain due to their sheepdog heritage.

Border collies are fast and if you have ever seen an agility competition, you’ll see why they are the unbeaten champions of the competition world.

Due to their breeding as herding dogs, they are quick and agile so suit sports that are more inclined towards this than straight races with no obstacles.

About the author:

About the author:

Hollie and Border Collie

 Stuart MacPherson

Colliepedia Editor

 Stuart MacPherson

Colliepedia Editor

I'm an experienced collie owner from Scotland. I started Colliepedia to share everything I know about collies. All the pictures you see on colliepedia are of my beloved collie Luna

Learn More about me and Luna's story on the about page!