Should I get a collie? (Is a collie the right dog for you?)

Thinking about getting a collie as a companion but not sure if you should?

Collies make excellent pets however for the average person or family they are most likely not suitable. Although, if you lead an active lifestyle and already have lots of free time then a collie could be the perfect dog breed for you.

You should get a collie if you live a very active lifestyle and want a dog who will hike, walk, run, and play with you for several hours every day. If you don’t have an active lifestyle, or if you’re not able to set aside a few hours a day for exercise and training, a less intensive breed might be a better option.

However, a collie is a big commitment and there are a few things to consider before you rush out to get your new collie companion.

Before you dive in and get yourself a cute little collie puppy you must think carefully if they are the right dog breed for you. Collies are one of the most common dogs in animal rescue centers as they are simply too much to handle for most people. This article will explore things to consider before committing to a collie. Remember, a dog is for life and collies in particular do not cope well with rehoming or instability.

Luna makes an awesome adventure buddy roaming the hills of Scotland.

Is a collie the right dog for you? 10 Things to consider before getting a collie.

Collies really are not for everyone so before you set your heart on this dog breed you must be aware of all of their potential challenging behaviors.

As a breed, collies can be one of the most rewarding dogs to own but despite this they can also be one of the most frustrating, so lets look at what you must consider before you take the plunge and commit to a collie.

1: collies are for life

Collies are a big commitment with the average life expectancy 10-15 years. Are you ready to take on this big a commitment?

You cant just ignore your collie the moment you get bored, things become difficult or you simply want a break. Be prepared for sleepless nights when your pooch is sick and forget about those after work drinks without attending to your collie first.

Collies are pretty much like four legged toddlers and they are a big time commitment. Your collie will be entirely dependent on you for every little thing so you must ensure you are ready to take on this responsibility, 10 years is a long time!

2: Collies can’t be left alone regularly

Collies are prone to suffering from separation anxiety. They do not like to be left alone which means booking them into doggy day care, hiring a dog walker, or asking friends and family to watch your furry pal.

The cost of day care or hiring a dog walker can add up and you probably wont get change from $60 a week. However without companionship the cost of your collies destructive behavior will outweigh this tenfold.

Forget heading out straight from work to hit the bars, that will be a thing of the past as your collie will require you to come straight home to attend to their needs. Plus, when you see their sad eyes staring at you pleading you to stay, you might just find yourself enjoying more cozy nights in cuddling with your collie than staying out late partying with your pals.

Collie giving a kiss
Collies don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time. They have been bred to work with people and are very social dogs.

3: Lifetime costs of a collie

Collies do not come cheap. They will be reliant on you for everything and everything comes at a cost. Food, toys, vet bills…it soon adds up! Have no doubt, a significant percentage of your wage will be devoted entirely to keeping your collie happy.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you buy cheap, you will buy twice. Invest in the best quality items you can afford or else you will find they need replacing frequently, depleting your finances.

The same mantra applies when purchasing food, buy the best quality food you can afford for your collie. This will help keep them happy and healthy and in top physical shape too!

The costs really do add up, so its a good idea to make a savings account just for your collie. This way, when your four legged friend requires something bought you will be safe in the knowledge you can afford it from your already saved pot of money earmarked just for your collie.

4: Collies really need pet insurance

Insurance is an absolute must if you own a collie. These dogs should have loyalty cards for their frequent vet visits as they really are pretty accident prone.

Pet insurance doesn’t come cheap and you really do get what you pay for. Be sure to insure with a reputable company who won’t let you down if your collie ever requires to use it.

Insurance costs can vary depending on the level of cover but on average will set you back $50 a month. Although this is expensive, it gives you peace of mind that should the worst happen you will be able to afford any expert veterinary care your collie requires.

Luna lives life at 100mph and has no regard for her own safety! Trust me…insurance is imperative!

5: collies have insane exercise requirements

Collies require at least 2 hours of off leash exercise every single day. This means you will be out in all weather, rain, hail or shine, your collie will need a walk.

Do you actually have 2 hours each day to commit to walking? If your answer is no, then a collie is definitely not the dog for you. However, if you already go long hikes, jogging or cycling then a collie could make for a perfect exercise buddy.

A collie who doesn’t receive adequate exercise will literally be a living nightmare so be sure you have the time available to commit to their exercise requirements before taking the plunge to own a collie.

Check out our ‘Guide To Exercising With Your Collie‘ for some helpful ideas and advice.

6: collies are child friendly

Do you have children or are thinking about starting a family soon and not sure if a collie would fit into the mix? Well the good news is collies are good with kids and family friendly dogs.

Collies bond closely with every member of their human pack and children are no different. Collies are loving and loyal and will probably relish all of the attention and play time kids will adorn them with.

If you get your collie before starting your family read our ‘Collie And New Babies Guide’ to get helpful tips on how to ensure your collie doesn’t feel neglected with new arrivals.

7: collies can be destructive

Without adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation collies can exert their excess energy in less desirable ways. Usually through destruction of your precious possessions. If you’re prepared to miss a walk be prepared for a chewed shoe or even a wall!

However, if your collie is receiving adequate physical exercise and provided with lots of mental stimulation opportunities to engage their brain then they are less likely to be destructive.

Destruction often stems from boredom, so before you get a collie you must be realistic with yourself and ensure you have enough time to devote to looking after a collie.

You are responsible for your collie to live a happy, meaningful life and not to be cooped up in a crate for the majority of the day because rest assured, if bored…your collie will destroy that too and possibly injure themselves in the process.

A collie destroying her toy duck. The stuffing has been shredded and is spilled all over the wooden floor.
Collies can be quite destructive, especially with their toys. Training and stimulation is important, to help them know what’s a toy and what isn’t.

8: collies need lots of mental stimulation

Collies are a working breed and need to keep their minds occupied. They thrive on having jobs to do and require ample enrichment opportunities each day to keep them mentally stimulated.

Check out our ‘Mental Stimulation Ideas For Collies‘ to get some handy hints and ideas to keep your collies mind occupied.

A collie who is not receiving adequate mental stimulation each day will find other ways to entertain themselves, often undesirable and destructive ways!

9: collie training requirements

Collies are known for being the best at tricks and there is a reason they usually take home the top prize for agility. They are highly trainable dogs and pick things up quickly.

However, collies require frequent training sessions and without proper training they will run amok. Do you have the time available for daily training sessions or weekly training classes?

The truth is, there is no shortcut to an obedient collie and you must put the endless hours of training in for your collie to be compliant in your demands. Otherwise, be prepared for your collie to consistently cause chaos!

Collie Roll Over
Collies take to training like a duck to water. They love learning new skills, it keeps them happy.

10: collies need lots of love and affection

Collies are clingy. Known as Velcro dogs, they really do require more love and affection than most breeds. They are sensitive and emotional dogs and look to their owners regularly for reassurance and nurture.

If you’re not a fan of slobbery kisses and your personal space being constantly (and I mean constantly) invaded, then a collie is probably not right for you. They like to be close to their owners and dotingly follow you around. Say goodbye to alone time as your collie will be right by your side like your own furry shadow.

There really is no way to train this neediness out of them as its a characteristic of the breed but read our ‘Guide to Managing Needy Behavior‘ to learn how to live with it.

Pros and Cons of owning a collie:

Pros

  • They are super loving and loyal.
  • They are perfect if you have an active lifestyle and have the endurance to go all day.
  • They are a very trainable dog breed.
  • They are good with kids.

Cons

  • They are accident prone so insurance is non negotiable.
  • They cant be left alone for long periods.
  • They require at least 2 hours of exercise daily.
  • They require substantial daily mental stimulation.

Conclusion: Should You Get a collie?

You should get a collie if you have time and energy to devote to them and already have an active outdoor lifestyle.

If you are after an easy going dog who will be happy with a 20 minute walk in the park every day then a collie is probably not the best choice for you.

Collies make great dogs, but only for individuals who have a suitable lifestyle.

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!